Civil Engineers may one day build bases on the Moon or Mars.
But you won’t even get to build a bike rack here on Earth if you can’t land a job interview.
And, to get your foot through the door, your Civil Engineer resume must show you see things in perspective, find problems and solve them before they even exist.
Civil Engineers must be accurate, trustworthy, organized and efficient. But above all, they need to demonstrate commanding engineering expertise and technical prowess.
Sounds intense? If you want your recruiter to notice, your Civil Engineering resume needs to be dominating.
How to make the perfect Civil Engineer resume? That’s what we’ll talk about in this article.
Here’s what you are going to learn today
- Reverse-engineer 8+ Civil Engineering resumes and assess their strengths and weaknesses
- How to get past ATS and non-technical recruiters
- What managers are looking for when they hire new Civil Engineers
- Learn how to write impactful messages and intertwine them with your skills and experiences
- How to keep your resume compact, avoiding text which doesn’t hold value
- How to extract more from your resume header section
- What are the best practices for writing professional summaries, and work experience sections
- Whether you need a Civil Engineer resume objective
- Where to position your skills, achievements, personal projects and certificates
All of this and more in the following sections.
Here’s a list of related Engineering resumes
- Engineering resume samples
- Design Engineer resume samples
- Electrical Engineering resume samples
- Structural Engineer resume samples
- Quality Engineer resume samples
- Project Engineer resume samples
How to write a Civil Engineer resume
Okay, so by now you should be aware that there’s plenty of competition in civil engineering.
If you’re not getting a lot of interviews, perhaps it’s because your Civil Engineering resume is not up to the task.
If you’re applying to a big company, there may be applicant tracking software that scans and validates resumes before they go to somebody’s desk.
Incorrectly formatted or unreadable resumes will usually get stuck here and be lost forever.
Pick a proper format for your civil engineering resume and include the following sections.
The exact proportion is unique for every engineer, depending on your experience, education, and qualifications.
There is no magic resume to fit all jobs. You need to fine-tune it for every application if you want to maximize your chances.
- Customize your title to reflect on your new responsibilities.
- Focus your summary on the technologies mentioned most frequently in the job description.
- Reorganize your software section to highlight the applications required for the job - put Revit first if that’s what the company uses.
We’ll talk about how to integrate each of these qualities into the different sections of your resume.
But before that, you need to start with a solid foundation - a well-organized layout for your civil engineering resume.
What’s the best Civil Engineering resume template
- Single-column resumes - suitable for students and freshly graduated civil engineers. It gives you extra space to talk about defining sections such as your education and personal projects.
- Double-column resumes - If you’re already working for a couple of years, maybe have a few internships behind your back, this layout will give you space for all sections you need to fit.
- Condensed double-layout resumes - appreciated by Senior Civil Engineers. This layout provides enough room to cram decades of work experience, skills, projects, awards and more.
- Creative resumes - It’s best to avoid them as they are filled with graphics, sliders, bars that won’t help you here. Civil engineering is a serious field and overdressed resumes may be considered inappropriate by your to-be managers.
What’s the secret behind a functional Civil Engineering resume header
The resume header section is not a place to be creative. Choose an easy to read font and list only the essential information about yourself:
- Professional title
- Location - City, State
- Personal website / portfolio
Try to organize the items in a compact space, but leave enough white room so the text remains readable.
Don’t make recruiters work hard to read your resume or find basic information, like your phone number! They won’t.
Let’s see two Civil Engineer resume samples.
2 Civil Engineer resume header examples
Let’s hope this candidate checks their email regularly. There’s no other way of contacting them - no phone, or address.
Eugene is not even using half of the header’s potential and is jeopardizing his application severely.
Automated systems may discard this resume for not including complete contact details.
Even if manually reviewed, applicants who can’t bother to fill in their phone number hardly make a good impression.
The next civil engineering resume sample has a much better header section. Check it out.
Looks much better and it didn’t take a lot of effort to make it right.
The title is very specific. Assuming they don’t switch industries, the recruiter will immediately notice and draw the appropriate conclusions.
Arguably, civil engineering is not typically associated with digital portfolios, but this is an opportunity to shine.
Especially, if you’re still a student or don’t have a lot of experience to back your case.
Alternatively, add your LinkedIn profile.
Recruiters won’t focus too much on your header on the first pass. They will “scan” for any obvious errors, but will mostly skip to the summary.
Inside tips for crafting a great Civil Engineer resume summary
Seasoned recruiters can make a hiring decision by simply reading your summary.
The summary needs to position you as appropriately qualified for the job offer. At the same time, you need to demonstrate passion and make an impact.
Focus on the job requirements which you fulfill best and emphasize on your skills that match them.
Read through the civil engineering resume samples below.
2 Civil Engineer resume summary examples
This candidate makes the typical mistake of confusing the summary and work experience sections.
They veered off into excessive details about their last (and probably first) job, completely omitting other important information.
At the same time, they wrote a generic description of their job responsibilities. Nothing to really grab our attention.
This summary can be made much better.
This summary is the same length, but offers a complete description of the applicant’s abilities.
The candidate talks about their work experience and highlights specific skills and knowledge relevant to the job offer.
Having a FE certificate is a huge benefit, especially for Civil Engineers with single digit years of experience.
Where the first summary can be seen as amateurish, the second one uses a professional tone and well rounded language.
The next step is to back up that claim with relevant work experience.
How to include Civil Engineer experience on your resume
What Civil Engineers tend to do is describe their daily responsibilities.
