As a computer scientist, you probably have a lot of skills and qualifications to your name.
On the downside, this can make writing a computer science resume even more complicated.
We get it. The more things you have to include on your resume, the more of a mess it can become.
But, actually, it doesn’t have to be so hard – or so cluttered.
To help you write a flawless computer science resume, we’ve put together a complete guide, including the following sections:
- Computer Science Resume Example
- Step-by-Step Guide to Write Your Computer Science Resume
- 24 Skills to Put On Your Computer Science Resume
So let’s cut down to the chase!
Computer Science Resume
Here’s what makes this computer science resume such a prime example to follow:
- It uses the reverse-chronological format. The reverse-chronological format is one of the most popular resume formats in the world.
- Provides relevant and complete contact information. Recruiters will have no difficulty getting in touch with this applicant.
- Short and sweet resume summary. The summary does a great job of highlighting the applicant's experience and ambitions.
- Includes a thorough list of relevant skills. This computer science resume includes both hard and soft skills that recruiters would be looking for in a candidate.
- Achievements-oriented work experience section. This computer science resume example focuses on achievements, setting the candidate apart from other applicants.
- Short education section. As someone with plenty of work experience, this candidate keeps their education information short.
- Additional sections. This application includes additional sections such as volunteer experience and interests, which can help set the candidate apart from other applicants with similar skills and work experience.
Applying for a specific position in the computer science field? Check out more of our resume examples here:
- Software Engineer Resume
- Web Developer Resume
- Java Developer Resume
- Artificial Intelligence Engineer Resume
- Data Scientist Resume
- Data Analyst Resume
- Engineering Resume
- IT Resume
- Data Entry Resume
How to Write a Computer Science Resume
Now that you’ve seen what a great computer science resume looks like, let’s go through all of the steps and tips to help you write one that’s just as good!
#1. Format Your Resume the Right Way
The very first thing the recruiter will notice is the resume format.
We recommend you use the chronological format. This format lists your work experience in reverse-chronological order. This means your most recent job comes at the top of your work experience section.
Most importantly, this is the most popular format among recruiters and HR managers worldwide, so you can be sure you’re on the safe side using it.
Here’s what the reverse-chronological resume looks like:
The other two resume formats include:
- The functional. This is also known as the skills-based resume. This format focuses more on your skills rather than your work experience and it’s recommended for recent graduates with little to no experience to show for.
- The combination format. This is sometimes called the hybrid format and puts equal focus on both skills and work experience.
Once you’ve dealt with the formatting part of your computer science resume, it’s time to get to the layout and style.
Specifically, this involves:
- Keep it under one page. Unless you’re a professional with 10+ years of experience, or you’re applying for a job in academia, your resume shouldn’t be longer than one page. Keep in mind, recruiters receive hundreds of applications a day and don’t have time to read long resumes. A 1-page resume consisting of your skills and work experience is more than enough.
- Use straightforward headers. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to look for the headings in your resume. Writing “previous work” instead of “work history” can lead to your resume being overlooked.
- Use a catchy font that stands out. For example, Ubuntu, Roboto, or Overpass are interesting enough to catch the recruiter’s attention while still maintaining a professional look.
- Save your resume in PDF format. Unless specifically directed otherwise, make sure to save your resume as a PDF file. That way, you can be sure recruiters will be able to open and read it by any device and OS.
For more information, check out our guide on resume formatting and layout.
Use a Resume Template
Writing, designing, AND formatting a resume can take a lot of time and work. In fact, creating a really effective resume from scratch can take hours of your precious time.
Why go through all of that, when you can use one of Novoresume’s free, plug and play resume templates?
Our templates were created in collaboration with a team of professional recruiters. They are designed to be eye-catching, easy to read, and easily scannable by applicant tracking software.
See for yourself how good our resumes look compared to the standard black and whites ones:
#2. Include the Right Contact Details
Though the contact information section seems like an easy, straightforward section, you shouldn’t undermine it.
It is super important to get this part right, with no mistakes or typos (for obvious reasons).
