Engineering: The Perfect CV
by Heat Recruitment
Writing or even just updating your CV can be a daunting challenge for some people when it comes to searching for the next career step, but then if you have the dream job in front of you, you need the make the most of every element of your CV for maximum effect.
Candidates should remember that most employers will only spend a 30 seconds looking through your CV to find something that catches their eye. Candidates should not forget that a CV is designed to sell yourself and should not be viewed as just a check list of your skills and a list of your work history.
We’ve put together our tips for writing a well-engineered CV:
1. Introduce yourself
The best CV’s will start with a good introduction about yourself, your career aspirations and a brief paragraph about your skill set.
You should also specify the main areas of your experience. Which aspect of your engineering profession are you most proficient or experienced in? You may have a specialist area you want to highlight, for example: management, product development, testing, manufacturing, quality improvement, consultancy, logistics, or research and development.
You should spend some time perfecting your CV, detailing your skills, accomplishments and your work history. However, you do not want to turn this into an essay that potential employers don’t have the time to read. Take some time to think about what really sells yourself and cut out the ‘waffle’. Are your most standout abilities and projects visible in the first 30 seconds?
3. Spelling and Grammar
Anyone reading your CV will pick up on spelling and grammar errors, put yourself in the employer’s shoes and imagine what they must think when they pick up a CV littered full of spelling mistakes. I have even seen candidates spell their own company name wrong. Get a friend or a family member to proof read it. Even better if you’re working with a good recruiter ask them for any advice, we have seen more CV’s than you can possibly imagine. Outside the usual advice, make sure industry specific terminology, buzzwords and abbreviations are up to date and accurate!
4. The layout
Spend some time thinking about how your CV is structured. Is it easy on the eye and does it read well, this attention to detail will help your CV stand out from the crowd. A CV should also be a professional document so think about the font you use. I would always put your job history in chronological order, most companies will be interested in what have been doing recently rather than the part time job in a supermarket at University. How would you present a project to a client and what does your design say about you as an applicant?
5. Know your dates
Employers will always pick up on inaccuracies in your work history and the dates on your CV. Make sure they add up and if there are any gaps then be honest. I have seen many candidates bend the truth on their CV regarding their dates of employment. This could come back to haunt you if your potential employer needs references from your previous roles.
6. Be honest
Exaggerating your skills and experience will ensure you get found out. I have seen candidates explain on their CV that they are an expert in Solidworks but when it came to the interview stage they were asked to complete a simple CAD test where they had to come clean and admit they had used it once or twice at University, you won’t be surprised to hear they didn’t get the job. Even if you do manage to get through the interview stage then you will definitely be found out when you start the job.
7. Tailor Your CV
If there is a specific role you are applying for then think about how you could tailor your CV to fit that company. Do your research on the business to ensure you are putting forward the best application possible. If you are working with a good recruiter they will have taken the time to get to know what the company are looking for, speak with them about your CV and how you can give yourself the best possible chance.
Think about what the employer is going to be looking for – take your inspiration from the job description or from other advertisements. Being a problem solver is always going to be high on the list, possibly a creative problem solver, resource planner and certainly an analytical thinker. Some roles may need you to be people-oriented, a good communicator or a strong team member.
8. Always keep your CV up to date.
Even if you are happy in your role and don’t plan on moving jobs for a while you never know what is around the corner. Also keep a track of every achievement, promotion or skills you learn in your job writing these down when they are fresh in your memory will save you time when you look for that next career move.
When it comes to CPD, employers will want to see applicants who are constantly improving and investing in themselves, so even if it was a 1 day course, make sure it’s included.
What could you of missed?
- Your high level of skills and knowledge of your discipline
- Your ability to evaluate and assess project elements within jobs or contracts.
- Your ability to work independently when required.
- Your experience in working with different kinds of bodies, including agencies, companies, public bodies, etc.
- The ability to prioritise large and complex workloads.
- Flexibility and adaptability, with the ability to respond to unexpected challenges and changes in schedules or workloads.
- On a general level, the technologies involved.
- The size of the projects you’ve managed.
- Nature of your management role.
- The size of the teams you’ve supervised.
- The scope of the project operations you were responsible for.
- Budgets, challenges and projected (and actual, if different) outcomes.
- Various agencies involved in projects.
Engineering is an ever evolving industry, so make sure your CV is up to date and get it in front of the people who could get you your dream job.
You can view all our engineering jobs here.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Engineering here.