When it comes to landing your dream job as an engineer in a cold market, a well-crafted CV can make all the difference. Drawing from my experience as a hiring manager for over 100 roles throughout my career at companies such as Twiga, Wasoko, Shara, and currently Meta, I have gained valuable insights into what makes a CV stand out. In this blog post, I will combine my experiences with essential strategies for writing a CV that captures attention and increases your chances of securing an interview.
In my experience, prioritizing achievements is crucial. Numbers are particularly powerful in showcasing measurable results and setting goals without sounding self-aggrandizing. Highlight specific accomplishments with quantifiable outcomes, whether it’s exceeding performance targets, reducing project timelines, or driving revenue growth. These numbers provide concrete evidence of your capabilities and showcase your ability to deliver tangible results.
Trim Unnecessary Details:
Keep your CV concise (1 page ideally) and focused on relevant information. For example, while including your educational background is important, prioritize qualifications and experiences that are directly related to the job you are applying for. Minimize extraneous personal details and hobbies unless they significantly contribute to your engineering qualifications.
Also, please don’t put your picture, it’s just a distraction.
Show, Don’t Tell:
Go beyond listing technical skills in your CV. Showcase how you have applied those skills in real-world scenarios. Describe projects where you utilized your skills to solve complex problems or achieve noteworthy outcomes. By providing examples of practical application, you demonstrate your problem-solving abilities and capacity to contribute effectively. You can not achieve the same effect with a list like: MySQL, Python, Java blah blah blah.
Highlight Relevant Soft Skills:
Employers value candidates who possess not only technical skills but also relevant soft skills. Instead of simply stating desirable qualities, provide concrete examples of how you have demonstrated them in a professional setting. Share specific scenarios where your communication skills, teamwork abilities, or adaptability were essential to successful outcomes. These examples provide valuable insights into your fit within the company culture and your potential contributions. For example, did you need to work with stakeholders from different countries? Or launch a project on tight timeline
Remember, point of CV is to get an interview, the point of the interview is to get you the job:
An engaging CV quickly captures the attention of hiring managers. Use bullet points, concise language, and a simple format (only use bold, H2 headers and italics) to make your CV easy to scan. Tailor the content to align with the specific job you are applying for, emphasizing the skills and experiences most relevant to the position. Highlight your ability to align with the company’s goals and contribute to its success to increase your chances of securing an interview.
What is your own experience in writing a CV for engineers? Talk to me on my Twitter @jchex