Elon Musk once said that a true expert can solve a problem on several levels.
He was talking about your engineering resume.
To land you a dream engineering job, your resume has to pass several robotic checks, get approved by non-technical and technical recruiters, and, lastly, impress your department lead.
If you are tired of taking chances every time you send your engineering resume, then this guide is for you.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How to land more engineering interviews with your engineering resume
- What do recruiters want to see in your engineering resume the most
- Expert resume tips for specific engineering jobs and industries
- How to properly structure your resume to emphasize your winning qualities
- 12 engineering resume examples and why they work
How to write an engineering resume that gets interviews
- Show complete project experience.
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.
Good 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.
Make sure your resume can be easily printed and exported in PDF format so that recruiters can study it even during their lunch break.
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.
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. Contact information is the most important thing in the header, at least from your point of view. Check twice, if you are giving the correct phone and email with no typos!
- 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.
Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your resume and consider the message your header is giving
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.
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.
Or, for an entry level engineering resume:
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
- Be specific
- 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
For more tips on crafting an attention-grabbing resume summary, check out our guide Resume Summary: How-To Guide (30+ Examples You Need To See)
Engineering resume experience section: the most effective approach
Let’s say you’re up against one other person for a job.
You’ve got the better experience, but they know how to present it better than you do.
Guess who’s getting hired?
Probably not you.
That’s because, for better or worse, the way you present your engineering experience is tremendously important.
Have a look at these examples to see what we mean.
- Created and developed 2D/3D preliminary drawings and designs setting the framework for manufacturing projects,
- Provided expert judgment and analysis for the design, development, and implementation of technical products and systems.
- Recommended key alterations to the development and design to improve the quality of products and procedures
- Responsible for designing new products using computer-aided design software applications such as AutoCAD, Pro/ENGINEER, Solid Works, Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop.
By using action words such as created, provided and recommended you give the impression that you were involved in your past work. This is the kind of engineer companies are looking 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.
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:
This person graduated 10 years ago, so it’s not necessary to include many details about their education.
Here how to put education on an entry level engineering resume with no experience:
- Successfully completed studies in a broad spectrum of engineering including civil, mechanical and industrial engineering
- Two summer internships at Chicago Public Works assisting a 10 person team on municipal construction projects
- Made the Dean’s List for 6/8 semesters with a final GPA of 3.87
- Served as Vice President and Secretary of the Engineers of Tomorrow undergraduate organization
You can see how your years at school created a wealth of experience that is going to be valuable and interesting to your potential employers.
So don’t take for granted how including engineering education on a resume matters.
It could be the reason your engineering resume gets picked for the job!
Engineering resume skills: How to forge the winning combination
For most engineering resumes you will want to focus on technical skills for engineers.
Below we’re going to break down the difference between technical and soft skills on engineering resumes.
How to include technical skills on an engineering resume
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.
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.
You can see that someone scanning your resume can quickly see which soft skills you possess and that you’re serious about backing them up. Right away, this is going to distinguish you from most of the other engineering resumes they’ve seen.
Are you still not sure what skills will win recruiters over? Check out our guide on How to Create A Resume Skills Section To Impress Recruiters (+10 Examples You Need to See)
Choosing the right technical and soft skills
Always remember, your resume doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it’s an answer to a specific job.
So, you should tailor it to that job.
Let’s take some text from a Mechanical Engineer job offered by the SGB Enterprises:
The qualified candidate will possess the following:
- Must be customer focused
- Must be deadline driven
- Must be resourceful and unrelenting
- Must be capable of multi-tasking and have the self-drive to get things done on schedule
- Must be well organized and detail oriented!
- Good communication skills, both verbal and written
- Must have at least 5 years of experience in a design/engineering work environment
- A BSME/Industrial Design degree or higher is preferred
- Must have strong CAD skills - experience with Solidworks is required
- Good concept sketching and rendering skills are a plus
- Knowledge of ASME Y14.5 is a plus.
- Industrial design experience is a plus
Now let’s pick out the keywords and skills that someone applying to this job should mention:
customer focused, deadline driven, resourceful, multi-tasking, self-drive, detail oriented, communication skills (all of these should be backed up with examples)
BSME/Industrial Design degree, strong CAD skills, ASME Y14.5,Industrial design experience (these can put in both technical skills and emphasized in your experience section of your engineering resume)
This is only a portion of the requirements, but it’s already clear that you’ll have a lot of soft skills to demonstrate. When this happens, you can go beyond simply listing them in their own section and try to ensure they are mentioned and backed up in your experience, education, or other resume sections.
Adding certifications to your engineering resume
There are so many different types of engineering that it’s important to be clear on what engineering certifications you have on your resume. This can be done similar to your technical skills section, or you can add B.Eng or MCSE after your name at the top if that’s your only relevant certification. Just be sure to mention any and all engineering certifications the job offer specifically asks for or mentions.
From degrees to software certifications for engineering has the widest variety of accreditations for your resume.
