How to Write an Engineering Resume That Gets Interviews
Show complete project experience.
If you want to get a dream engineering job, listing your projects and inserting buzzwords is not enough. Explain how your role was critical to these projects. Be specific about your results.
Bad example: Reviewed company SOPs
Good example: Reviewed company SOPs to reduce non-productive time by 15% by conducting senior personnel surveys and troubleshooting operational glitches.
Show your ability to work within a modern engineering environment
The modern engineering environment is about multidisciplinary distributed teams, open-source tools, and agile frameworks. Show recruiters that you don’t just bear within it. You prosper.
Bad example: Led a team of engineers to develop a new distillation process.
Goog example: Led a cross-functional team of engineers, analysts, and contractors to design and implement a new distillation system that is currently operational on 80% of facilities with 58% improved cost efficiency.
Guide recruiter’s attention where you want it to be with a smart resume format.
Use bold text to emphasize your results in a sentence. Usecustom sections and headers to improve the scannability of your resume. Use a customresume layout to guide the recruiter’s attention.
Scroll back to the header for a resume example that combines the most effective resume formatting practices to get an engineering interview more often.
Engineering Resume Format: Which One Should You Choose
No single engineering resume template or format will suit every scenario. But keep in mind the following tips:
Each engineer is different. Mechanical engineering and civil engineering are two totally different disciplines, so one design cannot fit both. We’ll share more advice in the later sections.
Don’t get too creative. You want to find that perfect balance of professionalism and uniqueness without being boring or average.
Be sure that your engineering degree is featured at the top of your engineering resume template - relevant education is extremely important in this field.
Your engineering skills, projects, and achievements should be visible. Don’t just write them down, focus on getting the numbers behind them.
Leave enough room for a solid resume summary. Most engineers don’t focus on writing a summary, so making yours a little longer can help you really stand out.
PRO TIPIf you feel that you don’t have the right amount of engineering experience, then you can still consider using acreative layout. Even though your experience section might be short, a unique engineering resume format might help you get noticed and chosen for an interview.
Engineering Resume Header: When Details Matter
Your engineering resume header is the first thing a recruiter or HR department will see on your resume.
Remember they're looking at hundreds of engineering resumes a day, so you need to be sure you’re conveying all the right details, especially at a quick glance.
So let’s make sure you’ve got it in good shape!
An engineering resume header should have:
Your name - include next to it if you have the following certificates - B.Eng, M.Eng, etc. This way the HRs can see in the first seconds that you’re qualified.
Your engineering resume title - What kind of engineer are you? How many years have you been at it? Do you have a masters? Here’s where you highlight that.
Phone number and email address - make sure your voicemail is professional sounding and that your email address is easy to type.
Your linkedin profile - you might have several social media accounts but LinkedIn is likely the only one you want to put on your engineering resume.
Michael Harden B.Eng
Chemical engineer with 4+ years of experience at BASF
Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your resume and consider the message your header is giving
PRO TIPSome companies, states, and countries have policies about identifying information like photos on your resume. Be sure to check all the relevant rules before submitting yours. If you’re in doubt, you can always try contacting the company’s HR department to ask for their policy.
Engineering Resume Summary: Do You Need It?
In short, yes.
This is one of the most underrated and impactful sections an engineering resume can have. It shows that you can write effectively (by including plenty of valuable information in a short format), and gives the reader a quick and valuable snapshot of who you are.
Let’s see how you should be creating and using a resume objective and summary.
4 great tips on writing your engineering resume objective
First, You need to make sure the person reading your resume knows who you are and what you want as efficiently as possible.
Include just a short personal description in your resume header. This could be something like “An electrical engineering graduate looking for an internship” or “A senior civil engineer looking to manage larger projects”. This gets the basics across very efficiently.
Add a short paragraph (emphasis on short) which includes the basic information the person reading your resume needs about who you are and what your goals are
Finally, tell them something personal from your experience - make it sound that it’s not copy pasted from the thousands of engineering resume examples around the web
So now that you have them looking at your resume, what they read in your resume objective is going to either make them read on or put your resume in the “no” pile.
This is why the resume objective or summary is so important.
An experienced engineer who works well in a team..
The problem? It doesn’t tell the reader anything very useful. It’s also not specific to the position, which makes it read as generic.
Project Engineer who is well versed in all construction methodologies, procedures, and disciplines with 6+ years experience with direct administrative support for all phases of commercial and public works construction.
Or, for an entry level engineering resume:
Recent B.Eng recipient with internship experience at Sacramento Public Works, looking for a position with a focus on municipal or state construction.
In both “right” examples the reader knows who you are, what you’ve done and what your career is focused on.
If you’d also like to add more context on your engineering background or objective, this can be included in a cover letter. If you won’t be using a cover letter and still want to add more detail you can include a summary.
An engineering resume objective should
Express your short and long-term career goals
Say something about who you are and what you’re good at
Be addressed to the specific job you’re applying for
Adhered to product design and manufacturing standards
Worked as a part of $12 million of CAPEX projects
Part of a team consisting of 2 engineers and 3 workmen for production modelling, drafting and execution
Notice how lifeless and generic that second example is? Hiring managers certainly will notice.
Beyond telling them what type of work you did, it gives them no real sense of whether you were successful or what you accomplished.
You could have done a terrible job or an excellent job and this experience section could look identical.
So, if someone reads that section, they feel like you just wasted their time making them read something that gave them almost no new information.
PRO TIPThe person reading your resume will be busy, so make sure you write your engineering resume in a way that is not only informative but interesting too!
Engineering Resume Education: What to Include?
How many engineers do you know who didn’t go to school?
So while the answer to that question is obvious, what isn’t obvious is how important it is to make your education on an engineering resume stand out.
Every engineer that is applying for your job has a degree or certification in engineering.
So you need to make your education stand out, especially if you’re looking for an entry level engineering position with no experience.
While senior engineers with years of experience shouldn’t devote as much space to their education (just a listing of where you went, your degrees, etc. should be sufficient), younger engineers need this section to make an impression.
Here’s what you can add to your education section:
Relevant courses (here you can mention projects, skills acquired, lessons learned, etc.)
Your GPA (if you think it’s relevant)
All of the regular information mentioned above
Here’s an example of a senior engineer’s engineering education on a resume:
Masters of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Illinois
Displaying engineering skills this way is excellent for technical skills like software and programming languages.
This kind of a skills section is important because many ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) will screen your resume for certain keywords before a human ever sees it). A simple list of relevant technical skills required in the job description does the job perfectly.
The technical skills for an engineering resume
How to include soft skills on an engineering resume
Too many engineers think soft skills just aren’t important in their field.
But that’s just plain wrong.
In fact, soft skills are often what can distinguish an engineer, especially for someone with no formal work experience.
Below, you can see an example of valuable engineering soft skills and examples to show that you actually possess them.
Creative problem solving
Spent a summer volunteering to build houses in Honduras, during which time I had to constantly improvise with the tools and building materials that were available to solve a variety of engineering problems.
Verbal and written communication skills
Wrote the Engineering for Non-Engineers column in my university paper and gave presentations about engineering to general audiences as a representative of our department.