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Preparing an Effective CV and Cover Letter - Engineering Shaun Pulman, Career Consultant. Room 126, The ClockTower 09 373 7599 ext 89409 Email: [email protected] Outline. Where to start - Identifying your skills What skills are required?

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Preparing an effective cv and cover letter engineering shaun pulman career consultant

Preparing an Effective CV and Cover Letter - Engineering

Shaun Pulman, Career Consultant

Room 126, The ClockTower

09 373 7599 ext 89409

Email: [email protected]


  • Where to start - Identifying your skills

  • What skills are required?

  • General principles of a CV

  • How to write a cover letter

  • How the Careers Centre can assist you

General Principles of a CV

CV QUIZ – True/False

  • It is best to use the same CV and cover letter for every application

    • False

  • A CV should be between 2 – 4 pages

    • True

  • On average an employer only spends two minutes looking at each CV

    • False (20-40 seconds, first impressions are important)

  • A CV should be written in an essay format with full paragraphs explaining everything in detail

    • False (use bullet points, underlining, headings, clear sections)

  • It’s necessary to always include a cover letter

    • True (unless it’s stated otherwise)

Identifying your skills
Identifying your skills

Most employers are looking for the ‘package deal’:

Q + WE + S + PQ


+ Work Experience

+ Skills

+ Personal Qualities

Therefore, to be competitive, we need to show them what we have to offer that’s relevant in each of these 4 areas!

Identifying your skills

Different Types of Skills

SPECIALISEDnumeric, modelling, programming, quantitative analysis, project work...

TRANSFERABLEcommunication, research, problem-solving,teamwork, analytical, time-management, organisational

Personal Qualitiespatience, persistence, creativity, accuracy...

Identifying your skills and qualities what extras can i bring to the organisation
Identifying your skills and qualities: What extras can I bring to the organisation?

Some examples of additional skills you may have

  • Playing instruments – time management

  • ICT skills – innovative, problem solving

  • Event management – time management, organisational

  • Cultural knowledge and language skills

  • Sports coaching – leadership, teamwork

  • Singing – discipline, calming

  • Drama – teamwork, creativity

  • Art and craft/design – creativity, attention to detail

  • Fund raising – organisational, planning

  • Outdoor pursuits - leadership

What skills are required in work
What skills are required in work?

An example of matching skills:

What employer wants:

What I have that matches:

  • project team for university course

teamwork skills

  • member of dragon boating team for two seasons

  • organising committee for school fair

  • worked in customer service team of four at McDonalds

What skills are required for a particular position?

  • Matching your skills with employers needs requires research

    Check the requirements of the organisation you’re applying to:

  • Look at the job ad/job description/strategic plan for the next 2 to 3 yrs

  • Talk to people in the field or in similar job

  • Research what is happening in the media

Skills activity education work extra curricular activities
Skills Activity: Education/Work/Extra-Curricular Activities

Situation Task

  • Organising Committee for the School Fair

  • Elected on to a committee of 5 people to raise funds for resources. Researching potential sources of donations and organising the Fair stalls.


  • Wrote Fair newsletter asking parents for help with stalls, donations and bringing goods to sell at the Fair

  • Approached local businesses for sponsorship and prizes

  • Ordered equipment for Fair

  • Participated in regular Fair Committee meetings and recorded the minutes of the meetings


  • Made a $10,000 profit for the school

  • Received positive feedback from the school principal and due to success on this committee was invited to join the Parent Support Group


  • Self-reliance, setting objectives, innovation, team work, project management, resourcefulness, planning, time management, leadership, organising, problem solving, presentation skills, public speaking, motivating others, hard working, marketing, listening, negotiating…

What do employers want to see in cvs
What do employers want to see in CVs:?

** Document should be paper clipped or stapled – binding not necessary

Source: CV Survey of Auckland Employers, 2006 (conducted by AUT)

Target your documents
Target your documents

Focus on employers’ requirements because you can….

Catch employer’s interest quickly

Show employer that what you offer is relevant for them

Communicate your motivation

Enhance your chances of an interview!

What goes in to your CV

Sections of information for all CVs

Contact Information

Chin-Wai Leung

Family Name: Leung

Given Name: Chin-Wai

English Name: Sherryl

58 Manchester Close

Herne Bay


Phone: 09 307 9432

Cellphone: 021 234 567

Email: [email protected]

Residency: Permanent New Zealand Resident

Personal Statement

I am formally trained in electronics, telecommunications, data transfer systems with progress into data processing, particularly data capture, technical specifications, programming, computer interfaces and system testing.

My career objective is to broaden my experience and skills in computing, particularly in communications, local area networks and in computer languages, with a company that will make use of my investigation, diagnostic, analytical and system solution skills.  

I believe my strongest assets are my self-disciplined professional attitude, accuracy, adaptability and eagerness to learn more to develop the highest standards possible.

  • Highlights/Key Strengths/Areas of Skills and Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

    • Bullet pointed one-two liner phrases that prove your suitability for the role and related to the criteria stated in the job ad and job description. Example:

  • Computing Skills

  • Specification and design of computer systems from user’s requirements

  • Programming substantial technical systems

  • Hardware testing and diagnostic procedures

  • Interfacing of external hardware to computers

  • Computer Aided Tools: Ansys CFX and Design Modeller, Pro Engineer, Matlab

  • Communication Skills

  • Design of communication protocols within computing systems

  • Presented outline of electrical engineering systems logic to staff meeting

  • Problem-Solving Skills

  • Problem analysis and design of system solutions for electrical engineering project

  • Time-Management Skills

  • Managed team to ensure project completed within deadlines.

