Your CV is possibly one of the most important documents you will ever write.It must encapsulate everything about you, what you have achieved and how your skills can be transferred to the job in question; it offers the employer a snapshot of you and must be enough for them to want to call you for an interview.
Branches of Engineering
Science and technologically based degrees are far more precise than humanities or arts degrees and so it is likely that candidates applying for a job in the engineering sector, are likely to have similar backgrounds and, therefore, need to work harder at standing out. Candidates with specific degrees such as Aeronautical Engineering naturally have a more focused career goal but those with electrical, mechanic, software, industrial and civil engineering degrees potentially have more options in the kind of employers they might want to approach.
Tailoring the CV
It is important to tailor your CV to each employer you approach – they are likely to specify the kind of skills they are recruiting for so emphasise how you possess these skills in your own CV. Skills-focused and chronological documents tend to work best for graduate positions and should be clearly set out – avoid the temptation to prove your design competency by making the CV more complex than it needs to be; nice elegant white paper is more likely to appeal than brightly coloured attention-grabbing gimmicks.
Those graduates with a BEng (Bachelors) may be limited to applying only for those jobs that nurture further learning as many engineering sectors such as Mechanical Engineering need to meet a required standard such as those set by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers where CEng status can only be achieved through a written assessment taken after employment has commenced before applicants have proved their eligibility for the qualification.
Because of the nature of the `ongoing` education of engineers, it is likely that many employers will employ competence-based recruitment processes, where candidates can expect to take a series of psychometric or aptitude tests. Assessment centres are common in the engineering sector and employers will tailor the assessment process to the needs of what they are looking for so there tends not to be a typical assessment template. Carefully done, the CV should be a good way of presenting your written and analytical skills, assessing yourself in an honest but optimistic way. List those skills that you can demonstrate clearly in these sorts of tests, and elaborate on others such as time management, prioritising, commercial and business awareness, team working skills and leadership potential.
Recruiters will naturally favour industry-related experience and some degree courses may even include work placements as part of specific modules. It may be necessary to do voluntary work during the first few months after graduation and this will certainly help. For any graduate, proving relevant work experience for even an entry level position can be difficult, which is where elaborating on any transferable skills may come in useful. Even if you found yourself working in a fast-food restaurant to help pay the student bills, you could perhaps identify the communication skills you developed and working in a busy commercial environment with its own pressures for deadlines.
The main purpose of the CV is to achieve an interview, so remember not to overload the document with your life story and your aims and career goals – the interview itself will elaborate on these kinds of issues. Employers within the engineering industry are like any other in that they will seek people that they feel will best represent, develop, and enhance their company, and will seek the most competent and capable candidate.
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