Overview

Electrical Engineers design, build and maintain electrical equipment and machinery. It is a specialist role and there are some very specific requirements, including color perfect vision! You will usually need a degree in a relevant topic and extensive training. Accepted study topics may include applied physics, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.

Electrical engineers are not industry specific and you might find opportunities in power companies, transport, manufacturing or construction. The work will be varied and you could find yourself carrying out feasibility studies for new electronic developments, overseeing safety, inspection and maintenance programs and drawing up detailed project plans using electrical engineering software. A great working knowledge of IT is an essential skill.

While this is a high-grade role and attracts a very competitive salary, it is not necessarily the end game – ambition could take you further still. If you increased your studies and qualifications, you could aim for incorporated or chartered engineer status and then the possibilities are almost endless: project management, electrical design, a specialist in your field or even an electrical engineering consultant.

Assuming you already have the relevant qualifications, your resume will also need to demonstrate certain key skills and attributes that are essential to this role. Maths, science, IT, analysis, presentation skills and great decision making are a few of the most important, alongside the ability to understand and produce technical drawings.

Pay

The median salary for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2016 was around $95,230 per year. Payscale.com puts the median figure a little lower at around $72,237 per year. Discrepancy can be attributed to sampling methodology.

Also it should be noted that salaries can vary greatly depending on the location of the job and the candidate’s experience level. For example entry-level Electronic or Electrical Engineers may only make around $53,000 per year, while more senior level engineers can easily make more than $100,000 dollars per year.

Electrical Engineer Salary Statistics

2016 Median Pay$95,230 per year
$45.78 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation?Not required
On-the-job TrainingNot required
Number of Jobs 2016315,900
Job Outlook, 2014-2024+/- 0%
Employment Change, 2014-2024+/- 100
Sources: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics & Payscale

Industry Forecast

Industry for Electronics and Electronic Engineers is not the most positive in terms of projected growth rates. Job outlook from years 2014 to two thousand twenty-four predicts an industry growing at exactly 0%, meaning little or no change in volume of jobs.

If we break this down and look a little more deeply, the stagnation in growth of opportunities for Electrical and Electronics Engineers can most likely be attributed to the slow growth and gradual decline of the manufacturing sector across America.

Additionally, because most Electrical Engineers are employed by larger engineering service firms, SP manufacturing sector predicts these firms will look to eliminate jobs to remain competitive and will turn more to contracting engineering services rather than hiring  engineers full-time.

There is still opportunity, however, as technological innovation and the Internet of things, meaning turning things like your home or office into Smart Living in workplaces, the demand for the electrical engineers will increase in the areas of research and development for these new types of “smart” technologies.

That is why wow the overall outlook is at 0%, and electronics engineers in the manufacturing sector are expected to shrink by 1%, overall electrical engineer job growth should increase around 1%. With manufacturing shaking by 1% electronics engineering drawing that 1% end up with a 0% growth Industry average.

Future-proof yourself and always try to learn new skills and the new technologies on the job in your free time. This is the best way to insulate yourself from market turmoil and/or industry decline.

Types of Electrical Engineers

There are many types of Electrical Engineers, standing by the variety of industries. Well electrical engineering and telecommunications are the origin of most high technology jobs that electrical engineers pursue today, the whole variety of sub industries built upon the same fundamental principles of math physics and science that all electrical engineers Live and work by.

Within the electrical engineering father category, specialities include:

  • Energy systems engineering
  • Power engineering
  • Micro electronics
  • Systems and control
  • Signal processing
  • Computers
  • Multimedia processing
  • Telecommunications
  • Photonics
  • Embedded systems design and development
  • Instrumentation and real-time computing
  • Video, image and speech processing
  • Data networks
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Satellite engineering
  • Space systems engineering
  • Quantum computing
  • Wireless communications
  • Mobile applications
  • Internet of things

There are even more specialities, but the above represent the primary categories into which most engineers fall. How  you title yourself depends on your educational background and your work experience.

