As an engineer, you went through years of schooling and specialization, and now is your time to shine.
The only thing left to do is craft a job-winning engineering resume that will help you catch the attention of recruiters in your field, but that may be a puzzle that you haven’t had the opportunity to look into yet.
Fear not, because we’ve created this comprehensive guide to assist you. Look at it as an instruction manual that will take you from creating a plan to polishing the smallest details.
So, let’s waste no more time and jump straight into it!
Consider using the chronological resume format when writing an engineering resume, as it works best with recruiters and the ATS.
The must-have sections for your engineering resume should include personal information, a resume summary/objective, work experience, education, and skills.
Additionally, you could further enrich your job application with several optional sections, such as certifications, conferences, memberships, personal projects, and more.
Submitting a personalized and tailored cover letter with your resume puts you ahead of the competition.
What is the Right Format to Use for an Engineering Resume?
Properly organizing and presenting your resume is half the work, so let’s start with the right engineering resume format.
There are three popular options you can use:
Chronological resume format, which:
Puts the latest and most important jobs and achievements first
Is recommended by recruiters all over the world
Is ATS-friendly due to its simple and organized style
Works well for people with professional experience
Functional resume format, which:
Emphasizes the candidate’s skills rather than their professional experience
Is perfect for people who lack a work history or have big employment gaps they want to hide
Isn’t as ATS-friendly as the chronological one
Combination (hybrid) resume format, which:
Is a mix of the chronological and functional formats
Highlights skills first and then substantiates them with relevant professional accomplishments
Is typically used by candidates with rich work histories
A resume layout represents the way your resume looks and displays information to the reader.
For starters, you want to keep your resume one page long. Since most recruiters spend less than a minute reading each resume, you want to ensure they see everything they need while just skimming through it. To achieve that, check out the following guidelines:
Resume Layout Guidelines
What Sections Should an Engineering Resume Contain?
To make sure you’ve given your potential employers all the information they want, you must include the following sections in your resume:
Resume summary or resume objective
Of course, you don’t have to stop there. If you have some more room on your resume and more valuable information to add to it, you can also insert a few additional sections. These include certifications, languages, publications, awards, hobbies and interests, and more.
In case you don’t feel like making your engineering resume from scratch, you can take advantage of our resume-building tool! It comes with plenty of different options that allow you to adjust everything—from font to layout—with just one click. Once you get a desirable look, simply fill in the blanks with your information, and you’re good to go!
Engineering Resume Contact Information
To allow back-and-forth communication with recruiters, you must provide your contact information in your resume header. This step is a piece of cake—all you should do is just state the following details:
Your full name
Phone number and email address
Let’s take a look at an example:
Contact Information Section Example
+ 832 215 9349
Keep in mind that the ATS can read your title as a keyword, so you want to match it with the one mentioned in the job posting. Not to mention how an unprofessional title such as “Code Wizard” might not do well with recruiters.
Speaking of things to avoid, adding your address is an outdated practice. Only do it if a job posting or a specific state law in the area where you’re applying for a job requires you to do so. Even then, only include your city and state.
Of course, there are a few more things you could add to this section. For example, if you’re active on LinkedIn, you can add a clickable link to your LinkedIn profile. On top of that, depending on the type of engineer that you are, you could also add links to your portfolio, GitHub, Stack Overflow, and other websites and profiles related to the field.
Engineering Resume Objective or Summary
Considering that hiring managers often spend less than a minute reading through a single resume, you could have as little as one paragraph to grab their attention.
That paragraph—called a resume objective or summary—goes at the beginning of your resume and aims to highlight your most prominent skills, achievements, and professional endeavors. Which one of these two you may need depends on your level of expertise and the amount of work experience you have.
If you lack professional experience or don’t have any specific achievements in the field (due to a career change or any other reason), you should write a resume objective. Instead of focusing on professional endeavors, it draws attention to your skills and career goals. This way, you show that you’re ready to learn and improve even though you have little to no work history.
On the flip side, a resume summary is an option for you if you have solid work experience, as it puts your most impressive workplace accomplishments in the spotlight. This enables you to summarize your career and entices recruiters to keep reading.
