I have been helping a lot of engineers lately in preparing their resumes and improving their LinkedIn profiles. It’s funny, all of us engineers think the same, we all look for steps or processes to guide us in everything we do. Many of the engineers I work with ask me what steps to use in preparing their resume or LinkedIn profile; what size font, how many bullets, how many pages, what title should I use, etc. While there are certainly some recommended guidelines, there are no specific steps or procedures to follow when creating these items.
In fact, in this post I will argue that you should abandon processes to some degree when preparing your resume/LinkedIn profile and be creative. Most engineers out there have one (or more) very special thing(s) about them. Things that don’t necessarily fit into a bulleted item or within one of the standard resume sections, however it is your responsibility to make sure that these unique characteristics make their way onto your resume, some way, some how.
I typically tell engineers not to list an objective on their resumes, because it takes up space, and everyone has the same objective: To Get a Job! However, if you have something special, interesting, or different about you, you can explain it through a sentence or two at the top of your resume and/or LinkedIn profile.
For example, one of the engineers I am working with went to school for structural engineering, but due to the market was forced to take an environmental job out of school. He is now a few years removed from school and really wants to obtain a structural position but has no experience to show on his resume, however his father owned his own structural engineering company while this individual was growing up. So I had him write up a few sentences about how he came from a structural engineering family and was around structural engineering all his life. He added these sentences to the top of both his LinkedIn profile and resume. Another engineer I am working with speaks 4 languages fluently, so I had him write a strong introduction paragraph highlighting this talent, which is extremely important for international employers to be aware of.
In addition to your unique or special traits you should also use the experience portion of your resume and LinkedIn profile to explain the history of your career. How you got from point A to point B. Depending on the amount of room you have, you might consider making it flow like a story, like I did on my LinkedIn profile. This is a little more engaging than just listing all of the responsibilities that you had in each position. It can help the reviewer to connect deeper with you.
So please remember that when you are preparing your resume and creating your LinkedIn profile, share your story! Just think of it this way: many engineers have performed the same tasks as you in their careers, but what really makes you different from them and why would prospective employers want to know?
This is a guest post by Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success. Anthony found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website atEngineeringCareerCoach.com and subscribe to the top 3 resources Anthony has used to become a partner in a firm at the age of 27.