Whether you’re in your first, second, or third year, or are about to graduate from college with a bachelor’s of engineering, you are eligible for some sort of internship, which means you need a resume.
Even if you don’t have plans to work just yet, now’s a good time to craft one.
We are going to show you how to put one together using a real job advert.
Resume objective for engineering students
The first thing to be aware of is that every resume must be pertinent to both the applicant and the job that person is applying for.
As an engineering student, you may or may not have decided on specialization, but right now it isn’t important. Let’s talk about your resume.
The first item on a traditional resume is the resume objective, which should focus directly on the sector and the job. But unlike jobs for qualified engineers, an internship is a learning experience, so you won’t be in a position to offer professional experience that will add value to the company.
You can, though, show that you have the passion to become an engineer, and by working as an intern you want to garner the opportunity to learn as much as possible. This, in itself, will help you to stand out among other applicants.
Just be aware that when you look for engineering internships, you will find that most are just as specific as they are for full-time jobs offered to graduates.
We sampled dozens of job postings for engineering students and they all called for very specific skills and experience. So, you need to be sure that your resume fits the needs of the internship or job description.
Mature, enthusiastic engineering student with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. Aiming to become a civil engineer but hoping to get experience across the board. Self-disciplined, responsible, and eager to learn.
Resume skills for engineering students
Engineers, in general, need math, technological, and varied life skills.
While specific skills do vary, anyone in the fields of science, engineering, and technology – all of which are closely linked – will be motivated to find solutions to complex problems.
To do this, you, as an engineer, will need design, invention, knowing-how-things-work, math, and problem-solving skills. You will need to know about science, including physics and chemistry, technology, and how to work with computers and data.
Of course, you know that some engineers aim for the construction industry, specializing in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) or heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) engineering. Others opt for civil engineering, aerospace, chemical, or marine engineering.
Maybe you’re studying to be a computer or electronics engineer, which is chalk and cheese from all the others.
The skills required for each of these sectors are different, and you are going to have to match the skills that you have with the skills that are needed for the job or internship you are applying for.
The soft and hard skills shown in the Sample Skills below are based on recommendations by the recruitment company, Indeed.
Industry skills | Pressure management | Communication | Attention to detail | Problem-solving | Teamwork | Creativity | Structural analysis | Leadership | Computer science | Data modeling | Educational commitment
Engineering student work experience
This is a tough one because there is a good chance you haven’t got any!
If it hasn’t occurred to you yet, a good way to fill in this important section on your resume is to do voluntary work, assisting professionals. It will definitely look more impressive than stating you waited at your local restaurant last summer!
We sampled scores of job postings for engineering internships and, fortunately, there are numerous internships available to engineering students that don’t require any experience – only proof that you are working on a bachelor’s degree in some sort of engineering.
At the same time, a large number will only accept undergraduates who are in their sophomore year or near the end of their study.
Sometimes employers do want interns to have done volunteer work in an engineering firm. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, start with professional organizations and societies like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Most universities and colleges have career counselors who help engineering (and other) students get internships. Generally, these are available during vacations and are for 10-12 weeks.
Internships for graduates are for longer periods, and many of them are paid.
On the plus side, some do lead to permanent jobs because companies use them as a trial period.
Sample Work Experience
ASRC Federal Holding Company, DC
Engineering Intern, 2017
Provided support to NASA HQ in Washington DC in the Network Services Division of the Space Communications and Navigation within the Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate.
- Planned, scheduled, and coordinated activities and processes to support meetings and key activities including program and project reviews. Took notes and disseminated minutes. Tracked and followed up.
- Generated presentations, charts, graphs, spreadsheets, etc. related to technical development activities. Compiled comments from multiple stakeholders into a cohesive message/report.
- UPloaded documentation and materials to centralized repositories and organized content for multiple users.
- Worked directly with Division Managers.
Alion Science and Technology, NY
Mechanical engineering Internship, 2016
Assisted in engineering work related to researching, designing, and developing mechanical products for aviation platforms and systems. Conducted routine analysis and tests relevant to the development of new designs, methods, materials, and processes.