Entry-Level Engineering Resume Objective
As someone who is at the beginning of their career, you want to show potential right off the bat. Talk about your skills and show that you’re a go-getter by setting a specific career objective.
You’ll score bonus points if your professional goals line up with the needs of the company you’re applying to. They’ll see you as someone who is there for the long term and, therefore, worth investing time and resources in.
Let’s take a look at a good example of an engineering resume objective:
For comparison, here’s a bad example that shows no skills and features no specific goals:
“Entry-level software engineer looking for a position where I can apply the skills I learned in college.”
Engineering Resume Summary
If you have years of professional experience behind you and numerous relevant accomplishments to highlight, you should write an engineering resume summary. Use it to draw attention to your greatest career achievements and briefly summarize the rest of your resume. This way, recruiters will see the best of you right away, and they’ll likely want to know more about you.
Let’s see a good example of a well-written resume summary:
“Attentive network engineer with 7+ years of professional experience building, configuring, installing, managing, and monitoring relevant infrastructure, seeking a position at [company]. Excellent at troubleshooting, defining problems, and implementing solutions in a timely manner. Improved network efficiency by 16% through operational improvements at [company].”
Now here’s a bad example that lacks any substance or concrete information, which makes it far less likely to impress anyone:
“Experienced network engineer looking for a senior position to apply my excellent skills and improve your efficiency.”
Engineering Resume Work Experience
Out of all sections of your engineering resume, the one dedicated to work experience shows recruiters how well you might perform at your new job most directly. This is where you should state all the previous job positions you held and other important details related to them.
When adding previous jobs to this section, include the following information:
Period of employment
Responsibilities and achievements within the role
If you have a lot of experience, the best way to organize the information related to it is to list all the positions you held in reverse-chronological order.
The part that will have the biggest impact on recruiters is the list of your responsibilities and achievements. While the former is important, you want to focus more on your accomplishments within the role,as they show the actual results of your competence.
To display them optimally, use bulleted lists since they convey more information than blocks of text and are easier to read. Also, by including exact numbers and percentages next to relevant accomplishments, you’ll quantify them and make them more specific in the eyes of hiring managers.
Furthermore, you can make this section—and even your entire resume—more memorable by using action verbs and power words. Substitute bland, overused terms that recruiters run into on every other resume with creative and memorable synonyms. For example, the next time you want to say you “made” something, try using “engineered” or “formulated” instead.
Engineers With No Experience
Regardless of the lack of professional history, you can still write an impressive work experience section.
Whether you’re a student, a recent graduate, or someone who changed careers, you’ll usually have other experiences to leverage. For instance, if you’re still in college, you can write about challenging projects, volunteer work, freelance experience, internships, and much more.
If you follow the tips we outlined in a previous chapter, you’ll end up with a professional work experience section line, as in the following example:
Work Experience Section Example for No Experience Engineer
Data Engineer Intern
DataBoard New York, NY
Collaborated with a client to understand the needs of their business, create actionable reports in Tableau, and save 16 work hours every week.
Automated data processing using Python to increase speed by 59%.
Supervised by a mentor while working with a cross-functional team to drive efficiency KPIs up by 19%.
If you’re a seasoned professional in the field of engineering, you’d want to bring out the big guns when writing your work experience section. The best way to do it is to create a compilation of your most impressive achievements by using 3–5 highly effective bullet points per job.
List multiple previous employments in reverse-chronological order, but make sure they are all relevant. Don’t add jobs that happened a long time ago or are completely irrelevant to the engineering field.
Here’s how to do it:
Experienced Engineer Resume Example
Senior Network Engineer
Improved WAN/LAN up-time by 25% by streamlining the troubleshooting process.
Automated the ticket assignment process to increase response time by 17%.
Consolidated onboarding processes and infrastructure to reduce it by 2 days for new hires.
Boosted network efficiency by 18% through operational improvements.
Brought wired and wireless networks uptime to 99.9% through a series of improvements.
