Employers and recruiters often use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to search a vast number of CVs for specific keywords and phrases.
This means, if they’re looking for someone with a certain set of essential qualifications or skills, they can automatically search thousands of CVs to find the most appropriate candidates.
If your engineering CV includes relevant keywords, it’s more likely to be read and you’re more likely to get an interview for the engineering roles you want.
With that said, here are 10 essential engineering keywords your CV should include.
1. Your discipline (electrical, civil, mechanical…)
It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how easy it is to miss this essential keyword. Your specific engineering discipline is an essential part of the job description and application, so you should clearly mention it in your profile right at the top of your CV, as well as in previous roles when relevant.
Whatever your specialism, engineering roles often focus heavily on simplifying processes. Be sure to mention how you’ve streamlined, developed a faster method or created something other staff members can use easily. If you have any percentages to back it up, even better.
3. Your specific skills (technical drawing, risk assessment…)
Recruiters are looking for all sorts of desirable engineering skills. Some will be specific to your discipline; while others will relate to the practical side of the job.
Include whatever skills you have that are relevant to the role. You’ll be giving the recruiter exactly what they want to see.
Your CV’s skills section: To make your skills clear and prominent, list them in the top quarter of your CV underneath your name, contact details and profile.
Applying for a more senior role? Recruiters and employers will be looking for terms like ‘managed’, ‘led’, and ‘coached’. It’s not always enough to say you set quality standards or trained people – management experience needs to be clearly pointed out, even if it was just for one or two projects.
5. Your qualifications (university degree & industry training)
Engineers are specialists, so the right pieces of paper are important. With this in mind, your core qualifications should be listed after your recent roles and experience.
If you have specific experience with software or machinery, and that’s desirable or required on the job ad, mention it along with your core skills.
Supervision experience doesn’t just include managing people. Supervision demonstrates you’ve monitored processes, looked after quality control and can keep things running smoothly.
If you’ve previously been in charge of any kind of observation or decision making, explain it in your CV.
Successfully training colleagues is a skill in itself. So, if you regularly work closely with junior colleagues, roll out consistent training or teach on the job, give the reader a quick summary.
Here’s a tip! Try to include both ‘trained’ and ‘training’ in different contexts if you can, just in case employers are searching for one keyword and not the other.
Show off your innovation skills. Outline why and how you’ve created new technology, equipment, software, and processes. How you apply your skills and training to your roles is more relevant to employers than your degree classification.
‘Maximised’ could relate to time, profits, efficiency, energy usage, material choice and more. Results matter to an employer, so they want to know that you achieved them, or contributed to achieving them, in previous roles.
Problem-solving is a valuable engineering skill. So, under each of your previous roles, briefly describe the problems you solved, if relevant. Use positive, proactive verbs like ‘resolved’ or ‘ensured’. This information is easy to feedback to a hiring manager.
Include these keywords in your CV
Competing for engineering jobs is tough. But there’s always plenty you can do to improve your chances of landing a role. It’s not all about having the perfect set of qualifications and skills.
If recruiters have a better chance of finding your CV in the pile, you’ll be well on your way to getting an interview invite.