As a job seeker in the highly specialized civil engineering field, you might be wondering if you should choose a curriculum vitae (CV) or a resume, or maybe you’ve heard they are the same. We understand it can be confusing! On this page, we’ll explain the difference between a CV and a resume so you can make the best choice for yourself.
Civil Engineering CV examples
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Differences between CVs and resumes
In the United States, job seekers typically submit CVs for academic, scientific and medical positions and submit resumes for jobs in the private sector or government.
CVs are comprehensive and lengthy and include an often exhaustive list of an applicant’s educational history, certifications, research, publications, professional memberships and associations, speaking engagements, awards, grants and professional experience.
Resumes are concise documents that summarize an applicant’s professional data, focusing on job history, relevant skills and education. They should be explicitly tailored to the job and no more than two pages long.
In many other countries, such as the United Kingdom, CVs are used much like American resumes, emphasizing relevant skills and work experience. Like American resumes, they are much shorter than U.S. curriculum vitae, usually topping out at two pages.
For this page, we’ll refer to the U.S. style of CV from now on.
Reasons to use a CV versus a resume
Use a CV if:
- You are in a field that relies heavily upon research.
- You are applying for a grant, fellowship or scholarship.
- Your credentials take more than two pages to list.
- You have publications, presentations, speaking engagements, lectures, grants or fellowships to show.
- You want to provide your full career history, including related hobbies and activities.
- You are asked for one.
Use a resume if:
- You are in a field that depends on work experience and specific, job-related skills.
- You are applying for a part- or full-time position in government, a nonprofit or the private sector.
- You have less than 15 years of experience.
- You want to highlight relevant accomplishments and the measurable results of your past work experience.
- You want to provide a concise document with only your most relevant skills and achievements.
- You are asked for one.
Anatomy of a Civil Engineering CV
List your name, city, state and ZIP code, phone number, email address, professional website and professional social media profile
A CV profile is the second section of a curriculum vitae. It is sometimes called a summary, personal profile, or CV statement. Use it to introduce yourself, express your interest in the position, and briefly describe how your traits, experiences, and qualifications make you the ideal candidate for the job.
Here’s where you add your most relevant skills for the position to which you’re applying. Examples of skills civil engineers might add include:
Software: AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Primavera, MATLAB, PTC Mathcad and GeoMedia proficiency.
Language skills: Include only languages for which you have strong written and verbal proficiency.
Technical skills: Proficiency in mathematics, physics, map and blueprint reading, drawing, modeling and design.
Soft skills: Analytical thinking, critical thinking, superb verbal communication and leadership ability.
Include job history, research, related training, grants, internships, fellowships and academic positions if you have any. List each topic as a subheading for clarity.
List in reverse-chronological order. Include dates, colleges or universities, high school (if you did not attend college or university), fields of study, certifications, accreditations, and all educational programs, apprenticeships and training you received in the field of civil engineering. If you received a master’s or a doctorate, include details about the research completed and your thesis or dissertation. If you are a new graduate, then list this section first, above your employment section.
Honors and awards
List all honors and awards you have received throughout your studies and career.
Research completed, publications, presentations and speaking engagements
List all your relevant research projects, publications, professional presentations and speaking engagements here. Divide them into subsections if you have credentials in more than one area.
List these in reverse-chronological order and use APA style. Start with your most recent publication, and list the rest in descending order.
Omit publications that are more than 10 years old, no longer relevant, and no longer useful for the field of civil engineering.
Include pending works but leave out the name of the publication or publishing house reviewing them.
Place the most recent presentation first.
Include presentation titles in italics.
Include the name and date of the conference or event where you made the presentation.
Provide examples of the presentation topic or links to a website where employers can find the presentation.
Include the type of research done, the title of the project and your title. For example:
“Research Assistant,” Safety and Reliability of Structural Systems in Large Cities,” Society of Civil Engineers July – December 2018
Add a description of the research and the work you performed. For example:
Explored and analyzed the design, construction and operations of skyscrapers and other large-scale structures in urban areas with high population density.
Include this section if you have been a member of relevant professional organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers. If applicable, list your title and briefly state any work you performed while with the organization. Include the titles of any professional organizations that you are a member of. If you held a position within an organization, list your title.
Add this section if you’ve served on a board, done volunteer work related to civil engineering, or chaired a professional or government committee.
This section is optional. If you choose to use it, list only interests that pertain to civil engineering. Describe each one briefly and include work performed or achievements, if applicable, that you made while practicing those interests.
How do you list references on a civil engineering CV?
It is not common practice anymore to list references on a CV. If employers want them, they typically ask for them separately. Instead of worrying about references, make sure you write your work experience section to be powerful. This section can serve as an excellent reference section because it brings attention to your previous experience in the field and lists employers for which you have worked. Check out our civil engineering examples to see what a strong work history looks like on a CV.
What’s the best format for a CV: PDF, MS Word, or txt?
The best format for a CV may vary from employer to employer. Always look at the job description for instructions on what format to use. Typically, the most requested file types are PDF or MS Word. These allow for easier access to the file and ensure the hiring manager can open it. As you can see in the engineering CV sample above, saving your document in these formats allows you to use special characters and fonts, which the text format does not. If an employer does not specify a format, then contact them to ask or err on the side of caution and save your CV as a .doc (MS Word), which most employers use.
How do you list education on a civil engineering CV?
Every CV, including the civil engineering CV samples above, includes some critical sections. One of those is the education section, which lists the training and education you have related to the field and makes you eligible for the position. Education is essential for this profession because employers highly covet knowledgeable employees. This section should only mention education and training relevant to engineering. Leave out your high school diploma. Because you went to college, the hiring manager knows you have a high school education.
What’s the best CV template to use for an engineering CV?
There is no one best CV template to use. The basic rule is to use a template that features a traditional layout. Avoid getting too creative or messing with the general order of the sections. Hiring managers want to quickly read through your CV and not hunt to find the information they want. Look to the civil engineering CV examples for a good template. You may also use our Resume Builder. It makes creating your CV effortless with a step-by-step process.
How can you separate your civil engineering CV from other candidates’ CVs?
The key to getting a job is making yourself seem like the perfect candidate for it. You must stand out from everyone else applying. Looking at the civil engineering CV examples above, you can see several elements that make these applicants stand out. For one, they all start with a profile. A profile is similar to a summary statement on a resume. You should include your most essential attributes that match the employer’s job description. Also of note, it’s vital to use key terms from the job description throughout your CV if you want to stand out. Finally, always include notable achievements from your education and throughout your career because they help hiring managers see what you’re capable of.