Having an up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (CV or Resume) that describes your education, skills and experiences is vital for every engineer. But it’s not easy to do, especially when starting from scratch. Thankfully, there are many templates for CV's available through Microsoft Word or accessible on the internet. We hope to provide a generic template through our personal development training in the near future. When you modify a template, keep the fonts consistent and use either first or third person throughout.
Remember your CV will also change depending on it’s purpose. A CV used for a job application in the automotive industry will emphasise different skills and interests to one in computer science. Although engineers will typically have experience in various pieces of software, CAD knowledge is far more applicable in the automotive sector than in computer science where being able to use different coding languages is more important.
Source: The Balance
Often you won’t have direct experience of the job you’re applying for, especially if you’re a graduate and so you need to have transferable skills. Are you able to learn fast? Are you a good communicator? Do you enjoy working in teams? You should ask yourself questions like this based on the experience you have through your studies and work placements if applicable to help portray yourself. Then when you get into an interview you will often be asked for examples of where you have demonstrated these skills.
Layout your CV neatly, with a personal statement to start stating what you are applying for and why you are suitable for the job but don’t go overboard. You can go into detail later on. Next use tables to show your qualifications. They are simple and easier to look at than a block of text. It can also be good to use bullet points, especially to list your key skills. The key skills section should include technical skills (such as software experience) and certificates (such as a driving license).
Next include a section about your work experience. This can involve internships and part time work, but always make it relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you have worked in customer service you will have improved verbal communication and people skills which are valuable in many jobs.
Source: American Society of Mechanical Engineers
It is also good to include a section about yourself away from work and study. What are your hobbies and interests? Are you part of any societies or sports clubs? Have you held any positions within these? This section helps to portray you as well rounded and not just a hard worker. Emphasise any transferable skills you have such as leadership (sports captain) or organisation (secretary).
Try to make your CV flow with each section linking together showing you have always been working towards something, namely the job you’re applying for. Always question whether what you’re writing is relevant. Try to mention skills you think the employer is looking for from their job description but don’t be too obvious - a lot of people will do the same so you want your CV to sound different! Lastly include references if you have any, from tutors or previous employers.
When you’re finished triple check it and get as many people as you can to read through it as you can! Hearing others opinions can tell you how you come across on paper and you can continuously refine it. Make sure it’s not too long (2 pages maximum) and not filled with text as it can won’t look too inviting for the reader.