Tag Archives: engineer resume

Should I get a Masters in Engineering Full Time or Be An Engineering Student While I Work?

 

engineering resumeHere is one more question I received from a client that may be of use to you in making the right career choice.

Question: Hi, I just graduated and have an offer to go to graduate school and get a Masters with all expenses paid and I also have a job offer. Should I go to grad school now and finish my M.Sc. or should I get a job and some work experience first?

Steve B., Chicago, IL

Answer:

The answer depends on several factors including your financial situation (job will hopefully pay better…), your personal situation, your long term career goals and the opportunities you perceive you will get with the Master’s degree in hand.

In general I would say that if you are set on a Master’s degree and you have an offer in hand that is not contingent you should go for it and take the opportunity now. A master’s will enrich you professionally and allow you to gain experience and knowledge in more advanced engineering, in a field of your choice, without employer constraints. Doing it early will also be easier at a time when you are less likely to be constrained by family or financial needs which may come later. Completing your M.Sc. will also improve your resume significantly. An engineering resume and cover letter for young engineers entering the market place will look more attractive if you have an advanced degree (which is becoming more common place with your competition for the same job).

The reverse side of this argument is that if you are tired of school and ready for employment you can always take a couple of years off and join the work force. Also, if you are in a financial situation that forces you into a paying job then deferring graduate school makes total sense. In some cases you may be able to find an employer that is willing to commit to tuition reimbursement and will pay for your studies. Note of course that such an arrangement will most likely require you to work and study which is draining and the employer will have a say in what you study and where which may be a drawback. The program will take longer and you will not have the same availability to study. But you will have a steady pay check of course.

So in summary if you are not sure if more school is the right path at this time, the job offer looks too good to pass or you feel a great wish to jump into the work force then take the job. If however you really want to get the degree and don’t want to take the chances that the employer may not sponsor you then take the offer and get your school out of the way first. You have nothing to lose except the income.

In the end it will be a personal decision based on what matters the most to you now, but remember that if you pass on a grad school offer now you will be trading it for a possibility of a future opportunity.

Seems that you can’t go wrong! Good luck to you.

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly.

Good luck with your search!

Michael Brit
michael.brit@engineer-resume.com
President
http://www.engineer-resume.com

 

 

 

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Mid Career Engineer Stuck In Large Organization: Are There Options? Or Is It Time To Prepare a Resume And Change Jobs? Or Change Employer?

engineering resumeThis questions seems to come around from time to time so I decided to post the answer here for your benefit.

Question: Hello, I work in a large engineering department and am 9 years into my career. Most senior engineers still treat me like the “young kid”. I feel like I am stuck and that career opportunities are limited. Is there anything I can do short of leaving the company?

John P., Dallas, TX

Answer: What you describe is common for engineers in early to mid career. You have enough experience and knowledge to be highly productive but are surrounded by other professionals that have 10, 20 or even 30 years more experience than you. This naturally puts you at the bottom of the pole and it results on you not getting the kinds of assignments or responsibilities you expect. There are several possibilities that you can consider to solve this issue:

1.    Consider associating yourself with a well respected senior member of the professional group you are in. You can be upfront and once you identify the target person approach him or her and tell them you would like to grow professionally and that you can help them while getting mentoring support. Most senior engineers will be glad to help. If you can establish this with someone that is well respected you will gain in two ways. First you will be associated with this person and considered a person of high potential. Second you will learn from this person. Nothing beats experience, especially in engineering. So if you can take this route do it.

2.    Consider transferring to a department or a part of the company where these is more room for growth. This is an option only in large organizations of course. In some cases you may be stuck in a stagnant group where there will be no opportunities for career advancement and you may even be perceived as a threat to some of the more senior folks. If that is the case you may have to move laterally to another group with less establish hierarchies. Even for an internal transfer you want to rewrite your engineering resume to reflect what you have done at the company and how you have evolved.

3.    Consider professional training or furthering your formal education. This will better you as a professional and will allow you to bring new know how to the team. This will make up for your relative lack of experience. So you will still be the young guy but now you have more knowledge… Huge advantage.

4.    Alternatively you may want to consider doing nothing. Engineering expertise takes years and years to build. Focus on doing great work every day, keep an open mind and give and learn as much as you can when you come to work every day. Over time your growth and contributions will be recognized and respected.

