To be considered for top engineering jobs, a comprehensive resume is essential. And just because you’re in a mid- or senior-level position doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a few pointers for dusting off that old resume to ensure it piques hiring managers’ interest, especially in today’s competitive job market.
Here are five tips for writing a resume that gets noticed, including advice from Andrew Naslund, HR coordinator for consulting firm Mazzetti & Associates in San Francisco, and Daniel Mullin, vice president at Carroll Engineering, one of the largest consulting firms in the greater Philadelphia area.
- Swap your objective for a summary. An objective can hurt your candidacy if it doesn’t match the specifics of a position opening. Naslund says, “If you’re changing careers, then an objective is warranted. Otherwise, leave it out.” Replace it with a qualifications summary, just a few hard-hitting sentences spotlighting your most marketable qualifications. Monster provides this example summary for a mechanical engineer:
Internationally experienced mechanical engineer with 15 years of experience and a strong background in Kaizen, ISO and automotive manufacturing. Qualifications include Six Sigma Black Belt, Advanced Pro-E license and PMP-certification.
- Be concise. During his career recruiting and hiring engineers, Naslund says he has observed a tendency among engineers to “go into information overload on their resumes. Resumes get accepted or rejected in 30 seconds or less, so you must be concise.”
- List key accomplishments rather than responsibilities. Bullet your accomplishments for each position you’ve held and quantify the results so that prospective employers can quickly ascertain the significance of your work. Monster offers these examples from various engineering disciplines:
– Conducted process mapping studies to improve throughput by 36% and ensure compliance with customer specifications.
– Regarded as one of consulting firm’s most highly requested mechanical engineers, maintaining 89% or higher billable utilization for the past 4 years.
– Co-developed material for cooling radiators that saved $300K/year.
- Consider adding a project list: You may find that with your years of experience, your resume starts to overflow onto a third page (two pages should be your maximum). In this case, create a separate key projects list sheet. Naslund advises, “List projects by employer or client, and give a short – even one sentence – description of what you did and your project outcomes.”
- Don’t overlook spelling and grammatical errors. As an engineer, you want to show your proclivity for precision, especially when you have a good amount of experience under your belt. According to Mullin, failing to proofread and correct all errors on a resume is a common mistake engineers make. “It’s imperative that you have a well-prepared, professional resume with no spelling or grammatical errors,” he says. “Triple-check it and have other people go over it as well to be sure it’s perfect.
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Resume tips for engineers. Monster.com.