The essential guide to writing an effective engineering resume
Engineers make the world go ‘round – whether it’s designing roadways and infrastructure or developing new technology and innovative equipment. To earn your dream engineering job, you need to craft a resume that not only highlights your experience but also your professional specializations and skills.
In this guide, we will provide you with 5 key steps for writing an Engineering resume. Keep reading to learn all about:
- Choosing the best resume format as an engineer
- Creating a resume summary to showcase your professional attributes
- Selecting key engineering skills for your resume
- Describing your engineering experience with concise details
- Listing your engineering education correctly on a resume
Still looking for a job? These 100+ resources will tell you everything you need to get hired fast.
1. Optimize your engineering resume by choosing the right format
When selecting the format for your engineering resume, it's important to consider the type of engineering position you are applying for and the level of experience you have in the field.
Chronological and functional formats are commonly used for engineering resumes, but a combination of both can also be effective.
If you have limited work experience, a functional format may be more suitable, as it emphasizes skills and accomplishments over employment history. However, if you have a significant amount of experience, a chronological format may be more appropriate, as it highlights your career progression and achievements.
Ultimately, the format you choose should showcase your skills and accomplishments in the most effective way possible for the specific job you are applying for.
Choose your preferred template and make your resume shine.
2. Create a resume summary to showcase your engineering professional attributes
Crafting a strong resume summary is essential for a successful engineering resume, as it is often the first section that potential employers will read.
A well-written summary can capture the attention of the reader and give a brief overview of your qualifications, skills, and experience.
It should be tailored to the specific job you are applying for and highlight your unique value proposition. A compelling summary can also differentiate you from other candidates and demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively.
Overall, a well-crafted summary can set the tone for your entire resume and make a positive impression on potential employers.
As you write your resume summary, you should be mindful of providing enough specificity and context for it to be effective. To illustrate this concept better, here is a weak summary followed by a correction and explanation.
Incorrect engineer resume summary example
Engineer with more than 5 years of experience working directly with clients, providing consultations and monthly check-in meetings for ongoing projects. Skilled at increasing operational and production efficiencies, as well as decreasing overall product defects.
Why is this incorrect?
In this example, the applicant fails to provide any specific examples of their experience or accomplishments. Furthermore, the applicant does not state which specialized discipline of engineering they work in, making this summary too vague to be an effective introduction.
Corrected engineer resume summary
Production & Mechanical Engineer with 5+ years of experience working with corporate clients to develop and design state-of-the-art mechanical products. Increased operational and production efficiency at previous employer’s company by 45%, as well as decreased overall product defects by 55% year-over-year.
Why is this correct?
In this corrected example, the applicant provides the same basic information but with far greater detail and context. They clearly state the type of engineering they are specialized in, as well as stating what types of products they work on. They end the summary with an impressive accomplishment that includes specific and quantifiable figures.
3. Select key engineering skills for your resume
Skills are an important component of an engineer’s resume, as they help to show employers your full range of talents. As such, it is crucial to include both technical and interpersonal skills on a resume.
Technical skills are your learned abilities gained through education and training, such as designing products, while interpersonal skills are both learned and inherent abilities that govern how you interact with the people and world around you.
To help you brainstorm ideas for skills to include on your resume, here are 10 examples of both technical and interpersonal engineering skills:
The best engineering hard skills to put on your resume
- Computer science & programming
- Engineering software (cad, autocad, etc.)
- Manufacturing processes
- Project management
- Product design & development
- Workflow development
- Prototyping processes
- Quality control
Effective interpersonal skills for your engineer CV
- Client relations
- Clear communication
- Attention to detail
- Time management
4. Describe your engineering experience with concise details
The section dedicated to your work experience is where you can elaborate further on your relevant skills, accomplishments, and experience in previous positions.
While writing this section, it is important to keep your descriptions brief and to the point, preferably in the form of a single bullet point sentence.
It is also recommended to include specific numerical data wherever applicable. This quantifiable information provides employers with a clear understanding of your past achievements and the extent of your capabilities.
Here is an example of a work experience entry from an engineering resume:
Tech United Associates, Dallas, TX
May 2018 to June 2021
- Implemented new equipment maintenance processes that resulted in a 20% increase in equipment reliability.
- Designed and developed 30+ patented mechanical equipment and products.
- Conducted environmental impact studies to improve and reduce overall emissions.
5. List your engineering education correctly on a resume
To become an engineer, you will generally need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in your chosen engineering discipline.
However, to become a more competitive candidate – and a higher paid worker – a master’s degree or additional certifications can help boost your resume’s effectiveness.
Regardless of which educational credentials you possess, you should always make sure to include the following information in your education section:
- The name of the degree or certification
- The university or certifying institution
- Your date of graduation
- Certification expiration dates (when applicable)
Here is an example of a well-crafted education section on an Engineering resume:
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
M.S. in Civil Engineering
- Graduated: 2015, Summa Cum Laude
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
B.S. in Engineering
6. Highlight your engineering projects for a stand-out resume
In this section, you can list the engineering projects you have completed or worked on. This can include academic projects, personal projects, or professional projects. For each project, provide a brief description of what it entailed and what your role was in the project. You can also include any notable achievements or outcomes from the project, such as patents, publications, or successful implementation of the project's goals.
This section can be particularly useful for showcasing your technical abilities and expertise, as well as your ability to work on a team and manage projects from conception to completion. It can also give potential employers a better understanding of your specific skills and interests within the engineering field.
Here's an example of a projects section for an engineering resume
- Designed and built a solar-powered irrigation system for a local community garden, resulting in a 40% reduction in water usage.
- Collaborated with a team of engineers to develop a self-driving car prototype using machine learning algorithms and computer vision techniques.
- Conducted a research project on the optimization of wind turbine blade design, resulting in a 15% increase in efficiency.
- Led a team of engineers to design and manufacture a fully functional prototype of a medical device for diagnosing heart diseases.