Successful CV writing for engineers
To craft an exceptional engineering CV, it’s important to understand the key elements of a successful CV. In general, CVs should contain the following components:
- The personal statement
- The employment or work history section
- The education section
- The CV skills section
In order to impress potential employers, it is important for CVs to go beyond showcasing your technical skills and expertise. The most successful CVs are those that can convincingly portray you as the perfect candidate for the role. At cvapp.nz, we’re here to help Kiwi professionals expand their career horizons—-let’s explore some of the main points to consider when creating a job-winning CV:
When it comes to formatting your CV, the reverse chronological layout is widely regarded as the most effective and traditional format. It's also the format that employers are most familiar with. A reverse chronological format requires you to list your professional details in order of most recent to least recent. Moreover, listing your sections in reverse chronological order tends to be the best format for more technical fields like engineering.
Personal statement: The blueprint for professional success
When crafting your personal statement, it’s important to offer insight into your professional background. The personal statement functions as an overview to why potential employers should be interested in you. To achieve this, you’ll want to highlight any professional achievements, skills or experiences that effectively illustrate why you’re the best-suited applicant for the job role. Providing a tailored overview of your professional background will greatly enhance your chances of standing out from other candidates.
Since effective personal statements should be brief, you’ll want this section to be no more than 4-6 sentences. Including your career aspirations or motivations on why you’re applying for the position can also be an effective way of capturing the attention of employers. We always recommend reading over the job description to gain a good understanding of what the role is asking for. As an engineer, it’s also a great idea to use actionable language to convey your passion and enthusiasm for engineering. Your personal statement exists to encourage employers to continue reading your professional documents and enhance the rest of your CV.
Check out a great example below:
Diligent and dedicated electrical and civil engineer with a passion
for problem-solving and designing innovative solutions that have a positive impact on society. Skilled in mathematics, physics and design principles. Driven by a desire to push the boundaries of the possible and committed to going above and beyond to add value to clients. Strong analytical thinker, collaborator and committed to improving the industry standard one project at a time.
Employment history: Your career summary
Your employment history section is often considered the most significant part of your CV. This section allows candidates to showcase their previous professional experiences and highlight key accomplishments, skills and responsibilities. If you’re using the recommended reverse chronological format, you’ll want to list previous employment positions from most recent to least recent. Be sure to include previous employment details, such as company name, job title and employment dates for each role. When you’re describing your previous roles, it’s important to emphasise any specific responsibilities or projects you worked on. When highlighting your achievements and responsibilities in previous engineering roles, it's highly recommended to incorporate numbers, facts, or figures whenever possible. By doing so, you provide concrete evidence of your accomplishments and make a stronger impact on potential employers.As an engineer, don’t forget to highlight any relevant technical skills, certifications and proficiencies you may have gained from previous employment positions.
Here’s an example of a great engineering employment history section:
Electrical Engineer at Mega X Engineering, Auckland
April 2019 — October 2022
- Designed and delivered electrical systems to a range of customers across the public and private sector
- Collaborated with a range of team members and stakeholders to ensure customer needs and preferences were effectively met
- Completed detailed analysis and testing of electrical systems and solved issues as needed
- Installed electrical systems for clients across the Auckland, Waikato and Northland regions
Electrical Engineer at Bill Robertson Engineers, Auckland
May 2017 — March 2019
- Designed and implemented electrical systems, ensuring each system complied with New Zealand industry standards
- Conducted rigorous testing and analysis of electrical systems
- Collaborated with other team members at Bill Robertson Engineers, including mechanical engineers, civil engineers and project managers
- Conducted on-site inspections to ensure health and safety regulations were met at all times
Civil Engineer at Palmerston Engineering, Palmerston North
January 2013 — November 2016
- Designed construction and infrastructure projects for 100+ clients
- Completed assessments and on-site inspections to ensure infrastructure met New Zealand health and safety regulations
- Performed structural analysis of design projects, ensuring structural integrity and safety was prioritised at all times
- Promoted to senior project manager for the construction of the Kaiwhakaea Bridge and Tui Lane Roads Project
CV skills: Your professional tool-kit
To enhance your CV and make it stand out from the crowd, it’s essential to include a comprehensive skills section that showcases your engineering expertise and demonstrates your suitability for the role. This section should highlight your proficiency in various technical capacities and provide a clear snapshot of the skills you possess. Are you a wiz at using CAD software? If you’re a software engineer, do you consider Python your second language? Do you pride yourself at having expert analytical abilities or great leadership skills? Don’t be afraid to share these skills with employers! Remember to always tailor this section to the specific requirements and expectations of the job you are applying for.
- Autodesk Revit
- Construction Management
- Structural Analysis
Education: engineering the future
In New Zealand, engineers must have at least a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in order to practice engineering. Once you have completed your degree, you'll also typically need to be accredited by Engineering New Zealand and obtain any necessary licenses. Your education section is where you should list these achievements and certifications, listed in order of most recent to least recent just like you did in your employment history section. This will effectively highlight your qualifications and make it easier for employers to assess your engineering background.
You might also like to include any outstanding academic achievements, grades or scholarships you may have been awarded in this section that are relevant to the engineering field. Remember to provide brief descriptions or explanations if necessary, so employers can fully understand the significance and relevance of your academic achievements in relation to your engineering career.
Here’s an example of an engineering education section below:
Master of Engineering, University of Auckland, Auckland
February 2013 — June 2014
At cvapp.nz, our goal is to assist professionals in New Zealand and support their career journeys. We offer a variety of customisable CV templates and provide helpful tips to help you secure the ideal role for your career aspirations. For more information and to explore our services, please visit www.cvapp.nz.