Education Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

Make a choice about what details to include

  • Academic awards and other distinctions

  • Subjects/details of courses if relevant to employer

  • Grades – if a selling point

  • Projects

  • Courses or workshops relevant to the job you’re applying for

EDUCATION Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) 2009 - 2011

University of Auckland Key grades

Civil Engineering Materials and Design A

Technical Communication for Engineers A-

Environmental Engineering Design A-

Introduction to Structures A

Fluid Mechanics 1 A

Land Information Systems B+

Mathematical Modelling 2 B


Recipient of the Tonkin and Taylor Scholarship in 2010.

Winner of 2009 Engineers Without Borders Design Challenge.

Project partner in 2008 EWB Tonga Biodigester design.

NCEA Level 3 2006 – 2008

Takapuna Grammar School

School prefect

Extra-curricular activities Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

  • Class Representative March – June 2010

  • The University of Auckland

  • Responsibilities:

  • Liaising with students, lecturers in order to keep students informed.

  • Negotiating on behalf of students to ensure student needs are met

  • A member of the university consultative committee

  • Skills:

  • Strong negotiation skills

  • Ability to speak to large lectures of students (up to 200 students)

  • Achievement:

  • Elected by fellow students for this role due to previous year’s success in role.

Work History Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

Landsdowne Limited, Auckland Dec 2008 – Feb 2009 Information Systems Officer (Summer Position)


Specifying, designing and implementing automatic data capture system (data transfer directly from scientific instruments to computer)

Evaluating commercial software and hardware in terms of costs/benefits

Programming for workstation computers

Landsdowne Limited – Refinery, Auckland Dec 2007 – Feb 2008 Instrument/Energy Engineer (Summer Position)


Installing and upgrading computer system associated with energy metering

Supervising instrument workshop

Specifying, designing and commissioning instrumentation systems

Analysing energy consumption for energy reduction

Work History Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:


Sage Restaurant, Auckland City Nov 2004 – Oct 2005

McDonalds Family Restaurant, Auckland City Mar 2002 – Feb 2003

Body Shop, Takapuna Jan 2001 – Mar 2001


• Serving customers

• Ordering stock

• Supervising staff

• Assisting with promotional activities


• Promoted to maitre d’ at Sage Restaurant

• Crew member of the month at McDonalds; two months running

Interests Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

Touch Rugby – played at social level for last three seasons

Surf Life Saving – Past President of South Beach Club for five years

Photography – keen interest which has extended to developing a collection of contrasting national scenery prints

These interests have further developed my teamwork skills, leadership skills and creative skills

Referees Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

  • Names, titles/designations, phone contacts

  • Between 2 - 4 referees

  • Lecturers, employers, sport coaches, senior people in organisations that you have belonged to

  • Easily accessible by phone (can include overseas referees)

  • Well informed about you

  • An option: “Referees available on request”

Cover letter tips
Cover Letter Tips Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

An effective cover letter:

  • Focusses on the employer’s requirements

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the employer and the job

  • Is written in a business letter format

  • Is positive and shows motivation

  • Is typed neatly and error free

  • Is up to one page in length

  • Invites the employer to read your CV

How to write a covering letter Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

  • State what you are applying for and where you heard about it, and briefly outline your enthusiasm for the position

  • A paragraph about your education, and directly why it is relevant for the position/profession/industry/firm

  • A paragraph about your work experience, and directly why it is relevant for the position/firm

  • A paragraph about your enthusiasm/suitability for this specific position/firm – try and build a connection. Mention any contacts you have in the company or research that you have done – website/media/projects

  • Express your desire for an interview to discuss further your suitability for the position

  • Limit to one (typed) page

Dear Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

I was very pleased to see the Telecommunications Engineer position advertised on SEEK, and I would like to apply. I have followed Vodafone’s brand closely, and I am an enthusiastic user of your products. I believe that my background in technology and innovation is a great fit with your organisation.

I have a strong academic record in Bachelor of Engineering at The University of Auckland. I feel that I have gained excellent skills with a strong emphasis on practical outcomes, and I particularly enjoy the project that I completed on systems logic, where I received an excellent grade. I understand that a lot of your technical systems use similar systems to those I used in my project, so it would be great to discuss what I could offer you.

My work history has encompassed both information systems and instrument engineering, as well as broader employment. I have seen that your organisation prefers people with all-round skills, and I think that my ‘can-do’ approach would suit the work environment. I note the community programmes that Vodafone engages in, and I believe that this aligns closely to my sense of social justice, which is demonstrated by the voluntary work for Greenpeace in my background.  

Recently I met one of your technical staff, Winston Rhodes, at an event at The University of Auckland, and we spoke about some of the work that is in progress at Vodafone. He encouraged me to apply for this position, as he said that I had the type of skills and outlook that would enable me to succeed there. I have since conducted some research into the organisation, and I am extremely enthusiastic about the culture that you have created.  

Enclosed is my CV for your perusal, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Please contact me either by cell phone on 021 444 4444, or by email on [email protected]

Yours sincerely

How the Careers Centre can assist you Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

  • ‘Drop in’ service for 10 minute discussion, 12-2 Tuesdays in ClockTower 126

  • 25 minute one to one career guidance appointments on Tuesday afternoons from 2pm – 4pm

  • Workshops – Bootcamps in semester breask, Job Search strategies, Interview Preparation Details on CareerHub.

  • Practice interviews

Careerhub www auckland ac nz careerhub
CareerHub – Knowledge/Summary of Skills and

Contact me
Contact Me Knowledge/Summary of Skills and Experience:

Shaun Pulman

Careers Consultant

[email protected]

Ph 373 7599 ext. 89409

  • University Careers Services centre:

  • The Clocktower, Room 126

  • 22 Princes St, Auckland City

  • [email protected]


  • 373 7599 ext. 88727