Looking to score a job as a Software Engineer?
You're going to need an awesome cover letter. This guide is your one-stop-shop for writing a job-winning Software Engineer cover letter using our proven strategies, skills, templates, and examples.
All of the content in this guide is based on data from coaching thousands of job seekers (just like you!) who went on to land offers at the world's best companies.
If you want to maximize your chances of landing that Software Engineer role, I recommend reading this piece from top to bottom. But if you're just looking for something specific, here's what's included in this guide:
- What To Know About Writing A Job-Winning Software Engineer Cover Letter
- The Best Skills To Include On A Software Engineer Cover Letter
- How To Address A Software Engineer Cover Letter
- 3 Software Engineer Cover Letter Examples
- The 8 Best Software Engineer Cover Letter Templates
- 3 Tips For Writing A Job-Winning Cover Letter
Here's the step-by-step breakdown:
Software Engineer Cover Letter Overview: What To Know To Write A Cover Letter That Wins More Job Offers
What do companies look for when they're hiring a Software Engineer?
Companies also seek candidates who can collaborate, solve problems, communicate well, and align with their values and tech interests.
Your cover letter should show the company that your personality and your experience encompass all of these things.
Additionally, there are a few best practices you want to follow to write a job-winning Software Engineer cover letter:
- Properly address your letter: Begin your letter by addressing the hiring manager or team. Don't forget to state the specific Software Engineer job you are interested in!
- Express your understanding of the company: Clearly articulate that you are well-familiarized with the company's products and the market, and tie this up with your skills, demonstrating how they align with their needs.
- Tailor your cover letter for the job description: Emphasize your experience to meet the job requirements listed in the description.
- Be concise and clear: Your cover letter should be short, concise, and easy to read. Stick to one page and focus on the most relevant information.
- End with a call to action: Close with a compelling call to action, expressing enthusiasm for the opportunity and inviting further discussion on how you can contribute to the company's success.
- Proofread: Make sure to thoroughly proofread your cover letter for any grammatical errors or typos. A well-written, error-free letter can make a strong first impression. I recommend using Hemingway App or Grammarly to do this.
Let's dive deeper into each of these so you have the exact blueprint you need to see success.
The Best Software Engineer Skills To Include On Your Cover Letter
Keywords are one of the most important factors in your cover letter. They show employers that your skills align with the role and they also help format your cover letter for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
If you're not familiar with ATS systems, they are pieces of software used by employers to manage job applications. They scan cover letters for keywords and qualifications and make it easier for employers to filter and search for candidates whose qualifications match the role.
If you want to win more interviews and job offers, you need to have a keyword-optimized cover letter. There are two ways to find the right keywords:
1. Leverage The 20 Best Software Engineer Keywords
The first is to leverage our list of the best keywords and skills for a Software Engineer cover letter.
These keywords were selected from an analysis of real Software Engineer job descriptions sourced from actual job boards. Here they are:
- Computer Science
- Team Member
- Time Management
2. Use ResyMatch.io To Find The Best Keywords That Are Specific To Your Cover Letter And Target Role
The second method is the one I recommend because it's personalized to your specific cover letter and target job.
This process lets you find the exact keywords that your cover letter is missing when compared to the individual role you're applying for.
Here's how it works:
- Open a copy of your updated Software Engineer cover letter
- Open a copy of your target Software Engineer job description
- In the widget below, paste the job description and hit scan!
ResyMatch is going to scan the target job description and show you the exact keywords and skills that are relevant to the role and that you should weave into your cover letter.
If you're ready to check it out, grab your target job description and run your first scan here:
If you're more of a visual learner, here's a video walking through this whole process so you can follow along:
How To Address A Software Engineer Cover Letter
Personalization is what makes a cover letter stand out. That starts from the very first sentence where you greet the person reading your cover letter! There are two ways to do this well:
1. Use The Hiring Manager's Name
The first, and best, is by including the hiring manager's name. Let's say that you discovered the hiring manager's name from a post on LinkedIn or via an informational interview.
This is the jackpot! All you need to do is use their name in the introduction, like this:
But we won't always have the luxury of knowing the hiring manager's name. Here's what you do in those cases:
2. Use This Formula: To The [Department] Team at [Company]
If you don't have the hiring manager's name, no problem! You can address your cover letter to the team that you're applying to.
For example, if you're applying for a Product Marketing Manager role at Discovery Education, you might start your cover letter like this:
This shows the reader that this letter has been written specifically for them and the content inside of it will support that.