5.    Lastly if all else fails you may want to consider working on your engineering resume and a few good cover letters. Someone with your level of experience is very employable. Engineers with 5-10 years of experience are a much sought after group. So get yourself a professional engineering resume and cover letter and start looking for another organization paying special attention to the culture when you interview. You don’t want another situation such as the one you have now.

Good luck!

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly.

Good luck with your search!

Michael Brit
michael.brit@engineer-resume.com
President
http://www.engineer-resume.com

 

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Senior Engineer Considering a Move to Program Management or Project Management. Good Or Bad Idea?

engineering resumeHere is one more useful discussion started by a client on an engineering career choice.

 

Question:

I’m a senior engineer and have over the years developed a great deal of technical experience. I think I’m a little stuck and although I don’t want to change careers, I would like to have the ability to develop new skills and most of all have a greater say in the work we perform. Should I be considering a move to program/project management of technical projects?

Pete H., St. Louis, MO

Answer:

Pete, Some of the best program/project managers come from the engineering ranks.

They bring with them a rational mind and great ability to digest information quickly and in a clear manner. Many do very well. However you must weigh the pros and cons of a change from engineering to program or project management. Changing to a PE or PM role will most likely require some formal training (which should be rather straight forward for you) and a clear career change. Your performance will no longer be evaluated based on technical competence, rigor or creativity alone. Instead you will be required to step aside from the details and focus on the “big picture”.

Managing staff and budgets will become a daily activity and as much as you will want to dig deep into the details in your new role you probably will not be able to. Another critical need you will have is for good soft skills or people skills. In your interactions with management you will likely find that how information is presented often matters as much as the information itself. This is often a challenge for a very technically oriented professional. So if you make this career change expect lots of “gray” as opposed to the “black and white” of engineering. Technical competence will be less important than the ability to deal effectively with people above you or below you and manage perceptions.

A change of this type will present a new opportunity for you as well. It will open the doors to a management track career. Consider all the elements of this decision: Financial impact (you will likely have a higher income in management), you ability to influence things in a positive direction (your interest expressed in your question), the work load (on large projects the work load can be very high), the people skills requirements and finally and most importantly if this is the right thing for you. In a nutshell you would be trading hands one engineering work for the management of budgets, people and risk.

This may come with an opportunity to move into a higher level position where you can influence strategy. It will certainly improve your resume going forward essentially allowing you to have an engineer resume and a engineering manager resume that could be deployed to different jobs. This will increase your employment value.

It’s a tough decision but ultimately it depends on what you want. If you see yourself as a continued technical expert that stays in a technical track or if you see yourself as a leader of project and programs with all the caveats, responsibilities and opportunities that brings.

Good luck!

Feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

 

Good luck with your search!

Michael Brit
michael.brit@engineer-resume.com
President
http://www.engineer-resume.com

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly.

 

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What Should I Do With My Engineeering Resume? Job Postings and Networking Sources for Engineers…

engineering resumeRecently I received an interesting question from a client, the answer will likely be useful to you so I’m posting it here for your benefit.

 

Question: Do you know of any resources or opportunities to look for engineering job postings or network beyond the obvious sites like monster.com and others that work?

Ben B., Wilmington, DE

 Answer:

Ben,

When it comes to putting your engineering resume and cover letter to work in your job search there are multiple ways to go. Here are my top suggestions.

1. Job Sites: The job sites which you are familiar with have become more and more popular over the last few years with engineering employers. Certainly monster.com, careerbuilder.com and dice.com are the leads. However there are others you may want to visit such as indeed.com which can has engineering jobs that are not carried in the main job boards.

2. Job Events/Fairs This is especially effective in defense when “cleared” engineering job fairs take place. Employers are typically looking to hire quickly and engineers with clearances are at a premium. Other job fairs or events are also a great opportunity. Check your local paper for special hiring events. If you are an entry level engineer then University career fairs are a great option.

3. Linkedin.com has grown in its ability to connect professionals with jobs. The opportunities are unlimited of course and the signal to noise ratio may be low but there are plenty of engineering job postings and linking on the site that could lead to interesting opportunities in engineering.

4. Recruiting Agencies are very adept at placing engineering candidates. Sometimes they advertise engineering positions but many times they do not. You can search for placing agencies in engineering and call them directly. They will in most cases keep your resume and when an opportunity shows up you will be on their portfolio of professional engineers.

