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What to Include in an Engineering Resume

As you've looked for engineering resume samples to review, you've no doubt come across a number of engineering specialties, like chemical, aerospace, industrial, electrical and even nuclear. While there are differences in the way each specialization is presented, the are two basic frameworks and some general best practice points that work best no matter the specialty.

Overall, a simply formatted resume in a 12-point font that uses bullet points will allow the hiring manager to best focus attention on your specific achievements. A concise writing style will get more pertinent information on the page and will keep your resume to a suggested length of two pages.

As far as framework is concerned, the first style, and the most familiar to potential employers, is the chronological resume. This is best suited for applicants with no employment gaps who are staying within their chosen field. The main sections for this format are:

  • Contact information (name/phone/email)
  • Resume summary
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education

The other style option is the functional resume. The difference is the addition of an Accomplishments, or Achievements section. For job seekers with employment gaps or who want to expand their career, the accomplishments section provides the opportunity to present transferable skills and highlight projects or initiatives that were cost-effective and contributed to the company's objectives. The main sections for the functional resume are:

  • Contact information (name/phone/email)
  • Resume summary
  • Accomplishments (new section)
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education

In the chronological resume, the focus and detail would be in the work experience section, but in the functional style, the detail would be in the accomplishments section, leaving the work experience section as primarily a list of previous employers and positions held.

Yet a third possibility is a combination of the two.

Take a look at the engineering resume samples you've already identified to get an idea of which format will work best for you.

How to Write the Engineering Resume Summary Statement

The resume summary section is your opportunity to introduce yourself to a potential employer, and they don't have time to waste reading fluff. You need to be explicit but concise in describing your experience and skill. You can provide details later in the work experience or accomplishments section, but start off your summary with a couple of highlights of your career and their positive impact on your employer.

Revisit the job description, discern the traits and skills the employer is looking for, and in a truthful but expressive manner, lead the potential employer to visualize you as the candidate they've been looking for. There's nothing vague about engineering, so don't make your resume summary vague either. Identify your solution to a vexing problem and it's positive impact on your employer.

You can take a look at the summaries on engineering resume samples for inspiration, and below are two examples of well-written resume samples as well:

Experienced mechanical engineer with almost ten years of product development experience. Created cutting-edge designs that met deadlines, budget restrictions, and product specifications. Using CAD technology, conducted simulation, modeling, and analysis of structural components. Able to produce accurate mechanical engineering drawings and documentation. Successfully participated in a trial team to enhance existing products.

Industrial engineer who has devised methods to eliminate wasted time, energy, and materials during production. Takes full advantage of the latest technology and helps streamline production for efficient and cost-effective growth. Utilizes complex mathematical models to design manufacturing systems and focus on optimization of production systems. Strong critical thinking and analytical skills lead to solutions that had a positive impact on business goals.

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How to Write the Engineering Education Section

While most newcomers can make entry into the field of engineering with a bachelor's degree, further study toward a master's degree or even a PhD will provide an edge in the job market.

When you list your education, keep the format simple but informative. Identify the school attended, the location of the school, and the degree obtained. If work on an advanced degree is in progress, it should be included and identified as such. The highest level of educational achievement should be listed first.

As you review the education sections of engineering resume samples, you'll see there are clearly differences in the courses of study and degrees obtained.

You may want to create a separate sub-heading for continuing education and professional associations where you can identify memberships in organizations like the National Society of Professional Engineers and draw attention to your participation in industry related educational events and conferences.

How to Write the Engineering Work Experience Section

The way you compose the work experience section of your resume will vary based on whether you've decided on the chronological or functional format. In both styles, the heading format for previous employment is the same and should include: the name of the company, the city and state where the company is located, the period of employment, and your job title.

Before you begin this section, refer to the engineering resume samples for a refresher on the differences between the two styles.

The chronological style is straight forward in that you identify where you worked, and beneath that heading, you provide 3-6 concise bullet points that demonstrate your skill at identifying the problem and then the solution, all to the benefit of the company. Refer to the job description for the potential employer's description of the employee they're looking for, and to the extent that you can honestly claim those attributes, list them first. Additional skills can fill out the list.
In the functional style, you'll include work experience details under the accomplishments section, so you can combine achievements from various jobs, again, with the aim of helping the potential employer to visualize you as a part of their team. You don't want to compose a dense paragraph of information. Instead, consider using bullet points or short paragraphs for each success story, keeping in mind that the success was not just yours, but the company's as well. Since most of the detail of your work experience will be in the accomplishments section, your work experience section in a functional resume will be less detailed and more like a simple list of previous positions held.

