CV Writing Tips for Engineers

Writing a good engineering CV can seem like a daunting task, especially as your CV may be the first impression you get to make on potential employers.  Engineers have many skills, but from our experience reading through thousands of engineering applications each year, CV writing is not always one of them.

It can prove difficult to balance both your technical skills and transferable skills, whilst making you stand out from the competition.  FoodEng Recruitment has put together the following guide to help you land the interview.

What not to include on your CV:

  • Headshots/Selfies
  • Images/Pictures (photographic evidence of your work or certificates should be presented at interview)
  • Salary Details
  • Irrelevant personal details such as marital status, age, nationality, number of children and their names and religion.  These do not affect your ability to do your job and shouldn’t be ask at interview, so don’t include them on your CV.

Must include:

  • Telephone Number
  • Private Email Address - Hiring Managers and Recruiters may be reluctant to email you at work, because some companies have email monitoring systems in place, so they wouldn’t want to put you in a difficult situation.
  • Address - If you don’t want to provide your full address, list your town, county and the beginning of your postcode for example; Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11.  Your full postcode is always best when companies are looking for local candidates, but at least this will give them some indication.

The Presentation and Layout

Whether you are applying for a job through a recruitment agency or directly with the employer, there is a good chance your CV will be scanned by an applicant tracking software.  Therefore, it’s essential to choose a layout for your CV that is clear, easy to read and effective. Word or PDF formats should not be an issue, but as nice as it may look, including loads of text boxes, charts, tables and images can result in the layout of your CV being incorrectly altered by the software as it tries to make sense of the details.  This can make it difficult for the hiring manager to read.

Try to keep the length of your CV no more than 2-3 pages long.  Your CV’s main purpose is to offer potential employers a brief look at your relevant work experience and achievements, which will hopefully result in you being invited for an interview where you can sell yourself further, so there is no need to list everything.

Key Word & Phrases

Job Boards, applicant tracking software and even some recruiters will scan your CV for key words and phrases and grade your application accordingly to the job.  Ensure that you include key words and phrases on your CV that are relevant to your chosen industry, engineering discipline and the job you are applying for.

Profile/Personal Statements

When it come to personal statements, try not to use generic words or clichéd phrases such as “Team Player”, “Honest” or “Reliable”.  These are all good traits, but instead, use the personal statement section to highlight what you enjoy most about engineering, why you believe you’re a relevant candidate for the opportunity and what makes you different to other engineers.

Highlight your Achievements, not your Responsibilities

Too many times, we have received CV’s where the work details have clearly been copied from the company job description.  This approach will not sell you to a potential employer or recruiter and does nothing to place you above the competition.

Instead of using phrases such as “Carrying out planned and breakdown maintenance on production machinery”, try to demonstrate where your efforts have resulted in positive outcomes, for example; “Supported the department to reduced machinery downtime by 20% by focusing more on planned maintenance delivery, resulting in an annual savings of £120K and increased production output”.

Be honest.  If you were solely responsible for improvements then note it on your CV, but if you were part of a team, make sure this is transparent.  You don’t want to get through to the interview only for your CV to come across as misleading.

Key Achievements

Once you have gone through the above process, select 2 or 3 of your most successful achievements and then list these at the top of your CV under the personal statement.  This will also give you the opportunity to add further details on those achievements if needed, but remember not to write an essay, leave something to discuss at the interview.

Highlight your Transferable Skills and Experiences.

Even if you are applying for engineering jobs in the same industry as you currently work in, don’t expect the person who is reading your CV to know every relevant company.  Make it easier for them to understand what your company does and even list relevant machinery. Some engineers will list machinery manufacturing brand names, but not the equipment type.  Remember machinery manufacturers will most likely supply a wide range of equipment, so make it clear which systems you have personally work on.  You don’t need to list every machine you’ve held a spanner to throughout your career, just those that may be relevant to your application. 

If you are applying for a role in a new industry, do your research.  Visit company websites and review other job adverts in the new industry to learn where you will be able to transfer your skills and then demonstrate these on your CV.

Bad Example:-

Engineer -  AG Donaldson – 2007 to Present

Engineering Maintenance on etc xxxxxxxxxx


OK Example:-

Multi-Skilled Maintenance Engineer

AG Donaldson (Food Manufacturer), 2007 to Present


Good Example:-

Multi-Skilled Maintenance Engineer

AG Donaldson, 2007 to Present

AG Donaldson is a family owned food manufacturing business supplying baked products to retailers.

They have 7 production lines incorporating a wide range of equipment such as mixers, depositors, checkweighers, provers, spiral conveyors, metal detectors, end-of-line packaging etc etc….



List your most recent industry recognised qualifications first.  If you have completed in-house training, mention these as well and the dates the training was provided.  Also, note any professional bodies or memberships that are relevant to your industry.  The below layout is a good example to follow:


·City & Guilds Electrical Installations, North Trafford College, 2011·HND Mechanical Engineer, Teesside University, 2008 - 2010

In-House Training

 ·Food Hygiene Certificate - 2009·Working at Heights Safety Certificate - 2010 Professional Bodies/Membership 

IMechE - Associate Member

So, following the above advice, you’ve written, checked and double checked your CV.  Fantastic.  Now do nothing with it.  Well at least for the next few days.  Take a couple of days to reflect on what you have written.  You will be surprised on what achievements, unlisted skills or forgotten projects will come to mind during this period.  Add any new details and re-check for errors, before posting your CV on job boards or submitting it for that dream engineering job.

Good luck with your job search.

FoodEng Recruitment is a professional consultancy devoted to the appointment of Engineering Personnel within the Food & Drink Manufacturing Industry.