Engineering resume: mistakes to avoid

Jelena Lukic

Published 29th December , 2020

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Any engineering position is highly demanding, as it requires both creativity and a highly analytical mind. No wonder the field is extremely competitive and finding a job where you can achieve your full potential proves to be difficult for many. A great resume can help you get your foot through the door. So, get ready to learn all the tips and tricks you will need and all mistakes to avoid to create the perfect engineering resume.

How to start

As you know yourself, jobs are scarce these days. With the field being so highly competitive, and large numbers of highly skilled candidates applying for a single position, it is difficult to even make the first round of screening. Company recruiters have to look through hundreds of CVs each day, so they have very little time and their attention may diminish. In other words, you will need to convince them of your potential right from the start. The best way to do this is by starting your resume off with a great introduction. That is to say, the first section in your CV should be either a summary or an objective.

Engineering resume summary

Do you have a lot of experience in the field? Are you proud of your accomplishments and have worked for big names? A summary is a perfect opportunity to showcase the ways in which you can improve the company you are applying for. Things you should include in a summary include

  • Years in the field
  • Companies you have previously worked in
  • The biggest clients you collaborated with
  • Ways you have improved the business, including tangible quantifiers
A resume.
Present yourself in the best light.

Engineering resume objective

What if you don‘t have much (or any) experience? Fret not! A resume objective is a great way to start your resume if you are applying for an entry-level position or a job in a new field. An objective showcases whatever experience you‘ve had as a freelancer and during the course of your education. You should also highlight your punctuality, precision, specific projects, and biggest achievements.

Not being specific enough can be the biggest mistake in your resume introduction. Showcase all the relevant details and practical applications of your experience and education so far.

Skills section

As you know, engineering is a career that requires a lot of technical skills. Your hard skills should present you as someone who is capable of solving a plethora of industry-related problems. They include different computer skills, design, prototyping, troubleshooting, and workflow development, to name a few. However, you shouldn‘t forget about any soft skills that fit the posting or paint you as a great employee and coworker. List traits that come naturally to you, but are important in a professional setting. Highly desirable soft skills include time management and creativity, but also interpersonal skills like communication and collaboration.

To put it simply, your skill section should clearly show how you can push both the company and the team forward. While each company highly values similar soft skills, you may need to tweak your technical skill section depending on the posting.

Software engeneer resume skills

Software engineering is a great example of how different positions and even different companies will demand highlighting different hard skills. Applying for a software engeneer job means going through the specific posting, and only then defining which technical skills to include. This is true because the postings usually contain specific methodologies, platforms, and systems you will encounter if you get the job. Matching your own language to the terms in the posting will prevent automatic recruiting systems from skipping your CV.

Illustration of a diploma, a graduation cap and some books.
You’ve worked hard to acquire knowledge and skills!

The design of your resume

Your resume layout should reflect your problem-solving skills, as well as your creativity. Naturally, the look of a resume shouldn‘t impact whether you get the job or not. It is much less important than your skills, experience and potential. However, an original layout is a great way to showcase the way you think and work right from the start.

If you decide to include some graphic elements to grab the recruiters‘ attention, using the proper resume picture is a great first step. Incorporating other elements, such as graphs and illustrations is especially effective if you accompany them with tangible data, such as your accomplishments at your previous positions or published articles. In other words, this is a great way to direct attention to what you‘re proudest of.

On the other hand, if you are more inclined to a simpler design, you should still show some originality by organizing the document in an innovative way, using negative space cleverly, and formatting the text to make it skimmable. To put it differently, stay clear from long paragraphs, winding run-on sentences, and single-column layouts.

Other sections

The Education section of your resume is very important as well. Depending on the amount of your relevant experience, you should make this section more or less detailed. If you have a lot of experience you shouldn‘t go into too much detail about your education, since it will take up valuable space. However, if you don‘t have a lot of experience, you can list your biggest academic accomplishments to showcase your potential and perspective. Include your most noteworthy grades, especially if the courses fit into the profile the posting imposes.

A man shaking hands with an interviewer.
Let your resume speak for you!

If a posting asks for them, you should make sure your references get noticed by thinking them through thoroughly, both in content and formatting. However, this section isn’t mandatory, and most recruiters nowadays consider it a staple of the past. In other words, including it can be deemed unprofessional, so give it a careful thought.

Postings for jobs that require certain certificates will ask for them specifically. Otherwise, including different certificates depends on how relevant they are to the position in question. Whichever the case may be, you should learn how to list certifications the right way too.

Lastly, you can finish off your CV on a personal note, by including a Hobbies or Interests section. This way you can highlight your personality and give your future employer an idea of how you would fit into the team.


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