Writing a compelling CV that stands out from the pile can be one of the most daunting tasks facing people trying to tackle today’s competitive job market. At BMR Solutions, we specialise in connecting skilled individuals with careers in the engineering industry, and so our expert team have compiled the following list of tips to help you write a winning CV.

A Few Basic Principles

Before we get more specific, there are a few CV-writing fundamentals that you should take note of to ensure that you start off on the right path.

  • Firstly, you should tailor your CV to the job you are applying for. Employers are looking for skillsets that best match the job description of the vacancy. In order to make yourself the best match possible, emphasise the skills and experience you have that most closely resembles the activities of the role you are applying for.
  • Secondly, it’s important to understand the position of the person who will be reading your CV. Employers are busy people who will quickly dismiss CVs that are overly-long, convoluted, poorly-worded, or awkwardly-arranged. Make sure the font is a friendly size, that there is enough white space, and that the CV has a neat design. If your competitor has more qualifications than you, that is something you can’t control. But what you can control is how competently your CV is put together – and you should always optimise the things you can control.
  • Following on from the last point, you want to grab the employer’s attention as quickly and strikingly as possible. Be concise, sharp, and clear. Don’t waste any time getting to the point. Imagine the employer glancing at your CV for the first time and what their eyes will be drawn to. List the skills you have most relevant to the job in bold font. Something like “Structural Analysis” or “Computer Science” will give the employer a clear idea of what you can offer.

Hard & Soft Skills

As we mentioned in the previous point, your skills are meant to grab the attention of the employer, and will usually be lined up beneath your bio or perhaps vertically down the side of the page, depending on what layout you go for. What’s important is that they stand out. When reading the job description of the role you are applying for, keep an eye out for key words. If you see any that match your skillset, be sure to emphasise them throughout your CV.

In general, employers will value hard skills over soft skills, but there’s room for both depending on your level of experience and the role you’re applying for. Hard skills are specific abilities you’ve acquired through experience or education, whereas soft skills are innate personality traits. Both are of interest to the employer, but some soft skills can be inferred by your hard skills or work experience, and ultimately you want your CV to be as distinctive as possible. A hard skill, such as “Infrastructure Maintenance” is more compelling and relevant than a soft skill, such as “Teamwork”. However, if the role you’re applying for requires good teamwork, then it would be a good idea to include it, the same way that the soft skill “Leadership” would carry more weight when applying for a management position. It all comes back to tailoring your CV to the job role and using the right key words. As a general rule, hard skills are of greater interest to employers, and you should consider which soft skills are already apparent in your experience and which are worth emphasising.

Structuring Your CV

A good CV ought to be structured broadly into three parts – the hook, the body, and the extras. The hook includes your short bio and a list of your key skills. This section is designed to pique the interest of the employer and make them want to keep reading. As such, you should have the most important or relevant information here.

The body of the CV will be where you go into detail about your experiences. Here you will outline in reverse-chronological order your work history and education. How you format this is up to you, but keep in mind that you want it to look inviting to the employer. A large block of text is less attractive than a series of bullet points. What you include depends on your experience. In engineering, employers are looking for evidence of technical proficiency and good problem-solving abilities. Giving a brief overview of a project you worked on – including its challenges and its outcomes – is an ideal place to start. If you haven’t had much experience with projects, then simply list your work history starting with your most recent place of work. Pick out the elements of your previous jobs most relevant to the role you’re applying for. If you haven’t had a job yet, then go into detail about relevant activities you conducted during education, apprenticeships, internships, volunteering, or work experience to emphasise your transferrable skills.

Lastly come the extras – these are smaller sections at the end of your CV listing your achievements, certifications, interests, and references. Naturally, any technical certifications or engineering-specific awards are a must. Your accomplishments outside of engineering won’t necessarily make or break your application, but they give the employer an idea of who you are. These days, engineering employers are looking for people that can work well in a team, so mentioning any sporting, volunteer, or community activities will be of interest.

Final Considerations & Help with BMR Solutions

Check your CV multiple times for spelling or grammatical errors. Take a break between each proofread to ensure you approach the text with as much freshness as possible.

Remember to keep it concise. Don’t say in two sentences what you can convey in one. If your CV is over 2 pages long, it’s too long. Try and aim for 1 and a half.

If you want to take your CV to the next level – as well as your general employability- consider reaching out to our recruitment specialists at BMR Solutions. Securing people their dream jobs in the engineering sector is what we do, and our friendly team of experts get immense satisfaction helping people like yourself. For more information on how we can offer you bespoke recruitment advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

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