In the global economy and job market of today, your engineer resume has to be a powerful marketing tool. Employers, recruiters and hiring managers want to know what you can do in their companies. That's why writing a resume skills section to highlight your engineering expertise is more important than ever. Busy recruiters and hiring managers want to see what candidates can do at a glance, and the resume skills section is one part of your resume that can let them do that.
Should You Include a Skills Section in Your Engineer Resume
Engineering job seekers must create resumes that highlight marketable skills pertinent to the position rather than a long list of job titles and duties. A job title only presents part of the picture. Your resume must motivate the reader to put the paper down and call or contact you right away, and writing a resume skills section can accomplish that. First, though, you must ask yourself if you have enough skills to warrant a new section. If such information can be listed in the work experience section under previous job positions, then a skills section will only be redundant.
What to Include in an Engineering Resume Skills Section
Do not dump every single skill and every training opportunity you have ever received into it when writing a resume skills section. Keep it to a precision list of the most important skills you have that match the job description, those mentioned in the job posting or the most sought after skills in your engineering specialty. Combine skills with relevant accomplishments so that recruiters and hiring managers can see how you've applied your training and education with real-world experience.
Make sure you are not confusing skills with degrees and certifications when writing a resume skills section. Employers want to know precisely what you can do and how you've done it. There is a big difference between "B.S. in Electrical Engineering" and "quality control analysis skills – able to test and inspect electrical products and processes to evaluate quality and safety."
Example of a Great Engineering Resume Skills Section
A great engineering resume gets the reader excited and motivated to talk to the candidate. Paint a picture of your top skills in your engineering specialty. Present it as a bulleted list without periods at the end, and make sure to use active verbs and descriptive language. The wording should always be concise because the skills section is not supposed to read like a paragraph. Neither is it to be formatted as one. A short, easy-to-read list will avoid overload and keep things orderly.
Here is an example of a great engineering resume skills section. Note that this section can also be set up in a table format.
Mechanical Engineering Skills
- AutoCAD, AbaqusCAE, Microsoft Project
- MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Access)
- Excellent mathematical and physics skills
- Methodical, precise work practices
- Adept with engineering drawings and principles
- Logical approach to problem solving and projects
- Strong ability to present design concepts
Writing a resume skills section will allow you to highlight your specialty-specific skills so that readers can see them at a glance. This is especially important for those considering an engineering job. Use precise language and an uncluttered format, especially if you discuss skills in sentence rather than list format.
For more information about what to include in resumes, the resources at LiveCareer give useful hints and tips regarding formatting and guidelines.