Mechanical engineering careers guide

How to write a great CV

Give yourself the best chance of success when you apply for engineering jobs by writing an excellent CV.

Hiring managers receive an enormous number of CVs, so make sure you grab their attention with yours. Our handy list of dos and don’ts will help you when you start writing.  You may also want to read the guidance on our job hunting advice page.

CV dos and don'ts

Do:

  • Include any relevant work experience
  • Include skills and strengths
  • Show off any awards
  • Display contact details
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Be honest
  • Be clear and concise
  • Include a section on your extra-curricular activities like interests and volunteer work
  • Keep employment history in reverse chronological order (ie. most recent experience first)
  • Keep it to one or two pages maximum
  • Make sure formatting is perfect and that it’s easy to read
  • Tailor the content to each company and position

Don’t:

  • Lie
  • Make jokes
  • Make the design overly decorative
  • Make it more than two pages
  • Make spelling mistakes
  • List every irrelevant temp job you’ve ever done
  • Cram everything together

Sample CV

  • Your name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Example street, example town, EX4 3PL

Profile

Your profile is the most important part of your CV. It highlights your professional attributes and experience, summarising why someone should consider your application.
  • Try to avoid clichéd phrases that do not differentiate you as a candidate
  • Always tailor your CV for each job application to match the requirements

Key achievements

  • Select 1-3 key achievements from your career that demonstrate your ability to do the job you’re applying for
  • Read the job description and list any similar duties and responsibilities you’ve done

Key skills

Technical skills:

  • Show that you have the relevant knowledge to succeed
  • Include computer software you’ve used and any relevant training courses

Personal skills:

  • Include your attributes that are essential to the role
  • Good communication and flexibility are qualities that all employers look for

Certificates and membership

  • Include any relevant professional qualifications here
  • Add any professional associations you’re a member of (such as IMechE)

Education

  • University name, location, course title, grade
  • College name, location, course titles, grades
  • School name, location, grades

Employment (most recent first)

  • Job title, company name, location
  • Dates of employment and reason for leaving or contract/interim

Key achievements:

  • Provide a list of the key achievements you’ve made in your job
  • Try to show evidence like percentage increases or financial figures
  • Always keep examples relevant to the role you’re applying for

For older jobs, keep the details slightly shorter, only offering information that will help you reach the next stage in your career. Be sure to list key achievements for each job.

Personal interests/hobbies

Outside interests help a potential employer find out more about you and your skills (like being a member of a football team would demonstrate teamwork).

References

References are available on request.