5. Corporate Sites are a great source for engineering job postings. Many corporations, especially large ones do not bother with monster.com or other sites. They know engineers looking for a job know them and come to them. So identify several large corporations in your area and visit their sites regularly. Often times they will not have to advertise engineering opening past their site unless the position goes unfilled for a while and you will get the scoop first.

6. Local Newspapers are often overlooked by engineers looking for a job (especially big city papers) and can carry many ads for hiring events and engineering openings that are not available on the web. This is a main opportunity when other engineers are looking online and sometimes forget the local advertising venues.

7. Professional Societies. Networking events at professional engineering societies or social events/conferences are a great opportunity to get to know people and to post your resume with a targeted audience that hires engineers.

There are others like craigslist and minor job boards that also carry engineering openings but the 7 above should get you to 90% of the openings out there.
If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly.

Good luck with your search!

Michael Brit
michael.brit@engineer-resume.com
President
http://www.engineer-resume.com

 

 

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Engineering Resume Content: Tell Them What You Do, Not Who You Are

engineering resumeIn my previous messages about the best engineering resumes I told you about form and content. I also told you about job descriptions and how important they are.

But what exactly should you write about when you list your contributions?

Make sure you write about what you did, not about you.

It may seem simple but it is not always obvious to engineers that the reason there is an opening is because the organization has a need they need to fill with someone who can perform.

In order to convince the reader of your resume that you are interview material you need to focus all your efforts into telling them how you can fill that need.

So how do you do this? Make sure you describe your accomplishments. Never say things like “I was part of a team” or “I participated in”, instead use phrases such
as “I did/designed/developed…” or “I led the team that….”.

In summary make sure your writing focuses on your abilities and skills, not on you, where you were or what you participated in.

Tell them what you did and what you can do for them and you will get their attention.

Try it… It really helps get interview calls…

Remember your engineering resume can change everything…

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly.

Good luck with your search!

Michael Brit
michael.brit@engineer-resume.com
President

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Best Engineering Resume Style Choices

engineering resumeWe talked earlier about the need to have a visually attractive engineering resume. The need to have an engineering resume that jumps out and leads to
interest on the part of the reader even before the reading starts.

But what happens when they start reading?

You need to focus on creating a resume that is easy to read, flows naturally and does not make the reader feel confused or lose interest.

You can achieve this by using short sentences, common words and focusing with laser sharpness on your achievements, skills and accomplishments as an engineer.

No fluff, no long winded sentences and over worked grammar that would distract the reader from the message.

You also need to maintain a consistent writing style throughout. It goes without saying that poor grammar and typographical errors are job search killers. Have your resume proofread by a friend or colleague.

In summary keep it simple, easy to read and with a good flow of facts. You want the reader to enjoy learning about you and not have to read things twice to follow what you are trying to convey. Remember your engineering resume can change everything…

If you have any questions about this or any other
topics please feel free to contact me directly.

Good luck with your search!

Michael Brit
President
http://www.engineer-resume.com

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How Much Detail In An Engineering Resume When Listing Old Jobs?

How much of your engineering resume should you devote to what you did a long time ago?

The hiring manager is looking for someone who can help him/her do better and help the organization go forward. So they are going to focus their attention on what you have been doing lately.

What you did 10+ years ago is not likely to matter as much as what you did last year or the year before last.

Fact is we are constantly evolving and growing professionally. So the level of detail you devote to jobs that you had 10+ years ago should be limited. Key highlights should do.

Don’t worry about missing too much detail. The hiring manager is going to spend most of the resume reading time on the latest jobs so focus your attention on those and save precious resume real estate by limiting the amount of text devoted to older jobs.

In summary make sure that your primary focus and the majority of your resume space is devoted to skills, abilities and job achievements that occurred more recently. Beyond that a couple of bullet points will do. You can expand during the interview.

Try it… It really helps get interview calls…

Get a head start with our Very Best Engineering Resume Collection, a collection of the best engineering resumes and cover letters. Available to you in a simple download.

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck with your search!

Thanks for visiting!

Michael Brit
President & Chief Resume Writer
www.Engineer-Res
ume.com

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Engineering Resumes And Professional Development

 

If I’m looking to hire a new engineer I don’t want to hire someone that has stopped learning. So… Don’t Tell Me You Stopped Learning!

We all went to school. Most of us went to college. Then we went to work and stopped learning.  Not true is it? Make sure this is not the story in your resume

One of the most important things you need to do as an engineer is to continue to invest in
yourself. Stop learning and you lose value over time and become obsolete. You know this and you have been continuously evolving to stay in professional shape and add value to yourself. So make sure this is reflected in your resume.

If you took classes, list them. If you attended corporate sponsored training on software then list it. If you learned on the job and can not claim any formal educational experience do mention your on the job learning of new skills and/or tools.

In summary your engineering resume should always include a section with relevant training or learning you have gone through in your career after you left school.

Try it… It really helps get interview calls…

Get a head start with our Very Best Engineering Resume Collection, a collection of the best engineering resumes and cover letters. Available to you in a simple download.

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck with your search!

Thanks for visiting!

Michael Brit
President & Chief Resume Writer
www.Engineer-Res
ume.com

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How Long Should Your Engineering Resume Be?

One of the most common questions engineers have about their resume is: “How long should my engineering resume be?”

Well… Let’s start with what your engineering resume should be. For an engineer a resume should be many things but what it must not be is a detailed summary of your career. Why? Because depending on your level of experience that would be a 5 to 30 page document!

What your resume should be is a brief summary of achievements and skills. It should be a document that is easy for the reader to digest quickly. All information must be integrated by the engineering manager in under 2 minutes. Quick, simple, direct and rich in content. So what does this mean to the length of your engineering resume?

Typically for an engineer with less than 3-5 years of experience a one page resume should be enough. There are exceptions where 2 pages are justified but this is a good rule of thumb.

Over 3-5 years usually requires 2 pages, especially if you have worked in many different organizations or have had more than one career path.

Finally if you are a senior technical expert or a senior consultant it may make sense to go to three pages.

Remember the reader is looking for a brief snapshot of you. Keep it to a one page resume if you can. Use two pages if you are very experienced and must use 2 pages. If the resume is properly written in most cases you not need more. In some special cases for engineers in the last quarter of their career a 3 page resume may be justifiable, if written well.

Try to stick to these guidelines for the length of your engineering resume. It really helps get interview calls.

Get a head start with our Very Best Engineering Resume Collection, a collection of the best engineering resumes and cover letters. Available to you in a simple download.

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck with your search!

Thanks for visiting!

Michael Brit
President & Chief Resume Writer
www.Engineer-Res
ume.com

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What A Manager Looks For In Your Engineering Resume…

An engineering manager will look for skills and alignment with the job first. However if you are applying for the right job then these two things are a given – for you and for your competitors. So how do you differentiate your engineering resume from the other on the manager’s desk?

What Do Engineering Managers Look For In Your Resume?

Your achievements. You must tell them about the specifics of your contributions. It is fairly easy to write down what you worked on, the jobs you performed, the companies you supported and specific skills you have. These are important but they do not address the key question in the employer’s mind…

“You tell me you can do this and that… But have you actually done it?”

The only way the employer will know what you can do is to read about your accomplishments. So make sure that you tell them what you achieved.

Did you develop a new engineering tool? What did it do? How did that help? Did you design a new part or engineering process? What was the outcome? Did you manage an engineering program? If so did you meet schedules and budgets?

Here is an example of an electrical engineering resume that is well written and lists clear achievements and accomplishments without using too many words.

Electrical Engineer Resume Example
Electrical Engineer Resume Example

If I am the reader I want to read objective achievements because they tell me what you have done before. This builds my confidence that you can do things for me when I hire you. So… I am going to call you in for an interview. When appropriate add percentages in savings, efficiency metrics, increased performance numbers or any other metrics that show your work made a difference.

In summary list achievements in a quantifiable way. Tell the engineering resume reader what your contributions were and how the affected the project, product or organization.

Be specific when appropriate to highlight contributions.

Try it… It really helps get interview calls…

Get a head start with our Very Best Engineering Resume Collection, a collection of the best engineering resumes and cover letters. Available to you in a simple download.

 

If you have any questions about this or any other topics please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck with your search!

Thanks for visiting!

Michael Brit
President & Chief Resume Writer
www.Engineer-Res
ume.com

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