Automated network monitoring and alerts to reduce downtime by 11%.
Engineering Resume Education Section
Engineering is a very technical field where most jobs require a bachelor's or higher degree. For this reason, we can say that this section is usually equally important as the one dedicated to work experience. Still, you want to keep this part brief and concise.
Generally, you should only add your latest degree—add more only if there’s room for it on a resume or if you have a modest work experience section. What you definitely shouldn’t do is include your high school diploma unless it’s the only degree you have obtained so far.
When writing this section, include the following:
Education Section Essentials
The institution that issued it
Notable achievements (optional)
Here’s an example:
Education Section Example
Bachelor of Science in Information Science
Boston College, Boston, MA
Similarly to the work experience section, the education part should also feature some notable achievements in the form of bullet points. Anything from an impressive GPA (3.5 or higher) to extracurricular activities, exchange programs, and relevant coursework will be a valuable addition to this section.
But what if you’re still a student?
In such a case, include your degree in your resume anyway and add “expected” next to a graduation date, or omit it and put “current” instead. Even if you dropped out of college, you can still state how many credits you earned toward your degree.
Engineering Resume Skills
Engineering is a vast field where every job requires a certain skill set, and you definitely want to showcase yours when writing an engineering resume.
Start by researching the job ad to find out what the employer is looking for. Then match some of the skills they want with the ones you have and add those to your resume.
Since engineering is a highly specialized vocation, you want to emphasize your job-specific hard skills. Customize and fine-tune this section until you’ve made it perfectly tailored to the position you’re applying for.
Of course, hiring managers always love to see desirable traits and interpersonal skills in candidates, too. That’s why you also want to include soft skills in your resume as well—just make sure you list them separately from hard ones since these two categories are different in nature.
Here are some of the hard skills engineers should consider adding to their resumes:
Recruiters in the engineering field are usually looking for the following soft skills:
Attention to detail
Engineering Resume Optional Sections
The best way to stand out from the competition is to show more than the bare minimum, and the easiest way to do that effectively is through optional sections.
Certifications show that you have been formally educated on a specific subject and that you possess a highly focused knowledge of the topic. Obtaining these is the perfect way to supplement your education section and add more value to your skills, too.
Here’s an example of how a network engineer would add certifications to their resume:
Certifications Section Example
CCNA - Cisco
MCITP - Microsoft
This section is especially valuable if you’re applying for a position overseas or if your future job may involve communication with clients and coworkers from other countries. To get the most out of this part, list languages based on your proficiency level, which can be:
There are many other optional sections you can add to your resume to spruce it up. Some of them are:
Memberships in organizations and associations
Hobbies and interests
Should You Submit a Cover Letter With Your Engineering Resume?
The short answer is yes—for optimal results, you should definitely write a unique cover letter for every position you’re applying for. That shows diligence and a willingness to go the extra mile for a cause that matters to you, which immediately places you ahead of other candidates.
It’s recommended to personally address the recruiter and write a few brief paragraphs where you will describe your skills and career achievements relevant to the job in more detail. This document also allows you to explain why you want to work in a specific position and what the employer can expect from you.
Expert Tips for Creating an Engineering Resume
To finish this detailed guide with a bang, we’ve compiled a set of expert engineering resume tips that will help you make your document shine:
Unless you have decades of professional experience or a job ad asks otherwise, keep your resume one page long.
Make any links (like your email address, LinkedIn profile, portfolio link, etc.) in your contact information section clickable.
You shouldn’t use personal pronouns in your resume summary or objective. The focus of this section needs to be on the company you’re applying to and the benefits you can bring them.
When writing a cover letter, don’t repeat the information included in your resume. Make use of the extra space to talk about skills and achievements you haven’t mentioned already.
Proofread your resume and cover letter before submitting them. You don’t want any spelling errors or mistakes to stand in your way!
You can now add the ability called resume-crafting to a vast selection of your skills.
If you like doing challenging projects, you’ll create a job-winning engineering resume before you know it by following this article. And if automation is more up your alley, use our resume-building tool and be done with the whole process in minutes!