Sunday, January 3, 2016

Engineering Resume Tips and Tricks!

So it's that time of year again and students everywhere are trying to get their resumes up to snuff so they can grab a sweet first job. And as your designated woman on the other side of the table, I've decided to give you some tips. If you haven't checked them out yet I have some older posts about questions to ask before accepting a jobquestions to ask during an interview, and how to apply to jobs without getting fired.

Step 1: Write a list of your previous jobs, awards, accomplishments, publications, professional organizations, certifications, etc.

Step 2: Find a resume format you like. There are plenty of examples online, and some built into word. Pick something that is a single page- you are writing a resume, not a CV, and recruiters don't have the time or patience to hear your whole life story.

Step 3: Populate the resume with your information! Start with the easy stuff- like your name and contact info. I'd recommend not using a college email, because sometimes recruiters find your resume years later (when your college email is long gone) with new opportunities. Then, start populating with the information you've collected in Step 1. At this stage don't be afraid to go over the one page limit, you'll pare it down later.
Should I put my citizenship status on my resume?
In the US, you should include this if jobs you are interested in require US citizenship and either you are not born in the US, or your name sounds foreign. And yes, I realize there is so much wrong with the last part of that instruction... but I've been told that by lots of advisers, so I'm just passing it along. 
Should I put my GPA on my resume?
Only if you are proud of it. Otherwise leave it off and let your accomplishments speak for you. They can always ask for your GPA later.
Should I put this random stuff from high school on my resume?
This one is the most frequent offender I see in resumes. Unless you were doing "real" engineering work in high school (which can count towards relevant work experience), or are a college freshman or younger - you should drop anything from when you were not legally an adult. Recruiters don't actually care that you won the school spelling bee in 9th grade, or that you were on Varsity cheer leading.  Picture the recruiter asking you, "Why should I hire you?" Your resume should only have things that you'd feel comfortable using in your response. Things like "well, I won this band competition in 10th grade" are unlikely responses. 
Remember to use active voice and a variety of action verbs in your job descriptions. Use a consistent tense, and be consistent with the grammatical structure you use. For example - decide ahead of time if you want to use complete sentences or if your bullets will be fragments (which don't have periods at the end). The consistent voice will help a reader easily pull information from your resume while skimming through a huge pile.

Step 4: Find an actual job that you want to apply to and compare your resume to it. To be clear, I'm not saying that you should mimic the job description if you do not have the skills or experience to back it up. I'm saying that you should be aware of what the recruiters are actually looking for in an employee. For example
Do you know how to use their required programs? Specifically list the ones you are fluent in on your resume. 
Do they ask for a certain number of years of experience in a certain field? Make sure your resume highlights what experience you have, and has the dates of employment listed.
Step 5: Pare it down, or beef it up. Okay, now that you have all of the information that you want - it's time to take a look at the volume of information.
Is your resume looking a little thin? Consider adding some of the following, but make sure that whatever you add is relevant and not just filler. You are constructing a one page thesis on why you should be hired - and random information will take away from the good stuff. 

Is your resume too long?  If you are in your teens or twenties and are over a page, it's time to cut some stuff out. This is your chance to pick your BEST selling points to keep on your resume to help you shine. Here are some ideas of things that I cut from long resumes: 

Yes, I realize that these two lists have a lot of the same stuff on them. But the idea is to prioritize what will make you look the best. 
Step 6: Get somebody super honest to review your resume. Or better yet, get more than one somebody to review your resume. They should check for relevance, spelling, syntax, etc. It's preferable that you choose somebody who also knows you fairly well, because they can sometimes remember gems that you've forgotten to include. Take their feedback as a gift; if they are tough than they probably want to help you succeed. So, don't forget to say thank you!

Step 7: Save it as a PDF, print it out, and apply to jobs! Make sure to read each job description carefully. You may want more than one resume on file if you are applying to more than one type of a job. If you are going to a job fair, learn to use your resume as an interactive tool to tell your story.

Good luck in your job hunt! Don't forget to like, share and follow if you like what we write!

Cheers,

Vanessa

PS. What do you think is the most common resume mistake?

5 comments :

  1. what an interesting and informative post ,it will surely be useful for many ,my son has got first job before leaving his university and we were so grateful to God not because it was a financial support but because it was my pride over my son and in whole in laws family who were always against his higher studies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome. Congratulations to your son!

      Delete
    2. Awesome. Congratulations to your son!

      Delete
  2. what an interesting and informative post ,it will surely be useful for many ,my son has got first job before leaving his university and we were so grateful to God not because it was a financial support but because it was my pride over my son and in whole in laws family who were always against his higher studies

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've learned in the 10 years since I graduated that the job you find in Step 4 usually will not be posted for an entry level graduate. What the job posting tells you is not that you aren't eligible for that job (which you likely are not), but that the company is hiring people. Hopefully, people who are not much further into their careers than you. If a company is hiring, you should apply to that company. My firm does not post entry-level jobs because we don't want to be flooded with entry-level applicants, but that doesn't mean we won't hire good candidates, even when the jobs we have posted are for 10+ years of experience. If the 10+ years job looks interesting, say so in your cover letter, and apply.

    ReplyDelete

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