Entry level engineering resumes can be difficult to put together. Most young engineers struggle with deciding exactly what they should include. I found it very daunting when I tried to write my first engineering resume after graduation. I want to save you from that frustration and help make the process easier so you can start applying for jobs. This guide should give you some helpful suggestions on just what you need to do to have a great entry level engineering resume.
Step 1 – Entry-Level Engineering Resume Checklist
The first thing you want to do is brainstorm everything you will need to include on your resume. To make it easier on you, I have developed the Engineering Resume Checklist. It's included with our free The Wining Entry-Level Engineering Resume. The checklist will help you develop all the information you will need to put on an entry level engineering resume. Examples of this include school history, scholastic and non-scholastic awards, accomplishments, groups you were in, positions you held, volunteering, work experiences, internships, skills, etc.
Once you get all of the information down on paper, it becomes much easier to start arranging it into the resume format. DOWNLOAD - ENGINEERING RESUME CHECKLIST.
Step 2 – Entry-Level Engineering Experience
The experience section of the resume is the most important section. After scanning the rest of your resume, hiring managers will focus on the experience section to see if you will make the cut for an interview. Many young engineers incorrectly just state tasks. Boring, lifeless tasks.
Instead of telling people what you did, you should be telling them what you achieved. You can do this by following this formula:
This ACTION led to this RESULT (as seen by these FACTS)
Here are some examples of the right way to do it:
Completed four traffic control plans ahead of schedule, which resulted in a time savings of eight hours.
Led a senior design group project, which resulted in the successful completion of the project and the highest group score in the class.
Developed a safety protocol for XYZ Lawn Company, which led to a 20% reduction in employee injuries.
After you finish writing your experience section, re-read each line and ask yourself if it sells you to your new employer. If it does not, figure out how to re-write it. Writing this way is difficult and will take a little practice. However, once you've mastered it, your resume stand out among the rest.
Step 3 – Format Your Resume
There are tons of different resume formats you can use for an entry level engineering resume. Search the web and find the one that you like best. While there are lots of resume formats, each of them generally has the same several basic components. The main components that I have found work best for an entry level engineering resume are as follows.
Contact Information: This section includes all of your contact information, including your physical and email address.
Summary: This is a small paragraph at the top of your resume that gives the reader a quick summary of you. The resume summary should grab the reader and make them want to continue through the rest of your resume. If the resume summary doesn’t interest the reader, the resume is going in the trash.
Education: This section describes your educational experience. This should include the university you attended, location, years attended, degree program and GPA. If you haven’t graduated yet, list your anticipated graduation date. You do not need to include anything from high schools or summer schools you attended. Start with your most recent school (or degree) and work backwards.
Experience: Once engineers have been working for a few years, the experience section should be over 2/3 of the resume. However, graduate engineers without any experience often struggle to figure out how to fill out this section. For engineers just graduating from college, experience does not have to be limited only to jobs. See the Resume Brainstorming Checklist for additional help in brainstorming experience.
Skills: Skills can include any specialized ability you have. For engineers, these skills tend to be along the lines of computer program proficiencies. This can include design or modeling software, programming software, etc. Speaking another language is another skill commonly listed on resumes. If you read job postings that list specific skills, you should make sure those skills are listed on your resume. If you don’t have those skills, go get them!
Step 4 – Entry Level Engineering Resume Length
In the past, all engineering resumes were one page, no shorter or longer. That rule has gone out the window. Modern resumes can now be two or three pages as needed. The one-page rule still holds true for the minimum length. Resumes should not be shorter than one page.
Most entry level engineering resumes I've read have struggled to make the one-page mark. One page is around 380 words. If you have less than that, you probably did not fill up the page. Large fonts and spaces do not count. If you have gone through the ENGINEERING RESUME CHECKLIST, hopefully you have found enough stuff to fill up a page. If you are still struggling to fill up the page, go out and do more stuff! Try to find an internship (even if it’s non-paid). Join a professional organization and take a leadership role in it. Volunteer as a research assistant. Take chances and put yourself out there to start racking up notable achievements.
Step 5 – Have Your Entry Level Engineering Resume Reviewed
It is stereotypical to say engineers are bad at grammar, but sometimes this stereotype holds true. I personally struggle with grammar and spelling. However, if you look at my resume, you will not find one grammatical mistake because I had it reviewed by professional resume editors.
When applying for jobs, your resume is the only thing that employers have to evaluate you on. If there are spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, or poor word choices, it can cost you the job. After working extremely hard to make it through engineering school, nobody wants to lose out on their dream job due to a misspelled word. That is why you need to make sure your resume is perfect.
Many engineers are tempted to just let their roommate, parent, sibling or significant other review it. That’s great, you should let them. But after they are done reviewing it, you still need to have it reviewed by a professional. A professional who looks at resumes all day will pick up on things your friends and family won’t. You have already spent a lot of time and money trying to get an engineering job. Don’t stop just shy of the finish line.
Get your Entry Level Engineering Job
Applying for jobs is hard. Only five resumes out of every one hundred get selected for an interview. Out of those five interviewed, only one gets a job. You need every advantage you can get to make sure you are the one that gets selected. Avoid the common mistakes most engineers make by downloading the free The Winning Entry-Level Engineering Resume.
I wish you all the engineering success possible. Indeed, I hope you conquer the job market and change world! Don’t let anyone or anything stop you.