- Made recommendations related to research.
- Applied standard technical concepts, techniques, and procedures to assist higher-level engineers working on the design and development of technical products.
- Provided recommendations for improvements to existing quality systems as well as company procedures and guidelines, most of which were accepted.
- Provided design information for drafting to enable packaging documentation.
University of California, Berkeley, CA
Science is Elementary Volunteer, 2014
Participated in a volunteer opportunity to help local underserved elementary school students in Oakland by providing engaging, inquiry-driven science lessons.
- Volunteered for 2-3 hours a month for 9 months providing individual attention for students.
- Mentored 12 students, all of whom increased their grades substantially.
- Designed short lesson projects that enabled students to have hands-on engineering experience.
- Recruited 6 of my fellow graduates who also became volunteers.
Engineering student education
The education required to become an engineer generally starts with either a bachelor’s of engineering degree or a bachelor’s of science. Both typically take four years.
Some graduates opt to continue with a master’s degree, depending on their drive and ambition.
While at university, there are numerous opportunities for internships while at university or college.
As the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Center for Engineering Career Development states, internships enable students to literally test drive industry sectors, companies, and/or specific job functions.
Similarly, externships, which are short-term job shadowing opportunities, also provide the chance to learn in a real-life work environment.
Research is another way to extend your education and gain experience.
We scanned dozens of job postings while writing this article, and noted that a bachelor’s degree is most commonly required for the full range of entry-level positions. Some research positions require a graduate degree like a doctorate or a master’s.
University of Virginia, School of Engineering & Applied Science
B.S. Engineering Science, 2017 – 2020
Georgia State University describes engineering as a versatile career choice. For instance, some engineers are trained to design products for manufacturing. Others learn how to plan and supervise building construction or build power plants for electricity production.
Some opt to work in the field that allows them to determine the environmental impact of products and systems.
And it doesn’t stop there. There are engineering opportunities in the fields of aerospace, chemicals, computers and gaming, industrial, marine and naval, nuclear, robotics, transportation … and just about every other industry.
But many students don’t identify their engineering pathway until they are in college. For this reason, some students opt for an interdisciplinary Engineering Science program so they can chart their own academic path once they identify an area they are passionate about.
Whether this is what you have done, or whether you have chosen a path like mechanical engineering, chemical, civil, or electrical engineering, doing additional courses can broaden your knowledge and help you choose subjects for your senior year.
Many universities offer non-degree courses that allow students to broaden their knowledge or update skill sets. Some credits may be applied to graduate programs.
Additionally, some courses are available online.
There are also many online courses that you can take to improve your software and computer-aided design (CAD) skills.
- University of Washington, Electrical & Computer Engineering:
- Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering
- Energy Systems
- University of Illinois, Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering:
- Analysis of Network Data
- Columbia University, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
- Environmental Science
The engineering industry is strictly regulated in the U.S. and licensure is governed by individual states.
However, only graduates from universities and colleges accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) are eligible for licensure. Additionally, they need at least four years of work experience.
While computer engineers don’t often bother with licensure, if you are following a career as a mechanical, civil, industrial, environmental, or similar engineer, you will eventually become licensed.
In fact, once you are working as a Professional Engineer (PE) and offer your services directly to the public, you will be obliged to be licensed. At that stage, you will need to pass two intense competency exams, the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the Principles and Practice of Engineering.
There are various certifications as well, for instance, the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists’ (AAEES) certification for environmental engineers, the Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE). But you need to be licensed and have at least eight years of full-time experience.
The first certification you will be eligible to sit for is the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) certification of engineer-in-training (EIT) or engineer intern (EI).
To qualify, you will need to have completed at least three years in an engineering program accredited by ABET. Then you need to pass the six-hour NCEES FE exam.
Complete engineering students resume sample
If this is your first formal job application you might not have a resume. But even if you have one already, it’s vital to ensure that it caters to the needs of the position you are gunning for.
