Building a Functional Resume as a Software Engineer

TechBridge recruits top developers and places them with the businesses that need their expertise.
clipboard holding a resume

Too many job candidates never make it to an interview simply because their resume fails to impress. We are not saying that it’s because they lack experience. It may just be that their resume fails to showcase their talents. Building a resume for a software engineer requires a whole different approach than, let’s say, a sales director or a compliance officer. When you are applying for software engineer jobs, we recommend that you focus on two things, content and presentation, and we suggest using a functional resume vs a chronological resume.

Why use a functional resume for software engineer jobs?

Do not make the mistake of thinking that a resume’s purpose is to get you a job. The only purpose a resume serves is to open doors. With a resume, you can make an employer interested enough to invite you in for an interview. In other words, you have to stand out from thousands of other resumes and sell yourself in two pages or less.

Functional resumes highlight your abilities rather than your chronological work history.  Imagine how a resume as a contract employee might look to a potential employer if it was chronological. Job changes every 3 – 12 months don’t look good, even if the projects were completed successfully and there are no gaps.

Instead, you can list skills and group projects with small summaries under each.

Tips for Writing a Functional Resume

We are going to keep referring to this type of resume as a “functional resume,” even though it would be more accurate to call it a “combination resume.” You will understand why when we get to Point #4.

1. Introduction

Start your functional resume with a paragraph that focuses on the skills you have that are relevant to the job you want.


AEM Developer

Successful track record customizing Adobe Experience Manager to fit business needs.

Results-oriented, full-stack developer, with management skills and certifications in Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Campaigns.

JCR, Apache Sling, Apache Felix, OSGi, REST, JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX, JSON, CSS, SOQL, Java, HTML/DHTML, XML

2. Organize by theme.

Look at the job description and organize your resume based on the required qualifications that you might consider “vague” or “general.” Some example of this might include:

  • Design reusable AEM components for authoring content
  • Translate business requirements into technical details relevant to AEM
  • Develop, implement, and configure web content management solutions using AEM

Under each section, list any projects – personal or professional – that apply.  Include a one or two-line summary of how that project demonstrates your ability to do what they require. You can list a project under more than one section, as long as you show it’s relevance.


Develop, implement, and configure web content management solutions using AEM 

      • Retrieved assets from an external Content Management System (CMS) referencing an asset stored in AEM Assets for Company XYZ, March 2019 – December 2020
      • Developed a PIM system linking to an image in AEM Assets. for Company ABC, January 2021 – April 2021

3. Optimize your resume with keywords.

Most companies screen applicants by scanning submitted resumes for certain phrases or keywords. Look at the job description closely and make sure you put matching phrases in your resume. Put them in headings, subheadings, or bulleted lists for greater impact.
Job Posting:
Experience in building and deploying enterprise-level Web Content Management solutions on AEM 6.x Experience in developing custom components, page templates, and template components, dialogues, and workflow components Experience in the troubleshooting AEM related issues Excellent knowledge of automating deployment and management of AEM services. Knowledge on the creation of audit reports, code and configuration management, maven, Jenkins, monitoring instance status, bundle status, JCR repository, sling, FELIX/OSGi, slightly, components, templates, servlets, workflows, eclipse Experience integrating to external vendor products (translation services) and Adobe products like Site Catalyst, Test & Target, Communities, and Forms, etc. with Experience Manager. Extensive experience with Front End Technologies: Angular JS, HTML5, JavaScript, jQuery, and CSS3. Develop custom AEM components on top of JCR and Apache Sling (A REST-based web development framework on top of JCR), CRX (Days commercial JCR Implementation) Defining template structures and overall site design Design and code from specifications, analyzes, evaluates, tests, debugs, documents, and implements complex web application using Adobe AEM Create and integrate content-driven applications on Adobe AEM core platform and integrate with E-commerce solutions and search engines. Asset Management (DAM) implementation, object model design (Java APIs), implementation, and unit testing. Experience with migrating large content from a CMS into Adobe AEM Translates business requirements into technical details relevant to Adobe AEM. Resolve user-identified functional and technical issues relating to Adobe AEM.
You don’t have to use every keyword, but you should try to incorporate any that will set you apart from other applicants.

4. Employment History

Even though a functional resume highlights your tech skills rather than your work history, you still need to include the latter at the bottom. Don’t go back more than ten years and leave off anything that doesn’t apply to your current industry. In other words, if you are five years out of college, don’t list that summer job you had at the local burger stand. Your employment history should be chronological and include the following information:

  • Company Name
  • Time Worked
  • Job Title or Description
  • One line summarizing key points or skills relevant to the position you want.

5. Always include a well-written cover letter.

A cover letter should be friendly and to the point. Highlight (don’t go into detail) your strongest skills and why you think you are a strong candidate for the position. Make sure the letter is properly formatted and you have used proper grammar.

Your resume will get you through the machine-screening process, but your cover letter is what will get you past the live-person screening applicants.

There are resume templates all over the web, but we recommend talking with your recruiter. They will know your background already from their screening process and can guide you during the application process. Also, there is a very good chance your recruiter will have a working relationship with the hiring manager and can give you insight into what they might be looking for in a candidate.

Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we’ve talked about what to include in your resume, let’s go over the presentation. After all, you can write a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel but if you don’t format it so people can read it, it’s worthless.

1. Disorganization

Your formatting reflects you. If your resume is disorganized and difficult to follow, employers will probably assume that you are disorganized as well. Keep the resume sharp by using easy-to-read fonts, bullet points, and headers.

2. Wordiness

Get to the point and move on. Hiring managers are busy people and they don’t have time to scan multiple pages of information. Summarize as much as possible and leave off anything that isn’t relevant to the position. Your statements should be clear and concise so that your skills and qualifications don’t get lost in the heaviness of paragraphs and rabbit trails. Use strong, intelligent words that get straight to the point.

3. Unnecessary Personal Information

Your potential job employer probably doesn’t care that you took karate, ballet, or theater lessons in high school. Include only information that pertains to the job you want, and avoid unnecessary information that distracts from your more important qualifications.

4. Vague Statements

Every word needs to count. Don’t waste them on generalities or vague statements. Be precise and don’t be afraid to use technical jargon. They are looking for experts in your field. Show them that you are one.

5. You MUST Proofread!

Our final tip is this: don’t trust your own judgment. Before you submit your resume, ask a few friends or colleagues (or your recruiter) to take a look at it and let you know if they spot any discrepancies. Sometimes, it takes more than one set of eyes to see errors.

How Can TechBridge Help You?

Our goal is to bridge the gap between business and employee, matching qualified workers with the companies who need them. We help place web developers, architects, and marketers who specialize in Adobe, Salesforce, Sitecore, Magento. If you have any further questions or you’re ready to start the recruiting process, contact us today.

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