Fords on Friday: Tips for Writing a Software Engineering Resume

Thank you to Haverford College Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sorelle Friedler
for the first of several posts on aspects of life after Haverford!

  1. Follow all of the usual steps for writing a good resume.  (See CCPA.)sorelle
  2. Ignore the advice from #1 that your resume needs to fit on one page, but only if you really have things to say that will allow you to take it onto a second page.
  3. Make sure you have a clear objective at the top that especially says what type of job you’re looking for and if it’s an internship or full-time job, and gives a flavor of what type of work you’re especially interested in.  E.g.:
    Objective: Obtain a full-time job as a software engineer working to use social networks for advertising.
  4. Make sure your last section is called “Skills” and lists the programming languages you know.  Your resume may be read by a computer, so you need to make sure it has all the right keywords.  If you know frameworks (e.g., Django), you should also list those.  So the section might look like:
    Programming Languages: Python, Java, HTML, Javascript
    Frameworks: Django, CSS, Ajax
  5. If you have awards, these should be in their own section and should have clear descriptive language that explains the size / prestige of the award and what it’s for.  This makes clear just how selective the award is.  For example:
    Pretend Computer Science Department Award: a monetary award given to the graduating senior at Haverford College who shows “the most promise in software engineering.”
    Awesome National Award: a full scholarship given to 3 “outstanding undergraduate computer scientists” chosen from a national pool.
  6. You have learned things in class that may not be otherwise apparent from your resume (e.g., if you haven’t had an internship yet).  Include a “Projects” section that explains what big projects you’ve worked on in your classes (e.g., your 106 final project) and includes clear technical details about what you did.
  7. This should be on the general resume guidelines, but in case not: if your GPA is good enough (>= 3.0), include it clearly in the education section at the top of your resume.  If your GPA in your major only is better, include that instead or in addition (e.g.: “GPA in major: 3.5”).


Sorelle has been an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Haverford College since 2014 and was visiting at Haverford starting in 2012. Her research interests include the design and analysis of algorithms, computational geometry, data mining and machine learning, and the application of such algorithms to interdisciplinary data. She is the recent recipient, along with chemistry professors Josh Schrier and Alex Norquist, of an NSF grant to apply data mining techniques to materials chemistry data to speed up materials discovery.

Before Haverford, Sorelle was a software engineer at Google, where she worked in the Google X lab and in search infrastructure. She received a Ph.D. in computer science in 2010 and an M.S. in computer science in 2007, both from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a 2004 graduate of Swarthmore College.