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How to Build your Resume for a Computer Software Career
Intro text for this blade (e.g., Looking to ascend the career ladder? Use our professional resume examples and tips for these common customer service career paths.):
Career Track: Quality Assurance
Quality assurance specialists monitor every phase of software development, ensuring that everything adheres to company standards. You need to possess at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in software design, engineering or computer science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development will see a whopping 21% job growth over the next decade, which means that QA help will be needed as much as ever.
Software Tester $38,250 Median Salary
Resume Format: Functional
As this is an entry-level job position, use the functional format, which effectively highlights your technical skills and knowledge. Include abilities such as developing test cases, process improvements, MySQL queries and documentation creation, as well as soft skills such as attention to detail.
Summary: Briefly describe yourself in terms of your best skills and work experience. For example: “Meticulous Software Tester proficient in basic test automation tools, automation methodologies and in writing automated scripts” or “Hard-working Software Tester with experience utilizing HTML, CSS, PHP, Java and JS on 20+ projects”.
Skills to feature: Highlight technical skills such as proficiency in different types of software testing, ability to work mobile and desktop applications, knowledge of testing methodologies and software development, or basic skills in GIT, Jenkins, SVN, and bug-tracking systems. Don’t forget to include soft skills such as “end-user empathy,” “team player,” “deadline-oriented,” “excellent written and verbal communication” and “adaptability.”
Go to the next level: To climb up the career ladder, focus on the following areas, and add your achievements in these areas in your resume:
- Performing and documenting risk analysis; manual and automated testing
- Researching and analyzing product features being tested
- More experience in executing tests, reporting bugs/defects and designing complete test cases
- Getting involved in other quality assurance activities
Quality Assurance Specialist $58,849 Median Salary
Resume Format: Combination
Using a combination format for this resume allows you to focus on both your relevant skills and work history. Be sure to pinpoint skills that are relevant to the specific position (e.g., “software development lifecycles and procedures,” “compliance tracking systems,” “enterprise applications,” “test case management,” “code coverage and defect analysis,” and “continuous integration”).
Summary: Focus on presenting your top work accomplishments, using numbers to quantify your achievements and catch the recruiter’s attention. For example: “Experienced QA Specialist who has achieved company-leading improvement metrics (99.95%) based on quality assurance scoreboards,” or “Diligent QA Specialist who has improved sales conversion rates 64% by developing scripted rebuttals.”
Skills to feature: Instead of listing every skill you have, focus on a combination of technical and soft skills relevant to the job’s specific requirements. For example, if the position calls for familiarity with a variety of automation testing tools, note which tools you’re familiar with.
Go to the next level: To climb up the career ladder, consider doing the following:
- Continue to find projects where you take a leading role recommending, developing and reviewing QA standards, policies and procedures.
- Timely, efficient management of projects, including efficient status reports to QA managers.
- Ensuring all QA tools (bug management, automation, and test management) are fully utilized by the team.
- Managing and mentoring other QA staff members.
Quality Assurance Manager $103,380 Median Salary
Resume Format: Chronological
For this more senior position, go with a chronological format, which shows that you have the experience that fits the job through an expanded work history section. Be detailed about your best work accomplishments (e.g., “Deployed regular inspections of equipment and materials to reduce system failures by 20%” or “Improved QA processes to decrease IT workload by 20%”).
Summary: Give a brief outline of your experience and capabilities in a concise “elevator pitch.” For example: “Seasoned QA Manager adept at building successful teams, and introducing change management to decrease overhead costs.”
Skills to feature: Emphasize core competencies that relate to the specific job you’re applying for. For example, if the job calls for sound knowledge of ISO 9000 and CMMI standards, be sure to mention your qualifications in this section. If the position requires management of project evaluations, gap analyses, audits and action plans, provide examples in your work history to reflect that expertise.
Go to the next level: To climb up the career ladder, consider taking on the following:
- Getting an advanced degree or further training in areas that apply to the job, (e.g., VR development or specific QA tools).
- More collaborations with project managers to develop test plans and schedules.
- Collaborating with quality management stakeholders on record-keeping, training, and improvement of operations.
Career Track: Software Engineering
Software engineering includes developing and building computer system software and applications software. This is one of the most in-demand and fastest-growing occupational fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software engineering careers will experience a 22% increase in employment openings between 2012 and 2022.
