A Software Engineer Cover Letter is used by applicants for a software engineer position to highlight the value and reasons why they are suited for the position.
The cover letter is customarily one page long and is submitted during the application.
In some cases, the cover letter can be a requirement of the application. However, in other cases, it will be up to the applicant to take the initiative to submit one unless it is strictly stated not to. Now, why write a software engineer cover letter? Cover letters are an opening for you to sell yourself to the hiring manager in a more detailed manner than a resume. It states the position the applicant is applying for, reasons why they are interested in that position, and the overall skills they bring to the organization.
How to Write a Software Engineer Cover Letter
A software engineer cover letter is an official document that goes into the company’s record files if the applicant is hired. The letter should then be written in a formal format. Writing the perfect cover letter can play a huge role in securing you the job. It is therefore imperative to ensure you get this right. This article has outlined a few steps applicants can use to come up with a software engineer cover letter that sets them apart from the rest.
Section 1: Header
The first item that should appear in the cover letter is the header. Like any formal letter, it must contain a header that identifies the sender and the recipient. You should therefore provide this information in the following manner.
Include your personal information
Open the header by indicating your full name. This should then be followed up by the position you are applying for – software engineer. Contact information should also be provided. In a standard letter format, include the mailing address, then phone number and/or email address, LinkedIn, or website.
In an email format, the name and job title should be included in the subject line, and the hiring manager’s information is not included. Contact information is then provided after the email signature.
City and date
The cover letter ought to have the date when it was written and the applicant’s city of residence. The name of the city is declared in the mailing address. The date is provided after you have provided your information – state the day, month, and year.
Hiring manager’s details
The next information to write down is the potential employer’s details. If you do not know the hiring manager’s name, do some research and find out who is in charge of the recruitment process. Indicate their full name and their position in the company – hiring manager, human resources manager, chair of the hiring committee, etc. Next, write down the official name of the company and provide its official mailing address. The address should state the street address, city, and state ZIP code.
Section 2: Introduction
Once the header is appropriately written, the introduction to the cover letter can then be written. Consider incorporating the following information in the introduction.
Provide a formal salutation. Start with “Dear,” followed by the recruiter’s name. Knowing the recruiter’s name will also come in handy in this section. Addressing the recruiter directly makes the cover letter more personal and shows the applicant did enough research, which can appeal to the recruiter’s personality.
Briefly introduce yourself and state your interest
After the salutation, introduce yourself to the recruiter. There are many ways to introduce yourself. You can state experience, outstanding skills, qualifications, impressive achievements, or the value you bring to the organization. Select the best combination of information that will get the reader’s attention and inspire curiosity. Opt to include your interest in the position and knowledge of the company, such as their vision, mission, or slogan. The introduction should be just a few sentences long.
Section 3: Body
After the introduction and you have let the recruiter know who is writing the letter and for what reasons, it is time to demonstrate to them why you are suitable for the job. The body of the software engineer cover letter makes the largest section of the letter. It can be one or two paragraphs long. The body provides proof of why the recruiter should hire you and how you are prepared (professionally and personally) to take up the position.
It should be clear that you understand what is required of you and how you are prepared to meet those requirements by outlining the skills and experience you have that will help you in executing your assignments and responsibilities.
Highlight your software skills
Start by highlighting the software skills you possess. Software skills are a good starting point as they represent the bare minimum of why an applicant would be suitable for a software engineer position – without software skills, other qualifications might not be enough grounds for recruitment. Outline these skills in order of relevance to the job description. You can review the job description to have a better understanding of what to note down. Examples of skills in software engineer you can list are;
- Statistical software – Apache, JSON
- Web tools – HTML, Google analytics
Mention any relevant certifications that you have and how these skills have been previously used in your experience as a software engineer. Outline quantifiable achievements when illustrating the benefits the skills help you bring to the company.
Emphasize soft skills too
Next, outline your soft skills and how they are applicable in your line of work – software engineer. Soft skills are equally important to recruiters as hard skills. Soft skills illustrate how an applicant will be suitable for the company culture. Examples of soft skills are;
- Communication skills – written and verbal
- Observant and fast learner
- Time management skills
- Leadership skills
You can also provide examples of situations where you have used the soft skills and achieved remarkable results in the execution of your duties.
Note: Skills can simply be listed in bullet points.
Match your skills with job requirements
To finalize the body of the software engineer cover letter, match the mentioned qualifications, skills, and experiences to the job requirements. Again, consult the job description and research about the company. Highlight specific areas or challenges within the company where you would help the company with.
Section 4: Closing
The fourth step is to close off the cover letter. The closing should be written to incorporate the following details.
End with a polite closing statement
You can include a polite closing statement that reiterates that you are the perfect candidate for the job and you would be honored if you were given the opportunity. Politeness goes a long way in any professional setting.
Call to action
Next, let the recruiter know you are available and interested in an interview. Make a formal request for them to get in touch. You can include your valid personal phone number or email at this point.
