How to Write a Civil Engineering CV or Civil Engineer CV
Civil engineers comprise a huge group of trained professionals working in a variety of disciplines: structural, hydraulics, geotechnical, environmental, transportation and maritime, to name but a few. Contracts may involve working on oil platforms, roads, bridges, railways, buildings, maritime structures and construction. Civil engineers tend to specialise in one of these, although some may work across various industries.
It is daunting and can be quite a challenge writing your own civil engineering CV. Why not consider using a professional CV Writer to produce that successful CV for you. Take a look at Bradley CVs choice of expert services for CV writing at a range of affordable prices.
The civil engineer's CV presents the writer with a number of challenges. Firstly, there is the need to clearly present a work history that consists of many contracts of varying lengths. This fails to fit into standard formats. Second, there is the need to express a wide range of technical skills demonstrated in different situations. Third, there is the need to convince the employer that the engineer possess consultant skills as well as exemplary technical skills.
In addition to all this, your civil engineering CV must be a highly effective marketing document. This means it must communicate its central messages effectively and powerfully. In this article, we look at some considerations that you need to address throughout your entire CV..
The Civil Engineer's Challenge
The majority of civil engineers work on projects on a contractual basis. Many of the activities continue even while economies are slowing, although the effects of constricted funding for projects may mean that there are fewer posts available. Engineers are therefore vulnerable to layoffs and competition for appointments is likely to be fiercer.
It is critical, therefore, that you remain fully trained and up to date, and that this is reflected in your Civil Engineering CV. Your value to an employer is going to reside in your knowledge of the latest technology, for that is where cost economies are going to be applicable. Project managers are going to be looking for the best solutions that offer greatest value.
In order to target your CV at different civil engineering jobs, you are going to need to write a number of versions. Even if you are a specialist in a particular discipline, you must gain the greatest edge by angling your CV precisely to the requirements of each particular project.
It is important, then, that you thoroughly research every opening and the lead organisation in each. Their vision of a successful project might be different to another employer's - do you know exactly what their overarching goals are? Who is investing and where might this project lead in the future?
A certain amount of information will be provided with the contract details, but you need to ensure that you have comprehensive background information. Future stages may yield fresh projects that would benefit from your secondary knowledge, so the employer may be interested to know in more than your main discipline.
Try to conduct desk research by reading about what is happening. Use jobs and careers websites, relevant news and information sites, professional associations' sites and trade magazines to strengthen and broaden your understanding of your clients. Also network and talk to individuals who are already connected with this employer.
Awareness of the employer's long term goals will help you to shape your Civil Engineer CV on every level. It informs your profile or summary, as you can indicate your relevant knowledge, skills and experience at the very start of your CV.
Your achievements can be tailored to highlight results that are in line with the clients' current objectives, by mentioning the size and scope of projects you worked on as well as the outcome of projects.
You can, of course, include details of contracts that are a good match for the current brief. Also, by knowing how the employer is aligned in their industry, you can ensure that you mention former contracts that will be respected and create an impact.
If you would prefer someone else to write your CV, then please see our CV service. Bradley CVs has considerable experience in producing civil engineering CVs.
Relevant Skills to include on your Civil Engineering CV
As a civil engineer, you will be educated and trained to degree level or beyond in the planning, design and construction phases of large construction projects. You will need to work with architects, building contractors and other specialists in the construction industries. Your specialist IT knowledge need to be comprehensive when it comes to using software for modelling and design, to guarantee the optimal use of materials and equipment on projects.
Aside from the construction process itself, you need to offer knowledge and experience in assessing potential impacts of the project. Does it comply with health and safety regulations? Will it affect the environment? It is likely that the employer - or employers, if it is multi-agency project - will require the project lead to make projections, update them at predetermined stages of the project, and ensure that budgets are adhered to and deadlines met.
This means that civil engineers offer multiple skills in engineering, project management and consulting. It is important to present your multiple skills with confidence on your CV.
Presenting Your Skills on Your Civil Engineer's CV
It is not enough to offer technical skills - you must show that you can understand and apply these in contracts on your civil engineering CV. More than this, you must show that you are motivated and passionate about doing so. The employers need to feel confident that you can produce and implement cost effective solutions and they are only going to feel confidence in you if you express confidence in yourself.
Management skills are important on a Civil Engineer CV. Clearly, you need the ability to work independently, coming into a new project and communicating with many people in different agencies, companies, public bodies, and department. The ability to prioritise work amongst many tasks, while responding to the priorities of other parties, is valuable. Flexibility and adaptability allow you to respond to sometimes demanding schedules. At other times, you will need to take a stand on an issue or point, and resist attempts to direct your findings or results, or attempts to move you outside the brief.
Depending on the civil engineer jobs you are applying for, leadership skills such as the ability to motivate other people will be an important aspect of the management skills you present on your CV. Many of the skills needed are soft skills (transferable skills) such as this. You have to highlight these in your Civil Engineering CV, so that the client will want to meet you to learn more. The ability to see the 'bigger picture' is important, as you need to be able to take a 360 degree view of the project.
