A resume is nothing short of a marketing tool. It is a list of your core competencies, experience, and educational qualifications, which are succinctly packaged to get through to an interview. A good resume and cover letter is customized for every position. However, this kind of resume is suitable if you are focusing on only one type of job position. In case you are eyeing a wide range of job profiles, it is essential that you revise your application by creating new resumes and cover letters, tailor-made for the different profiles. This requires intense research about the industry and the organisation.
The different types of resumes
The basic aim of formulating a professional document is to get noticed. If your resume is different and innovative, it will shine, and surely get you through to an interview. There are several methodologies to craft a concise resume. All the formats are effective and serve their own individual purpose.
- Online profile
- Infographics and portfolios
- Personalized websites and blogs
How an engineering resume is different from others
An engineering resume is chronological in nature and formation. This type of resume is the format of choice for undergraduate students. Here, all the information is listed in a reverse chronological manner, working backwards with the most recent position first. Essential information like your title, location, name of organisation, skills and achievements are also mentioned.
An engineering resume is a little different from say a performing arts resume. It is more technical in structure and contains specialised section headers like:
- Lab experience
- Technical skills
- Engineering experience
- Academic experience
- Projects undertaken
- Relevant coursework
- Research work
- Lab skills
If you have no work experience, mention your academic qualifications first. You may even mention your technical skills at the top of the page if required by the job profile.
Various components of the resume
It is highly essential for your resume to be descriptive, focused, and interesting at the same time. For an engineering resume to look exemplary, it needs to incorporate certain basic components like:
Begin your resume with the contact information, which needs to include your name, telephone number, address, and email.
Do not give random information in the objective. It should include data which matches the specific job position that you are applying for. Avoid using flowery language or extensive vocabulary. Big words will not help you win any races here. In essence, the objective should focus on the specific field that you are targeting, and the type of job profile that you are applying to. The objective should also be consistent with the goals and aspirations of the company.
Listing your academic qualifications properly is highly important. Mention your GPA, specialisation, minor, and area of interest. You could even include the coursework in this section. Any certifications or diploma courses must not be forgotten.
This section needs to be descriptive as well as precise at the same time. Use short phrases that bring to light your skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments. Explain briefly how your work added to the progress of the previous company and quantify the results wherever possible.
This section will include all the projects and research work undertaken by the individual. Projects are considered as value added courses and are hence, highly appreciated by the employers. Describe the most lucrative projects a little in detail to give a better picture of what the work entailed. Team projects are greatly valued, hence, indicating any such responsibility will reflect on your team-building and leadership qualities.
Skills and accomplishments
Any extracurricular activity that sets you apart from others needs to be mentioned here. This includes knowledge based tasks, general accomplishments, research work, publications, certifications, computer courses, laboratory experience and any other achievements that make you a valuable asset.
Awards and Affiliations
Participation in sports or fine arts is also appreciated. Nobody expects you to be a book worm. Apart from academic excellence, any involvement in student organisations, community activities, clubs, workshops etc. should be mentioned. Keep in mind to always state leadership qualities or positions of responsibility.
Keep in mind
Never forget that a resume is an exceptionally strong marketing tool. It is what makes the first impression and hence should not be taken lightly. When it comes to mentioning engineering projects, precision is of paramount importance. According to Daniel Mullin, a VP at Carroll Engineering, engineers forget to proofread their resumes all the time. Triple-check your resume for errors to make sure it’s perfect before the final send off.
Being concise is another important factor that needs to be kept in mind as a resume can be accepted or rejected in the first 30 seconds of its perusal. Make sure that your professional document is crisp and to the point. Also, you must always furnish honest information when constructing a resume or a CV.
Faulty facts or misleading data will only get you into trouble on verification. Every company has a strict policy towards wrong-doers. Do not spoil your chances and fall on the wrong side of the fence by lying.
Customizing the resume according to the companies profile always renders an additional edge to the document. Employers appreciate this tactic and can better understand how your capabilities can assist in the smooth functioning of the organisation.
Employers are always interested in going through the details of your engineering experience and work history. However, what they do not want is a detailed description of your entire life story. Mention only those experiences which are relevant to the current job profile. “Worked as an editor with a publication” will not add any value to your resume if you are applying for the post of a network engineer. Do not add such fillers for no reason. Remember, a short resume is the best resume.
Also, you need to explicitly express how you can be an asset to the company. Just because you worked in a similar work position in the previous company does not mean that you are the best candidate for the current job profile. Bringing the same set of accomplishments and values to a new turf retards growth in the long run. There is no personality development and the job becomes monotonous after a period of time. You need to give explicit information in your resume about how you dealt with the company processes in your previous job to keep it out of the trash.
Gone are the days of using paper for everything. Resumes are now sent by email, but this does not mean that it needs to be drab, dull, or visually ugly. In fact, you can very easily use this opportunity to enhance your resume writing skills by including images, videos, appropriate links etc.
- The document must not be more than 1 – 2 pages long.
- Font size should be 10 – 12 point.
- The resume or CV must be visually appealing.
- Do not place the date in the left-hand margin.
- Use italics, bold, and underlines to improve the readability.
- Margins must not be less than 0.5 inches.
- Resume is formulated in reverse chronological manner (for every section).
- Contact information has one address, one email address, one phone number, and is linked to professional social media pages like LinkedIn.
- Do not use personal pronouns like I, me, or we.
- List of references is not required.
- Do not mention soft skills.
- All other skills are to be listed by type like technical, language, and laboratory skills.
- Academic information must be mentioned below the contact information.
- If you have studied abroad, mention it (country, institution, and time period of study).
- Include coursework that is relevant to the job position/profile.
- Mention GPA if it is more than 3.0. Include up to two decimal places and do not round off.
- Work experience should include internships, volunteer work, and other extracurricular activities.
- Ongoing work must be mentioned in present tense.
- Mention your key responsibilities and achievements when listing the work experience.
- Mention appropriate keywords wherever required.
- Use a good quality paper if submitting a hard copy.
- Include a cover letter pertaining to the job profile.
- The resume and cover letter must be emailed as one attachment.
- Always proofread in the end.
It pays to keep in mind that an employer always wants a prospective candidate to have good communication skills, honesty, teamwork skills, strong work ethic, and good interpersonal skills. All such qualities if appropriately mentioned in your resume will surely win you a straight ticket to the elusive round of interview. Formulating a crisp and precise resume is not difficult. Yet, if you find the process daunting and scary, you can employ the help of professional resume writing services, which are exceptionally helpful when it comes to making an appropriate and functional resume. Good luck!