Keywords to Use on Your Resume to Land Your First Software Developer Role

Resume keywords help you tailor your resume to a specific job description. Read to find out keywords to include in your resume if you’re seeking a job as Software Developer

Tiwatayo Kunle
September 7, 2022

Hiring managers spend only about six to seven seconds looking through a resume. Even if they want to, they cannot go through each application word for word to figure out who the best person for the job is. So if you want to get the job, it’s up to you to ensure that your qualifications are glaring enough for the hiring manager to identify easily.

With electronic resumés, it’s even more difficult to establish a case for yourself if you don’t say the words the app has been programmed to respond to. Apps filter job applications for certain words or a certain profile, and that way, a good percentage of applicants are dropped off even before any human eyes look at an application.

This is why keywords are important in a resume, as they signal to the hiring manager that you have the qualities they’re looking for. Resume keywords are the specific skills and abilities an applicant needs to have bet hired. Your resume can say many important things, but that does not make them relevant. Right things, wrong place. Filtering your resume to include keywords is a secret weapon in the world of job applications.

How Do I Know the Keywords to Include In my Resume as a Software Developer?

The job ad is an excellent source of keywords you need to include in your resume. For instance, if the ad looks something like this:

a sample job ad for a software developer

Some of the keywords in that ad are the words detail-oriented, cross-functional team, web services, web-based applications, .NET, 2-4 years of experience, SQL development, and independent. This means that apart from everything else you might include in your resume applying for that position, you should include the requirements listed in the ad, using the exact words from the ad.

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So let’s say, for example, that you don’t have up to two years of experience, but you attended the Co.Lab Software Development Bootcamp. This means that you have (a) some experience in Software Development (b) experience working as part of a cross-functional team, (c) perhaps some certification courses in C++ and/or .NET. you can still apply for the job.

Additionally, you also shipped a product and worked with an industry professional. These major things make you stand out amongst other applicants and provide you with lots to talk about during your interview. 

Your resume should look something like this: 

a sample of a resume for a software developer

Keep your resume as ‘scannable’ as possible by using short, straightforward sentences and preferably sharing only relevant experiences. Much like the second page of a search engine result, the second page of a resume does not get very much airtime, and a third page gets even less attention.  So put your relevant qualifications up front and use the words the people want to hear. And what are those words?

What Keywords Should I Include In My Resume as a Software Developer?

Keywords differ by profession and occupation. For Software development, here’s a number of keywords that your resume needs so that you can be seen and then hired:

a list of keywords to include in your resume as a software developer

As a software developer, there’s often a lot of focus on developing technical skills but don’t forget to develop some soft skills too. Interpersonal skills are necessary for the work environment as you must relate with others no matter how minimal the interaction.

Soft skills like problem-solving, communication, collaboration, active learning, adaptability, innovation, responsibility, creativity, leadership, analysis, time management are non-negotiable. You might think that your software development skills are enough to make up for a lack of soft skills, but chances are, you won’t remain at that company for too long if you don’t learn some soft skills.  

If you’ve ever been on LinkedIn, you might’ve noticed certain words that are constantly repeated, perhaps within a certain discipline or profession. It’s because these are the words people are searching for. They are the words entered into search engines and so people who want their content to have a wide outreach include these words so they can be found. Similarly, keywords are the words that hiring managers are looking out for. Those who want their resumes to be chosen use these words skillfully.


It’s very easy to get carried away and try to fill your resume with keywords. In doing this, fit the words in organically and try not to lie. The last thing that you need is to be asked about something you've claimed to have knowledge of or experience in and you’re revealed to be a liar. There’s almost always a way to craft your experience so that it fills the need of a job requirement,

For example, some software developers choose to replace or supplement the education section with a “personal projects” section, showing coding projects outside of work hours. Such people might also include a link to their online portfolio as part of the CV.

Ultimately, remember that you have options. Do your best and be assured that there’s a Software development role available for you, somewhere. After all, you belong in tech.

Co.Lab offers an excellent opportunity for Software developers to work cross-functionally as part of a team to build an MVP and perhaps learn some keywords that you can include in your resume. Click here to join us.

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