Article, Résumés for Engineers by Audrey Field :

Résumés for Engineers
by Audrey Field, CRW, CEIC, B.A., B.Ed.

You are good at what you do and you know it. As an engineer, how do you strategically convey what you do on paper? My clients laugh when I ask them to tell me about major problems they solve. “I solve problems all day long…they can’t run the place without me” is the usual reply.

Let’s take a couple of minutes to focus on the core components of building a résumé for professional engineers. The field of engineering itself is huge, with disciplines spanning civil, electrical, electronic, mechanical, nuclear, chemical, aerospace, and environmental, in both civilian and military capacities. So, understandably, this is a general outline but it should prove helpful as a starting point.
If your current career search document looks like a “laundry list” of job functions, then it’s time to retool your résumé. I’ll start by suggesting you briefly outline the nature of the company you work for and the product they develop or manufacture. Tell how you got the job. Were you recruited, selected from multiple candidates, or promoted? Mentioning how you got to where you are now builds value. Review the specific products or processes that are your primary responsibility.

Make it very clear that you are trustworthy. New product development and prototyping is the backbone of any operation so these must be protected. If you are currently working within the military, your DND security clearance status is an excellent way to communicate your trustworthiness.

Showcasing leadership and sound decision making is vital for those who aspire to move up and earn the six figure salaries like Higher Bracket boasts. I suggest a multi-prong strategy for this. Summarize projects you directed and list problems you overcame and give the overall result. Provide a scope of the numbers involved with site crews and supervisors you oversaw, budgets you developed, cost savings you captured, and processes you improved.

If you can handle the full scope of technical, administrative, and personnel aspects of complex, multi-phase projects, then put it down. Do not make the fatal assumption that a busy recruiter or selection committee chair with piles of résumés to sift through are going to guess. You are wasting your time in job hunting if you are not going to spell it out for your reader.

If you can’t find a way to share how you made the company money, then find a way to indicate how you saved the company money. Again, numbers make a strong impact. I use charts and graphs as well because diagrammatical representation often says more than a 1000 words. The figures can retrieved from the results of sourcing new suppliers and contractors, improving operational efficiency, boosting production, reducing scrap/waste, heightening quality controls, bettering safety measures, and maximizing all available resources.

I am a strong advocate of parlaying the soft (human) skills just as much as the hard (job-specific) skills.
Divulging how well you can deal with individuals from all levels of the corporate mix, as well as clients, regulatory personnel, and any other key stakeholders will work in your favour. Many of my clients have or plan to work abroad, so indicate your ability to speak another language.

Don’t forget the importance of citing your ability to deal with the more mundane aspects of your work like administrative detailing and reporting. In geophysical engineering for example, the project’s impact on the local environment is closely monitored so ensuring complete documentation for regulatory adherence is crucial.

Additional information can be included in other sections. Prepare a dedicated technology/tools/devices section to outline your knowledge in your field of engineering. The particulars of your degree should be outlined in your education section, as well as your ongoing professional development initiatives. Include professional memberships along with any offices you held or special projects you worked on for those organizations, add this as well. Awards, Publications, Inventions, Patents, and Speaking Engagements are other sections that may apply to your career path and could be included.

In your industry, the right key words (and there are thousands of them) are critical if you want to land within the radar of recruiters and HR Managers. Grab the attention of both humans and scanning software by selecting your own specific engineering key words.

 Six Sigma Master Blackbelt
 Kaizen & KanBan Practices
 Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
 Research & Development
 Testing & Prototyping
 Performance Test Simulation/Verification
 Non-Destructive Evaluation
 Process Standardization
 Product Lifecycle Management
 Productivity Improvement
 Project Costing, Planning & Management
 Regulatory Compliance
 Root Cause
 Work Methods Analysis
 Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)
 Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
 Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
 Fault Isolation & Analysis
 Corrective Action Procedures
 Lean Manufacturing Principles
 Preventative Maintenance
 H2S & Radiation Worker
 Safety Compliance
 Structured PM Methodologies Design
 Workflow Reengineering
 Policy & Procedure Design
 Coal Bed Methane Supervision
 High-Availability Power Systems
 Budgetary & Labor Cost Controls
 Optical/Electro-Mechanical Design
 Spectrometric Oil Analysis (SOAP)
 VHDL Digital Design & Simulation
 Finite Element Analysis
 Client & Public Relations
 Multi-Party Forums & Presentations
 Confidentiality Assurance

Confidently relay the full gamut of your skill-set from job-specific requirements and troubleshooting to identifying operational efficiencies and you’ll win the nod from more than one corporate decision maker hungry for new talent.


Audrey Field CRW, CEIC, B.A., B.Ed. is an award winning, Canadian career transition expert operating . She is well recognized for career related publications, presentations and television appearances. A leader in career transition and outplacement services, Field writes for multiple magazines, newspapers and websites. Audrey has triple accountabilities with CDI, serving as their Canadian Advisor, Aerospace/Defence and Military Transition Expert Program Leader. This is in addition to being CPC's Business Development Advisor. Email Audrey:


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