Usually, it results in bland job descriptions which will hardly impress the recruiters.
Your hiring manager knows which documents Civil Engineers frequently work with.
They are much more interested in whether you manage documentation efficiently.
Here’s a few examples to get you started.
- Did you find a hack to get on top of revision control? Easy way to keep everyone updated?
- How did you handle last minute design changes when steelwork is already undergoing?
- Cut down cost by 3% by switching to another concrete mix?
- How did you accommodate the architect’s request for hiding the support structures?
It’s up to these specific problems and solutions, to give context to your civil engineering resume.
Most of all, employers want Civil Engineers who will deliver and make the project a reality.
The two civil engineering resume examples below show a stark contrast.
2 Civil Engineering resume experience examples
Listing your daily responsibilities and the software you use is a good starting point, but it’s not specific enough.
There is no information about what exactly you built. There is no outcome and it’s unclear what your contribution was.
The example can be made much better by sharing the engineer's approach to problem-solving and results from their work.
One word: impactful.
- the full picture of what this Civil Engineer was responsible for;
- how they approached their work;
- what benefits they created for their employer.
Just one line of this Civil Engineering resume is better than the entire work experience above it.
And, it keeps on giving - BIM, project management, quality control, welding expertise.
There’s so much more going on here.
Junior Civil Engineer resume writing tips
Naturally, most entry level civil engineering resumes expand on education and university courses.
It will fill up the empty space on your civil engineering resume, but will it make an impact with your recruiters?
There may be thousands of other applicants who completed the same courses.
Hiring managers will be looking for young Civil Engineers with passion and drive that extend beyond doing their homework and exams.
- Use the job description as a guide and extract relevant keywords which to tie in with your own experiences.
- Focus on your CAD skills. Include a portfolio link in your header where recruiters can see your technical drawings and 3D models.
- Ideally, you take part in school clubs or volunteer projects. Even if they’re not technical, you would have improved on your soft skills like teamwork, collaboration, project management, leadership.
Freshly graduated Civil Engineers frequently undermine the importance of soft skills on the job.
Maybe you built your own shed in the backyard to work on your personal projects. That’s great practical experience with power tools, construction materials, and design.
What makes Civil Engineering resume skills pop
Most large companies use computer programs to scan all incoming resumes and pick out the bad apples before the batch arrives at a recruiter’s desk.
Similarly, reviewers who need to process a large amount of resumes manually will look for keywords that match a predetermined candidate profile.
If you don’t have them in your civil engineering resume, it will not get through.
A well formatted skills section solves the majority of these problems and fills any gaps between your work experience, education and personal projects.
What’s the best way to list tech skills
This a great skills section example. It’s clear, readable and provides a ton of information in a compact space.
Notice how software and engineering skills are grouped together to tell the complete story. For example:
“I can model watersheds and design drainage systems with HEC-HMS.”
“I’m a structural engineer and I design prestressed concrete beams and panels in large projects which use Bluebeam for BIM.”
Again, specific job offers may require you to change or reorder your skills list.
Here is an even bigger list of civil engineering skills to pick from.
How to properly include soft skills on your resume
In civil engineering, soft skills are just as important as technical skills.
You’ll be working together with an endless line of contractors, suppliers, other engineering departments, architects, investors, officials from all kinds of public agencies.
All of them need to come together and collaborate in order to complete the project.
As a Civil Engineer you play an integral role in this dance, negotiating with different parties and finding ways to work around limitations beyond your control.
Soft skills work in isolation like technical skills do. If you want to get your point across, you need to illustrate each skill with a real example from your work experience.
The section above is well formatted, easy to scan and provides context, so reviewers know where each skill comes from.
Here are a few more soft skills you want to include in your civil engineering resume.
How does an education section help my Civil Engineer resume
Dedicate a small, but prominent spot for your education section.
You need to possess at least a bachelor’s degree in civil or mechanical engineering by an ABET-accredited institution in order to qualify for professional work.
Unless you’re still a student or a fresh graduate in civil engineering, don’t go into too much detail about your program and courses.
However, make sure all key information is listed:
- Your title and level of degree
- The year of your graduation
- The institution and state which issued the degree
If you’re a student, you should also list your GPA and expand on some of your achievements during your studies - clubs, student awards, events, etc.
Focus on the activities outside of your courses - every other Civil Engineer had those.
What are the top Civil Engineering certificates for my resume
Certificates like EIT and PE are just as valuable as your civil engineering degree.
Other civil engineering certificates are an amazing tool to close the gap between your work experience, education and the job you want.
For example - You want to move from an engineer at a small construction company to a project engineer (later project manager) of large scale projects. You have the technical knowledge but not the confidence to command an army of workers, contractors and suppliers.
A PMP or CPMA training and certificate will give you the necessary qualification and confidence to overcome your lack of practical experience.
An Autodesk certification will demonstrate your excellent command of CAD software, even if you cannot provide a digital portfolio due to pre-signed NDAs.
What are the top tricks to build a job-winning Civil Engineer resume?
- Tailor your civil engineering resume to the job offer you’re applying to.
- Keep your header section simple and functional.
- Use the summary section to make a positive impression and pitch your abilities.
- Focus your work experience on the specific details of your job - notable results and benefits you brought
- Use a well-defined skills section to list all your software, technical and soft and project management skills.
- Expand on your education if you’re writing an entry level civil engineer resume. Keep it simple if you’re a senior engineer.
- Add certifications to close the gap between your education, work experience and the job you’re applying to.