In this article, we’ll walk you through the essentials of creating a CV that not only highlights your technical expertise and project experiences but also positions you as the ideal candidate for your desired role.
We’ll provide practical tips and real examples to help you build a document that stands out in the competitive field of civil engineering. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, this guide is designed to give you the tools you need to make a strong impression on potential employers.
Read The Job Description / Advert
The first step is, of course, to read the job description. We need to know what the firm is looking for so that we can properly highlight these characteristics in our CV. So read back over the job description and try to pinpoint the important points. A lot of times a firm will call things “required”; if you see this, you need to make sure you include that in your CV. Similarly, if certain things are repeated throughout the advert, this indicates they are of high importance, so we will want to make sure our CV shows that as well.
When performing this analysis, take care to copy the ‘exact’ words and phrases that are being used by the hiring manager. We will want to pepper these into our CV later.
Civil Engineer Job Description Example
Civil Engineer Position Available
We are seeking a skilled and motivated Civil Engineer to join our dynamic team. In this role, you will have the opportunity to work on a variety of challenging projects, ranging from infrastructure development to environmental solutions.
- Design, develop, and oversee construction and maintenance of building structures and infrastructure.
- Analyze survey reports, maps, and other data to plan projects effectively.
- Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors during the planning and risk-analysis stages.
- Use computer-aided design (CAD) software for simulation and project design.
- Ensure projects comply with legal requirements, especially health and safety standards.
- Supervise and visit construction sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety standards.
- Direct or participate in surveying to lay out installations and establish reference points, grades, and elevations.
- Estimate material, labor, or construction costs for budget preparation purposes.
- Maintain project documentation, including reports and compliance documentation.
- Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering or a related field.
- Professional Engineer (PE) license preferred.
- Proven experience in civil engineering, with a focus on infrastructure projects.
- Strong analytical and critical thinking skills, with a high level of accuracy in calculations and design.
- Excellent knowledge of design and visualization software such as AutoCAD, Civil 3D, or similar.
- Project management skills and experience.
- Ability to work with multiple discipline projects and demonstrate excellent problem-solving skills.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
This role offers a competitive salary package, professional development opportunities, and the chance to work on projects that make a real difference in our community. If you are passionate about civil engineering and looking for an exciting new challenge, we would love to hear from you.
Research The Company
Time to put on your detective hat and do some research on your target company. Look at their website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. You are looking for any piece of intel that will give you the leg up.
- Find out about recent work/projects they have undertaken or will be embarking on (highlight your experience in these areas on your CV)
- Find out what software/processes they use and make sure you include your proficiency in them in your CV
- Learn what interview questions you might expect should you make it that far
See if you know anyone who works there and/or connect (LinkedIn) with people ahead of the interview. A little nepotism could never hurt, and you might be able to glean more information about the role/hiring process in the meantime.
Find A Good CV Template
When selecting a CV template, it’s essential to opt for a simple design and structure. Not only are straightforward layouts more compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), but they also make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to quickly identify and understand key details. A clutter-free and organized CV ensures that your most important information stands out, facilitating a smoother review process for potential employers.
Write 2 Or 3 Bullet Points As A ‘Professional Summary’
A handy approach is to craft three sentences: the first highlighting your qualifications and experience, the second showcasing your biggest professional achievement, and the third detailing your most recent experience.
Civil Engineer Professional Summary Example
- With over 10 years of experience in civil engineering, holding a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Professional Engineer (PE) license. Expertise spans across infrastructure development, environmental projects, and urban planning. Proficient in using AutoCAD, Civil 3D, and BIM software for design and project visualization.
- Most notable achievement includes leading the design and implementation of the Greenway Bridge project, which was completed 3 months ahead of schedule and 15% under budget. This success was attributed to innovative design techniques and effective project management, utilizing tools like Microsoft Project and Primavera for efficient scheduling and resource allocation.
- Recently focused on urban redevelopment projects, overseeing a team responsible for the revitalization of a 50-acre industrial zone. This involved complex stakeholder management, rigorous environmental impact assessments using GIS technology, and coordinating with multiple agencies to ensure compliance and sustainability goals were met.
Detail Your Employment History
Begin by listing your employment history in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent role. This allows potential employers to see your recent experience upfront, which holds greater value. Keep in mind that brevity is key.
As you go further back in time, reduce the level of detail to ensure your CV doesn’t exceed two pages. Employers are less likely to read lengthy CVs.
When detailing your responsibilities on your CV, focus on how you’ve excelled in those roles, especially as a Civil Engineer. Instead of simply stating “Oversaw infrastructure projects,” you could say, “Led the development and completion of multiple infrastructure projects, including bridges and highways, with a total budget of over $10 million, consistently meeting safety and quality standards.” This approach not only indicates your role in managing significant projects but also emphasizes your success in handling large budgets and adhering to key industry standards. It’s a more effective way to demonstrate your capabilities and achievements to potential employers.