Programmer $84,280 Median Salary
Resume Format: Functional
Summary: Give a broad overview of your best skills and work experience, including any relevant training you’ve had. For example: “Enthusiastic programmer with experience in freelance projects, and trained on creating SAS data sets of clinical data.”
Go to the next level: To advance in your software engineering career, gain more experience in the following:
- Certifications in specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products.
- Collaborating with software team to improve processes and create successful products.
- Creating and testing code in an integrated development environment.
- Updating and expanding on existing programs.
Software Engineer $99,530 Median Salary
Resume Format: Combination
Use a combination (or hybrid) format for this position, which lets you stress both your skills and your work history. When detailing your work accomplishments, make them stand out by quantifying them. For example: “Redesigned rendering engine from scratch, speeding up app loading time by 600%” or “collaborated with a team of software engineers to refactor codes, reducing service loading time by 95%.”
Summary: Establish who you are yourself and your brandin a short paragraph, explaining your professional experience and top skills. For example: “Software engineer with 7+ years of experience in developing robust code.” Mention skills specified by the job description (e.g., “enthusiastic team player and creative thinker”).
Skills to feature: As mentioned above, browse the job description and address the skill sets the employer requires. For example, if the job requires an understanding of software verification principles Requirements Based Testing, provide qualifications that prove you have abilities (e.g., “trained in requirement-based test design”). Be sure to also include soft skills that define how you approach work, such as project management skills, critical thinking skills, problem-solving ability, being a team player and having a strong work ethic.
Go to the next level: To climb the career ladder, gain more expertise in the following:
- Showcase your leadership skills as a subject matter expert in an important area, such as hosting issues, or client and staff logins.
- Gain more certifications and training in the field, such as becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer.
- Building a track record of surpassing company goals, and increasing customer satisfaction.
Software Engineering Manager$144,374 Median Salary
Resume Format: Chronological
Use the chronological format to build a resume for this position, focusing on presenting your best, most relevant work achievements. Be sure to quantify your accomplishments, such as “Developed engineering TTO proposals that generated $1.5 million annually.”
Summary: Give a brief outline of your experience and capabilities that match job requirements. For example: “High-achieving software engineering manager adept at personnel and database management, and effective systems engineering in SaaS/SOA development.”
Skills to feature: Browse the job description and take notes of relevant skills that align with your strengths, such as capability planning and experience with using Agile tools. Don’t forget to include soft skills such as written and oral communication, dealing with competing priorities in a fast-paced environment, and providing team leadership and direction.
Go to the next level: To move up the career ladder, show your experience and expertise in the following areas:
- Strategically maintaining department and enterprise reporting systems.
- Leading efforts to maintain database and reporting processes.
- Leading projects that provide significant revenue and/or customer satisfaction
Recommended Computer Software Resume templates
To help your resume stand out, use our ready-made templates.
This resume layout provides a bold header to highlight contact information, with clean lines demarcating each section for easy scanning.
This template uses strong fonts and colors for visual impact. The layout is divided into two columns that separate work history and skills.
This two-column layout utilizes subtle shading and a strong monogram header for a unique look, while making it easy for you to customize each section.
Computer Software Resume FAQs
1. How do you format your resume based on your career level?
Formatting your resume is simple if you follow these guidelines:
Functional resume: This resume format is suitable for recent graduates applying for entry-level jobs such as programmers or software tester. The functional format puts the focus on your skills and strengths, rather than your work history.
Combination resume: Also known as a hybrid resume, this format is perfect for mid-level job positions like quality assurance specialist and software manager. It combines both your transferable skills and work history in a balanced manner.
Chronological resume: This format is perfect for roles that require a long track record of success, such as QA manager or software engineering manager, and leaves room for an extensive work history section.
2. What are the qualities and traits that employers are looking for in this industry, and what you should emphasize?
3. What are some other useful skills, certifications and training you should feature for this job category?
- Computer programming and coding (Java, Python, Mean, Ruby)
- Software Development
- Object-oriented design
- Software testing and debugging
- Problem-solving and logical thinking
- Written and verbal communication
- Database management
- Enterprise Systems (CRM, ERP)