There are many factors that go into getting a new job: your training, your work experience, and how you handle interview questions all play a part. But maybe the most important aspect of any job hunt is your CV.
Get it right, and you might get your dream job. Get it wrong, and you won’t even be considered.
There are some rules that apply to all CV’s, no matter what industry you work in. But there are also some engineering-specific elements that can make a big difference in whether or not you’ll make it to the next stage of the process.
We’re going to look at the CV do’s and don’ts that can help you get an engineering job.
Possibly the most important thing to ensure you do with your CV is to tailor it for the specific job you’re applying for.
If the job mentions a tool, piece of software, or technique that you’ve used, you need to make sure those elements are at the top of your CV, broadcasting to the hiring manager that you are qualified.
If the company mentions they want someone who aligns with their values, try to show that in the projects or experience you mention.
For every bullet point on the job specification, try to show a time where you utilised the skills they’re looking for, for both hard and soft skills.
When listing your work experience, be specific. List projects you worked on, tools you used, and how your work helped the business or project succeed.
If you have statistics, even better. This allows you to drill down into the specifics of what you did, and how it made an impact. In turn, this gives the person interviewing you something to talk about, allowing for a conversation, instead of just questions and answers.
We’ve put together a list of the best keywords that you can put on your engineering CV.
Your CV needs to communicate what you can do. A bullet point list of software you’re trained in, tools you can use, and other skills you’ve built over the years helps show exactly what you’re capable of, in a way that’s quick and easy to read.
You don’t need a paragraph to explain you’ve used a type of software, you can just list it for the hiring manager to see.
You might feel like including your hobbies undercuts the seriousness of your application, or takes up valuable space that could be spent listing your achievements.
But listing what you do outside of work helps humanise you and your application, and can help you stand out in the minds of recruiters or hiring managers. You don’t need to go overboard, just one or two sentences can make all the difference.
This goes without saying, but always check your CV before you send it off. If you’ve been editing it for hours, you might be sick of looking at it, but it’s always worth taking five extra minutes and checking for any typos or spelling errors, because if your CV isn’t perfect, you may well be out of the process immediately.
Your CV should be three pages long at absolute maximum. Two is best.
You might have years of experience, and great company names in your work history, but the person reading your CV doesn’t have time to read pages and pages for everyone who has applied. They need a shortlist of people who they know are capable. So your job is to make them understand that you are capable, as fast as possible.
When applying for a job you really want, you might be tempted to include every bit of experience you can think of. But all this does is make your CV too long, and annoy the person reading your CV.
Stay focused on what’s most important, and what is specifically asked for in the job outline.
It can be tempting to embellish the truth to make yourself stand out. This might help you land an interview, but you’ll fall apart when pushed for specific details, or when they check with your old employer.
Lying in an interview is the worst possible impression you can give. Ultimately, it won’t help you get the job, and it can even harm future career prospects if word gets around the industry.
Writing your CV doesn’t have to be scary. If you follow these tips, and avoid these common CV mistakes, you’ll be getting interviews in no time.
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