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From conducting new technology research to deployment of company software, a Principal Engineer is responsible for driving the developer team towards success. Sounds familiar? No doubt you possess all those skills.

But wait.. To land a prestigious Principal Engineer’s job, you need to get the first step right! That is none other than writing an impeccable Principal Engineer resume.

Principles of Principal Engineering

Algorithms, Prototyping, solving technical issues, maintenance.. As an experienced individual in the field of Software Engineering, you won’t need any intro to the job role. 

But, you must be wondering about how to put all those years of experience into your Principal Engineer Resume. Of course, we have the right recipe for summarizing all that in a memorable resume. Read on!

The need to write an impressive Principal Engineer Resume

Just like conducting new technology research or analysis before taking up a project, your recruiters will be keen on analysing your Principal Engineer skill set. Your resume will be the entry point for them to make sure that they have the right candidate.

Guess what? You’ve got an ATS to beat and 7 seconds to convince them hiring managers with your resume.

So, let’s get to it!

Tips to build a strategic Principal Engineer Resume

Being a Principal engineer, you need to play an excellent role as a leader. Leadership is all about strategies. Apply the same to your resume. 

Make it the best chance to showcase your leadership skills, achievements and contributions in steering multiple teams towards success.

01. Add a resume header to your Principal Engineer resume

Good project documentation always starts with the project name on its cover. It makes the life of a busy principal engineer easier.

Kickstart your resume with a brief introduction on who you are, where you are from, and how to contact you. This will make the lives of recruiters easy!

Let’s look at an example:

resume header for a principal engineer position

Your name should be the largest content in your resume. You may include your current job position and location. This will help recruiters get an idea about your level of experience at a glance. 

Always try to shorten the url to your LinkedIn profile and keep that email address professional. 

Pro tip: Use a personal email address rather than using current work mail. 

02. Highlight your level of expertise through a resume summary

Right after your resume header comes the professional profile or the resume summary section. This is where you need to summarize your experience, achievements and skill level as a Principal Engineer.

To write a convincing resume summary, use numbers whenever possible along with achievements.

Innovative and well accomplished Principal Engineer with 20+ years of experience in Large scale system architecture design, leading large and small teams development, integration and testing. Highly skilled at cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Proven track record in successful leadership and completion of over 40 projects related to Big data, embedded Systems and Medical devices.

Pro tip: Limit your resume summary to a maximum of 4 lines.

As a principal Engineer with long years of experience, always highlight the diverse domains you have worked in, number of projects taken and also team sizes.

03. Add a work experience section to your Principal Engineer resume

The work experience section forms the core of your Principal Engineer resume. Most hiring managers expect to see your experience listed in reverse chronological order: that is, the latest job first and then backwards..

Under each job title list your duties.

Ah wait!

That’s not just enough!

This section needs some engineering to show them that you are the best out of all candidates. So, add some bullet points to add key achievements in your past positions. Make sure to add quantities whenever possible.

There is a big difference in saying “Led and mentored several teams of engineers” and “Led and mentored over 10 engineering teams over the past 5 years.

Principal Engineer
Dynasty Systems, California

  • Implemented Solution Architecture of E-Health Auto System Spring MVC Architecture which is now being used by over 10000 medical professionals across the USA.
  • Mentored 40+ new engineers and conducted knowledge transfer sessions to get them on track in ongoing projects with zero knowledge gaps.
  • Designed and Implemented MediVid platform for streaming live healthcare sessions remotely with the use of Kurento Media Server ensuring 100% inclusion of participants.
  • Overlooked query optimization in Oracle DB and increased the efficiency of search results generation by 20%

Pro tip: Use action verbs to give more energy to your key achievements. If you have more than 15 years of experience, list down only the facts that match the job description.

04. Make your Principal Engineer resume education section shine!

According to the nature of the job role you have to play, education is a vital qualification to include in your resume. Most of the time, having a Master’s is a must for a Principal Engineer.

Go reverse chron, but do not add the years you graduated if that was long ago. This will avoid any sort of age discrimination.

Pro tip: The more work experience you’ve got, the shorter the education section should be!

MSc in Computer Science 
The University of North California

BSc.(Hons) in Computer Science
The University of North California

If you are a fresh graduate, consider moving educational qualifications above work experience. Consider adding your GPA if it is higher than 3.5.

05. Make the most out of the skills section in your Principal Engineer Resume

Being a Principal engineer with over a decade of experience is no easy thing. You must have acquired quite a hundred skills by now. Anyway, if you include all that in your resume, it can go out of track.

So, always hand pick the most appropriate skills which suit the job description. Somewhere in between 6 to 15 hard and soft skills would be ideal for your Principal Engineer resume.

