Your CV is usually the first opportunity you have to make an impression on a prospective employer. As such, it’s important to ensure it makes an impact. Here are my top tips for an impressive engineering CV:
1. Choosing the right style
There are two main styles of CV that we like to see:
- Chronological (technically reverse-chronological) CVs are the most widely used, and for good reason! It highlights your most recent roles and showcases your experience to a potential employer.
- Functional CVs are more skills-based and can be more effective for those with less work experience; focussing on the skills and qualifications you can bring to a particular role.
2. Project sheet
In conjunction with your CV, here at Fielders we find that having a "project sheet" can be very useful. Just send us a separate list of all the projects you've worked on, we can then cherry-pick any experience we think will be particularly helpful to show the prospective employer.
3. Keep it concise
Employers will often need to assess lots of CVs for a particular role. They will have a quick glance at each one to get the gist of an applicant’s suitability. Stick to short sentences, avoid colloquialisms and don’t use big words unnecessarily! Keep your language as simple and concise as possible. I recommend a maximum of four sides of A4 (using bullet points rather than paragraphs for certain things can be helpful).
4. The technical stuff
You are an engineer so our clients are looking very closely at all of your technical experience and like to see specific language. Additional CPD courses can make your application much more appealing (Cat & Genny and SMSTS are good examples), as such it's in your best interests that all of your valid CPD and Safety courses are evident on your CV.
Quick Tip: Avoid compatibility issues by sending your CVs in both Microsoft Word and PDF format.
5. Tailoring your CV
Each role you apply for may require different skills or abilities; it’s likely you’ll need to update your CV in some way. A good idea is to keep any different versions of your CV that you have used for past applications - that way you’ll have a more easily updatable and tailored document to work with. At Fielders we often find that certain jobs will have a bias towards a particular area of site investigation, so it's great if you want to send us up to three CVs that lean towards these particular sectors - Geotechnical/Geo-environmental/Offshore.
6. Give it some personality
Whilst your CV is a formal document, that doesn’t mean you can’t show off what makes you… you! Hobbies and interests are always a welcome addition; extracurricular achievements can help you come across as a well-rounded candidate.
7. Too much information?
Many employers prefer a ‘blind’ CV, this means that information that could lead to any sort of recruitment bias, is not to be considered. This involves such things as your marital status or the inclusion of any photographs. There is no requirement to provide this information in your CV and it’s generally best to leave it out.
8. Check, check and check again!
Give your CV a thorough comb through. If you’ve been working on it for a while, take a break and come back to it later, you’ll be surprised how much more you’ll notice! It’s not all about typos and grammar, it’s important to make sure all of the dates, qualifications and references are as accurate as possible.
Inspired by: Jacqui Lynch Written by: Tom Perfect