How to craft an effective civil engineer resume
As a civil engineer, you will oversee many major public works projects that help improve your local community. To earn a position as a civil engineer, you will need a well-written resume that perfectly encapsulates your experience, skills, and notable accomplishments.
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about writing a resume as a civil engineer. Keep reading to learn the following 5 key steps:
- Choosing a resume format that reflects your experience level
- Writing an attention-grabbing resume summary
- Selecting key civil engineering skills to include on your resume
- Describing your work experience with concise details
- Listing your civil engineering educational credentials correctly
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1. Choose a resume format that reflects your civil engineer experience level
The most commonly used and highly recommended format for a civil engineer is the reverse-chronological resume.
A reverse-chronological resume focuses primarily on work experience, which most employers will care deeply about when hiring civil engineers. However, if you have just recently graduated from your degree program and have little to no formal experience, you may need to opt for an alternative format.
In this case, you will want to use either the functional or hybrid format.
A functional resume focuses on education, skills, and unpaid experience rather than formal work experience. It is well suited for recent or soon-to-be graduates who are applying for internships or entry-level positions.
On the other hand, a hybrid resume combines elements of both the reverse-chronological and functional formats. These types of resumes typically spread the focus of the document out evenly between all sections. Applicants who are working around career gaps or who are changing career paths often opt for this format.
If you do lack formal work experience, it may be to your benefit to include a section for describing relevant coursework or projects to showcase your academic experience.
Choose your preferred template and make your resume shine.
2. Craft an attention-grabbing civil engineer resume summary
A resume summary is a brief introductory statement at the start of your resume. It is generally between one to three sentences in length and should describe your experience level, specializations, and notable accomplishments.
As you write your resume summary, consider what information is going to stand out most to employers and catch their eye. Do not simply state the same information that can be found further down in your later sections. Instead, focus on your very best attributes that make you a valuable employee and team member.
To illustrate how to make a resume summary more compelling, here is a weak example followed by a correction and explanation:
Incorrect civil engineer resume summary example
Civil engineer with many years of experience working on city infrastructure projects. These projects have included bridges, dams, and major roadways. Skilled in designing multi-vehicle traffic patterns.
Why is this incorrect?
In this example, the applicant is incredibly vague in the details they provide, and slightly repetitive as well. Rather than simply listing out the types of projects they have worked on, the applicant should instead focus on one or two major projects where they played a lead role in the design process.
Corrected civil engineer resume summary example
Dedicated civil engineer with 7+ years of experience, specializing in sustainable city infrastructure projects. Served as the lead design engineer for a new multi-lane bridge in Chattanooga that passes over the Tennessee River. Implemented new drainage protocols that reduced surface runoff pollution by 35%.
Why is this correct?
In this corrected example, the applicant provides much more meaningful details that give greater context around the type of projects they have worked on and their focus on sustainable infrastructure. The project example given offers a lot of information, such as the applicant’s ability to lead projects, as well as the key accomplishment of significantly reducing pollution levels.
3. Select key civil engineering skills to include on your resume
Working as a civil engineer requires you to have equally masterful people skills as you do technical engineering know-how. You will not only have to design and manage projects but you will also need to provide clear, informative, and compassionate consultations to clients.
With this in mind, here are 10 of both technical and interpersonal skills that are fantastic to include on a civil engineering resume:
The best technical skills to put on your civil engineer
- Civil engineering design
- Structural analysis
- Concrete & steel design
- Environmental engineering
- CAD (& other computer programs or design software)
- Interpreting blueprints and schematics
- 2D & 3D modeling
- Regulation & compliance standards
- Project management
Effective interpersonal skills for your civil engineer CV
- Active listening
- Clear communication
- Analytical thinking
- Thoroughness & attention to detail
4. Describe your civil engineer work experience with concise details
When writing your work experience section, you should always keep your information concise and organized. This is best achieved by using short, one-sentence bullet points that describe a key responsibility or accomplishment from a previous job.
Here is an example of a work experience entry from a civil engineer resume
City of Naples, Naples, FL
June 2016 to September 2019
- Provided consultation services to 20+ public works project managers and 30+ official city clients.
- Designed architectural plans for three new bridges, creating a new traffic flow that reduced traffic jams at peak hours by more than 15%.
- Assisted in the construction and implementation of new city-wide bicycle lanes, enabling cyclists to travel safely on 75% of major public roadways.
5. List your civil engineering educational credentials correctly
Becoming a civil engineer requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering. However, having higher degrees – such as a master’s – can help you to earn higher-level positions and make yourself a more competitive job candidate overall.
Here is an example of a well-crafted education section on a civil engineer resume
Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
M.S. in Civil Engineering
Graduated: 2019, Summa Cum Laude
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
B.S. in Civil Engineering
Graduated: 2016, Magna Cum Laude
6. Make your civil engineer resume stand out with extra sections
When it comes to crafting a civil engineer resume, incorporating extra sections can significantly enhance your profile and highlight your specific qualifications and accomplishments in the field.
One valuable extra section to consider is "Certifications and Professional Memberships". In this section, you can list any certifications you have earned, such as the Professional Engineer (PE) license or LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) certification.
Additionally, including memberships in professional organizations like the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) or the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) can further demonstrate your commitment to your profession and ongoing professional development.
Here's an example of how to list certifications and memberships on a civil engineer resume
Certifications and Professional Memberships:
- Professional Engineer (PE) License, State Board of Professional Engineers, [State]
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional (LEED AP), Green Building Certification Institute
- Certified Construction Manager (CCM), Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)
- Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM)
- Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
- Member, National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
- Member, Structural Engineering Association (SEA)