Before You Write the Resume

  • Carefully consider the industry, companies, and positions that you will be applying for
  • Review engineering company websites and job descriptions to identify the sought-after skills
  • Look for keywords that consistently repeat in these job descriptions
  • Read the Writing a Resume Tip Sheet or Design Your Next Steps guide for examples of resumes and general guidance

Consider both your hard and soft skills

Hard Skills

Ensure that your resume maintains a strong focus on your training and experience in the field.  You should reflect this in you bullet point statements to show you have learned or used the skills that the employer is looking for and/or in a Skills section of your resume.  Your resume should include:

  • Engineering Projects (school, internships or other work experience)
  • Research conducted
  • Quantitative knowledge
  • Specialized technical training and certifications
  • Computer skills
  • Specific Engineering skills
  • Programming Languages
  • Lab equipment and techniques

Soft Skills

As a Columbia undergrad or graduate student, you have been exposed to liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences.  You may also have been involved in activities, organizations and volunteer work in which you developed non-technical skills that are attractive to employers. In your bullet point statements you can showcase soft skills such as:

  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to work well as part of a team
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving
  • Planning and organizing

Highlight Your Accomplishments

When describing your engineering experience, make sure to emphasize your accomplishments and achievements.  Identify what was unique and what you are proud of.  This emphasis allows you to stand out and distinguish yourself from other candidates.  You want the hiring manager to be thinking: “I really want to meet this candidate.”


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