First, you want to make sure the recruiters can actually get in touch with you should they want to bring you in for an interview. And second, you don’t want to look sloppy.
Other than that, structuring this section is very easy. All you need to include are:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Social profiles such as Dribble or GitHub
- Location (city and state/country)
#3. Write a Memorable Resume Summary/Objective
Your resume summary or objective can make a big difference in your computer science resume, as It’s the perfect opportunity to give recruiters a snapshot of your professional history or goals and show them you’re a relevant candidate from the get-go.
But which one should you use for a better impact? Well, that depends entirely on your work experience.
A resume objective is better if you are applying for an entry-level position and don’t yet have too much experience to talk about. Instead, you can focus on what you, as the job seeker, are looking for and can show the recruiter how goal-oriented and ambitious you are.
Seeking challenging work opportunities that allow me to continue learning and developing as a computer scientist alongside a team of some of the best professionals in the field.
A resume summary, on the other hand, is better for more experienced applicants and it aims to provide hiring professionals with a quick overview of your qualifications and work history.
Software Engineer with 11+ years in the industry. Experienced in leading large teams, and working with professionals from a variety of disciplines. Developed a work tracking software tool that increased productivity by 44%.
#4. Describe Your Computer Science Experience
Unless you have no professional experience whatsoever, work experience is a must on any resume. This can be especially true in highly technical fields like computer science where you never really stop learning or developing throughout your career.
To properly format your work experience:
- List the work entries in reverse chronological order.
- Include your title, the company name, and location, and the years attended.
- Add 3-5 achievements and responsibilities underneath each work entry (with fewer bullet points for older jobs).
Now, simply formatting this section the right way isn’t enough.
Your computer science work experience should set you apart from other candidates, which is why we recommend that (whenever it’s possible) you should prioritize your achievements over your work responsibilities.
Think about it - the recruiter already has a solid idea of what a computer scientist’s work responsibilities are.
Write and program software…
Improve interaction between people and computers…
So, what they’re really looking to find out is exactly how YOU excelled at the job.
Another thing to remember when listing out your responsibilities is to make them as quantifiable as possible.
After all, it’s one thing to say you did something and another thing completely to prove it.
Look at the two examples below:
- Led a team of 5 software developers from the conceptualization all the way through to the launch of new financial management software that raised company profits by 25% in one year.
- Increased company profits with my team.
The first example shows the candidate has leadership abilities, as well as describes the actions taken, a timeframe, and results.
In the second example, on the other hand, the candidate might have done that and more, and the recruiter will never know.
Use Laszlo Bock’s formula to easily quantify your achievements. It basically is “accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]”.
What If I Don’t Have Work Experience?
Though work experience is a huge plus on a computer science resume, no one is born with work experience, unfortunately. This means that those of you who are recent graduates likely have nothing to add to this section.
So what do you do?
The good news is, recruiters don’t expect students or recent graduates to have any work experience. Instead, they want to learn more about your skills, such as programming, mathematics, critical thinking, or teamwork.
Alternatively, you can create a portfolio to include all these skills in one place. Your computer science portfolio can consist of:
- Academic projects
- Personal engineering projects (e.g. games you’ve designed for fun)
- Online contests
- Any freelance work
To learn more, check out our guide on writing a resume when you don’t have any work experience.
#5. List Your Education
The education section is as important as ever and, as such, it should be included on your computer science resume. However, compared to the work experience and skills sections, it doesn’t need as much space or attention.
All you really need to do is provide information about:
- Your degree
- Name and location of your university
- Years you attended
Check out our example for a simple guide:
BSc in Computer Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
08/2011 - 05/2015
Feel free to add any academic achievements or extracurricular activities in bullet points in this section, to add value to your resume (especially if you have just recently graduated and have no work experience whatsoever).
#6. Write Relevant Skills
As we mentioned before, the skills section is one of the most important parts of your computer science resume, especially if you are applying for an entry-level position and don’t have much work experience yet.
In fact, a 15 to 20-word skills section has been shown to improve an applicant's chances of getting hired.
However, don’t make the mistake of listing all the skills you can think of. That will just crown your resume with unnecessary information and make it look sloppy.