Thank the hiring manager/employer
Afterward, thank the recruiter for going through your cover letter. Recruiters will normally have to go through tonnes of applications; appreciating them for their efforts towards your application can go a long way in creating a positive impression.
Then you should sign off the letter by providing a complimentary such as “Sincerely” followed by your signature and name. In an email format, the name will be sufficient.
Add a postscript
Lastly, attach evidence of an outstanding achievement you have had and declare that it would be your pleasure to talk about it and how you can replicate the same exemplary results in the company.
Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter
To further improve the efficiency of your software engineer cover letter, the following pro-writing tips can be implemented in the writing process.
Do your research
Research the company and align your cover letter to the company’s interests. Showing you understand what the company is trying to achieve and the challenges they are facing shows your interest in the software engineer position and the company, which are positives in the recruiter’s books.
Be specific and precise
Be specific when outlining information in the letter. When stating accomplishments and experiences, use statistical data to illustrate to describe the relevance of the information.
As much as writing a cover letter is time-consuming, avoid reusing a cover letter. Create a different cover letter personalized to suit the company you are applying to. Information can be the same, but it does not have to be replicated word for word.
Quantify your skills
Use figures to quantify success or accomplishments. Numbers create interest and are easily understandable than long descriptions.
I designed a python based android and IOS application that shifted the company’s business model from brick-and-mortar to online sales. This resulted in a 500% increase in market reach and a 25% increase in sales for the year 2019. Another example, I introduced cloud sharing in Jets Associates that optimized information sharing with 95% efficiency. It increased the number of cases closed by a 40% margin and reduced supplies expenses from $50 000 to $25 000.
When listing key points, use bullet points. Bullet points are easily legible and easy to review.
Sample Letter (Email)
To: e-mail address
Re: Application for the post of a coder
I have noted that you want a coder to join your organization. Well, I am not only interested in but also highly qualified for the same position. I feel suited for the vacancy owing to my exceptional coding skills. Though not widely known or well-read (I dropped out of college in my second year), I have been working as a coder for so long a duration of time now.
In my long and illustrious coding career, I have managed to make many systems. These include point-of-sale systems, facial recognition, employee management, and simple databases, to name but a few! Find a list in my resume which details all of them.
I also understand the design and development of software, data structures, and the associated algorithms, back-end customer service, and maintenance, troubleshooting and inspection of systems, documentation for future references if need be.
In case you come across any ambiguity in my resume, do not hesitate to point the same out to me. I am always on standby and very ready to offer the appropriate clarification.
Following are some sample templates for your better understanding:
[City, State, Zip Code]
[Hiring Manager’s Name]
[City, State, Zip Code]
Dear HR Manager,
Re: Applications for the position of Software Engineer
I draft this letter to express my interest in the position of Software Engineer with your company. Indeed, I am passionate about matters of software engineering. In particular, I am interested in all issues, design, programming, testing, and materialization of software programs.
My past work entailed the following:
• Design, test, and development of the necessary software
• Data structures and algorithms
• Maintenance of the back-end sites
• Troubleshooting systems to see to it that they function optimally
Find enclosed in the envelope my resume, which contains a breakdown of all the skills and expertise I have to bring on board. Many thanks for your time and consideration. I seriously look forward to receiving an invitation to the interview.
[City, State ZIP code]
[Hiring manager’s name]
[City, State ZIP code]
Dear [Hiring manager last name],
I’ve written this letter to express my interest in the software engineering job advertised on your website. I’ve been working as a software engineer at [Name of former employer] s for the past [number of years] years. It’d be an honor to share my extensive knowledge with your company if given the job.
After reviewing the posted job description, I am confident that I would execute the specified obligations satisfactorily. The following skills are some of the abilities I have in carrying out my duties as a software engineer;
• Skill one
• Skill two
• Skill three
I employed [skill] in propelling [former company] from a middle-sized enterprise to the re-known company that it is by boosting customer outreach from [number of customers] to [number of customers.
I am devoted to my work and a leader in my field. I pay attention to details, and I’m a results-driven software engineer who has an appetite for growth. [outline personal traits and soft skills]
I strongly believe my qualifications and experience will be a true asset to your organization. I take pride in my profession, and this job will be an opportunity for me to better myself and improve your company.
I am available for an interview, and should there be any further queries, you can reach me at [phone number and/or email address].
I sincerely thank you for going through my letter and hope you can go through my resume (attached).
[Your full name]
Frequently Asked Questions
The cover letter should be long enough to clearly communicate an applicant’s suitability for a job but no longer than necessary. As a result, cover letters for individuals with lesser experience will be shorter than those with more experience. For example, two years of experience can warrant a 200 or fewer words cover letter, and a more experienced software engineer can be not more than 300 words.
Start by creating a strong introduction that gets the recruiter’s attention and sparks curiosity to want to read more.
A standard software engineer cover letter should have the applicant’s details, the hiring manager and company details, a salutation, an introduction, body, and a conclusion. The letter should outline the applicant’s skills, interest in the job, qualifications, experience, and achievements.