Action Verbs to Include in Your Engineering Work Experience Section

The goal of your resume is to get the interview, and the best way to accomplish that is to encourage the hiring manager to picture you executing the critical skills that they've identified in the job description. You need action verbs to tell your story. Here are a few industry-related action verbs to consider:

  • Research
  • Write
  • Design
  • Implement
  • Analyze
  • Develop
  • Test
  • Monitor
  • Evaluate
  • Troubleshoot
  • Assess
  • Inspect
  • Calculate
  • Investigate
  • Plan
  • Review
  • Confer
  • Direct

Go back to the engineering resume samples you've found and quickly scan them for verbs you can use to begin a description of your talents and accomplishments.

How to Write the Engineering Skills Section

By referring to the job description, you can discern the skills most desired by the potential employer and list them first. As you've probably already noticed in the engineering resume samples you've reviewed, the skills section is quite extensive in an engineering resume and should probably be broken down into two sub-sections.

Technical skills are critical to any engineering position, so list all of the current hardware, languages, software, and systems you know and use. You want to make sure you include the most current, but legacy systems can be critically important to companies that have been around for a while, so don't discount those. Any skills on the job description that you can claim should be listed first, followed by additional skills you have that prove you can bring more to the position.

Familiarity and experience with various computer languages and operating systems should be emphasized, as well as software programs from the basics of MS Office to 3-D modeling.

Management skills shouldn't be overlooked, because engineers are often in a position of leadership in a team setting. The soft skills involved in working closely with others and maintaining a cohesive team are viewed as critical. It doesn't matter how technically competent you are if you can't work with other people.
TIP: Need a cover letter? Click here to view our Engineering cover letters.

Should I Include References in my Engineering Resume

The simple answer to this question is no, and there are a number of good reasons. In your examination of engineering resume samples, you've probably noticed that engineering resumes tend to be longer than most others because of the large amount of technical skills associated with the field and the often extensive list of educational achievements. In addition, expanding on accomplishments and complex projects and solutions uses enough resume space. You don't want to go to three or even four pages just to add your references.

By simply stating that your references are available upon request, you'll be aware of a hiring manager's interest in you when they take the time to make that request. You can then contact your references to let them know they can be expecting a call from a potential employer, and you can also use that opportunity to ask them to let you know when they've received the call and what questions they were asked.

As you put your reference list together, include one or two previous project managers or supervisors as well as team members with whom you worked.<b

Engineering Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid

  • You probably know your way around computer software well enough to use embedded tables and images, but if the company you're submitting your resume to uses an applicant tracking system, your formatting choices will only confuse the system. Keep it basic. It's your words, not the font, that will get you the interview.
  • Don't imply that a previous employer was unethical or unfair, even if you believe that to be true. A Potential employer will view you as a negative influence and your resume will hit the reject pile.
  • It's fine to use the first person voice in your cover letter, but you resume should be viewed as a more formal document, so avoid the first person and passive voice.
  • Even though engineering resumes tend to be longer than the norm, two to three pages should be the limit. If you find yourself going over that recommended length, don't think you can fool anyone by using a 10-point font. It will just make your resume harder to read. Try editing your work instead.

Job Prospects in the Engineering Industry

      According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth of all occupations from 2012 to 2022 is expected to be 11 percent; the government organization pegs the general category of engineering at a projected growth of 9 percent for the same period. However, when specializations are examined, a slightly lower than average growth is projected. For instance:

      The expected growth of employment for
chemical engineers
      is at 4 percent, which is slower than the average. To counter the decline in employment in manufacturing, including chemical manufacturing, these engineers will need to stay on the forefront of emerging technologies.

      Employment of
electrical engineers
      is projected to also grow at a rate of 4 percent. The good news is that technological innovation and development will create a need for electrical engineers in research and development. The bad news, once again, is the decline of manufacturing.

      While still slower than the overall average,
industrial engineers
      can expect a 5 percent growth in employment because of the versatile nature of their work and their knack for helping employers with with cost control and increased efficiency.

aerospace engineering
    sector is projected to grow 7 percent. Because these engineers tend to work on projects that require security clearances to work on national defense projects, most of these jobs will stay in the United States.

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