Detail Your Education History
Keep your CV concise, aiming for a two-page limit. The education section can often be streamlined.
Highlight the most relevant qualifications. For instance, if you have a degree, your A-levels become less significant. Similarly, if you’re in the U.S., having an MBA overshadows your high school GPA.
Unless an older educational milestone is crucial for the job or highly pertinent, focus on showcasing your Bachelor’s degree, post-graduate studies, or professional certifications. If you lack these, mention your latest qualifications. Remember, having a Master’s suggests you’ve finished school, so no need to state the obvious. Only include your educational background if it’s pertinent to the job.
Tactically structure your CV to the ‘most wanted’ attributes of the job description. For example, if the job description values “qualified”, then place your qualifications first; if they want someone with RECENT experience, put your last job up top. If they want multiple years of experience, highlight your tenure.
We always recommend that you have a Professional Summary up top (after your name/contact info), as it will be the first thing that anyone reads. As discussed earlier, this should be tailored towards the job advert and showcase your experience and skills in what the employer is looking for.
A fairly typical structure would go:
- Name and contact info
- Professional Summary
- Current (or most recent employment)
- Education & Professional Qualifications
- Employment History
WHAT NOT TO DO
Now that we’ve discussed what you should be including in your CV, let’s look at some things that you should avoid doing.
- Do not include personal history or likes. Employers are not going to care about your hobbies, so unless you have some inside information that the hiring manager only hires people who play a particular sport, for example, then leave your extracurricular activities off your CV. This does not extend to things like volunteer or charity work. Definitely include that if you have the space.
- Do not list your skillset and the tools/applications you have experience with. It takes up valuable space and is often obvious (Skilled in Excel…?). Instead, include these in your achievements section (Example: “Used Asana to manage and coordinate tasks for a remote team of 25 members”).
- Do not include references or “references available on request”. If employers want a reference, they will ask you for them; otherwise, this is just wasted space on your CV.
- Do not include a photo of yourself unless specifically asked. In many countries, including the UK and US, you should not include a photo of yourself on your CV/resume. Companies don’t want you to do it, as it opens them up to liability, and there is absolutely nothing for you to gain by doing so – plus, you are making it easier for firms to discriminate against you, either implicitly or explicitly.
- Do not use any fancy graphic or artistic CV format. Most CVs come in a standard format, allowing Application Tracking Software, recruiters and hiring managers to easily pick out the key pieces of information they need quickly based on their experience. If you throw them a CV in an artistic format, they are more likely to get annoyed and throw your application away. This is not a situation where standing out is good. You want your skills/experience to be noted, not your CV format.
- Do not include your previous salaries. This will severely impact your negotiation abilities down the line.
Civil Engineer CV Tips – Recap
Let’s recap what we’ve discussed so far:
Understand the Job Requirements Before you start writing your CV, make sure you thoroughly understand the job you’re applying for. Tailor your CV to highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job description. This shows employers that you’re not just a skilled Civil Engineer, but also a candidate who pays attention to what they need. 🎯
Highlight Technical Skills As a Civil Engineer, your technical skills are your bread and butter. Clearly list your proficiency in industry-specific software like AutoCAD, Civil 3D, or BIM. Don’t forget to include any additional technical skills that could set you apart, such as GIS expertise or advanced mathematics. 💻
Showcase Your Projects Detail the projects you’ve worked on, especially those that align with the role you’re applying for. Include the scope of the project, your specific responsibilities, and any notable achievements. Quantify your successes with figures like budget sizes, time saved, or efficiency improvements. 🌉
Emphasize Soft Skills While technical prowess is crucial, don’t underestimate the power of soft skills. Demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively, lead teams, and solve problems. These skills are essential in collaborative and dynamic work environments. 🤝
Education and Certifications List your educational background, starting with the most recent. Include any relevant certifications or licenses, such as a Professional Engineer (PE) license. This section validates your technical knowledge and shows your commitment to the profession. 🎓
Keep It Concise A CV should be clear and to the point. Avoid unnecessary jargon and keep your sentences short and impactful. Remember, the goal is to make your CV easy to read and understand. 📄
Proofread and Review Errors on a CV can be a major red flag to employers. Take the time to proofread your CV, or even better, have someone else review it. This ensures that your final document is polished and professional. ✅
Update Regularly Keep your CV updated with any new skills, projects, or achievements. An up-to-date CV is ready to go whenever new opportunities arise. 🔄
Civil Engineer CV Sample
Below is an example CV from someone with a number of years experience in the field. For an editable .DOCX version, click here.