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Ultimate Engineering Resume Writing Guide with Examples

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Volen Vulkov Avatar
Volen Vulkov
8 minute read
Updated on 2021-01-14

As an engineer you’re all about how things are built, constructed and refined.

Your engineering resume shouldn’t be any different.

You start with a solid foundation and then build a framework.

Next you add your engineering skills, education and experience.

And finally, you refine your resume to be the most efficient way to communicate who you are.

So, ready to get your resume built like a pro?Then, read on!

I don’t spend my time pontificating about high-concept things; I spend my time solving engineering and manufacturing problems.

Start off by seeing what a winning engineering resumes looks like:

Reading this engineering resume guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to write a job-winning engineering resume
  • Creative suggestions on how to add engineering skills, achievements and a summary in your engineering resume
  • How to apply for a job with your student engineering resume, having no experience
  • Tips how to extract keywords from engineering jobs and  add them to your resume
  • Craft a professional engineering resume - no matter whether you need the best mechanical, civil or electrical resume sample, we got you covered

Try one of our 6 FREE engineering resume templates:

  1. Electrical engineer resume examples
  2. Software engineer resume examples
  3. Mechanical Engineer resume examples
  4. Civil Engineer resume examples
  5. Chemical Engineer resume examples
  6. Industrial Engineer resume examples

Get started by building an engineering resume outline

Just like creating a project plan or a blueprint, the engineering resume outline will help you determine what sections you want to include on your resume.

Here’s the most common engineering resume outline:

  • Objective
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Technical skills
  • Soft Skills
  • Interests
  • References

Every resume doesn’t need to be the same, but the best way to start your resume outline is to review your strengths and the key information and details you want to get across to your potential employer.

Depending on what engineering position you’re applying for, you may want to put focus on your technical skills to set yourself apart.

This is the time to think through your engineering resume plans so you can create a resume that meets your needs and gets you hired.

Looking for resume templates for engineering? We’ve got you covered

No doubt a great engineering resume starts with a great engineering resume template. The danger is when you stop there. Because how you fill out a template is even more important than the template itself.

Fortunately, we have plenty of excellent templates and tons of expert advice on how you should fill them out for the best possible results.

Finding the best engineering resume layout

Now that you’ve figured out what to include in your engineering resume, it’s time to figure out how it’s all going to go together.

Ultimately it’s going to depend on how you want to appear to the place you’re applying to.

Luckily we’ve got you covered with a great variety of engineering resume layouts:

engineering resume templates
  • Basic resume layout - this single column template is ideal for  someone looking to get hired as an entry level engineer. If you don’t have a ton of experience for your resume, this presents that so it’s incredibly easy to read and doesn’t look light.
  • Professional resume layout - use this template if you’re applying for a big corporation like BASF, or any publicly traded company. Engineering is one of the most conservative industries so it’s good to use a professional engineering resume layout in these cases.
  • Simple resume layout - applying to a company that you don’t know much and you don’t want to risk getting rejected? Then this layout can work best for you.
  • Creative resume layout - Are you an engineer that likes to be different? Or you’re applying for an engineering job in a young startup or new technology company? Then you should consider using something more colourful with more personal sections.

The truth is, there’s no single perfect engineering resume layout or format. But, you should consider the following:

  • Each engineer is different - mechanical and civil engineering are two totally different roles, so one layout can’t work for both.
  • Don’t get too creative. You want to find that perfect balance of professional and unique 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 a creative layout. Even though your experience section might be short, a unique engineering resume format might help you get noticed and chosen for an interview.

How to create the best engineering resume header

Your engineering resume header is the first thing a recruiter or HR department will see on your resume.

Remember their 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

+359 88 888 8888

help@enhancv.com

linkedin.com/michaelhardenengineer

Arlington, VA
RIGHT
Chris Spencer
Engineer

+359 88 888 8888

help@enhancv.com

Arlington, VA
WRONG

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.

Do you need an engineering resume summary or objective?

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

  1. First, You need to make sure the person reading your resume knows who you are and what you want as efficiently as possible.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.

Summary
An experience engineer who works well in a team.
WRONG

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.

Summary
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.
RIGHT

Or, for an entry level engineering resume:

Summary
Recent B.Eng recipient with internship experience at Sacramento Public Works, looking for a position with a focus on municipal or state construction.
RIGHT

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

How to make your engineering experience more effective on your resume

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.

Engineering Resume Experience Examples

Experience
Industrial EngineerABC Manufacturing
06/2017 - 09/2018
New York, NY
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.
RIGHT

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.

Experience
Industrial EngineerASELSAN
2015 - 2017
New York, NY
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
WRONG

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!

How should you write a student or entry level engineering resume?

Simply follow these 5 tips:

  1. Understand what the job offer is looking for and match it with your resume - The initial challenge for writing an entry level engineering resume is the same as for a more senior engineer.
  2. Read the job description and note all of the skills, attributes, and experience it’s looking for.
  3. Work to ensure your resume demonstrates that you have what they’re looking for as much as possible.
  4. Find someone more experienced in the company and ask them for a review on your entry level engineering resume, or even for a recommendation
  5. Finally, just be sure to put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your resume and make sure you’re giving them everything they need to say “you’re hired.”

For students and entry level engineers, this can get more challenging. When you don’t have the job experience to show, consider alternative ways of demonstrating you have certain skills or qualities. For example, you can show project management experience by talking about running a club or organization in university.

PRO TIPNever lie on your engineering resume, it’s not worth it and it’s just not ethical.

How to create a sales resume education section that people will love

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.)
  • Awards
  • 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:

Education
Masters of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Illinois
GPA
4.0 / 4.0
RIGHT

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:

Education
Bachelor of EngineeringOhio State University
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
GPA
4.0 / 4.0
RIGHT

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!

How to include skills on an engineering resume

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

Skills
Mathcad
Solidworks
Unigraphics
Autodesk
ANSYS
Nastran
MATLAB
Visual Basic
Python
RIGHT

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

  • Mathcad
  • Solidworks
  • Unigraphics
  • Autodesk
  • ANSYS
  • Nastran
  • MATLAB
  • Visual Basic
  • Python
  • Catia
  • ZW3D
  • MechDesigner
  • PTC Creo
  • BricsCAD
  • Solid Edge
  • Rhino
  • SolidFace
  • Geomagic Design
  • TurboCAD
  • COMSOL Multiphysics
  • CircuitLab
  • IronCAD
  • Eagle PCB

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.

Skills
Creative Problem SolvingSpent 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 skillsWrote the "Engineering for Non-Engineers" column in my university paper and gave presentations about engineering to general audiences as a representative of our department.
TeamworkLed a team of 4 colleagues to 2nd place in my university’s 2017 annual Engineering Challenge
RIGHT

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.

The top soft skills for engineering resumes

  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Teamwork
  • assessing project requirements
  • measuring the performance of mechanical components, devices and engines
  • Budgeting with clients and managers
  • Liaising with suppliers
  • Research
  • Implementing designs and test procedures
  • Presenting to managers and clients
  • Writing reports and documentation
  • Technical advisement
  • Analysing and interpreting data

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 resourcefuland 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
  • BSME/Industrial Design degree or higher is preferred
  • Must