Suppose you are a software engineer with all the skills and enthusiasm needed for success. Still, you find yourself confused when it’s time to apply for the job of your dreams. You wonder if a software engineer cover letter is any different from other cover letters and whether you should even send one.
While many people underestimate the power of a cover letter, the fact is that it can play a significant role in ensuring you stand out from other candidates.
So, let this article be your guide and provide precise instructions on how to write a compelling software engineer cover letter like a true professional.
For an excellent addition to your resume, it is best to start your cover letter with a compelling introduction and then elaborate on your specific skills and achievements in the following sections.
Use the hiring manager’s name to address them personally in the cover letter.
Focus on the skills, achievements, and experience that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Express your motivation to join the company by highlighting why and how the company fits your ambitions, values, and aspirations.
Close the cover letter politely and ensure it is free of typos and errors.
Format Your Cover Letter the Right Way
The first thing a potential employer will notice about your cover letter is its format. If the format is inadequate, your letter may be disregarded without even being given attention to its content. So, the format of your cover letter is just as important as the format of your resume.
By sticking to a proven format, you’re ensuring your letter meets the first and most basic condition for being considered.
The good news is that a standard business letter format is all you need to follow to ensure your cover letter is well-organized. Here is what the structure of a typical cover letter should look like:
Typical Cover Letter Format
Your contact information
Date of application
Contact information of the recipient
Body of the letter:
A formal greeting
Compelling first paragraph
One to three body paragraphs containing key information about your experience
A paragraph containing the conclusion
A formal closing
Optionally, add a postscript where you will emphasize an achievement or a detail about yourself you are proud of and believe would make you a good fit for the role.
Software Engineer Cover Letter Layout
Layout is another basic thing you should take care of, as it can help you make your cover letter more visually appealing. Here are a few easy guidelines to follow to ensure your cover letter stands out:
Cover Letter Layout
Your cover letter shouldn’t be longer than 500 words unless a different word count is specified by the employer.
You should be able to split all the key information into 3 to 5 paragraphs in the body of the letter.
The font you use should be clean and easy to read, and its size should be 10-12 pt.
Spacing should be 1.0 lines, except between paragraphs, where you should double it.
The margins are recommended to be set to 1 inch.
Here’s how that looks in practice:
How to Write Your Software Engineer Cover Letter: A Step-by-Step Guide
Let’s walk you through the process of creating your marketing cover letter step by step so that you don’t have to second-guess anything once you start creating it.
#1. Include the Contact Information
The heading of your cover letter should contain all the relevant contact information, such as your name, title, phone number, and email address. Also, remember to include the recipient's details and the date of writing.
Additionally, you can also include links to your LinkedIn profile, your business website, and your online portfolio if you have any of these.
As for the recipient’s info, make sure you include the company’s name and location and the hiring manager’s name. The hiring manager’s name is not mandatory, but if you can find it, feel free to add it, as it shows your dedication and attention to detail.
This is a good example of a contact information section for a software engineer cover letter:
John Strike Software Engineer 666 Wisteria Lane Beverly Hills, VA 22070 603-756-987 firstname.lastname@example.org Los Angeles 13.8.2023 Ashley Graham Hiring Manager ITsuccess.co 3980 12 Oaks Street Beverly Hills, VA 22070
#2. Greet the Employer
There’s no need to overthink how to greet the employer. A polite, professional salutation is all that you need. Make sure you use the employer or hiring manager’s name (if available), as generic greetings aren’t desirable. Here’s how:
Dear Mr. Grey
In case you don’t have information about the hiring manager’s name, the next best thing is to use the recipient’s title. However, if you don’t have any clue who will be reading the letter, you should simply use “Mr” or “Ms.”
#3. Introduce Yourself
Hiring managers have to go through piles of cover letters, and the best way to capture their attention and ensure they read the whole letter is to start with a catchy first paragraph that will communicate your key advantage instantly.
This key advantage may be your achievement, experience, education, or any other detail that perfectly matches the job description and represents you as an ideal candidate for the role.
Let’s see how to apply this through an example:
I am particularly drawn to [Company name] due to the creative approach to software engineering, which I also cultivated while working on my latest project [name of the project]. The project was a paramount success, inspiring me to continue pushing technological boundaries and remain open to unconventional problem-solving approaches.
