Resume content and presentation

While the content of your resume and your experience are critical to you being hired by an engineering company, recruiters and hiring managers say that it’s the visual presentation that will actually get you in the door for an interview.
Think about it!  There are hundreds of engineers applying for the same job these days.  Recruiters and hiring managers can’t look through hundreds of resumes, so instead they scan them first.  They spend about 10 seconds per resume, identifying which resumes look good enough for them to come back to for a more detailed review.
The resumes that typically make it to the second round of reviews are those, which are neat, easy to read, and contain some key points that stand out.  With this in mind, here are some recommendations when creating or modifying your resume:

1.     Include your contact information in the header of the document so that it appears on all pages and does not cut into valuable resume space.

2.     Justify the text on the resume so all of the text is neatly aligned.

3.     Ensure that the layout of the resume is consistent – for example if the date is in one place for one job, be sure that it is in the same location/margin for all jobs

4.     Unless you are a student or recent graduate, ensure that your most relevant work experience is at the top of your resume

5.     Use numbers where applicable.  For example, if you are currently managing a project with a Ksh 35 million budget, or you are currently managing a team of 12 engineers, be sure to include those numbers.  Numbers give reviewers some tangible items that can give them an idea of the magnitude of projects you work on/manage.

6.     Bold important items that you want to stand out.  THIS IS IMPORTANT!  Remember, they are looking at it for 10 seconds, so bolding text can really help to catch a reviewer’s eye.

7.     Lose the objective!  Recruiters and hiring managers have said that everyone has the same objective (to get a job), therefore they skip over that when doing their 10 second review.

As far as the length of your resume, it should be no more than one page if you are an engineering student or recent engineering graduate, however experienced engineers should have multiple pages that include project descriptions and budgets.
The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong way to create a resume; the key is to make it presentable and give the reviewer some points that really stand out.  When creating your resume keep in mind, someone may look at in for 10 seconds and decide whether or not they are going to interview you.

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Kenya Engineer is the definitive publication of Engineers in East Africa & beyond and the official journal of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya. Kenya Engineer has been in publication since 1972.

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