Crafting The Perfect Software Engineer Cover Letter

Male software engineer drafting his cover letter and resume for a job application
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Overview

With everything that’s changed over the years, do you really still need to craft a cover letter for your résumé? The answer is yes—particularly if you’re planning to search for jobs in the software engineering field. Here, we will give you examples on how to properly craft the perfect software engineer cover letter.

Over the past few decades, the process of searching for, applying for, and landing jobs has changed. Not that long ago, job seekers would be scanning newspaper print ads, literally pounding the pavement on the lookout for “Help Wanted!” signs, and picking up the phone to make cold calls. Now, thanks to the power of the Internet and helpful job search tools, you can conveniently search for jobs from the comfort of your couch while Netflix plays in the background.

Additionally, putting together a cover letter for entry-level software engineering jobs might sound daunting at first, especially if you’ve never done it before. In reality, you have nothing to fear. In this article, we’ll give you all the tools you need to draft an amazing cover letter that makes you shine, helps you stand out from the pack and actually lands interviews. 

What is a Cover Letter for Software Engineers?

A cover letter is a one-page document that accompanies the resumé you send when you apply for a job. It’s intended to work as a short introduction to who you are as a person and as a potential employee.

What Should a Software Engineer Cover Letter Include?

In a general sense, a cover letter to accompany a software engineer’s résumé should include the basics that all other types of job seekers would include. That would include a basic overview of the following:

  • Work history
  • Professional skills
  • Specific interest in applying for this job

Skills and experience are very important to hiring managers. In all likelihood, they’ll be scanning cover letters for specific information relevant to the available software engineer position. For a software engineer, that means it’s vital that you’re explicit about your abilities, which might include:

  • Software development best practices
  • Troubleshooting
  • Data structures
  • Algorithms
  • Coding

Always be as specific as possible. Rather than simply saying you are comfortable in “various coding languages,” actually list them out. 

EXAMPLE: Language skills include: Python, Swift, C++, Java, C, .Net, SQL

How Do I Write a Cover Letter for a Software Developer Position?

While writing a cover letter to apply for a software developer position may take some time, it’s not as difficult as you might think. First, spend some time gathering your resources and brainstorming all of your skills, developments, experiences, and achievements. At this point in the exercise, list everything you can possibly think of. Nothing is off the table.

Then, when you’ve listed out all of your assets, organize your cover letter according to the following basic structure:

words related to cover letter writing

Contact Information

At the top, list your name, phone number, e-mail address, and mailing address. In fact, this is very important since it’s the only way the hiring manager will have to get in touch with you.

EXAMPLE: John Doe, (555)-123-4567, JohnDoe@e-mail.com, 123 Street Avenue, New York, NY 10463 

Greeting

Do your homework. Whenever possible, greet the hiring manager by name. Though it may feel more efficient to have one cut-and-paste cover letter you use for everyone, this is actually a huge mistake (as we will elaborate on in a section below).

If you’re going to stand out from the rest of the applicants, you’ll want to start by letting the hiring manager know you’ve taken the time to find out who they are. 

EXAMPLE: Dear Ms. Tate (as opposed to Dear Sir or Ma’am)

Body

The body of your cover letter is where you really have space to shine. The paragraphs in the body should be broken down as follows:

  • Introduction – This will change depending on the company and the position for which you’re applying. Catch the hiring manager’s attention by discussing why you are drawn to this specific job and/or why the company catches your interest. Be specific, inventive, and interesting!
  • About You – Take a paragraph or two to discuss any relevant connections between yourself and this specific software engineering job. Again, this isn’t a cut/paste scenario. Show why you are the right person for this specific opening. Not only will this help you stand out, but it will go a long way toward demonstrating why you and you alone are the right person for the job. 
  • Conclusion – In a short and sweet summary, reiterate why you’re the right person for this job. Then end with a call to action by requesting that the hiring manager contact you directly.

What the Cover Letter Looks Like

For most software engineering jobs, fancy formatting for your cover letter is less important than your relevant experience. Still, it’s important that your cover letter look professional.

Those would include:

  • A professional header: Follow best practices for business letters
  • An appropriate font: Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial 
  • Even margins: 1-inch on all sides
  • Proper alignment: Always left-aligned
  • Pristine contents: Be sure to proofread

What The Cover Letter Says

As for what the cover letter says, that’s going to vary from person to person and from job to job. Additionally, as we’ve already expressed in this post, one of the worst things you can do is to write one single, generic cover letter to send to everyone.

Instead, you’ll want to write a cover letter that stands out by following these simple tips.

Tips for Writing a Good Software Engineer Cover Letter

These simple tips will make a big difference.

Be Interesting

Hiring managers will be reading hundreds, if not thousands of cover letters. If you’re going to stand out, you’ll have to be interesting. In addition, let your voice and personality shine through.

Tell a Story

Who doesn’t love a good story?

Pull a hiring manager in by establishing a compelling narrative, the conclusion of which will be you getting hired.

Follow Up

While your cover letter should always end with an invitation for the hiring manager to reach out to you, it’s always a good idea to wait about a week after you’ve submitted your resume and follow up. Because they’re often inundated with applications, your follow-up may be just the thing to get your cover letter right under their noses.

Though putting together a cover letter as a software developer is an investment in time and energy, it’s an investment that can pay large dividends. Even better, it’s not as hard as it might seem at first.

By following our tips, you can create one that catches attention and gets you called in for an interview. 

Finally, if you’re ready to start your journey as a software engineer, visit Lensa’s authentic job search and all the available job openings we have to offer.

Lensa Insights
Lensa Insights
Work is changing faster than an angry retrovirus. For jobseekers, that means one thing: adapt or die! Lensa Insights is your survival guide, offering actionable career tips to keep your future in focus.

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