If you’re a young engineering grad and have begun pounding the pavement for work, you know the competition these days is pretty stiff.
That means your resume has to positively shine. It also means leaving off the “nos” that HR managers and engineering managers look for when scouring through a stack of resumes. They want to reduce that stack to a handful, and they’re just looking for excuses to toss your resume in the reject pile.
- Spelling/Grammar Errors. A résumé littered with typos and mistakes can be a deal breaker. Don’t just rely on “spell check” to correct these errors. Ask colleagues to give your resume a “once over.”
- Photos/Physical Description. Unless the potential employer specifically asks for your picture (most don’t), leave it off. A photo can leave an employer open to a discrimination lawsuit should they fail to give you the job. The same holds true for physical and belief attributes. So don’t include your height, weight, age, race, religion or political leanings.
- Exaggerations. These days, employers have many tools with which to verify the facts on your resume. College degrees, employment gaps, involuntary terminations—all can be fact checked fairly easily. So don’t exaggerate.
- Negativity. While interviewers may ask you why you’re eager to leave your present job, don't include it on your resume. Avoid badmouthing a previous employer. Don't try to explain employment gaps on your résumé. Leave that for the interview, and only if asked.
- References. At the resume stage, references are far less important than other information. Concentrate on key experience points and job qualifications. Simply include the line: "References available upon request."
For an added perspective, check out this video:
Got any thoughts on things to leave off an engineering resume? Include your comments in the section below.
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.