Civil Engineers are highly qualified specialists who typically work behind the scenes to ensure the success of construction projects. To get into this career choice you will need a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and estimates suggest that 1 in 5 Civil Engineers also have a Master’s.

While obtaining your degree, you will have studied mathematics, statistics, engineering and fluid dynamics, to name just a few, so you must be dedicated to a high level of academic achievement.

Once you have the qualifications, you must be able to demonstrate the right personal qualities on your resume to be considered.

Civil Engineers must often balance several different objectives, such as feasibility and budget and safety. Good decision making skills and risk assessment are essentials.

Civil Engineers are great leaders and will be responsible for surveyors, construction managers and technicians, so they must have superior communication skills and the ability to negotiate and motivate. They require a good head for maths, astute and innovative problem solving abilities and good writing skills as they will be in frequent correspondence with architects and planners.

Although this is not a career choice for the faint-hearted, it is estimated that between 2012 and 2022 Civil Engineering opportunities will increase by around 20%, so if you have the academic prowess and the organization skills to go for it, it is a very safe and lucrative option attracting earning potential of $80000 per annum on average.


US Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median pay for civil engineers at around $82,220 per year. This is around $39 per hour. Conversely, payscale.com, using questionnaires puts the median salary at around $63,000 per year.

Pay discrepancy is most likely attributed to years of experience, and has entry-level civil engineersCERT at around $60,000 per year. Experienced career professionals with more than 20 years of experience, for example, can make closer to $100,000 per year. This is one industry where experience really does pay over time.

Civil Engineer Salary Statistics

2016 Median Pay$82,220 per year
$39.53 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationBachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related OccupationNone
On-the-job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 2016281,400
Job Outlook 2014-2024+8%
Employment Change, 2014-2024+23,600
Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics & Payscale.

Industry Forecast

Job outlook for civil engineers is pretty peachy at around 8% from years 2014 to 2024. The growth is faster than the average for all other occupations, and a bright spot in the construction industry. As America’s infrastructure continues to age and will need to be upgraded,  civil engineers will play an integral role in modernizing bridges, roads, as well as other public works projects like dams, airports, and public facilities.

Additionally, the growing American population requires increased development in many areas, Meaning new water systems, electrical grids, and transportation networks. Simultaneously, aging infrastructure works will need to be updated, retro- fitted, and maintained, even as new projects are undertaken.

Additionally, with the national focus on renewable energy, the demand for civil engineers will only increase as this is a brand-new Industry base that will need to be rapidly scaled out across the country.

Essentially, any time anything new needs to be built, it first needs to go to the mind of a civil engineer. Continuing to respond to the continued need for infrastructure and facilities, there’ll be a demand for well-trained civil engineers.

Types of Civil Engineers

Engineering is a broad industry, civil  simply means public works, or works for the people. This is still very broad industry which can be broken down into further, more refined specialities.

For example, construction engineers focus on construction projects; their job is to make sure works are not only safe, but also completed on time in accordance with local and federal regulations. Construction engineers are typically responsible for not just the design but also the safety structures used during the construction process.

Geotechnical engineers, on the other hand, work on foundations. These are the earth dwellers of the engineering community who can often be found deep down under ground ,surveying land for building foundations, tunneling works, or anything else and involves digging or drilling.

Structural engineers work on weight- bearing structural projects including buildings, bridges and dams. They design structures not only for structural integrity, but also to guarantee longevity in the face of adverse conditions.

Finally, there are transportation engineers. These engineers specialize in planning, designing, and building public transportation systems including your local streets, interstate highways, and even larger projects such as airports, shipping ports, subway systems, and ocean harbors.

There are many subsets of civil engineering professions that become more and more specific, depending on the worker’s educational and professional background. Some other types of civil engineers can include:

  • Coastal Engineering
  • Construction Engineering
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Water resources engineering
  • Surveying
  • Forensic Engineering

Likewise, there is overlap in almost all civil engineering fields with the work of environmental engineers, as work does not only need to be completed on time into required specifications, but also must conform to environmental regulation standards, which only increase in stringency over time.

Over time, candidates may advance to other senior level positions such as senior civil engineers, project engineers, principal engineers, and even vice presidents of engineering. The higher the rank, the salary increases at a proportional level

Example Resume Download

Below is a sample of a civil engineer resume that is professionally written with correct borders and spacing. You may download this resume to reference when writing your own engineering resume. Be sure not to copy anything as it obviously doesn’t reflect your individual past experiences and skills.

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How To Write Your Own

Civil engineering is a highly technical profession, and thus the resume of a civil engineer should reflect the technicalities required to become one. This means your resume should have as much numerical quantification as possible so that the reader has a firm grasp of the scope of your experiences and achievements.

Quantifying is Attractive

This means quantifying things in dollar terms or percentages or just numbers whenever possible. This could include percentage proficiency rates, failure rates and success rates, or budget figures in dollar values.