On the technical side, do not present a long list in which you start with the skills that the majority of other applicants will also possess. Instead, organise your skills into a table, wherein the most current and desirable skills you possess will be seen first. You need to emphasise the technology requirements that match the current brief or assignment.
If the project requires standard skills, then you need to present the industry standard technologies as your core skills set - in other words, you must show that you have completely mastered these skills and are an expert in the technologies.
Licences, industry accreditation, security clearances and certification are important, as they establish you as a recognised professional in your industry. Integrity is invaluable. While working on this contract, you may be privy to critical information, so it is important that employers are able to trust you. Conveying integrity is difficult, but can be achieved by stating your values and motivations in your Civil Engineering CV (and cover letter), and by presenting past contracts with respected and known clients.
All in all, you need to assess yourself and identify your strengths in all of these areas. This comes together to form the core message that you will need to communicate throughout your CV, from the Profile at the very top, through the Achievements, Career (or Contract) History, Skills and Qualifications sections.
Provide Evidence in Your Civil Engineering CV
For everything that you claim in your Civil Engineer's CV, you need to provide evidence. The earliest point you can do this is in your Achievements section. Here you can include examples of contracts and projects that are relevant to the prospective employer.
The more impressive your achievements are, the better, so long as you do not lose relevance to the advertised contract. It's usually better to focus on the larger projects where your role was more extensive.
When writing these projects up in your Career History section, it may be best to add detail beneath the entries for large projects, while leaving very short term positions as single lines (you can even relegate them to a list of contracts at the end of your CV).
Every entry beneath your contracts should read like an achievement. However, always be sure to have documentary evidence in case it is asked for. This particularly applies to the quantification of achievements, when stating how much expenditure you saved, time or costs reduced, profit earned, numbers of sites, domains and servers, sales resulting from an e-commerce project, etc. Every recruiter is on the look out for exaggerated claims, so it's important to stick to the facts, while presenting them boldly.
If you are qualified to degree or postgraduate level, include details of this in your Civil Engineering CV, but omit details of your earlier education. Include apprenticeships if this is how you trained in your specific discipline. Be sure to include a professional accreditation or memberships, as this is vital in establishing your integrity and in establishing professional competence.
In all areas of your Civil Engineer's CV, always avoid presenting dull lists. Always think, "will the recruiter know what this means?" Never assume that because they work in the same industry, they understand every project you refer to. Expand and explain, while remaining succinct.
If their industry knowledge will inform them as to the award or acronym you are using, then all well and good. If it won't inform them, then you will be wasting space with information they can't interpret. So, if explanation is required, give it (briefly).
When writing your civil engineering CV, you need to include the following information.
- The names of previous employers and your job titles.
- A brief description of what each employer does (if they are not well known).
- The number of staff you managed or who were involved on the project.
- The major projects that you have worked on and whether you completed the projects on time and within budget (if applicable).
- Your financial and budgetary responsibilities on each major project.
- Design, construction and purchasing responsibilities.
- The detailed planning of all stages of construction, including workers, equipment and materials.
- The construction phase, including site inspections and checking materials, measurements and workmanship.
- Contact with buyers, planners, surveyors, supervisors / managers, other subcontractors and the clients or agencies.
- New techniques, procedures, practices and processes that you have introduced or developed.
- How you have reduced costs / saved money on the project.
- How you have improved efficiency / productivity on the project
- Any other achievements that have benefited the project.
Stick to the Point on Your Civil Engineer CV
Having comprehensively researched the project you are applying to, it's important that you avoid straying from the core message of your civil engineering CV, which is how you can further its goals in the most effective, efficient way possible. In targeting your CV to each position, be tough with yourself and cut out anything that is not strictly relevant.
Do not create long lists of skills you learned in formal education. While these are important at the early stage of your career, they are very quickly superseded by the hands-on experience you gain in the real world, achieving real results.
Although some explanation may be necessary, avoid becoming long winded. Your sentences should be short and punchy, albeit professional and polished. Use bullet points and avoid paragraphs altogether, as these are less readable. A time-pressured client is not likely to read lengthy chapters about your career history.
Always focus on the most important, relevant information they need to know. If you are indeed suited to the contract, then this will create such an impact that other information is rendered secondary in any case. If you can't create that impact by the end of the Achievements section, then you are not going to grab the employer's attention further down your CV.
Remain Contemporary in a Civil Engineering CV
Never assume that because your Civil Engineering CV worked well for you five years ago, it will still work well for you today. Simply adding recent contracts as soon as they are completed is not the same as updating your CV.
As budgets contract and competition for positions on civil engineering projects becomes stronger, you need to be constantly reviewing and tailoring your CV in order to show that your experience is contemporary. Be prepared to constantly review your CV with every application you make.
Other pages for civil engineers: