By Olga Kingsbury, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach
As a Career Coach that works with Engineering students, I see dozens of technical resumes every week. The main question most students have about their resume is, “What makes a great technical resume?”
While the fundamental principles of resume writing are consistent across all fields, there are a number of important points that STEM students should keep in mind when writing their resumes:
1- Include your GPA
Having your current GPA on your resume is very important for STEM students, as it allows employers to gauge your academic abilities. Even if your GPA is lower (below 3.0), STEM employers still recommend including it in your Education section. If your GPA is low, you can provide a brief explanation on your resume. For example, you could say that you had to work full-time while studying to provide for your family.
2- Prioritize technical skills
Including a “Technical Skills” section is one of the most important sections in a STEM resume, and it should go right after your Education section. This is where you can show off your technical ability to use programming languages, operating systems, and specialized technical tools. If you have a significant number of technical skills, feel free to create subsections like “Languages”, “Systems”, etc. to make your Technical Skills section more readable.
3- Class and fun projects matter
Your technical classes and side projects are as valuable of experiences like internships and paid work. Format your projects just like you would format your work experience: focus on your role in the project and frame your responsibilities through accomplishment statements. Many employers recommend including more complex and interesting projects and omitting the basic ones that all students do in your major.
4- More technical details
When you write out the accomplishments you achieved in your roles, make sure to include the “how” component. Technical recruiters want to see what you did and why it is important, and also HOW you did it – what programming languages or technical tools you utilized in your work.
5- Showcase your personality
Employers do care about who you are as a person. You may doubt whether a more personal section like “Hobbies” should even be on your resume. The majority of industry experts what we hear from recommend including a line or two about your interests and hobbies, especially if they are non-traditional or really cool – and something that will catch attention like speaking a rare foreign language, having extensive travel experience, playing trombone as a hobby, etc.
The CPDC has your resume needs covered:
To see examples of technical resumes, look at our sample resumes.
To have a STEM employer review your resume, come to our upcoming Virtual STEM Resume Reviews this fall. Register to attend Day 1 on September 16th from 10 am – 2 pm or Day 2 on September 17th from 10 am – 2 pm.