Try to include numerical quantification throughout the entire body of your resume. This way, as the reader progresses, your achievements will be quantified throughout. Furthermore, since many HR professionals only scan a resume for a few seconds, including numbers to help catch the reader’s attention will encourage further exploration of your resume.

Choose the Correct Format

You want to be sure your resume reflects experience level, so you need to consider both reverse chronological formats, and functional layouts. Anyone with under 10 years of experience will probably want to go with the chronic logical formatted resume. Anyone with over 10 years of experience will probably want to go with a functional, or combination resume, where they feature their years of expertise at the top of their resume.

New entrance to the industry, such as fresh graduates, should put their education experience, which will include a university degree and probably in an advanced degree, the top of the resume. They will then want to include any sort of on-site education, or internship experience in their professional experience section under the education section.

Candidates with less than 10 years of experience should really have no problem limiting the resume to one page. If you have over 10 years experience, then two pages are acceptable, as long as they are still to the point and do not contain any irrelevant information that might dilute the overall impact of your resume.

Sample Bullet Points

Below is a collection of professionally written bullet points that are pertinent to the position of civil engineer. You can use these points for inspiration or modify them directly for use on your own resume.

Sample Civil Engineer Bullet Points

Inspect project sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety or sanitation standards.
Compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, or material stress factors to determine design specifications.
Provide technical advice to industrial or managerial personnel regarding design, construction, or program modifications or structural repairs.
Test soils or materials to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, concrete, asphalt, or steel.
Manage and direct the construction, operations, or maintenance activities at project site.
Direct or participate in surveying to lay out installations or establish reference points, grades, or elevations to guide construction.
Estimate quantities and cost of materials, equipment, or labor to determine project feasibility.
Plan and design transportation or hydraulic systems or structures using computer assisted design or drawing tools.
Prepare or present public reports on topics such as bid proposals, deeds, environmental impact statements, or property and right-of-way descriptions.
Design energy efficient or environmentally sound civil structures.
Identify environmental risks and develop risk management strategies for civil engineering projects.
Direct engineering activities ensuring compliance with environmental, safety, or other governmental regulations.
Analyze survey reports, maps, drawings, blueprints, aerial photography, or other topographical or geologic data.
Conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to identify engineering problems and assess potential project impact.
Design or engineer systems to efficiently dispose of chemical, biological, or other toxic wastes.
Develop or implement engineering solutions to clean up industrial accidents or other contaminated sites.
Analyze manufacturing processes or byproducts to identify engineering solutions to minimize the output of carbon or other pollutants.

Career Objective or Professional Summary

Choosing between a career objective and professional summary is simply a matter of how much actual experience you have. As mentioned above,  mid-level applicants will use a career objective for the state interest if uses in sentences why they are qualified for the position and why didn’t players want to hire them.

More senior level applicants can use something like a special summary; this is a bit longer than a career objective. It can be 3 to 4 sentences long and it can even include a few select bullet points highlighting your finely- honed expertise.

Regardless of which way you start your resume, the key is to make it as direct and informational as possible. Do not worry about selling the reader with your introduction alone, its function is only to entice them to read the rest of your resume.

Additional Skills & Certifications

Your additional skills should reflect your continuing education and industry knowledge as a professional. Always include technical software programs you know and be sure your training is up-to-date with said programs.

You will also want to include tools you are familiar with, as well as technical knowledge, such as reading and interpreting blueprints. These are much more valuable for engineers than soft skills, such as teamwork, communication skills, etc.

Include any state or federal certifications you have, and also include any specific safety training you have. This is  highly valued by employers as applicants who already have certifications will be easier to onboard and those who don’t.

Useful Skills to Include

Below is a selection of skills that are valued for civil engineering positions, enter often saw pacifically by HR in this industry.

Useful Civil Engineer Skills

SkillSkill Description
Reading ComprehensionUnderstanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical ThinkingUsing logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active ListeningGiving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
SpeakingTalking to others to convey information effectively.
MathematicsUsing mathematics to solve problems.
Complex Problem SolvingIdentifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Operations AnalysisAnalyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Systems AnalysisDetermining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Time ManagementManaging one's own time and the time of others.
ScienceUsing scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Active LearningUnderstanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Judgment and Decision MakingConsidering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Systems EvaluationIdentifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
MonitoringMonitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
CoordinationAdjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
WritingCommunicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Learning StrategiesSelecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Social PerceptivenessBeing aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
PersuasionPersuading others to change their minds or behavior.
InstructingTeaching others how to do something.
Management of Material ResourcesObtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
NegotiationBringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Service OrientationActively looking for ways to help people.
Management of Personnel ResourcesMotivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Management of Financial ResourcesDetermining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
Technology DesignGenerating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
RepairingRepairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Quality Control AnalysisConducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Operation MonitoringWatching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
ProgrammingWriting computer programs for various purposes.
Equipment MaintenancePerforming routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Equipment SelectionDetermining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Operation and ControlControlling operations of equipment or systems.
TroubleshootingDetermining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
InstallationInstalling equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Additional Resources

Stanford University’s Civil Engineering resources page

American Society of Civil Engineers

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