How to Write an Engineering CV or Engineer CV
As an engineer, your normal approach to writing your Engineering CV may be to stick to facts and make sure all the technical information you include is correct. That's certainly the right thing to do for a technical profession, but it's not the only thing you need to do.
It may be true that engineering is one of the more recession-proof industries, but you still need to ensure that your Engineer's CV stands out if you're to get the opportunities that will move your career forward. That means conveying the fact that you're an outstanding worker whose potential contribution to a project is one that shouldn't be overlooked.
To get a CV that stands out, see our CV writing service. Bradley CVs has considerable expertise when it comes to writing engineering CVs that get our clients the interviews they desire.
Engineering CV Profile
At the top of your engineering CV, you should write a short profile or summary of 2 to 3 sentences that gives a snapshot of your professional background and what you can offer, as well as the type of professional you are and the nature of your personal strengths. When you're applying for engineering jobs, you want the employers who reads it to get a sense of you as a person and professional at one and the same time.
First, you need to state how many years experience you have and in which industry and sector. In other words, you should give either your current job title or a generic title. Use whichever bests suits your application, remembering that you can tailor your engineer CV for each application you write.
You should also specify the main areas of your experience. Which aspect of your engineering profession are you most proficient in? You may have a specialist area or two - for example, research and development, product development, testing, manufacturing, quality improvement, consultancy, logistics, management, etc.
If you have an unusual or particularly high level qualification that will be of interest to employers, include it here too. The profile needs to include your 'heavy ammunition' - the points that really make your engineer's CV stand out.
Your personal strengths also need to be included. Do you know what your greatest strengths are - besides being good at your job, you need to say why you're good at it. What makes you a strong engineer?
Think about what the employer is going to be looking for - take your inspiration from the job description or from other advertisements. Being a problem solver is always going to be high on the list, possibly a creative problem solver, resource planner and certainly an analytical thinker. Some roles may need you to be people-oriented, a good communicator or a strong team member.
The requirements will be different for different types of CVs and specialist areas. Also as it has already been said, you can target your engineering CV profile towards each application. Always ensure that your profile is accurately written, short and to the point, saying what you need it to say and no more.
If you are a graduate, it's acceptable to mention your degree and the experience gained in your work placement.
If you can't write a strong Profile, then please consider our CV service. We know how to create a Profile that will have the impact you want with employers, meaning you get more engineering interviews than you would have otherwise received.
Achievements on Your Engineer's CV
Again, precise presentation of accurate information is critical in this section of your Engineering CV. The achievements section is all about highlighting how you made a personal contribution to your work and made a difference.
When you apply for engineer jobs, the achievements section provides employers with a clear idea of how you might be able to further their interests were they to employ you.
The way to add real weight to your achievements is to quantify them. This shouldn't be hard to do in engineering, which is generally concerned with measurable outcomes in the forms of structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. Quantification may be of production output, time involved in projects, time saved, production costs saved, percentage improvement achieved, etc.
Engineers are expected to be detail-oriented, so the more specific you can be about your achievements in your Engineer CV, the better. Do not present dry, boring lists of numbers though.
Each sentence, presented with a bullet point, should also mention the strengths or skills you used to make that achievement. You do not need to boast, but it is perfectly acceptable to be confident in your tone.
Another thing you can do is include industry buzzwords in your achievements and, indeed, throughout your Engineer's CV. All technical industries are developing rapidly and language reflects the extent of this change. It's important that your engineering skills aren't perceived to be outdated.
Also, if you include the technical buzzwords that are being used by employers, then there's a greater chance that your Engineering CV will be selected by the scanning software that's often used to sort applications in the first selection round.
Read job descriptions for appropriate terminology. However, don't copy large sections, particularly in relation to the job you're applying for, as this will be obvious to the employer.
Career or Contract History on an Engineering CV
Your approach to the career history section on your engineering CV depends on your working patterns. If you have held a series of permanent jobs, you need to present these in a traditional way. If you have held short-term contracts, then you need to be more selective over what to include.