Mechanical engineer resume example
- Showcase work in multidisciplinary teams. A notion of a mechanical engineer who works alone and is solely responsible for their project is becoming a thing of the past. Modern mechanical engineers collaborate with electrical engineers, electronic engineers, programmers, and even marketers to develop and design innovative projects that are successful across several dimensions. Prove that you can work in such a team and prosper within it. Showcase projects that were successful due to both your personal input and effective collaboration with your peers.
- Show that you can utilize engineering trends to move the target company’s business forward. Many modern companies are born at the intersection of several engineering trends. Older companies have to constantly innovate to stay afloat. As a mechanical engineer, you are in a unique position to combine several engineering trends and breathe a new life into company operations. 3D printing, automated transport solutions, mechatronics, IoT, biomedical engineering — think what technology can benefit your target company and show experience with these to grab the company's attention.
Find actionable resume templates for mechanical engineers in our Mechanical Engineer Resume Guide adapted for 2021.
Electrical engineer resume example
- Learn more about your target company workflows and tools. Chances are, your target company uses a unique set of tools for its projects: open-sources tools, or niche platforms. Study company’s LinkedIn and blogs to learn more. If you have relevant experience with the same or similar tools, make sure to include it in your resume. While a non-technical hiring manager will probably ignore this information, you might get bonus points with a technical recruiter or a tech lead when your electrical engineer resume moves further down the funnel.
- Use a targeted resume. When a company searches for an electrical engineer, they have a very clear idea of what their ideal candidate looks like. There are serious budgets at stake, and no one would trust someone who has not proven themselves before. So when a company writes: “We are looking for individuals who are very innovative with a proven track record both in development and volume manufacturing,” they mean it. Study job requirements. Study company blogs. Make sure to target your electrical engineering resume to the company’s needs. Put the most relevant experience first, and frame the rest accordingly to maximize your chances.
Looking for specific Electrical engineer resume examples? Check out our Professional Electrical Engineer Resume Examples & Guide for 2021
Entry-level Engineer Example
- Put forward personal projects that show communication and collaboration skills. Most engineers, especially entry-level engineers, do not work in isolation. You’ll be learning a lot from your colleagues, and the speed at which you learn depends on the quality of your communication and collaboration skills.And these skills are much harder to develop than technical skills. That’s why recruiters will look for entry candidates that already possess great communication and collaboration skills. Showcase personal projects that demonstrate these skills to stand out from the crowd of look-a-like STEM graduates.
- Don’t sell yourself. Sell what good you can bring to a company. Forget about GPA, resume objective, and “I love your company” cover letters. Employers are not going to judge you solely based on your curriculum. Conduct thorough research of your target company and think about how you can help them. Do you have some experience with useful computer software that many others don’t? Do you have experience with some fresh technology that only started to emerge in your field? Prove that you are a worthy investment, and you’ll get noticed.
You can find more actionable resume tips and templates for entry-level engineers in our separate Entry Level Engineer Resume Guide.
Civil engineer example
- Demonstrate project experience on both strategic and technical levels. An expert civil engineer is multi-faceted: they will always retain a broad view of the entire project while staying alert to detailed technicalities whenever required.
Make sure your civil engineer resume balances both approaches by showcasing experience, results, and achievements on both levels.
- Target your resume. Civil engineers typically specialize in a particular type of project or discipline: power, water, marine, transport, etc. Hence why many employers will be receiving a pack of targeted resumes by default. That’s why you need to tailor your resume for a specific role and project unique value at the same time. Prioritize the most relevant experiences and results to gain an advantage over generic resumes. At the same time, use custom sections and personal projects to showcase unique experiences and achievements that can give you an advantage over more focused candidates.
Find more specific resume tips for civil engineers in our standalone Comprehensive Guide to a Job-Winning Civil Engineer Resume
Other engineering resume sections you might want to consider
There’s definitely a perception amongst engineers that “it’s not okay to have some personality on your resume.”
The reality is: it’s all about who you are and where you are applying.
Your resume is going to be read by a human with their own preferences and biases. As much as possible, you have to craft your resume to match that person.
If you know the company you’re applying to is very traditional, then keep your resume that way. If the company pushes culture and personality a lot on its website and in the way it presents itself, it makes sense to reflect this on your own resume.
One way to approach it is to consider culture fit. Emphasize elements of your personality that match with the company. Just like with the experience above, you want the person reading your resume to get the feeling “This person seems perfect for us.”
For example, if you see the company likes to participate in local charities, mention similar volunteering you’ve done. Small details like this can help make you feel like the perfect candidate.
Or, if there were specific books which had a major impact on how you approach engineering, listing them is a great way to combine a bit of personality and some insights into what kind of engineer you are.
Key takeaways: what does an engineering resume need to get you hired?
- Choose a resume layout that sends the message you want and fits your engineering experience level.
- Make sure your header tells the reader who you are and what certifications you have.
- Use an objective or summary to showcase your writing skills and explain what you have to offer.
- Be as detailed as possible throughout, using exact examples and metrics to showcase the impact you’ve had and the skills you possess.
- Check that the skills you list match the skills asked for in the job description as closely as possible
- Include a bit of personality to show culture fit and to stand out from the typical engineering resume