Write your Engineering Resume in 5 Steps: Including a Sample Resume!
As an engineer, your resume is your lifeblood: your chance to make a lasting impression on a potential employer and put your best foot forward. Therefore, it is worth putting in the time and effort to ensure your resume stands out from the crowd. To help you in the process, we've compiled our best tips on what we think makes an ideal resume or cover letter (CV) for any type of engineer. We have also provided a sample engineering CV for you to download to help you get started.
Engineers are efficient thinkers (see our article How to Think like an Engineer) so you want to keep your engineering CV relevant, concise and memorable. No future employer wants to know your life story, including that part time job you had scooping ice cream during University. SkyCiv recommends the following resume format for experienced engineers and students:
1. Your Introduction
Show your passion for engineering and pick a few of the key qualities that you detailed in the 5th heading (Sell your Qualities). Start by introducing yourself and the role you are applying for. Follow with your relevant experience and end with a few sentences that communicate the type of person you are to your potential employer. Engineers are efficient readers, so they will pick out key information from this paragraph and use it to form an overall image of you. Keep your introduction short (2-3 sentences) since we want to keep the entire resume 1-2 pages (preferably one page).
List your relevant education only - your employer doesn't care what preschool you went to. Although it might be tempting, avoid putting in certificates or awards that are unrelated to the industry and keep your resume relevant to the job you are applying to: include your Tertiary (University) degree, year of graduation and your majors/minors. Any relevant extracurricular activities are welcome in this area. View the engineering resume sample for an example of an ideal layout for this section.
A potential employer want to know what you can do, based on what you have done. The main criteria to include in each of your work experiences are:
- Name of the Company
- Your Position at the Company
- Reference Contact (this is optional, you can also have a sentence that reads "References available upon request" at the end of your resume)
- Dates of Employment
- Your Responsibilities and Tasks (bullet point these and don't overly elaborate)
4. Software Skills
This is a list of software competencies to include in your engineering CV. The best way to arrange the list is by relevance of what the job entails, stating your level of competency. Honesty is the best policy throughout your resume, but particularly when listing your software skills. Most employers are looking for a particular competency in this area, and your skill level can easily be verified in the interviewing process. Below is an example of how to format your table to showcase your software skills:
|SkyCiv Structural 3D||Advanced|
|Microsoft Excel VBA||Medium|
5. Sell Your Personal Qualities
While technical skill is crucial for engineers, most future employers are also looking for an employee who fits with their company culture. The most highly valued personal qualities for engineers are:
- Communication Skills. Engineers work with a wide range of people - people with different roles, work ethics and levels of education. You will be dealing with clients, builders, architects, businessmen and contractor, among others. Engineers need to know how to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people to complete the task at hand. Developing these verbal skills is advantageous regardless of the field, with communication skills ranked as the number one quality that employers look for.
- Teamwork Skills. Believe it or not, engineering is a team sport! You may remember completing tasks in groups at University. This was no accident: engineers need to work in teams and leverage individual specialties to design, plan and build projects efficiently. Working well with others and utilizing team members' strengths are essential in a collaborative field like engineering. By demonstrating that you respect and respond well to outside input, you prove your worth as a valuable member of any team.
- Ethics/Integrity. Engineering is honest work. An employer will always value someone who is truthful and behaves morally in their professional life. It reinforces that the individual will not take shortcuts or conduct any unethical business.
- Work Ethic. Late nights and short deadlines are no strangers to engineers. It is important to convey this to a future employer; that you are able and willing to do what it takes to get the job done!
- Analytical Skills. It might sound silly seeing as you probably already have a degree in engineering, but math, logic and problem solving skills are all extremely important for a career in engineering. It is key to convey these qualities to your potential employer.
CEO and Co-Founder of SkyCiv
BEng (Civil), BCom
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