The Engineering CV Guide.

The Engineering CV guide: A definitive list of Do's and Don'ts.

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It is never easy looking for a new job, and with the high level of competition in today's engineering jobs market, you really need to make yourself stand out. Appearing to be the best of the best is an obvious pre-requisite, but it is amazing how many CV's we receive that are full of the same mistakes over and over again; where candidates are selling themselves short. According to The Laddershiring managers and recruiters spend an average of 6.25 seconds looking at your CV, so you've got to nail it the first time. The key to a great CV is not to miss out on any vital bits of information, that makes it easier for the recruiter to navigate through your skills; this basically means that a poorly crafted one, will head straight to the bin.

I have been in the recruitment industry for some time now and feel I have a strong ability to spot an excellently crafted CV. I know what gets a hiring managers attention, and I want to share this knowledge with prospective candidates who are looking for their next role in engineering. There are 3 principles that every candidate needs to bear in mind when crafting their CV…

Firstly, it is important to understand that your CV is not a cut and paste document, but a tool that opens doors, so it really needs to be tailored to each role and each market.

Secondly, hiring managers are busy people who sift through dozens of CV's a day. They don't have time for the detail; they just want the direct, straight to the point approach

And finally, your CV is your opening, your opportunity to shine, being able to sell yourself and your experiences in a concise, well-written and structured document will be well received.

If you can apply these ideas to your CV writing, then you are one step closer to reaching a real decision maker. To help you with this, I have also compiled a go to list of do's and don'ts that I feel every candidate could benefit from reading, before they submit their CV's; as all too often vital bits of information are always missing.

The do's and don'ts of crafting an engineering CV

Do include:

Employment history. Always keep it in reverse chronological order, the most recent being first

Experience. Include relevant experiences - 8 years within a BMS System house always goes down a treat if that is what they are specifically hiring for.

Skills. Include relevant skills, ability level and software i.e.: Tridium, Trend, Countfire etc.… that will make you stand out from the crowd

Certificates and Projects. List your specific accomplishments - software or management courses etc.…that are job specific or transferable

Project Values. If they are specific to the role then include them i.e.: BMS role, show BMS values etc.…

Contact details. Need to be easy to access and readable - Make your email address a hyperlink

Proof read. Always check for spelling and grammar, get you CV's proof read by a fresh pair of eyes - poor spelling is a serious turn off for most employers

Structure. Make the CV clear and concise - job, key words, position, date, job responsibilities & projects - making your CV easy to navigate helps us pick out the most important points.

A short CV. Try keep your CV to a max of 3 pages - don't worry about this "one page" rule - If you have a lot of projects then make a separate portfolio

Extra-curricular activities. What's your likes, interests any volunteer work? Appear human and remember people hire people, anything that sounds interesting and you've learnt transferable skills from is always a plus

Space and simplicity - think about font, size, white space, all these makes your CV easier to read and digest

Tailor your CV to each role and each market . Every industry has its own jargon and acronym's and engineering and ICT are no different. Make sure you sound like you know what you are talking about especially within the built environment


Exaggerate. Boast or lie - You will get called out in interviews

Be Funny. It simply doesn't work

Look overly dramatic. Decorations and background pictures can be distracting

Make it excessively long.

Make simple spelling/grammar mistakes. Shows lack of attention to detail, a very important skill,

Mention first jobs. Saying you worked in a shoe shop, or as a waiter/waitress is not relevant

Waffle. Going off on a tangent, or unnecessary info is boring and puts off the reader immediately

This is a list compiled from my experiences; it's far from definitive, so if you've noticed anything that I've missed then please feel free to add it to the comments section.

Just remember…

The best way to sell yourself short is by submitting a poorly written CV. There are so many 'how 2 guides' and templates out there to help with CV writing, that there really is no excuse for getting it wrong. If you don't know where to start my list is a good place, otherwise if you need any further pointers, then please see our website and read more on our top tips for CV writing.

CBSButler are always happy to assist and give advice to those who are actively or passively searching for new opportunities', we are always full of informative advice to steer you in the right direction.

Please visit our engineering jobs where you will find vacancies like maintenance engineer, service engineer, commissioning engineer, mechanical engineer, civil and much more posted by CBSbutler's Engineering Recruitment Division and apply today!

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