#4. Explain Why You’re the Right Person for the Job
While many amazing candidates will apply for the same position, only the most relevant applications will be considered. That means that you have to understand what exactly the company is looking for at the moment and what kind of person, approach, and attitude would fit their current needs the best.
So, read the job posting and job description carefully and notice the things that stand out, like whether they are looking for someone who is creative, an original thinker, or a team player, whether you are replacing someone who has left the company; or the position is entirely new and created as a result of expanding the business; and similar.
After you identify the details about the position that might not have been communicated transparently, highlight the skills that match these needs perfectly and elaborate on them in two to three paragraphs. Here’s an example of how to do it:
Good Example #1
In my previous role at [previous Company Name], I was in charge of a team for developing a complex e-commerce platform based on technologies such as Spring, Java, and SQL. My proficiency in this field and dedication enabled a 25% increase in website performance and exceptional user experience.
Another great way to stand out from other candidates and improve your chances of being hired is to show how motivated you are to work in that particular company. You can show your motivation by sharing what you appreciate about the company and why you believe it is a perfect fit for you. Let’s check out how you can do that:
Good Example #2
I have been following the work of your company since its very beginnings. I have always been impressed with your innovative approach and uncompromisable dedication to delivering top-notch software solutions in line with trends and the needs of your target audience. Working for a company whose standards perfectly fit my professional values would be an honor.
#5. Include a Call to Action
A call to action as a finish line is like a cherry on top of a good cover letter. If done properly, it is a great way to subtly enhance everything you previously mentioned. So, make sure you thank the recipient for their time and effort to read your letter and then punch up by proposing to discuss your experience further in person, invite them to look for more details in your resume, or to contact you for more details.
This is how you can do that:
Thank you for the time and effort you invested in considering my application. Please refer to the resume I have attached to this letter for more information on my professional background, qualifications, and areas of expertise. I look forward to discussing my suitability for the role further.
#6. Conclude and Sign the Cover Letter
The closing of your letter shouldn’t give you a headache; just make it simple and polite.
However, before you formally close the letter, make sure you proofread it and remove any typos, errors, or unclear formulations.
Here’s an example of what your closing can look like:
Sincerely, John Strike
All these formatting and structuring instructions are valid regardless of whether you are writing a software engineer cover letter with no experience, a senior software engineer cover letter, or a software engineer cover letter for internships.
Software Engineer Cover Letter Example
Here’s a software engineer cover letter example in case you need inspiration or a reminder of everything we mentioned above:
Tips for Writing a Perfect Cover Letter
Let’s round up with a few more useful tips that will help your cover letter stand out and ensure you pass on to the next step in the hiring process:
Cover Letter Writing Tips
It is usually expected of a Software engineer to be detailed oriented and precise. You can prove that you already have this trait in the cover letter by including statistics, percentages, and other relevant facts about your achievements.
A cover letter is an opportunity to present facts about you that are not included in your resume. Therefore, there’s no need to repeat information from your resume. Focus on what’s relevant for the position but not easily included in the resume, like your unique motivation to work in the specific field, company, team, or similar.
Tailor your cover letter to each job post you apply for. You worked on many different projects, and not all of them are relevant for every position or company you apply for. Research the company’s projects and culture and adapt to their requirements.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Think about what would draw your attention in a cover letter and consider how you could incorporate that in yours too.
Finally, instead of sending your job application for software engineer in a Word document format, make sure you convert your documents and make your cover letter for software engineer a PDF.
As an aspiring software engineer, you are surely aware of the dynamic trends in your industry. Therefore, you’ll find it easy to understand that the HR industry is also influenced by trends and that you have to keep up with them to ensure your application is relevant and noticed.
After you’ve understood the technical aspects of writing your cover letter, allow yourself to add a bit of a personal touch, showcase your innovative ideas, share your passion, and express your willingness to learn and develop. HR managers have the ability to spot honesty in applications and consider it a huge plus, so don’t hesitate to get a bit personal in expressing your motivation.
If you still need inspiration, think outside the box, use your innovative approach, and research more cover letter examples and cover letter templates.