Writing to Get an Engineering Job • Resume (curriculum vitae) • Application letter • Cover letter • Follow-up letter
Resumes: Overall Design • Chronological design • Functional design
Resumes: Components • Possibilities: • Heading (name, contact information) • Objective • Highlights • Education • Experience • Memberships, licenses • Specialized equipment and knowledge • Clearances
Experience Section: Possibilities • Name of the organization where you worked and its address • • Brief description of the organization, its products, services • • Your job title and your specific responsibilities • • Dates of employment with the organization • • Your major achievements, important projects, promotions, and awards • • Experience with technologies, equipment, and processes at that organization
Education Section: Possibilities • Name, location, and brief description of the educational institution • • Your major and minors, grade point average (overall and in your major) • • Major emphasis of study • • Important courses taken with descriptions • • Experience with technologies, equipment, and processes at that institution • • Important projects • • Awards, memberships, internships, volunteer work • • Dates of enrollment and graduation
Details, Specifics, Examples! Weak, general: Process improvements resulted in considerable savings. Strong, specific: Process improvements resulted in an average cost savings of $315,000 annually. Weak, general: Work was done to military standards. Strong, specific: Work was done to SAMSO-STD-77-7 military standard. Weak, general: Redesigned processors for modems. Strong, specific: Redesigned Cy-6000 low-gate processors for QAM/QPSK/FSK-mode modems.
Include specific details about qualifications and background. Use strong action verbs. Present detail in reverse chronological order. When referring to your own work, omit I. Indicate the meanings of abbreviations or acronyms. Spell out the names of organizations; explain their functions. Use format consistently in similar areas. Use consistent margins but no more than two levels of indent. Use special typography moderately and consistently. Force your resume to fill the pages it occupies. Use a simple header on following pages. Omit details such as age, marital status, sex, religion. Make your writing style compact but not unintelligible. Tips:
Early-Career Resumes • Cite relevant projects, even if they are not ‘‘real’’ engineering. • Spend extra time describing your college courses and programs. • Include volunteer work that has had any trace of engineering to it. • List your organizations and describe their activities. • Use formatting to extend what information you have to fill up the page.
Application Letters • Cover letter • Application letter
Application Letters: First Paragraph • Possibilities: • State something specific about your qualifications that makes you the right candidate for the position. • Cite information about the company to which you are applying. • If possible, mention the name of someone in the company who knows you. • Say something enthusiastic or energetic about the work you want to do, the organization you want to work for, or your professional goals.
Application Letters: Body Paragraphs • Chronological approach • Functional approach
Early-Career Application Letters • Cite relevant projects, even if they are not ‘‘real’’ engineering. • Spend extra time describing your college courses and programs. • Include volunteer work that has had any trace of engineering to it. • List your organizations and describe their activities. • Use formatting to extend what information you have to fill up the page.
Follow-Up Letter • State the reason you are writing the letter—to inquire about the application letter and resume you sent. • Indicate when you sent the letter and the resume and specify the position. • Suggest that the letter and the resume might have been lost or routed incorrectly. • Enclose a copy of the original letter and resume. • Tactfully encourage the recipient to let you know the status of the position.
Avoid diving headlong into the details in the very first paragraph. Get a specific name or department to which to address the letter. Individualize the letter for the addressee. Mention that your resume is enclosed with the letter. Use standard business letter format Keep the letter to one page and the paragraphs short. Seek a nice, bright, energetic, positive tone. Write in terms of the prospective employer’s needs. Avoid spelling, grammar, usage errors, and bad writing at all costs! Tips