It's much more relevant and personal than “To Whom It May Concern!”
For more advice on writing a strong opening to your cover letter, check out this guide.
3 Software Engineer Cover Letter Examples For 2024
Now let's take a look at all of these best practices in action. Here are three cover letter examples for different situations from people with different backgrounds who are all applying for Software Engineer roles:
Software Engineer Cover Letter Example #1: A Traditional Background
Our first example is a cover letter written by a candidate with traditional software engineering experience. Here is what an example of their cover letter might look like:
Software Engineer Cover Letter Example #2: A Non-Traditional Background
Our second cover letter example comes from a candidate looking to transition from sales to software engineering. This cover letter demonstrates how the author identifies and communicates their transferable skills:
Software Engineer Cover Letter Example #3: Senior Software Engineer With a Masters Degree
Our third example highlights a candidate with Software Engineer experience who has a Masters Degree. Here is what their cover letter might look like:
The 8 Best Software Engineer Cover Letter Templates
At this point, you know all of the basics you'll need to write a Software Engineer cover letter that wins you more interviews and offers. The only thing left is to take all of that information and apply it to a template that's going to help you get results.
We made that easy with our CoverBuild tool. It has 8 proven templates that were created with the help of recruiters and hiring managers at the world's best companies. These templates also bake in thousands of data points we have from the job seekers in our audience who have used them to land job offers.
Just click any of the templates below to start building your cover letter using proven, recruiter-approved templates:
3 Tips For Writing A Job-Winning Software Engineer Cover Letter
You're off to a strong start! But I've got a few more tips to help you take your cover letter to the next level:
1. Use CoverBuild.io To Write Your Cover Letter In <2 Minutes
All of these tips and best practices work, but you still have to implement them. Normally, that'd mean you sitting down and spending hours brainstorming ideas, typing, deleting, and typing again, and then feeling absolutely drained.
Now there's a way to work around all of that so you save your best energy for the writing and edits that matter most. Here's how it works:
- Head to CoverBuild.io
- Select the “2 Minutes” option to have AI write your cover letter
- Select a template for your cover letter, then follow the 3 step process for sharing info about your experience and the target job with CoverBuild's AI
- Click “Generate My Cover Letter” and watch the tool write a unique cover letter that's personalized to your experience and your target job!
To make it even easier, you can select a cover letter template from the widget below to get started:
If you'd like to see the process in action, here's a video walking through all of the steps above:
Note: I do not recommend or advise that you simply copy and paste any AI-generated content and submit your application. You should always review, revise, and personalize the content yourself before applying.
2. Include Measurable Metrics And Outcomes
Too many job seekers only focus on the actions that they took and not the outcomes that resulted from those actions. As a hiring manager, it's impossible to differentiate between a dozen candidates who were all “Responsible for building applications to help achieve company goals.”
If you want to win, your cover letter should speak to the specific outcomes that you drove in previous roles. That could be:
- The time response you helped reduce
- The development efficiency you helped improve
- The number of uses in a giver platform that you helped support
These numbers will show hiring teams what you're capable of and make your value crystal clear!
3. Match Your Cover Letter And Resume Design
They're the exact same car, down to the year, make, and model. The only difference is the way the product was presented. Like I said, quality impacts perceived value.
One of the best ways to boost the quality of your cover letter is to make it look clean, professional, and have it match your resume. That's why the resume templates in our resume builder tool match the cover letter templates in our cover letter builder:
If you use both tools to create your cover letter and your resume, your entire application is going to be top notch.
Key Takeaways To Wrap Up Your Job-Winning Cover Letter
You made it! We packed a lot of information into this post so I wanted to distill the key points for you and lay out next steps so you know exactly where to from here.
Here are the 5 steps for writing a job-winning Software Engineer cover letter:
- Start with a proven cover letter template from CoverBuild.io
- Use ResyMatch.io to find the right keywords and optimize your cover letter for each role you apply to
- Start your cover letter with a personalized greeting for the hiring manager or team name
- Emphasize the measurable outcomes and value you drove in previous roles (include metrics!)
- Compare the draft of your cover letter to the examples on this page to make sure you're on the right path
- Use a tool like Hemingway App to proofread your cover letter before you submit it
If you follow those steps, you're going to be well on your way to landing more Software Engineer interviews and job offers.
Now that your cover letter is taking care of, be sure to check out our guide on writing a job-winning Software Engineer resume (with examples!).