A well-constructed resume plays a vital role in the job search process. An essential first impression, a resume allows a hiring manager to determine if you’re likely to possess the skills and qualifications necessary for the job. If you’re having doubts about your existing engineering resume or you have yet to construct one, here are five tips on how to format a resume that best suits the wide range of specialties involved in your field of engineering.
1. Organize your resume. The first step on how to format a resume for an engineering position is to organize the document accordingly. A majority of resumes are constructed in chronological order, in which your most recent position is listed at the top of the page, followed by the next most recent and so on. For engineers, a functional resume format is not ideal for writing your resume as it does not consider key data, such as accomplishments in and out of the field and career advancement. Instead, compile your work experiences and education in a reverse chronological order to achieve a more detailed and well-rounded format.
2. Write a Summary section. When learning how to format a resume, it helps to think in summary form. Try to include information that is relevant to the position to which you’re applying. The Summary section should be specific rather than a general description of the job you want. Focus instead on how you can contribute to the company’s present and future. Write four to six sentence fragments in your Summary section detailing major experiences, hard skill sets, soft skills and personal qualities that are valuable to the company to which you’re applying.
3. Write your work experience. Recruiters and hiring managers allot only a short period of time for each applicant’s resume. You have to be able to explicitly show your work experience and skill set within that limited amount of time, whether it’s 2 minutes or less than 10 seconds. List major projects you’ve been involved with at your previous jobs and provide details as to what your role was. A good Work Experience section demonstrates your ability to identify problems and come up with solutions, so never forget to include it when learning how to format a resume.
4. Improve readability with bullet points. As an engineer, you most likely have a plethora of skills, technical abilities, certifications and past projects you can mention. Rather than grouping this information into chunky paragraphs, summarize each career milestone with bullet points to make it easier on the reader’s eyes. Bullet points are especially useful for breaking down sections that involve large amounts of data, such as Work Experience, Career Highlights and Skills. Each bullet point should have consistent verb use. For example, if you start the first bullet point with “Operated Heavy Machinery…”, the following bullet points should also use the past tense.
5. List your licenses and credentials. The inclusion of this information can give you a competitive edge against other applicants. List these credentials either in the Education section of your resume or place them in a separate section. As a general rule of thumb, if you only have one or two licenses or certifications, include them in the Education section.
Learning how to format a resume for engineers is a worthwhile skill to acquire. For further guidance on how to write the perfect resume, LiveCareer’s variety of simple tips and samples can help you get started.