How to write a killer Software Engineering Résumé?

17 mistakes that can cost you a Job

  • Bad grammar and typos (77%)
  • Unprofessional email address (35%)
  • No quantifiable achievements on a resume (34%)
  • Long paragraphs of text blocks instead of bullet points (25%)
  • A generic resume that’s not tailored to the job (18%)
  • Resume longer than two pages (17%)
  • No cover letter attached (10%) (Optional)

“It is your Resume, not your team’s resume, not your mentor’s resume not your manager’s resume, so talk about yourself.”

A good resume is one that:

  • Beats the other 250 resumes in the recruitment process.
  • Goes past the ATS scan(read on)
  • Earns more than 7 seconds of the recruiter’s attention.

Mistake 1: GRAPHICS

Left to Right? Which one would you choose?


  • I have traveled to 5 countries in the past 2 months,
  • Dinner with Elon Musk,
  • Danced with Hillary Clinton, or something like that.(more on this at the end)
Wow, I really hate this now.

Please Use Good Resume Fonts:

  • Times New Roman, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial Narrow, Calibri, Cambria.
  • Use a 12-point font.

Mistake 3: OBJECTIVE

c’mmon man, you can do better


as colorful as a rainbow.
  • Do not complicate, keep it simple. don’t make a designer resume.
  • Do not include a photo unless asked. Including a photo is rarely a good idea.
  • Use different shades of black as shown below ⬇


Get this template here.

Mistake 6: YOUR EMAIL

Quick Tips:

  • Do not use _underscores.
  • Avoid the letters ‘O’, ‘i’, ‘o’ and ‘L’, and numbers ‘1’ and ‘0’ as `O0o` is difficult to differentiate.

Bad Ones:

Good Ones:

Mistake 7: SKILLS

“Don’t add Irrelevant Skills or Basic Skills Everyone Expects You to Have.”

For Software Engineer :

  • Not ImportantHTML, MS-Word, MS-Excel, Powerpoint — are unnecessary. They dilute your resume.
  • Also, do not list down the 5 languages you can speak and your proficiency in each. Totally irrelevant.
Machine Learning Engineer

For Cloud Engineers:

For Backend Engineers: Sample

For Frontend Engineers:

For DevOps Engineer:


  • Signature and Photograph (unless relevant to the position)
  • Social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram. Unless relevant to the position)
  • Full education History right from nursery to elementary till graduation, mention recent education only.
  • Personal details like Birthdate, Age, Gender, Marital status, Religion, or Nationality.
  • Full native address.
  • A list of all your previous roles and responsibilities.
  • Your salary expectation.


[Include this if you are applying for software roles]

  • LinkedIn profile and Github account and repository links for your projects.
  • Overall GPA of your degree. [Unless your GPA is greater than 3.6/5.0 or 7.0/10.0, don’t include it. The only thing it does is discount you and lower your chances of being selected over higher GPA candidates.]
  • Your position and rank in relevant competitions (coding contests like ACM ICPC, hackathons)


Use Active, not Passive Voice.

  • “I did” rather than “Was part of”.
  • “Managed” rather than “was asked/recruited to manage”.
  • “A promotion to team leader was awarded to me after only six months of service,” is not as direct as the active form, “Was promoted to team leader after only six months.”
  • “Increased sales” or “Overhauled the department”.
  • Example: “Managed a team of 20.” “Responsible for setting sales targets and establishing individual key performance indicators (KPIs).”


Avoid using popular buzzwords:

Instead use: Powerful action verbs and examples, such as:

  • “Developed a new training software manual
  • “Achieved all my sales targets
  • “Managed a team of three
  • “Initiated a health and safety program
  • “Founded a new society at the University”
  • “Established new sales targets to help our company achieve a greater share of the market.”
  • Usecreated, led, analyzed, automated, owned, styled,
    and not helped, assisted, worked, presented.

“Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]”

— Laszlo Bock

Verb Wordbank


Examples of Non-ATS Resume:

  • Do not use acronyms, as ATS software might not understand what that means, use Bachelor of Technology and not just B.Tech, or write both.
  • Random capitalizations, special characters, lack of consistency, stray blank spaces, abbreviations, and typos. This is bad.