We chose a job posting for an engineering intern to work for a three-month stretch full time. We are going to tailor a resume around this advert to show you how it’s done.
Johns Manville, a company that manufactures insulation and commercial roofing, is looking for a student with a minimum GPA: 3.0 who is enrolled in an engineering program at college.
You will be expected to work a 40-hour week for at least 10 weeks under the supervision of a technical manager. No previous experience is needed, but AutoCAD or MicroStation skills are preferred.
Highly motivated engineering student looking for the opportunity to work with professionals in 2021. Responsible, committed, and ready to learn.
Initiative | Ingenuity | Communication | AutoCAD | GPA 3.5 | Data modeling | Problem-solving | Math | Calculations | ISO quality control
Inspire Brands, GA
Summer Engineering Intern, 2020
Worked with the design and engineering innovation team supporting their work in emerging technologies, manufacturing, and service operations for their restaurant layouts.
- Assisted with testing setup, protocols, and procedures.
- Coordinated and analyzed test data before it was shared with key stakeholders.
- Learned to read and evaluate restaurant construction plans for proper layout alignment.
- Actively enhanced the team’s ability to deliver creative solutions on time.
Evans General Contractors, GA
Summer Engineering Intern, 2019
Worked with the company’s team of industry experts to get meaningful hands-on experience in the industry. Exposed to networking opportunities and participated in 6 team-building activities.
- Assisted with material take-offs, scheduling, and estimating.
- Supported document control efforts.
- Created project status reports and prepared purchase orders.
- Compared subcontractor quotes.
- Monitored fieldwork.
NAPA Auto Parts, GA
Summer Volunteer & Externship, 2018
Worked with new part number introductions and supplier transitions while learning about a global distribution organization. Job shadowed one of the company’s senior engineers for a month.
- Used basic engineering skills to review design specifications.
- Created 10x3D models using Solid Works.
- Attended a Braves game and volunteer-time with interns.
- Operated the company’s Coordinate Measurement Machine.
- Produced and presented a summer project to interns and company executives.
Bachelor’s in Engineering Science & Mechanics, 2018 – Current
- Eligible to write the NCEES EI exam
You will need a resume to apply for volunteer work, internships, and later on, full-time job positions. It’s a good idea to have a basic document that you can reconfigure to specific opportunities.
- It is essential for your resume to be relevant to the job or internship you are applying for. While engineering jobs all require some common skills, every job will call for specific skills that will make all the difference to the way the job is done. Try to match these with the skills you already have.
- Including an objective on a resume is optional, but it’s a good place to show recruiters and hiring managers that you are an enthusiastic and motivated student wanting to learn more about your chosen profession.
- The work experience section of an engineering student’s resume can prove to be challenging. If you have completed any internships, mention these and include information about what you learned or achieved. Otherwise, mention volunteer work or engineer-related projects you have completed.
Tips from Experts
“Keep your resume to a page unless you have three to five years of work-related experience. I have been working for 25 years and my resume is two-and-half pages.“ – Gary Goon, Lead Software Engineer at JT3 LLC/Arcata Associates
“Here are three ways that you can spruce up your resume and get the engineering job that you want. Be relevant. Cater your resume exactly to the position you are applying for. Remember, resumes are not a chronology of events. They are a hierarchy of experiences that you have accumulated, that make you marketable for this position.“ – Jake Voorhees, 1% Engineer Show
“A resume alone will not land you an internship or job. (And quality counts too. Generic resume templates with grammar or spelling errors won’t cut it.) You need to be able to tell your story with comfort, look people in the eye and explain what makes you unique and valuable. Connect with the Career Center to make sure your total interviewing package (including professional pitch, resume, and LinkedIn profile) looks good.” – Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering
This is an excellent time to compile a resume that you can use in the future. But every time you use it, you will need to tailor it to make it relevant to the job or internship you are applying for.
Use the tips and ideas we have provided. Don’t just list your skills, experience, and education. Instead, view your resume as a hierarchy of experiences and show recruiters that you value learning.