I have had the opportunity to get a lot of help with writing my resume over the years. It started when I was in the co-op program in college. Before we could go out into the field we had to complete an in-class portion of the program, and one of the modules of the course was technical resume writing. Since that time, I’ve worked with head hunters and I’ve looked at other developers resumes and learned what makes a software development resume stand out. This is the first post in my Resume writing blog series. We will begin with the Cover letter.

The Cover Letter should not be too long but should highlight the key portions of your resume. Below is a break down of the paragraphs with introductory sentences.

Paragraph 1 – Speak about how you came across the job opportunity, say something that is flattering about the company, and confirm that your education and experience make you a key candidate for the role. Here is an example

“While browsing the Monster.ca Job listing board for Software Development opportunities I came across your posting for a Junior .Net Software Developer. I recognize that Company A is a leader in the industry and that your company was voted one of the best places to work in Canada. Not only would it be a privilege to work for your company, I believe, that based on my education and experience, the requirements for this role align with my skillset.”

Paragraph 2 – Highlight you. What makes you special. Use words that are flattering to you. SELL YOURSELF.

“Prompt, detail-oriented software engineer that implements requirements within specified time frames. My core strengths are Java and Oracle, as seen in my current roll at ‘your present company’ where I have been a dedicated employee since…”.

Paragraph 3 – Highlight your current duties at your current job. If the job description lists certain necessary tools or skills and you are currently using them in your work environment, list them here. If you are in school you can skip this paragraph.

“I currently work as a software developer at XYZ Company where I develop and maintain applications. I am responsible for …. The tools that I use in my current role are .Net 4.5, SQL Server, Html, Javascript…(List most of them)”

Paragraph 4 – Talk about your education and any clubs or special things that you were a part of in school. Also stress the soft skills. Talk about being able to communicate, being articulate, and being able to write clearly. These are highly important skills.

“Prior to my professional work, I achieved a Master of Science Degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. While there I focused my study on Machine Learning and was selected to be a part of an internship with google. I have been recognized for my ability to understand business needs and to effectively communicate with both Technical and non-technical work associates…”

Paragraph 5 – Talk about any additional points that are relevant to the job and that paint you in a positive light.

“In addition to my degree I also volunteer as a HTML teacher for a coding bootcamp where I encourage teenagers to learn to code…”

Paragraph 6 – Conclude. Emphasize that you are excited to meet with the person hiring face to face.

“Again, this opportunity looks like a great fit for me. Based on my experience and education I believe that I would be a good candidate for this role and I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the Software Development opportunity further.”

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