How to Write a Software Engineer Cover Letter

FT Contributor  | 

Despite what many people think, submitting a cover letter with your resume is still favorable amongst many hiring managers. A well-crafted cover letter is your chance to make an excellent first impression on a potential employer. According to career coach John M. O’Connor, a cover letter is a branding tool that helps captivate the reader and persuade them that you are an optimal choice for the role.

If you are applying for a job as a software engineer, below are some tips for writing a cover letter that will allow you to stand out and make a favorable impression on the hiring manager.

Important Considerations for a Cover Letter in Software Engineering

Cover letters for careers in software engineering require that specific things be mentioned. These include your education, as well as any certifications or specialized skill sets. Below you’ll find three popular career paths in software engineering and what to mention in the cover letters for each.

Applications Development

Most application development jobs require a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, mobile application development, or mobile computing. Your cover letter should highlight the degree you have and any relevant courses you may have taken. Additionally, many renowned technology companies offer certifications in applications development, including Amazon and Microsoft. If you have any kind of application development certification, mention that in your cover letter.

Systems Development

Most systems development roles require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. Again, highlight your degree in your cover letter and any relevant courses that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

When it comes to certifications, employers might look for certificates from well-known companies such as Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), Oracle, or Amazon Web Services (AWS). Mention those if you have them. Some companies might require you to become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Web Development

In a web development cover letter, most employers look for someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field of study with courses in programming, math, and web design. Highlight those courses in your cover letter, as well as any certificates that you might have from respected companies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS Certified Developer), Microsoft Developer Certifications (MTA & MCSD), or Adobe Certified Expert (ACE).

Structure for a Software Engineer Cover Letter

The structure below will help you quickly and efficiently convey your qualifications and interest in the position you are applying for, which can make a powerful first impression on the hiring manager.

Any cover letter you produce should be composed in a 12 point font that is easy to read, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Also, use single spacing and align paragraphs to the left.

Contact Information

Your contact information should be at the top left corner of your cover letter. This makes it easy for the hiring manager to find if they want to contact you about the next steps. Always include the following contact information:

  • Full name.
  • Address.
  • Phone number.
  • Professional email.

Avoid using a personal email address on your cover letters, as doing so can make you seem unprofessional. Instead, use a professional one such as First.Last@email.com

Additionally, note that if you’re sending a hard copy of your cover letter to an employer, their contact information might also need to be included. If that’s the case, place their information under your contact information at the top of the letter.

Salutation

The salutation is how you greet the person you are sending the cover letter to. If you’re able, research who the hiring manager is so you can address the person by name. Do your best to find the name of the contact doing the hiring and address them as “Dear [Name].”

When opening your cover letter, follow these guidelines:

  • Do use the hiring manager’s first and last name.
  • Do address them as “Hiring Manager” if you can’t find a name.
  • Do use “Dear Sir or Madam” as an alternative to “Dear Hiring Manager.”

When drafting a cover letter, avoid the following:

  • Don’t use the person’s title if you’re using their full name.
  • Don’t use “To whom it may concern” unless absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t leave your greeting blank.

Body

Most cover letters consist of three to four body paragraphs. Each paragraph should quickly summarize something about you or your relevant experience.

In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and address the position you’re applying for. Express why you’re interested in that role in particular and why you’re excited about working for that company.

Use the second paragraph to highlight the technical skills and background you have that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. Don’t summarize your entire resume — instead, focus on the most important skills and elaborate on them, including the certifications you might possess.

Conclude your cover letter by reiterating your interest in the position and what you can bring to the team. Sometimes, hiring managers will ask you to include professional references in your cover letter. If the job listing requests them, this is where you may list your references.

Closing

Your closing paragraph should express your interest in the role, as well as the excitement that you feel about the prospect of working for the company. Also, thank the employer for considering your application and inquire about the next steps.

Signature

Your signature should be three spaces below your concluding paragraph. If you’re sending a hard copy, leave three spaces between your closing and your name so that you can sign the letter in ink. If you’re sending your cover letter digitally, you might include links to your resume, portfolio, or LinkedIn in your signature.

Acceptable signatures include:

  • Sincerely.
  • Regards.
  • Thank you.

Software Engineer Cover Letter Example

Below is an example of a software engineer cover letter.

[Your Name.]
[123 Main Street.]
[123-456-7890.]
[first.last@email.com.]

[Employer’s name.]
[456 Employer Avenue.]
[employer@email.com.]

[Date.]

Dear Mr. Smith,

My name is Angela Rowe and I have over four years of experience as a full-stack developer and software engineer. I’m writing to submit my application for the Senior Software Engineer position with Major Tech, as I think the skills and industry background that I possess will be a valuable asset to your organization.

In my current role, I am tasked with developing e-commerce websites that generate over 10,000 monthly visitors. Leading a team, I have successfully brought new websites to life using a variety of frameworks from HTML5 to CSS. These skills, along with my certification from Oracle as a Java SE Programmer, will allow me to excel in this opportunity.

I am very excited about this opportunity with Major Tech and I feel confident in my ability to go above and beyond the needs of this role. Please let me know if I can provide you with any additional information regarding my candidacy.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process.

Sincerely,

Angela Rowe

Using this method to draft a cover letter, you should be able to stand out from the crowd of applicants for any software engineer career.


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