How To Write a Civil Engineer CV: a Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 26 November 2022

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The world of civil engineering is highly competitive. As such, you need to spend time crafting a CV that displays your best attributes and talents if you want to secure an interview. Whether you're starting in the industry or looking to secure a more senior role, a good CV can improve your chances of success. In this article, we discuss what a civil engineer CV is and how to write one.

Related: What Is a CV? (Curriculum Vitae Examples)

What is a civil engineer's CV?

A civil engineer's CV is a document used to apply for jobs involving the design and supervision of infrastructure projects. Civil engineers play vital roles in a vast array of different projects, including:

  • Geotechnical projects: Studying the quality of soil and rock in a designated construction area.

  • Material sourcing: Examining the suitability of different materials for a construction project.

  • Construction: Supervising the construction of a building from design to finish.

  • Structural engineering: Examining the structural integrity and safety of buildings, tunnels, towers, bridges and other structures.

  • Environmental projects: Designing new ways to reduce the impact of infrastructure on the environment.

  • Coastal projects: Building coastal structures that can withstand tough conditions.

  • Surveying: Investigating and establishing property lines.

  • Forensic: Analysing why structures fail and coming up with new ways to construct stronger buildings.

Related: What is Civil Engineering? Definition and Steps To Become a Civil Engineer

How to write a civil engineer CV

The shape your CV takes depends on your career stage. If you're just getting started in your career and are willing to pursue several pathways, such as material sourcing and coastal projects, you may wish to draw up several CVs for each niche. If you're well established in your career, on the other hand, it's a good idea to enrich your CV with evidence of your superior knowledge and excellent reputation in the field.

Make sure your document is no longer than two sides of A4 and write it in clear English. The style and format of your CV are up to you. However, prioritise your most important achievements and place them at the beginning of the document. Follow these steps to write an excellent civil engineer CV:

1. Include contact details

Add your email address, postal address and telephone number. It's often a good idea for civil engineers to add their professional social media information. You may also wish to include information about a personal website if you have one. Civil engineers can use digital media to show off past successes, so providing this kind of information could give you an advantage when it comes to making shortlisting decisions.

Related: How To Write a Civil Engineer Cover Letter (With Examples)

2. Write a career summary

Your career summary is three or four sentences long and gives recruiters an overview of your professional achievements and positive personal attributes. You can use your creativity here. While recruiters want to know about your specific skills, they also want to know about your personality and attitude towards work. It's a good idea to start this section by focusing on your relevant experiences and career stage, moving on to any notable achievements and finishing on a note about what you hope to accomplish in your next position.

Example: Mid-career Civil Engineer with extensive knowledge of the principles, theories and specifications associated with bridge construction. Proven track record of leading complex projects. Two internationally recognised engineering awards won in recent years. A friendly team player with a commitment to addressing ecological issues through smart building design.

Related: How To Become A Civil Engineer: A Comprehensive Guide

3. Outline your education

Like other knowledge-centric fields such as academic and scientific development, civil engineering requires many years of study. Many civil engineers have degrees and professional qualifications to their name, so you must highlight your academic integrity and suitability for the job by placing your educational achievements at the top of your CV. Civil engineers need at least a bachelor's degree.

However, many also have master's and doctoral degrees. If you've earned multiple accolades, you don't have to include information about your A-Levels, GCSEs or other awards you earned at school. Instead, focus on your university and include information such as any awards won during your degree, dates attended and your final grade. Also, add any professional certifications. If you're undertaking any vocational courses alongside your day job, include this and note that the results are pending:

Example:

  • 2005-2009, University of Birmingham, Bachelor's in Civil Engineering, First Class Honours

  • 2009-2012, University of Lancaster, Master of Science in Civil Engineering

  • Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (awarded 2012)

4. Describe your key skills and attributes

The skills section of a CV for civil engineers is very important as it allows project managers and employers to match candidates up for specific jobs. Before you even begin typing out your CV, write a list of your key skills, including your level of proficiency and available evidence to back up your claims. When applying for a specific project, you can then pick a selection of the most relevant and applicable skills for the task.

You can divide your abilities into hard skills and soft skills. While the latter may not seem as important, you must mention a few to reassure employers that you function effectively in the workplace. Try to link your hard skills to specific course modules or previous professional experiences, rather than stating general proficiencies. Try to add between six and eight hard skills and two to four soft skills.

Hard skills

Examples of hard skills include:

  • computer-aided design (CAD)

  • graphics imaging

  • map creation

  • competencies in complex mathematics disciplines

  • techniques for drawing blueprints and modelling building designs

  • knowledge of materials and issues related to building safety

Soft skills

Soft skills include brief evidence and could include the following:

  • organisational skills

  • people management

  • fair decision making

  • problem-solving

  • critical thinking

  • dispute management

  • excellent communication skills

  • willingness to travel long distances (this may be useful for certain projects that require travel between sites)

5. Outline your employment history

If you're new to the sector, you may wish to place this section towards the end of your CV, as recruiters are more interested in your grades and qualifications. However, even if you're searching for your first engineering role, it's a good idea to include information about other jobs to demonstrate your suitability for the world of work and show off your transferrable skills. For example, if you worked in an administrative capacity in a busy office. You could explain how the role helped you to develop strong organisational skills and follow strict instructions.

Add any relevant unpaid work experience or voluntary roles if your career is just getting started. Unpaid roles in the construction sector could give you a particular advantage as they demonstrate your passion and drive to get into the field. For experienced civil engineers, your employment history section represents the perfect opportunity to track your growth as a high-quality civil engineer. Organise your previous jobs in reverse chronological order, omitting any roles that aren't directly relevant to the role in question. Each entry includes vital information about the role, including:

  • job title

  • company name

  • dates employed

  • bullet point list of roles and responsibilities

  • technical skills learned on the job

  • any accolades awarded while in the role

6. Mention any hobbies and interests (optional)

Some job seekers avoid writing about their hobbies or interests as they believe it looks unprofessional. However, this section could make the difference between securing an interview and receiving a rejection if you're in close competition with others. While your hobbies and interests may seem trivial, they could indicate your suitability for the role, particularly if the recruiters are searching for people with certain personality traits. Say, for example, you enjoy weightlifting. This personal pursuit demonstrates drive and indicates you have the physical strength to get involved with demanding on-site tasks.

Related: Listing Hobbies and Interests on Your CV (With Examples)

Tips for writing your CV

Before you submit your CV, follow these tips to make sure it's in the right condition for submission:

  • Proofread your CV. It's important to proofread your CV before you submit it to ensure it's error-free. Considering asking a trusted friend or colleague to check your CV for mistakes.

  • Use a standard file format. It's best to use a standard file format like .pdf or .doc when submitting your CV to ensure the recruiter can easily access it.

  • Check your formatting. If it's difficult to read or find certain bits of information, consider redesigning your CV format.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Related:

  • 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

  • How to write an engineering graduate CV that gets you hired

  • The ultimate guide to CV basics (With example)

  • What are the essential qualifications for civil engineering?

  • What Is Civil Engineering? Definition and Types


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