As an engineering student, you are probably aware by now, that putting together a CV can be quite daunting, due to all the little details that you must or (quite often) must not include. There is no such a thing as the “perfect CV” which makes it even harder for a beginner to get started and produce a document that highlights your skills and qualifications in an effective way.
If you intend to apply for an internship, graduate-scheme or even a summer job, here are the three rules that I believe you should follow:
- Do your research: You have chosen the job (or several jobs) to which you would like to apply to. Fair enough. However, this is where it gets tricky. You ought to have a good argument on why you made this choice, perhaps related to your engineering background knowledge. Think about how your skills fit with the role/sector and why you decided to apply for that particular position, at that particular company.
- Tailor your CV to the job: On the contrary to what you have possibly heard, there is no “one CV to rule them all” and there is a good reason for that. Each time you apply to a specific job, you need specific skills, and these come from specific experiences. Hence, you should not use the exact same copy of a CV and use it to apply for multiple jobs. On your CV (and cover letter), it is obvious whether you have spent time to tailor it according to the skills and qualifications required for this particular vacancy.
- Provide evidence of the skills you claim to have: Stating in a bullet point the word: “MATLAB” is ok, I guess. However, if the same bullet point instead reads: “Knowledgeable at the X MATLAB libraries, which I applied to perform the Y experiment with a Z final rate of success” it is a more complete sentence which demonstrates practical experience to an employer. And that is because you provide all the details that come along with your knowledge of the software, the fact that you know how to perform some lab-experiments as well as some of your outstanding academic background. This is a way to convince someone that yes, you are the right person for the job.
One last tip; try to include facts and skills that are relevant to the placement you apply to. It is not unusual to include a bit of extra information, to highlight perhaps other aspects of your character, but your CV should always demonstrate the specific skills and experience required for your chosen job.
Evangelos, Application Advisor