Three Steps to an Outstanding Engineering Resume

Engineers are trained to put all of the elements of a solution together, and often produce exciting results. Engineers launch spacecraft, obtain patents, and master tough algorithms all before breakfast. But when it comes to the design and development of engineering resumes, sometimes complex and multi-faceted careers can be difficult to portray in a structured and easy-to-understand way. Here are three steps to help you achieve an outstanding engineering resume.

Include Only Appropriate Project Work

Your resume needs a rationale to determine which skills, project work, and technologies to subtract and which to add. There are 10 key characteristics of an engineering resume, including being concise and not overloading the reader with too many project and technology details. Decisions related to the scope and focus of your resume should be made early, and will help you determine where detailed focus should occur. Choose projects that had stellar results. However, other projects may also be valuable. For example, ones in which you gained CAD drawing and tool experience can be described briefly in a cross-project way.

By the same token, engineers often do not describe certain work, projects, or even automation tools because “everybody knows that,” or it was just a project for a professional society, or just a fantastic pilot that was unable to get financing. Do some investigation of job postings, professional group publications, and your own job history and you will probably find clues for overlooked work that can really make an impact in an engineering resume.

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Details Can Make All the Difference

Once you have your resume framework and initial set of work projects, add precision wherever possible. Yes, specific skills and tools are important because they are industry buzzwords that work well with scanning software. They are also important data for employers wanting to know if you have the needed engineering specialties such as Mechanical, Product, and Manufacturing engineering, and that you can jump in quickly and have exposure to appropriate automation.  Don’t make potential employers read between the lines and guess. If you worked with the MapReduce programming model, a hot skill for the emerging specialty of Big Data, don’t keep it a secret! List your specific computer-aided design and manufacturing automation tools, and the engineering specialty they were used for. Microsoft Project is important for many engineering jobs, especially for Project Engineers.

Show Your Business Knowledge

Scope and precision in engineering achievements and skills are essential ingredients. Engineers frequently contribute mightily to core business strategies, and engineering resumes should highlight this career aspect. There is a school of thought that engineering and business skills are highly interlinked. Good business leaders, like engineers, are detail-oriented, analytical, and meticulous, and can be counted on to delve deeply into the root cause of problems. Look for these business-impact elements and highlight them as big-picture skills or dollars and cents metrics if you can.

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