  1. Use STAR technique in resume and in answering questions-
    Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
  2. Write the timeline, of when you did that project.
  3. Write the impact of your project.
  4. Also state why you did a project you did, what was underlying motivation, if you do not include it, be ready with an answer during interviews. (Optional)
  5. If possible, include any test cases or how many test cases you wrote for a project/internship.
  6. Have % and numbers in projects, eg — accuracy was 76.15%. Or used 100,000 image samples to train an ML model. Improved performance by 13%. Reduced latency by 2ms/check.
  7. Also, include how you reduced latency andhow you improved performance.
  8. Start your bullet points with powerful verbs.
  9. What you want them to talk about in an interview, put it to the top in your resume.
  10. Don’t put your job responsibilities, focus on what you have accomplished.

OR Follow this structure to describe your Internships Experience.

Should be like:

  • Grew email subscriber list from 80 to 200 in six months by implementing a new email format.
  • Reorganized storage of supplies, reducing time spent on inventory by 20%.
  • Built a cost-effective face detection API model, which saved $250k+ dollars per year for the company by replacing a third party service used for face detection and blurring technique by using ensemble technique for building multiple ML models and achieved an accuracy of 92% with a less false positive rate of around 5%.

Should not be like:

  • “Implemented Pixel perfect image processing
    — It’s not quantifiable, write what makes something pixel perfect.
  • Worked with NLP and research work related to image processing and model creation and proving support to other members.
    This is a vague and bad project description. Write what and how you did, not what a Machine Learning engineer generally does.

“Don’t just list your responsibilities by copying the Job description of the opening.”



  1. Do not claim way too much. Show honesty. They will figure it out eventually.
  2. Do not claim you are an expert at anything. Period.
  3. Do not lie. Nobody wins, everybody’s time gets wasted.
    Also, don’t lie in your resume because it’s less comfortable than your bed ;)
  1. Contribute to Open-Source projects. (Always always helps)
  2. Do freelance projects.
  3. Do volunteer projects or personal projects.
  4. Take part in hackathons and list them, you might get an internship out of it.


Some Good Examples:

  • Volunteered at LIFT-OFF C, a month-long Program to teach C language and clear doubts of 200+ participants.
  • Hosted Eastern India’s Largest E-Summit Hackathon comprising of 113 teams.
  • Organized and tutored Git workshop, Python workshop and Ubuntu install fest to help bring the student community closer to the field of Open Source.
  • 2nd Runners Up at Hack-A-Bit hackathon. Created a platform for live feedback from the audience through grouped emotion analysis.
  • Volunteered during summers for Habitat for Humanity and ABC Homeless Shelter.

Mistake 17: HOBBIES (Optional)

Some Tips:

  • Be exposed to reputable and relevant employers.
  • Don’t be shy to talk about yourself. Be humble and brag about your achievements.
  • Always keep your resume updated with your skills.
  • Put links at the top or side, but not the bottom.
  • A 1-page highly targeted resume is enough to get you your dream job.
  • Employers care about your experience more than education.
  • Internships are more prioritized than Projects.
  • Certification and Coursework are good for beginners to have in resumes. Awards and Volunteering too, but keep them short. But other useless certifications dilute your resume.
  • Hobbies, personal interests, and Extracurricular are not needed for a strict technical position. These hobbies might help if you’re applying to startups. Startups want a mixed profile.
  • Mention your individual contribution/accomplishment first, then what you did as a team.
  • Some HRs look for useless things on your resume to judge you and then they look into the real matter.
  • You may even work on good projects just for the sake to put them on your resume.
  • Do not have e-commerce project on your resume, that’s a cliche now.

“ Hey, here is what I have done, here is what I can show you, let’s meet and I will be respectful of your time, if this is useful to you.” This should be the format of you calling out busy people. Do not be vague in your talks.

They want to see the product progress. That’s your resume. Proof of work. ~ Naval Ravikant

Sample Strengths:

Sample Weaknesses:

Creative Corner:

  • Make a video resume → run it as an ad (Google or Facebook or LinkedIn ad) and target your industry’s HR people. It will surprise them if they found you pitching yourself in your ad while they were watching Youtube or scrolling LinkedIn.
    Make them curious enough to give you a chance for an interview.
  • Most people are hired through networks, not by resumes. Build yours.

Safe use of Humor in a Resume

  • I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.
  • I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant.
  • Personal interests: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far.
  • My abilities include smelling code/fear.



I write highly researched technical articles on things I daily learn, sometimes code, and interview people. Check my About section.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Priyansh Khodiyar

I write highly researched technical articles on things I daily learn, sometimes code, and interview people. Check my About section.