We will start with a contract history. First of all, you don't need to include full details of every contract you've ever held, as this could lead to a CV several pages long. The best approach is to focus on the contracts in the last ten years that provide an excellent match for the position you're applying for. Always think: what will this employer be most interested in on my engineer CV?
For each position, write your job title, the employers' name and location, plus inclusive dates of employment on a single line. Below, provide 3 or 4 bullet pointed sentences that outline what you did in this position (not just what was on your job description).
Wherever possible, write these up as achievements, mentioning the skills and strengths you drew upon. Always mention the project outcomes and point out key reasons for their success.
For contracts within the last 10 years that were less relevant, only add a listing. This can be the job title, employer name and location, and inclusive dates of employment. Add a single line of explanation if you feel it is needed.
For contracts earlier than 10 years ago, simply list the basic details without further explanation on your engineer's CV. These positions will be less relevant as the industry will have moved on. If you have too long a list, it may also highlight the fact that you're a more mature candidate - age discrimination is illegal, but do think about the impression you wish to create.
If you have progressed through a number of permanent engineering jobs, you should also focus on the past 10 years' jobs. List the employment details in the same way as above, but add 4 to 6 bullet pointed sentences to cover your contribution to each. Jobs held prior to 10 years ago can be presented as single line entries, if you decide to include all of them.
Your career or contract history absolutely has to convey your personal strengths and skills, especially those that are relevant to the vacancy. Boring lists will not help you - your involvement in each role needs to be evidenced. Make sure you convey the following on your engineering CV:
- Your high level of skills and knowledge of your discipline
- Your ability to evaluate and assess project elements within jobs or contracts.
- Your ability to work independently when required.
- Your experience in working with different kinds of bodies, including agencies, companies, public bodies, etc.
- The ability to prioritise large and complex workloads.
- Flexibility and adaptability, with the ability to respond to unexpected challenges and changes in schedules or workloads.
- On a general level, the technologies involved. Don't write long lists - the employer reading your CV will know the subject area and, besides, you have already included a skills list that makes this clear.
If you have been working at management level, you need to include less about specific tasks and more about:
- The size of the projects you've managed.
- Nature of your management role.
- The size of the teams you've supervised.
- The scope of the project operations you were responsible for.
- Budgets, challenges and projected (and actual, if different) outcomes.
- Various agencies involved in projects.
Qualifications and Training on an Engineer CV
In this section of your engineering CV, you should list your professional qualification first. This is usually the affiliation Chartered Engineer (CEng) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng).
Next comes your highest level of educational attainment. If in research or academia, this will be your PhD. Otherwise, your MEng or BEng.
List details of your PhD project on the following line. If you focused on a particular specialism in your MEng and it's not self-evident from the degree title, list this too. Only include details of your BEng placement if this is your highest level of qualification at this stage.
List the qualification, the establishment that awarded it and the date you completed, as well as your class of degree (i.e., 2:1, 2:2).
Another qualification might be a Higher National Certificate or Diploma (HNC/HND) with further accredited workplace learning.
Finally, list any other certifications you have acquired since leaving education.
Skills to List on Your Engineer CV
In the technical industries, it's acceptable to deviate from standard CV formats by including a skills section on your engineering CV. This enables an employer to see at a glance that you have the experience, skills and training they are looking for.
It's also acceptable because many engineers work on relatively short term contracts, meaning that their career history can be long and cumbersome, weighted down by a large number of short entries.
If your career background is contract-based, then it's a good idea to use a skill section on your engineer CV. Alternatively, if you have worked in a series of permanent jobs and there's a linear progression to your career, a skills section will not be necessary, as your most recent job will tell the employer what they need to know.
Skills can be presented succinctly in a table with three columns and as many rows as needed. Do also include any unusual certifications - be very brief, as this is an 'at a glance' section. You can add more details in your training section on the second page of your engineer's CV.
Other pages an engineer might want to view: