Five steps for optimizing your resume as a chemical engineer
Chemical engineers can work in a variety of industries, from healthcare and pharmaceuticals to manufacturing and construction. To earn a position as a chemical engineer, it is crucial for you to have a well-written resume that showcases your most relevant experience and best skills and attributes.
In this guide, we will provide you with 5 key steps for writing a resume as a Chemical Engineer. These steps are as follow:
- Select a resume format that matches your experience level as a chemical engineer
- Write a resume summary that showcases your very best attributes
- Include a variety of both technical and interpersonal skills
- Describe your work experience using quantifiable details
- List your chemical engineering education succinctly and accurately
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1. Select a resume format that matches your experience level as a chemical engineer
The correct resume format to use is highly dependent on each applicant’s experience level. Generally, the best formats for chemical engineers are either the reverse-chronological resume or the curriculum vitae (CV).
A reverse-chronological resume is the most commonly used format in any industry. It focuses primarily on work experience, listing your most recent job first and working backward from that point. This resume will have additional sections, like skills and education.
However, these sections will be much smaller than the work experience section and will often be placed in sidebars.
The curriculum vitae is a longer-form resume that consists of multiple pages detailing an applicant’s entire professional and academic career. While not always the best choice – as most employers do not want multi-page resumes submitted – the CV is ideal for Chemical Engineers who are applying for formal scientific or academic positions.
If you are a recent graduate with little to no formal work experience, then you may consider using an alternative format such as the functional resume or the hybrid resume. Functional resumes focus on education, skills, and unpaid experience rather than work experience. Meanwhile, hybrid resumes spread the focus of the document more evenly between all sections.
2. Write a chemical engineer resume summary that showcases your very best attributes
While not always considered a required component, a resume summary can help to both quickly summarize your professional history as well as provide an opportunity for you to catch an employer’s attention right away.
The summary should be between one to three sentences in length and include specific details about your level of experience and professional accomplishments.
To help demonstrate how to write an effective summary, check out the following weak example followed by a corrected explanation.
Incorrect chemical engineer resume summary example
Chemical Engineer with 3+ years of experience working in healthcare. Passionate about the development of more affordable medicine and treatment. Assisted in the design of a new method for improving production processes.
Why is this Incorrect?
While there is some specificity at the beginning of this summary, it is overall pretty vague. By including more exact information and details, the applicant can make this summary much more engaging and intriguing to employers, prompting them to remember this resume above others.
Corrected chemical engineer resume summary example
Passionate Chemical Engineer with 3+ years of experience in developing affordable pharmaceuticals. Specialized in designing and improving production processes. Assisted previous employer in the design of a new process that reduced operational and resource costs by nearly 30%.
Why is this Correct?
In this corrected example, the applicant is far more outright with the details they include. They use highly specific language like “affordable pharmaceuticals” to give a clearer image of their specialized expertise. Plus, they include valuable information on how they can apply their expertise to reduce an employer’s overhead expenses.
3. Include a variety of both technical and interpersonal skills
Whenever you write a resume, it is always important to include both technical and interpersonal skills.
Employers want to know you have the technical expertise to perform a job correctly – that much is true. However, they also want to see that you can work and collaborate with others effectively. Including interpersonal abilities on your resume gives you this opportunity to showcase your people skills as well.
The best technical skills to put on your chemical engineer resume
- Deep knowledge of engineering principles
- Process & chemical engineering
- Refinery operations
- Process modeling & simulation
- Chemical safety & compliance standards
- Project management
- Performing chemical tests
- Conducting analyses
- Computer programs (CAD, MATLAB, etc.)
Effective tnterpersonal skills for your chemical engineer CV
- Clear communication
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
- Time anagement
4. Describe your chemical engineer work experience using quantifiable details
Including concise bullet points of information is essential when describing work experience. An employer should be able to scan quickly through your work experience entries and gain a thorough understanding of your level of expertise.
Due to the varied nature of chemical engineering positions, it can sometimes be useful to include a short, one-sentence statement before your descriptive bullet points. In this statement, you should very briefly summarize the type of chemical engineering you practiced and the industry in which you worked.
Here is an example of a work experience entry from a chemical engineer resume
Chem United, Washington, D.C.
Chemical Process Engineer
January 2017 to October 2021
- Performed both chemical and process engineering for a gas refinery, focusing on improving profit margins and operational turnaround.
- Implemented a new process and workflow that increased daily profit by 15% and reduced operational costs by 25%.
- Performed multiple safety studies according to HAZOP standards to help reduce the occurrence of onsite injuries and contaminations.
- Supervised a team of 15+ chemical engineers during daily production and research processes.
5. List your chemical engineering education succinctly and accurately
To become a chemical engineer, you will need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, process engineering, biochemical engineering, or a similarly related field.
When crafting your education section, you may also want to include any certifications you hold, such as safety certificates or first aid. These types of certifications make you more competitive as an applicant, as well as show you understand the importance of adhering to proper safety standards.
Here is an example of a well-crafted education section on a chemical engineer resume
The University of Texas at Austin
B.S. in Chemical Engineering
Graduated: 2016, Magna Cum Laude
- Safety and Chemical Engineering Education Certificate — Center for Chemical Process Safety
- First Aid & CPR — American Red Cross