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5 Important Engineering Resume Tips

The field of engineering is generally considered one of the most competitive fields to obtain an internship or job within—engineering companies want to hire only the most driven and highly skilled students as interns, and during an age in which the STEM fields have become increasingly popular due to their lucrative nature, this selectiveness has only risen. In this blog, I’ll be specifically discussing how to make your resume stand out as an engineering student and show that you have the skills necessary to contribute to a company’s objectives.

This is a picture of an engineer working in a lab to fabricate some item.
Photo Courtesy of NTNU

Tip #1: Include Projects

As an engineering student in college, you most likely do not have previous work experience or internships. Because of this, having projects on your resume is crucial to ensuring that you will land your first job. Projects demonstrate the skills you have to offer, and having a wide variety of projects can give employers insight into what you have to offer to their company.

To begin, I would recommend including projects that you have done for competitions, especially if you have won an award. In addition to demonstrating your commitment towards your field, it also shows your ability to perform well in a competitive environment amongst many other talented engineering students. Since most competitions are group-based, including them will also show how you are able to collaborate with others.

This is a picture of David Chuong, Danny Vo, and Duy Pham speaking at the MESA National Engineering Design Competition in June of 2018 at Temple University in Philadelphia.
This is a picture taken of me and my team during my junior year of high school before we gave our presentation on the Document Organizing System we had been working on for the last 9 months. To this day, I still have the project on my resume, and recruiters are very impressed by it.

I would also make sure to include any projects that you did for engineering classes. While these may not appear to distinguish you from the rest of the engineering “crowd,” they do show employers how you were able to apply the skills you learned in class to practical projects. This gives more credit to your degree, and also shows that you have the ability to turn theory into practice.

Independent projects may not seem worthy of inclusion to many people, but in the world of STEM, they can actually prove to hold much value. While the majority of engineering students have projects that they constructed for competitions or classes, I guarantee that very few actually go off on their own and make projects just for the sake of fun and experimentation. Well-designed independent projects can show employers that you are truly passionate about your work, making you a great candidate for any engineering job.

Tip #2: Elaborate on Relevant Engineering Technologies

While you can easily state certain engineering technologies that you are familiar with, such as the programming language Java or the 3D modelling software AutoCAD, employers will find your resume much more attractive if you actually elaborate on how you used those technologies to contribute to a project or complete a task you were given during an internship.

This is a picture of an electrical engineer using an oscilliscope for a lab experiment.
Photo Courtesy of Alexander Drummer

Don’t be afraid to go into detail about which specific aspects of the technologies you used, as well as the applications that you were able to have for them. Employers hiring STEM students want to get an idea of how you will be able to apply your knowledge to the work you will be doing at their company.

Tip #3: Join Reputable Engineering Organizations

This is a bit of an odd tip, but I would highly encourage you to join reputable organizations through your school or other means, as they can greatly appeal to certain employers. When I was applying to a high school internship at Lockheed Martin, one of the requirements was to have been a member of a Lockheed educational partner organization, such as MESA or Cyber Patriot.

This is a picture of the UC Irvine MESA logo.
I was a member of the MESA program throughout all 4 years of high school, and it gave me access to many educational/career opportunities I would not have had before.

Societies such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) are highly regarded by electrical engineering employers, so if you ever have the opportunity to join a professional engineering society, do so. It definitely cannot hurt you to put these types of organizations on your resume, and it certainly opens up more doors for opportunities.

Tip #4: Talk About Growth From Internships

A mistake I see on many resumes is students listing responsibilities they had as an engineering intern or project team member, but not going much further than that. Always talk about how an experience helped you develop your skills or gave you the chance to explore an area of interest that you may have not known much about before.

If your resume doesn’t tell your personal story, it is simply a laundry list of “accomplishments” you have, which is boring and does not show much about your passions and your character. You want to be able to elevate your resume beyond just a list of skills and distinguish yourself as a unique student that companies would love to hire.

Tip #5: Mention Soft Skills

It can seem a little counterintuitive to mention soft skills on an engineering resume, which is typically used to display more technical skills. However, communication and leadership skills are lacking in engineering fields, and including soft skills on your resume will help to distinguish you from the rest of the engineering students applying for the same position you are.

This is a man giving a speech to the public. He is doing public speaking.
Photo Courtesy of 祝 鹤槐

Being able to give a good presentation or work well with other people is something that employers will value, so if you have gained these skills over the years, make sure to include them.

Thank You

Thank you for reading my blog post on the top 5 most important resume tips for engineering students. I truly hope that it can help you or a friend improve their resume. This free content is made possible by the support we receive through our mobile app, UniPlan, an all-in-one planner for university students. If you wish to support us, please download the app and/or spread the word about our app and educational content. Thank you.