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5 steps to a standout engineering CV
It’s well documented that the engineering industry is experiencing a considerable skills shortage. Whilst this may mean there is less competition from other candidates for roles in certain disciplines, you still want to be at an advantage so you can get the best job you can get. With career defining projects such as HS2, Heathrow and Hinkley Point demanding steady streams of engineering professionals, now is the best time to give your CV a facelift to make sure you’re in for a chance to get the best opportunities.
Your CV is your introduction to an employer; it’s your working life on a page (or two) describing your education, experience, skills and qualifications in a way that demonstrates the benefits of a recruiter hiring you.
Clearly there are some key pieces of information you need to include in your CV, regardless of what type of job you are applying for, like contact details, education, professional qualifications, personal statement and details of your previous roles. However, the way you present and structure this information will vary for each role you apply for. No two roles are the same and an employer will know if you haven’t tailored your CV to suit their role.
To help you in your new job search, our specialist recruitment consultants have some advice on how to write a standout CV.
1. Consider what employers want
Think about what the employer is looking for in a candidate and arrange your most significant skills and experiences as early as possible in your CV. Joe Wilson, Department Manager for Highways, Transportation & Planning explains that “there’s no point putting your work experience from 1970 at the top of your CV.” He continues:
“If you’re a contractor, put your most recent job at the beginning of your CV and then go on to include your most recent and relevant experiences.”
Les Hewlett, Automotive Divisional Head, expands on this:
“Make it clear what you achieved in each role. It’s fine to show you can work effectively as part of a team but recruiters are mostly interested in what you specifically contributed to the job.”
Adding what you actually achieved in a role will impress an employer and will show them what you have achieved in your career thus far; they’ll want to know more about you this way, after seeing a snippet of what you are capable of.
2. Match your skills to the job
Try to reflect the job on offer to make it as easy as possible for an employer to match your skills with what they are looking for. Tailor your CV to each role you’re applying for. No employer wants to feel that you’ve sent that very same CV to countless other employers. Tim Carling, Divisional Manager for Engineering Technology, highlights how this can have a negative effect on employment opportunities:
“A focused job hunt is the key to success in the job hunting game– the ‘spray and pray’ approach leads to disengaged recruitment agents and employers. Be clear and honest with your current position and focus your energy on a small number of realistic opportunities.”
3. Keep it concise
Your detailed experience needs to be relevant for the job you are applying for to show you are a good fit, but reams of information will turn the recruiter off. Rob Kelly, Department Manager for Infrastructure Permanent, advises that CVs should be kept ‘punchy’. He continues:
“Only include skills which are relevant to the roles you are applying for, rather than listing every skill you have ever had or used.”
Tim Carling adds to this advice, commenting on the length your CV should be:
“Keep your CV to two or three pages and make it relevant to each job you apply for. A short, personal profile at the start of your CV will give the potential employer a good feel for who you are and what you want, prior to reading about your recent experience.”
4. Check, check and check again
Spell check and carefully proofread your CV. It is worth asking someone else to read it too in case you have missed anything. Even the smallest mistakes could make an employer think you are not conscientious.
Ben Birch, Department Manager for Aerospace, explains the importance of proofreading your CV:
“As recruiters, we receive countless applications for the opportunities we are working on. A candidate who takes care to proofread their CV and eradicate any typos and grammatical errors is more attractive than a candidate who hasn’t taken the time to do this, especially in the engineering profession, which relies on precision and accuracy of information. Thoroughness and a keen eye for detail are attractive attributes to have and with one chance to impress an employer, this could put you above another candidate with the same experience as you.”
5. Think like a recruiter
When reading through your CV, try to place yourself in the position of an employer reading the document. Would you hire you? And does this CV really give you the information you want to see in the best possible way?
Darren Everard, Divisional Manager for General Engineering, explains how working with recruitment agencies can help:
“Recruitment consultants can help you with all aspects of the application process, from helping you update your CV, keeping you informed of exclusive opportunities and preparing you with interview tips once your CV has opened those doors.”
You can find more advice on our career advice pages. If you’re ready to start looking for your next role, register on our website so you can quickly and easily browse and apply for jobs. You can also set up job alerts so you can be one of the first to apply for your dream job.
If you need some further help or advice please speak to one of our consultants on +44 (0)1489 898989.
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