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10 Characteristics of an effective engineering resume

In this day and age, engineers must be adept at crafting their resumes once they get into the job market. Resumes are important marketing tools that land applicants job interviews that may lead to their dream job. It is no wonder then that some companies overlook seasoned engineers for fresh graduates simply based on the presentation of a resume. A good resume pulls in the reader, keeps them interested enough to call up the applicant for a job interview. Some of the key features of a good and effective engineering resume are described below:resume

1. Error free

Engineers are expected to be detail oriented by nature. Submitting a resume with errors in it often reflects poorly on you and your future performance. An engineering resume should be flawless, error-free and grammatically correct. It is best to check it over again especially when you make little edits as this may generate typos that were not there before. Get other people as well to edit your resume. This could be a determining factor as to why a possible employer will pick you over another candidate. Just as precision is paramount in engineering so is it in an engineer’s resume.

2. Correct format

Most hiring managers do not have the time to go through a resume in detail the first time they receive it. Often it takes a quick scan to determine whether they will be interested in a candidate or not. Therefore, it is important to use a logical format, placing the most important data at the top of the page (usually job experience and education) as this is what a prospective employer is interested in. The headings should be clear and outlined while bullets can be used to highlight important points such as achievements. Also, the application of bold and italic typefaces will help guide the reader’s eye, allowing them to catch the important details.

3. Demonstrated accomplishments

Setting out your accomplishments is often a good way of distinguishing yourself from other candidates who are interested in the same position. Companies seek individuals who will help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within the company. Therefore, it is not enough to outline your tasks and responsibilities in previous positions. Including and highlighting specific achievements often present a comprehensive picture of your marketability and boosts the confidence of the hiring manager in your capabilities. Use quantifiable sentences to demonstrate your achievements such as how you generated cost savings or restructures a company process. Such statements definitely keep your resume at the top of the pile.

4. Tailored resume for each job or industry

Ensure that each time you send out your resume it is personalized to meet the requirements of the open position you are applying for. Research the company, its industry and the specific position you are applying for to understand how you can sell yourself effectively. Your action words should match the keywords used in the job description. Any experience that is related to that specific position should be highlighted and used to market your resume. It is important that you make it clear that you are responding to a specific job, not just sending out your resume to any and every job. Recruiters will take you more seriously.

5. Action words

When you are applying for a job, it is important to remember that other applicants may have similar backgrounds and skill sets as you. Thus a good way to grab the attention of hiring managers is by using action words obtained from the job description followed by specific examples of how you utilized a skill set. Effective action words help candidates describe their abilities and accomplishments as well as communicate the value and benefits they will offer an employer. Use them at the beginning of your accomplishment-based sentences. Avoid passive terms like ‘responsible for’, ‘worked with’ or ‘duties included’. Instead spice up your resume with strong words like pioneered, influenced, reengineered amongst others.

6. Industry buzz words

Sometimes, the use of engineering buzzwords makes a candidate stand out. It shows recruiters that you are familiar and up-to-date with current trends driving the industry at that moment. They draw an immediate visual picture of a candidate’s skill set; presenting them as knowledgeable and experienced. It certainly is beneficial if an engineer can demonstrate that they can talk the talk. Each time you update your resume it is important to take time to learn what the current buzz words are and use them to boost your resume.

7. Social media integration

Gone are the days when candidates would spend hours meticulously writing out their resume for a job and dropping it off in the mail or office. Most resumes today are sent, received and managed by computers. Increasingly, social media profiles have become a new avenue for attracting attention. Social media outlets like Twitter and Linkedin present an astounding opportunity to enhance your resume. Engineers should ensure their social media pages are updated and present a true reflection of their professional career and achievements. They should also ensure that they do not post offensive or damaging remarks and pictures that may ward off potential employers. Candidates can also get colleagues to verify their skills, get recommendations and also cross link colleagues on projects. This allows a potential employer to cross reference what they are being told and verify that the material is in fact real.

8. Project list

Showcasing projects you have worked on is a great way to boost your resume. Depending on your engineering specialty and years of experience, you likely have a number of key projects you will want to bring out on your resume. They should be listed by employer (along with a short description of what you did) and include the outcomes. If you have room in your resume you can list them all. However, if your projects are overflowing onto more than one page, create a project list sheet that is separate from your resume.

9. Continuing education

Hiring managers are interested in candidates who display that they value education and are willing to learn new things. Potential employers tend to look favorably at candidates who have continued to educate and train themselves throughout their careers. Sometimes they are interested in the advanced degree you have taken or the language course you just completed, giving you the much needed edge to get an interview with them.

10. Concise

Resumes should be focused, crisp and to the point. Exactness is imperative in the field of engineering thus engineering resumes should display this well. Hiring managers accept or reject resumes in a matter of seconds. A long winded CV will be overlooked, even if the candidate sending it is very qualified. Do not assume that every little bit of information you find important will be regarded the same by the hiring manager. Focus should be applied to the most relevant positions you have held.

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