Instead, you should list industry-relevant skills and specifically, those required by the position (if you have them, that is).
So, make sure to check the job ad and see whether any of the required skills match yours, and definitely include them in your skills section.
24 Computer Science Skills to Put On Your Resume
Hard Skills for Computer Science Resume
- Computer and technology knowledge
- Programming languages
- Technical writing
- Software development
- Computer hardware engineering
- Data analysis
- Information systems management
- Technical writing
- Linear algebra
- Discrete mathematics
Soft Skills for Computer Science Resume
- Attention to detail
- Teamwork & cooperation
- Training and teaching
- Time management
#7. Use These Additional Sections
When it comes to a computer science resume, there’s no doubt that the work experience, skills, and education sections are the most important (usually in that order). However, additional sections can also bring a lot of value to your resume.
If you have little to no work experience, they can be a great way to add more meat to your resume.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned professional, they can help you stand out from other applicants with similar skills and experience.
So what sections should you add to your computer science resume?
- Awards & certifications: There’s a lot of competition these days in programming and computer science. One way to prove to recruiters that you’re ahead of the other applicants is by showing what awards and certifications you’ve received.
- Projects: Another great way to tell recruiters you’re not just another applicant with a generic resume is to show them the most interesting projects you’ve worked on. This doesn’t necessarily have to be work projects, but can be school assignments or personal projects you’ve worked on.
- Hobbies & Interests: Though this section isn’t the most important, it can still provide super useful insight to recruiters. For example, if you list designing your own games, they will know that you are really passionate about programming and even spend your downtime honing your skills.
Awards & Certifications
- Outstanding Contribution Certificate, 2020
- Computer Entrepreneur Award, 2019
- Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award, 2017: for the most creative and innovative contribution to high-performance computing.
- Worked with a team of three programmers to create an e-Authentification system using a combination of QR code and OTP.
- Designed and built a website for the final project at MIT.
Hobbies & Interests
- Puzzle-based video games
- Designing and programming mobile games
- Hiking and mountain climbing
#8. Attach a Cover Letter to Your Resume
While there are a few career coaches and hiring professionals who might disagree, we (along with most other professionals) always recommend that you attach a cover letter to your resume.
The majority of recruiters expect a cover letter and will not take your application seriously without one. Besides, writing a cover letter gives you the opportunity to explain anything you couldn’t on your resume (like gaps between jobs).
A cover letter should include the following components:
- Header - This section should list your contact information, along with the contact information of the hiring manager you are addressing.
- Greeting the hiring manager - Add a personal touch by researching the recruiter’s name (usually be the head of whichever department you are applying to). Showing you’ve gone the extra mile will set you apart from candidates who include a generic “Dear Sir/Madam” greeting.
- Opening paragraph - Here you really want to grab the hiring manager’s attention and impress them with your top 2-3 achievements.
- Body - You should convince the recruiter that you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Explain exactly what sets you apart from other applicants and what makes you a good fit for their company culture. You can also use this to say anything you couldn’t in your resume (e.g. explain a career gap).
- Closing - You want to leave a lasting impression with the closing paragraph. Make it memorable so the hiring manager won’t forget you by including a call to action (e.g. it’d be great to discuss this more in-depth in an interview).
For more tips on how to write a great cover letter, make sure to check out our complete guide.
Now you’re finally ready to start writing your computer science resume and advance in your career.
Just remember the steps and tips we gave you to help you along the way:
- Use the right resume format - we recommend the reverse-chronological format.
- Enter your contact details carefully - make sure the recruiters can contact you and you don’t look sloppy.
- Include an effective resume summary or objective - help the hiring professionals get a better picture of who you are and what to expect.
- Focus on your computer science experience - put more emphasis on experience and accomplishments rather than responsibilities.
- List your education - make sure to add the relevant educational background.
- Include relevant skills - list only the skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Include additional sections when relevant - when appropriate, add sections that can add value to your resume, especially when you don’t have much experience.
- Attach a cover letter - don’t forget to include an impactful letter that will set you apart from other applicants.