10 resume tips for engineers

A resume is certainly one of the key elements of success in an engineering job search. Not having an effective resume guarantees that you will not get the job. An effective resume must grab the attention of the reader in 25-45 seconds and thereafter arouse enough interest to cause the following, A. Extend the reader’s attention span to over a minute B. Prompt the reader to contact the job seeker


Since no one knows your background and experience better than you, it is entirely up to you to make the resume speak for you enough to get you an interview. Most engineers are good at getting the basics of their projects and experience down on paper. However, when it comes to showcasing their talents on paper most engineers miss out on core factors which make a resume an effective self marketing tool. Here we provide you with 10 tips to help you make your engineering resume sell and get you the interview you deserve.

Resume format for engineers

Select the best organizational format. Most resumes are written in chronological (reverse time order) format, but that does not mean that the chronological choice is best for you. A combination format may be best. The combination format is evenly balanced between skill set description, achievements, and employment history, with the advantage being that projects can be highlighted for greater impact.

Objective vs. Summary

It is not necessary that you write an objective unless the job posting specifically calls for one. Instead of objective, provide the reader with a brief summary which touches on the requirements of the kind of job you are applying to and how your skills and experience meet those requested by that position.

Put the most important information first

This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. In most cases, your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experience or skills, list the most important ones first or the ones most relevant to the position you are applying to.

Add a Project List

Depending on your engineering specialty and years of experience, you may find that a dozen or more key projects might have to be included on your resume.

Use Power (Buzz ) Words

Nowadays, some companies are using computers to isolate resumes from those worthy of human contact from those that will be shredded. The computer is fed a list of words that it should look for on any given resume. Resumes with the necessary buzz words are passed on to a human for additional review. Thus, a great strategy that is extremely important is finding these power words or verbs that match the level of position you want. To achieve this, it helps to read the job description and tailor your resume to that position accordingly.

Make absolutely sure your document is error free

An error in a resume can often be the killer between two closely matched candidates. Engineers are expected to be detail-oriented so an error in the engineering resume reflects badly on possible future performance.

Find a balance between wordiness and lack of detail

Employers need to see details about your work history and engineering experience, but they don’t need to know everything. The fact that you were your Fraternity’s annual beer bong party is irrelevant. Keep information germane to the goal of attaining an interview.

PDF vs. Word Format

Assume that your resume will be viewed on a computer screen rather than on a piece of paper. Most resumes are sent, received, and managed via PC. The best way to handle this is to convert your resume to pdf format since mostly everyone has adobe reader on their computer nowadays. Word (*.doc) format is good as well. However, always be aware that a document represented on the user’s computer screen might not be similar to what the employer sees.

Think “accomplishments” rather than “job duties”

What made you stand out from the crowd? How did you come up with a way to do things better, more efficiently, or for less cost? Information such as this will be what makes you grab attention and put your engineering resume on the top of the stack.

Sell the Benefits of Your Skills

Make sure you highlight your skills and if possible give values on how past experiences allowed your former employer to benefit.

Keep it positive

Employers look for people who can contribute, have a positive attitude, are enthusiastic, and have successfully performed similar job skills in the past. Concentrate on communicating these issues and avoid any detracting information. Remember, resumes are just a way to get you to the interview where you are in a better position to make an impression.
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  1. Some people create a resume as if the objective of the document was to get a profession. Therefore they get a really lengthy and dull piece which makes them seem like desperate career hunters. The intention of your resume is to obtain an interview, and the interview may potentially enable you to get a position.

  2. One good way to make resume stands out is to incorporate keywords found in the job description. Use those keywords in your resume and this will create a more targeted resume. A targeted resume will increase your chance of getting a call for interview.

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