Pro tip: Add more hard skills because soft skills are difficult to test.

Here is a list of skills that you can consider to add to your skillset:

Hard skills:

  • Cloud computing
  • Machine learning
  • Performance and optimization
  • Artificial intelligence
  • MVC
  • Cloud
  • Java
  • Python
  • Microservices
  • Docker
  • Design patterns
  • C++
  • C#
  • Computer Aided Design
  • JIRA
  • J2EE
  • Project Management
  • Hardware

Soft skills:

  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Collaboration
  • Analytical Skills
  • Reliable

Extra sections to consider adding to your Principal Engineer resume

After adding all the above mandatory sections in your resume, now it’s time to give it one final touch. Any other accomplishments that might not fit in the above sections can be added afterwards.

So, here are some more sections to consider adding:

01. Principal Engineer Certifications

Did you know? The salary scales of certified principal engineers are higher than that of others. Having a certification will not only add value to your resume, it will add value to your career growth.

It’s never too late to grab one of these Principal Engineer certifications:

  • Engineer In Training (EIT)
  • Six Sigma Green Belt
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Software Engineering Master Certification (SEMC)-IEEE

02. Memberships and associations

Having memberships in one or more professional bodies will pave the way for networking opportunities with similar professionals. As a Principal engineer, these will show your leadership and interpersonal skills.

Here is a list of memberships you can apply for:

  • IEEE Membership
  • Association of Information technology professionals
  • Information Technology Association of America(ITAA)

More tips to write a strategic Principal Engineer resume

Even the best code can fail if proper quality standards are not followed. Although you have listed everything you need in your resume, it can still fail due to the lack of proper formatting and keywords.

Best fonts to use in a Principal Engineer Resume

Stick to a standard font throughout your resume and use consistent font sizes. This will make your resume easy to read and simpler to understand.

Read more on selecting fonts here: Best fonts for your resume

Action verbs to use in your Principal Engineer resume

Action verbs add more emphasis to any achievements or responsibilities in a resume. Use them specially in your resume summary and work experience section.

Here’s a list of action verbs for a Principal Engineer resume:

  • Created
  • Provided
  • Setup
  • Tested
  • Oversaw
  • Implemented
  • Diagnosed
  • Designed
  • Led
  • Supported
  • Mentored
  • Conducted
  • Participated
  • Collaborated
  • Optimized
  • Devised
  • Prepared
  • Documented
  • Served
  • Partnered
  • Contributed
  • Improved
  • Evaluated
  • Engineered

Don’t forget to attach an impressive cover letter.

There’s a popular saying: ”Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

Your resume alone will most of the time help you to land in a star. But, if you hand it in with a cover letter, you will most probably land on the moon!

Make it a chance to explain your experience in more detail, how you got to know about the job opportunity and what plans you have for your future. In the end, make an offer without being generic.

Read more about cover letters here: Ultimate cover letter writing guide

Winding up!

There you are.. From zero to hero in engineering your own Principal Engineer resume! 

Have a look at our Principal Engineer resume sample to get more tips and insights!

Good luck!

Principal Engineer Resume Example (Text Version)

Edward Jenson

Principal Engineer

New York, NY


LinkedIn -


IEEE certified and well accomplished Principal Engineer with 15+ years of experience in leading large and small teams development, integration and testing. Proven track record in successful leadership and completion of over 40 projects related to Cloud, MVC, embedded Systems and Medical devices.

Work Experience

Principal Engineer| January 2015 – Present

Dynasty Systems, Oakland, CA

  • Developed cloud based solutions for a diverse array of clients in USA, UK and Asia increasing incoming project rate by 30%.
  • Designed and implemented firmware required to support 80% of inhouse hardware systems.
  • Overlooked and managed 6 teams of developers and increased project completion rate by 40%.
  • Documented technical reports, proposals and presentations for maintaining highest levels of quality and company standards.

Junior Principal Engineer| February 2010 – January 2014

Syndicate Technologies, Houston, TX

  • Designed and developed 10+ projects in the inventory and healthcare domain all of which were completed on time due to teamwork and flexibility.
  • Mentored 2 trainee developers annually before assigning them to projects to make sure 100% alignment of trainees into projects.
  • Used ASP.NET and MVC architecture to implement several projects and was ranked among the top 10 quality coders in 2013.
  • Collaborated closely with all relevant stakeholders in verifying over 90% accuracy in varying requirements.

Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering (Reading)

The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC


Master of Science in Computer Science

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC


Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Computer Science

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

  • GPA:3.9
Hard Skills
  • MVC
  • Cloud
  • JIRA
  • Java
  • Project Management
Soft Skills
  • Brainstorming
  • Analytical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Compliance
  • Flexibility