As a specialist recruitment company, we at KDC encounter CVs every day of our working lives. Coordinating with project managers and companies on industry-leading programmes means we not only see CVs but also applications for incredibly competitive and high-profile jobs.
This has led us to ask the question, what aspects of a CV are most relevant? And, more importantly, are project managers getting the right quality CVs land on their desks?
CVs in the engineering world are fundamentally the same as any other industry. You must include work experience, soft skills, and applicability to the role. But, there are some key considerations when applying for specialist engineering roles.
The first is the company advertising the job. This is true for any job application, but with a big difference. Specifically, the sector is usually more niche with fewer companies advertising roles. For example, if you wanted a job in the UK defence industry, you could probably name the potential companies you’d work for.
It matters because it allows you to tailor your technical skills to both the role and the larger company. It is where quality really comes in: do your research, know the company, and tailor your CV to suit. Many engineers applying for jobs in things like aerospace or defence probably already know the company they want to work for, making this process a bit easier.
Then, of course, is the cultural element. What companies have you worked for previously, and how has this fed into your understanding of workplace culture? Will it help you to fit in at the new company?
Many companies in emerging and disruptive industries have a very specific workplace culture that fosters innovation. Use this to your advantage and show your disruptive nature in your application. Again, do your research on the company first to ensure you hit the right tone.
When producing a CV of this nature, standing out from the crowd is vital. It is challenging to secure a job with a leading company, as these are often roles people occupy for many years. So, when one comes up, do everything possible to get it. Network with current employees of that company and find out things that will help in your application.
The bottom line is that CV quality is never irrelevant. It is vital in the engineering sector, as these are competitive, high-profile jobs that many applicants seek out specifically.
In our discussions with project managers, we regularly look into the quality of CVs offered in applications. These are often high quality and relevant to the position, which is always good to know.
But, CV quality can always be improved. Whereas a HR employee looks at overall CV quality, a project manager would identify relevant skills and experience, allowing them to search out the best talent for the role.
This should tell you everything you need to know about quality CVs in the engineering sector. While layout and formatting are always important, they are never more important than your skills. Engineering is a technical skill-driven industry, so this is what must stand out on your application.