How to write an engineering CV

by Heat Recruitment

We reveal the perfect formula for an engineering CV guaranteed to grab the hiring manager’s attention

Let’s be honest, the prospect of taking on a fresh challenge in a new role is an exciting one – but putting together a knock-out job application? Not so much. A less daunting way to approach an engineering CV is treat it like any other document you’d produce at work. It needs to be clearly structured, to the point and easy to read.

Stop and think – how do you feel when a hefty document lands on your desk? Exasperated, desperately scanning it to find the key points? Well, that’s exactly how the hiring manager feels too, and they receive hundreds of them.

Highlighting all of your relevant skills and experience – while also keeping things concise – isn’t an easy feat. So, how can you strike the balance between the two?

The basics

There’s no need to include a photo of yourself, your marital status or date of birth – simply state your name and contact details at the top of the page. Don’t waste space on a long personal profile, either. If you can’t summarise your background and career goals in two or three sentences, then you’re providing too much detail.

It’s not just your cover letter that needs to be tailored to the specific position you’re applying for, it’s your CV too. Whether you’re an electrical, mechanical, chemical or civil engineer, the structure of your CV will be fairly similar, but the content should be adapted to showcase your own specialisms within the sector.

Education

Engineers are results-driven, so including your grades and successful outcomes of any courses you’ve participated in will be far more effective than simply listing your GCSE, A-Level and degree subjects. For those applying for graduate and junior roles, your academic background will be one of your main strengths.

However, if you’ve completed a degree or HND, it’s certainly an achievement worth shouting about. Draw attention to the modules most relevant to the role you’re applying for, as well as any awards you may have received during or after your studies.

Experience

Avoid long paragraphs of text, and instead break your work experience down into bullet points. Each one should be no more than one or two lines long. Provide the most information about your current – or most recent – role, drawing on how you’ve worked well as part of your team but also on solo projects.

Unless you’re in the early stages of your career, your experience should be the first section on your CV, underneath your personal profile – if you choose to include one. Again, if you’ve held several long-term positions in a company then these should be the primary focus of your CV. Depending on how extensive your experience is, you may need to exclude short-term jobs and voluntary work.

Buzzwords

Whether you’re sending your job application to the company directly, or via a recruitment agency, it’s likely that your CV will be scanned by software which picks up on key words – most commonly an application tracking system (ATS).

For this reason, you need to ensure that you’ve mirrored words used in the job description, and correctly formatted the names of any software packages you may have referred to, such as Autocad or Profibus. As well as soft skills such as leadership, these technical skills are invaluable in an engineering role.

Although an engineering CV is comprised of several individual parts, it’s important to view it as a whole too. Is it an authentic representation of yourself? Are there any unexplained gaps in your career history? Once you’re satisfied that there are no mistakes, it’s time to send it to the hiring manager and take the first step towards securing your dream role.

Need further help structuring your CV? Check out our handy template:

Produce a killer CV