Engineering is a good, solid profession based on scientific principles. There are loads of choices in terms of specialization. It’s challenging. The pay is good. But the journey to getting a full-time job as a professional engineer (PE) is long and hard.
The industry is very strictly regulated and you’re going to need certification and licensing before you can practise your new career. This is what makes internships particularly important for engineers.
Because the work involved is so technical and scientific, most companies want employees who already have significant experience. Additionally, the profession is strictly regulated, and a PE will need a license to practice.
Completing one or more internships will certainly help you to get the job you are chasing. But unlike many other professions, in engineering, many companies want interns to have a university degree before they will take them on. Some will accept under-graduates who are nearing the end of study or in their sophomore.
Either way, this means that the first resumes engineers will compile will be resumes for engineering internships. It can be tough getting a position, even if you’ve excelled at college, but it’s something you’re going to need to do.
You will find an example of a complete sample internship resume at the end of this article.
Resume objective for engineering internship
There are so many different fields of engineering, which means that resume objectives will be very different, depending on the specialization you have chosen to pursue. For instance, there are mining engineers, environmental engineers, and engineers that specialize in health and safety.
You can’t just copy a resume objective another engineer has written. But it does help to be aware of just how different your field of engineering is to so many others.
For instance, engineers involved with the construction industry often specialize in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) or heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) engineering. They may also study architectural and/or environmental engineering.
Civil engineers specialize in roads, bridges, and other infrastructures. Aerospace engineers focus on the manufacture of aircraft, satellites, rockets, helicopters, and so on. Marine engineering focuses on just about anything associated with the ocean, from ships and submarines to harbors.
Computer engineering is a very different branch of engineering but involves electrical and electronic engineering. Mobile product development (MPD) engineering involves the telecom industry and the focus is completely different.
Chemical engineers apply engineering principles in various sectors including the petroleum industry and laboratories.
When you write your resume objective you will need to focus directly on the sector and the job. It can be tricky when doing an internship resume because there will undoubtedly be some skills that you need for your profession that you don’t have yet.
You certainly won’t have the level of experience of a PE – which is why you are applying for an internship.
But advertisements for engineering internships are as specific as they are for full-time jobs. They call for certain skills and experience, so just make sure you fit the required profile.
The sample objective below is in response to an ad for an internship in a manufacturing leadership program with a construction company in Ohio.
Mature but enthusiastic engineering student boasting a cumulative GPA of 4.5. Completed sophomore year. Working towards completion of a BS degree in MEP engineering plus operations management. Self-disciplined with excellent communication skills.
Resume skills for engineering internships
The skills you will want to share on engineering internships resumes will range from hands-on skills including applications like the Microsoft Office suite or 3D computer-aided design (CAD) to attributes that enable you to communicate well, lead teams, and present ideas confidently.
Of course, the four years of study it takes to get an engineering degree will give you the knowledge you need to do the job. You will learn problem-solving skills and effective technical and analytical skills. These will often require the knowledge of mechanical or thermal devices and other equipment.
There are also skills like the ability to work under pressure and interpersonal skills that are equally important.
Be honest and, if valid, add skills that you are busy learning, MEP software like AutoCAD or the Solidworks modeling software for example.
Ultimately, your internship is going to increase your skills!
Microsoft Office | Project | Minitab statistical software | AutoCAD | SolidWorks 3D modeling | Design | Good mathematical skills | Communication skills | Work well under pressure | Ability to write technical reports
Engineering internship work experience
The Catch 22 here is that internships are designed to give undergraduates the very valuable work experience they need to get a full-time job. In fact, more and more engineering firms see internships as the best way to find suitable full-time hires.
So, while internships add tremendous credibility to resumes sent out by qualified PEs, showing that they have done engineering projects that add to their experience, until you’ve done your first internship, you’re not going to have any real work experience.
Luckily there are internships offered that don’t require any experience at all, though it might benefit you if you have done some volunteer work in an engineering firm.
Also, colleges and universities commonly have career counselors who help students get internships.
Different universities have different policies in terms of the internships they require students to complete. Commonly, the internships undergraduates can access are available during their vacations. These generally won’t be longer than 10 to 12 weeks long.
Once an engineer has graduated, the internship will be longer and might even result in a permanent job.
Of course, the internships offered, and therefore the work experience you have achieved will depend entirely on the kind of engineering degree you have. Here are some examples.
Sample Work Experience
Mechanical engineering intern, 2018 (2 months)
Worked closely with a mentor on a variety of engineering projects related to battery exchange and steel fabrication equipment. Helped to find solutions to customer problems relating to safety issues.
- Focused on safety elements of forklift battery exchange systems for a research paper
- Successfully took responsibility for supportive CAD work
- Worked with the company’s engineering team in a major proposal project
- Met or exceeded all developmental goals and performance expectations
Chemical engineering intern, 2018
Worked with chemists, supply chain professionals, and the company’s management team in a foam manufacturing environment. Assisted process engineers with pour patterns, formulations, and process parameters for quality control.
- Assisted with the scheduling of chemical trials for foam materials used in seating structures for a client’s project
- Actively helped to raise production levels in the foam manufacturing department
- Updated pre-production components and structures for parts in T4M, which was a new field for me
- Provided hands-on assistance to the lead chemical engineer for a major government project
Real Project Company
Civil engineering intern, 2018 (10 weeks)
Observed and participated in several major construction management projects from design through construction. Updated data as required. Interfaced with suppliers.
- Assisted with the development of a new concrete mix design program
- Assisted the engineer with OSHA-based noise assessments and a critical plant review for a company client
- Appointed to the design team as a trainee
- Handled cost-of-materials estimations for two projects
Engineering intern education
As discussed previously, the field of engineering is vast and varied and so the education an intern will have will depend on the type of engineering degree pursued as well as their specialization.
In the US, the two qualifying academic degrees are a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng) which takes three or four years to complete or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Engineering which is generally a four-year degree. B.Eng degrees are offered by technical universities or universities of applied sciences.
Florida Polytechnic University, 2010 – 2013
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
- First entrepreneurial student prize for the design of a smart catheter that diagnoses and prevents infection (2012)
The engineering industry is strictly regulated in the US and the various states govern mandatory licenses, even though the examinations and procedures are often the same. For example, once you have graduated, you will be eligible for certification by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
In addition to state regulations, certifications are often specific to the various specializations, for example, MPD vs. MEP.
But many certifications, not only require education and training they also require as much as four years of experience in the specific field.
There are, though, exams that undergraduates can take that start the process of licensing and/or certification.
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCESS) offers advancing (or progressive) licensure for engineers and surveyors that ensures standards in education, exams, and experience are met.
The first exam is the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE), also known as an Engineer in Training (EIT) or Engineering Intern (EI), that is available for seven engineering disciplines: chemical, civil, electrical and computer, environmental, industrial and systems, mechanical, and “other” disciplines.
This exam is open to students who are close to completing an undergraduate degree.
The second is the Principles of Engineering (PE) exam that tests for minimum levels of competency in different engineering disciplines. This is only open to engineers with at least four years of post-college experience. With this under your belt, you can be licensed as a professional engineer (PE).
In some states, engineers with at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC), or Engineering Technology Accreditation Council (ETAC) are eligible for Engineer Intern Certification (EIC).
Complete engineering internships resume sample
We are now going to look at a real job posting that offers an opportunity for an intern to work at Kimley-Horn, a leading planning and design engineering consultancy in the US.
There are opportunities for an engineering intern to join land development services or transportation planning and traffic operations teams. The sample information provided in the Civil Engineer Internship resume below highlights educational experience in the field of transportation. For this reason, you will see that Transportation Planning has been included as a skill in the resume.
The resume shows that the applicant has met all the requirements and will potentially be ideal for the job. This is your aim.
Civil Engineering Internship
Fourth-year B.S. civil engineer student with a passion for all aspects of transportation planning and environmental issues. Excellent communication skills and commitment to quality. Driven to succeed. Appreciates project demands and the importance of strict deadlines.
Microsoft Office suite | MicroStation | HCS | Synchro | Transportation planning | Technical skills | Positive attitude and unbending work ethic
Civil Engineering Co-Op Intern, 2018 (4 months)
Worked on transportation projects in consultation with the managing partners of the company. Was responsible for office tasks that involved spreadsheets and basic financial analyses.
- Used MicroStation for 2D and 3D design and drafting with impressive results
- Learnt the basics of building information modelling (BIM) while participating in a project
- Mentored by the company’s lead civil engineer who said I show great promise in the field
- Throughout the internship I had daily interaction with owners, subcontractors, and field management, gaining invaluable real world experience on-the-job
PennState College of Engineering
Bachelor of Civil Engineering, 2017 – 2020
- FE with honors
- Will be eligible for ABET certification in Civil Engineering after graduation this year
- Accepted as a member of the Civil Engineering Honors Society
- Member of the Penn State Engineering Graduate Student Council student organization
- Member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers student organization
Internships are particularly important for engineers of all disciplines. They usually form part of college education and training and are a vital form of experience. Often companies end up employing interns because they have proof of how well they can perform.
Of course, if your internship goes badly, that won’t happen.
When you prepare a resume for an engineering resume you can follow the same guidelines used for any other type of resume, but there should be a focus on your future as well as your past experience.
- If you choose a preferred internship opportunity carefully you will be able to ensure that the training and education you have had or are in the process of undertaking, is well suited to the job.
- Basic computer-orientated skills are important for most jobs. Make sure you include even the most basic on your internship resume along with more industry-specific skills like AutoCAD and other design apps.
- The engineering sector is strictly regulated and you will need accreditations. Since most of these are only attainable post-graduation, make sure you mention your goals in your resume.
Tips from Experts
“If interns are unable to secure the internship they want, they should not give up. With that experience on their resume to differentiate themselves, they’ll be a stronger candidate the following year.” – Claire Moreau, Human Resources Development Consultant for Barr Engineering
“The top three ways you can have a great engineering resume is to be relevant and specific to the position, to quantify your value, and to have a great (resume) design.” – Jake Voorhees, speaker coach, and presenter of The #1% Engineer Show
Writing an engineering resume for an intern is quite different from resumes for professional engineers. To a large extent, the prospective employer will be looking at potential and character skills rather than the usual, all important work experience.
There are many different types of engineering, and it is essential to apply for an internship that meets your needs. It is also true that it can be difficult to get the internship you have always dreamed of.
A well-crafted engineering internship resume is not only the key to getting this placement. Because it offers you a path towards a very specific professional engineering career, it can make all the difference to the direction your future will take.