How to write a software developer cover letter (with tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

If you're applying for a job as a software developer, it's beneficial to send a cover letter along with your CV. A good cover letter can improve your application and help the hiring manager learn more about your relevant skills and experience. Learning how to write an effective cover letter as a software developer can help you find a job you enjoy. In this article, we discuss how to write an excellent software developer cover letter, explain why you can benefit from including one in your application and share some examples you can use as a reference.

Related: 6 essential software engineer skills

Why write a software developer cover letter?

When you apply for a job, you can include a software developer cover letter as a way to discuss your qualifications and explain why you're right for the job more in-depth. It's a chance for the hiring manager to get to know you and understand why you're the best person for the role. It can also demonstrate your interest in the role and differentiate you from other interested candidates. A cover letter is a perfect opportunity for you to persuade the hiring manager you are fit for the role.

Cover letters are similar to personal statements, and most software developer job listings request them. It's important that you know how to write a software developer cover letter if:

  • You're a recent graduate looking for an entry-level position or a student looking for an internship.

  • The job you're applying for has a lot of competition that requires you to have a unique application.

  • You're applying for jobs independently and not through agencies.

Related: What is the purpose of a cover letter?

How to write an effective cover letter

There are many ways you can write a software developer cover letter that reflects your personality, skills and experience. Here are some steps for writing an effective cover letter for software development roles:

1. Research the vacancy

Before you write anything on your cover letter, it's important to research the job vacancy and the company. Hiring managers may include job-specific terminology in the job listing to attract qualified candidates. It's also beneficial to identify keywords that relate to you and your unique qualifications. For example, if a company specialises in Java browser games and you've been developing Java games for years, you may like to include that in your cover letter to show your relevant experience.

Related: Research skills: definitions and examples

2. Structure the letter

Having a basic idea of what to write gives you a good idea of how you want to structure and format your cover letter. Be sure to include these three sections:

Introduction

In the introduction of your cover letter, you can give salutations and introduce yourself. If you can find the name of the hiring manager, it can make your application more personal. Any information that you can use to tailor your cover letter shows you've put effort into researching the role. If the job listing asks for any specific information, such as a keyword to show you read the listing, then you can include that in the introduction as well.

Body

The body of the letter is where all the important information goes. Here you can explain why you're the right candidate for the job. List your qualifications, accomplishments and work experience, and include any relevant anecdotes or references that might improve your credibility. The majority of your effort when you're writing goes into making sure the body is persuasive, appealing and concise.

Conclusion

In the conclusion, you can give any closing thoughts or summarise any important points. Be sure to thank the hiring manager for the job opportunity and include a call to action, inviting them to contact you to schedule an interview. If required, you can post any links to your portfolio or published works.

3. Highlight your skills

As a software developer, having the relevant skills and abilities for a job is a requirement, as it's a practical role. Your cover letter is an opportunity to discuss your relevant skills and explain how you've developed or used them in the past. Consider providing a short explanation of projects or challenges you've overcome by using skills they've listed in the job description. Researching the company can help you in this aspect, as you can relate your qualifications specifically to what the job requires.

4. Keep it concise

The hiring manager responsible for the job listing most likely reads through hundreds of applications before finding the right candidate. Keeping your cover letter to the point and concise increases your chances of your application being read through thoroughly. Including a lot of fluff in your application can hinder your advancement in the application process, so it's important to keep sentences short and concise deliberately.

Related: Writing a short cover letter: examples and helpful tips

5. Proofread

The last crucial step in the cover letter writing process is to proofread it to make sure everything is correct. If you've added research about the company or job, make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date. It's also important to review the document and for any grammar or spelling errors. An error-free letter can show your commitment and professionalism, making you a more impressive candidate.

If you have a friend or family member that can read through your cover letter, they may be able to offer valuable feedback. Asking for third-party feedback is useful as they're unbiased and can give you valuable advice regarding your cover letter.

Software developer cover letter examples

Reviewing examples cover letters for software developer applications can provide insight on basic formatting, structure and vocabulary you can use on your own. If you're looking for some inspiration to help write your own cover letter, here are some examples:

Example 1

Here is an example of a cover letter for an experience professional seeking a new software development role:

John Kemp
London, UK
jkemp@email.co.uk 0011 2222 333

November 15th 2021

Melanie Adams
Big Jump Media
345 Sixth Street, London
madams@bigjumpmedia.co.uk

Dear Ms. Adams,

Firstly, I would like to extend my gratitude for giving me the opportunity to apply for my dream job. If you are looking for an experienced and passionate Java developer, then I believe I'm the perfect candidate for the role. I have more than five years of experience in developing browser games in Java for multinational game companies and it would be an honour to join your company.

In university, I opened my own games website where I would develop and publish my own games for the public to enjoy. This website garnered over a million unique views in its first year and was featured in many national publications and news websites. This experience helped me secure a valuable internship at Rickard Games, where I worked with a team of talented developers to publish The Robot Adventure II. Although I cherish this experience, I have bigger ambitions as a software developer and I believe I can become a crucial part of helping you develop engaging and innovative games for your audience.

I am looking forward to discussing the role further, learning more about your company, and exploring the projects you're currently working on developing. Please contact me via phone or email at any time to arrange an interview or for any additional information. Thank you for posting this job listing and giving me the opportunity to apply.

Sincerely,

John Kemp

Example 2

Here's an example of a cover letter for a student or recent graduate seeking a software development role:

Jessica Kopfler
London, UK
jkopfler@email.co.uk 0011 2234 567

November 20th 2021

Suvin Gupta
Pixel Run Inc.
891 Sackville Street, London
sgupta@pixelrun.co.uk

Dear Hiring Manager,

Thank you so much for considering my application. I have attached my portfolio and resume for you to look through.

I've grown up with an interest in technology, and enjoyed building my own computer when I was just 12 years old. So it feels natural for me to pursue a professional career in software development. My understanding of SQL and C++ makes me the perfect candidate for this internship as I look to gather valuable work experience in cloud computing. I have multiple personal and school projects that are relevant to this role where I've done hours of bug testing and code fixing. School has given me the opportunity to work with a group of developers like myself to collaborate and finish a working product, something I'm sure is valuable for this role.

I am looking forward to speaking with you further, and am even more excited to experience life as a professional software developer through this internship. My research has shown your company to be progressive and I would love the opportunity to learn from your team. Please contact me at any time to arrange an interview. Thank you for the opportunity.

Sincerely,

Jessica Kopfler

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.