Resume writing can be daunting, and best practices have changed over the years. Professionals in the early phases of their career, perhaps writing resumes for the first time, and industry veterans who have not updated their resume in a long time alike will benefit from these tips. If you are looking for more comprehensive resume writing information, we invite you to download our Resume Kit for Engineering Professionals.
1. Don’t get creative. Obviously, there are exceptions for professionals in creative professions, but engineering and IT resumes should follow standard formats—contact information at the top, work experience in reverse chronological order, and education credentials at the bottom. Recruiters and human resources professionals are used to this format. Presenting your resume in this manner allows them to spend their time looking at your background instead of trying to find the information they need. This said, depending on your career objectives, it may be prudent to include your technical skills at the top of your resume before the work experience section. Also, a well-written executive summary at the top of your resume can be very beneficial, especially for those pursuing senior positions.
2. Be concise. As much as possible, break information into small snippets. Also, using bullet points can go a long way toward helping readability.
3. Not a comprehensive work experience log. While you might have extensive work or educational experience, it’s important to keep your resume as brief as possible without leaving out essential information. If your resume includes old or irrelevant information, such as jobs held over ten years ago or minor degrees and achievements, it may distract from key information.
4. Optimize your resume. Carefully read the job description for each position. Include the work experience, achievements, and skills most relevant for the specific role. Also, a service such as Jobscan can be a valuable tool to help you optimize your resume with relevant keywords for specific positions.
5. Use active, quantitative language. As much as possible, communicate the value you contributed to your team or company. Frame your accomplishments in measurable results. For example, “decreased product development timeline by 20%,” “ improved quality assurance scores by 33%,” “decreased costs of a multi-million project by 15%.”
6. Don’t include the phrase “References Available Upon Request.” This phrase at the bottom of your resume is no longer needed, as hiring managers know that they can request your list of references. Additionally, the inclusion of this phrase takes up valuable space that you could use for compelling information. Finally, if you are concerned about age discrimination, this phrase is a bit of a tell in that it is quite outdated.
7. Don’t double space after periods. Those of us of a certain age were taught to double space after periods in formal documents. This is no longer standard formatting, and a resume scanner could be trained to spot this and these resumes if an employer is biased toward hiring a younger person.
8. Include Soft Skills. Soft skills are important for success on technical teams. Some say that strong soft skills are even more important than technical skills. List your areas of strength here. Some of the top soft skills employers look for include communication, teamwork, adaptability, perseverance, problem-solving, creativity, work ethic, interpersonal skills, time management, and leadership.
We hope you found these tips to be helpful. For more advice for resume creation, 180 Engineering created a Resume Kit for Engineering Professionals. It’s full of great tips, resume samples, resume templates, and more. We encourage you to download it.