5 Ways to Make your Engineering and Construction CV Stand Out
5 Ways to Make your Engineering and Construction CV Stand Out
At Euro Executive, we see a lot of Engineering and Construction CVs every day and we know what sets a good Engineering and Construction CV apart from a great one. We also know that it can seem difficult at first to take years of experience across numerous projects and locations and condense this all down to 2-3 pages with headings and bullet points. But the good news is that there are some simple tips and tricks, and we have compiled a list of our top tips specifically for Engineering and Construction CVs. If you follow the advice below, you will give yourself every chance to stand out from the crowd.
a. The Institution
We see several CVs where there is a qualification, but the name of the institution is not listed and unfortunately, by leaving out the name of the institution, you can unwittingly draw attention to this omission and raise question marks. Frequently, our candidates might not even realize that they have forgotten to include the name of the institution, or another reason is that the institution closed or changed its name and the candidate felt that it was better not to include the name. However, there are a few reasons why you should consider listing the name of the institution or university.
b. It’s a small world
In Ireland, the range of engineering and construction courses is limited to a few colleges and ITs and frequently the hiring manager will have either attended the same place or have done a similar course. Having something in common with one of your interviewers is a great start for both of you and will lead to a natural chat about the course and the institution.
c. The right name of your course
If you decide to state the name of your institution and course, make sure that the title of your qualification is correct. For example, there’s a difference between ‘Engineering Degree’ and ‘B.Eng’. If in doubt about the name of your course or institution, double-check your qualification immediately and update your CV and LinkedIn profile.
2. Non-technical questions
If the interviewer chooses to start with education and qualifications, any questions around your course and institution will help to settle any nerves that you might have. Or if they choose to start with your work history and then work towards education and qualifications, then questions around your course will provide a breather for you. And it allows you to talk about something that is not related to current or previous roles.
We get asked “Should I include interests or not?” all the time. And there is no right or wrong answer, as it all comes down to opinion. And opinions certainly are divided on this topic!
Some people feel that a CV should only reflect their education and work history. And there are others who feel that if they excel in something outside of work and can demonstrate significant achievements; they want to highlight this in the ‘Interests section’ in their CV.
Also, some people feel that these interests if they are sport or team related can show good teamwork or leadership skills. Likewise, if they have won an award, they might feel that this can help them stand out from the crowd.
However, regardless of where you stand on this issue, there are some things that should never be done in the ‘Interests’ section.
a. Don’t Invent Interests
Never, under any circumstances, add fake and made-up interests just because you think it looks good and will appeal to the organisation. For example, imagine your state in your CV that you are an avid marathon runner and compete in triathlons because you like the sound of that. Next, imagine that the interviewer is also an active member of this community and they ask you about your ‘personal best’ – well, you can guess how that turns out.
Don’t add a generic list of random activities because you feel that you must include something. If this is the case, then consider leaving this section out. Only include something on your CV that works to your advantage.
The word ‘hobbies’ has become outdated now. ‘Interests’ or ‘Interests & Achievements’ are now commonly used.
4. Membership of Professional Bodies
a. Your membership
If you are a member of a professional body or organisation, it is advisable to add this to your CV. It shows that you are a professional with a serious interest in your career and reputation and that you have invested in accreditation.
b. Join the group on LinkedIn
And if the group exists on LinkedIn Groups, you should join this group too as your interviewer could be a member of this group.
c. What is the exact name?
Make sure that you have the exact name of the group and that you haven’t been using the wrong name all along. For example, let’s say that you are a member of ACEI (Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland) but you state that you are a member of Ireland Engineers – this can lead to all sorts of confusion and again points to lack of attention to detail.
a. I.T. & Software
Depending on the role that you are applying for, if you are proficient in or have received training in IT skills or software packages such as MS Project, Excel, AutoCAD etc. you should list these on your CV
We are seeing an increase in people who have experience in report writing, and so if you have experience in this area, it’s advisable to add this to the list as it is an important skillset to have in certain roles.
b. Soft Skills
Communication skills and the ability to deal with clients, along with experience in negotiation is a great skill to list on a CV, but frequently, people in the Engineering and Construction sectors overlook this and omit it from their CVs as they feel that it is not relevant.
You can either create a ‘skills’ section towards the end of your CV. Or add in these skills under each role – but if you have numerous roles, this can look repetitive and take up a lot of space in your CV that can be used for other facts. Another option would be to have an opening paragraph with a short summary description of your experience and skills and to add these skills here instead.
It might seem like a trivial little thing, but the small issue of poor formatting has many knock-on effects.
Let’s say you’ve spent hours creating and editing and re-editing your CV and you are finally ready to apply for a few roles and send off some applications. You then notice that some of the bullet points are not aligned and that some of the words in bold, shouldn’t be in bold. And that a huge paragraph should have been split into a few more bullet points.
a. 30 seconds to make a first impression
Firstly, anyone working in either a recruitment consultancy or in an HR team is surrounded by CVs all day long. And we make our first impression in the first 30 seconds.
b. Sign posts to process information
Make our job easier by having an easy to read. Headings to help us to know what section we are looking at, and then bullet points to break up the information, allowing us to process the information easily.
c. Keep the formatting simple
If you are using columns and tabs or tables, this could provide finicky and tricky to use (unless you are a Microsoft Word whizz) and you could become so frustrated that you attempt to throw your laptop out the window. So, simplicity is better for your sanity!
d. Errors & attention to detail
Lack of consistency with formatting throughout your CV again points to a lack of attention to detail. And as recruiters, we will question whether you read back over your CV or not before submitting it to us. And if you have stated that you have experience in report writing, you especially need to make sure that your CV is formatted correctly!
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