Oftentimes, it is better to be more specific in your title, as it makes you a better matched candidate for specific positions you apply to. People will always want to hire someone with more specific experience and knowledge over an industry generalist.

Example Resume Download

Below is a sample of a Electrical Engineer and Electronics  Engineer resume that has been professionally written with real-life work experiences. Feel free to use this as a reference as you start to write your own resume.

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How To Write Your Own

Engineering is a highly professional job type, and your resume should be equally professional. Engineers work with data and specifications, so engineering resume should reflect similar information in the form of quantified bullet points throughout the resume.

Numerically Quantify

Numerically quantifying your achievements and responsibilities not only jumps out to the reader, but helps place your experiences in scope. There are many aspects of your resume that could be quantified.

For example, stating budgeting responsibilities in dollar figures is a good place to start. Additionally, you can include any sort of company management experience you have, such as the training and oversight of a team of five employees. You can also mention supervising multiple teams within a company division, if relevant. State these achievements with numbers, dollars, or percentages.

Also, when writing your engineering resume, be sure that your bullet points are achievement-oriented and not just general, vague responsibilities you have had. To stand out as an applicant, you do not want to list duties that were simply expected of you and  which you performed on a daily basis; you want to list duties that required and asked your effort and made an impact on the company’s bottom line over time.

Example of this is writing both points that describe your ability to think critically and diagnose problems with malfunctioning systems. For example, you do not just want to state how you can find problems, you also want to say how you were able to resolve them or fix them in an efficient manner.

Ultimately, when writing your resume, imagine your current bosses reading it. Or, if you are an entry-level applicant, imagine your academic advisor is reading it. The goal here is to write in a voice that will speak to a reader with a different mindset from you, the writer.

Use the above sample as a reference point, but also send your resume draft to any friends you have an industry, or other professional industries such as medical professionals, other engineering professionals, or even  an industry such as law, where other achievement oriented professionals can give you blunt and direct feedback on the quality of your own resume.

Sample Bullet Points To Copy

Below is a selection of bullet points written specifically for an engineering resume. As stated multiple times above, you can not just simply copy and paste these; you will want to customize them to reflect your own personal experiences to make them as impactful as possible.

Sample Electrical Engineer Bullet Points

Task
Operate computer-assisted engineering or design software or equipment to perform engineering tasks.
Prepare technical drawings, specifications of electrical systems, or topographical maps to ensure that installation and operations conform to standards and customer requirements.
Confer with engineers, customers, or others to discuss existing or potential engineering projects or products.
Design, implement, maintain, or improve electrical instruments, equipment, facilities, components, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, or domestic purposes.
Direct or coordinate manufacturing, construction, installation, maintenance, support, documentation, or testing activities to ensure compliance with specifications, codes, or customer requirements.
Compile data and write reports regarding existing or potential electrical engineering studies or projects.
Perform detailed calculations to compute and establish manufacturing, construction, or installation standards or specifications.
Prepare specifications for purchases of materials or equipment.
Estimate labor, material, or construction costs for budget preparation purposes.
Supervise or train project team members as necessary.
Conduct field surveys or study maps, graphs, diagrams, or other data to identify and correct power system problems.
Investigate customer or public complaints to determine the nature and extent of problems.
Oversee project production efforts to assure projects are completed on time and within budget.
Inspect completed installations and observe operations to ensure conformance to design and equipment specifications and compliance with operational, safety, or environmental standards.
Plan or implement research methodology or procedures to apply principles of electrical theory to engineering projects.
Design electrical systems or components that minimize electric energy requirements, such as lighting systems designed to account for natural lighting.
Plan layout of electric power generating plants or distribution lines or stations.
Assist in developing capital project programs for new equipment or major repairs.
Investigate or test vendors' or competitors' products.
Collect data relating to commercial or residential development, population, or power system interconnection to determine operating efficiency of electrical systems.
Develop systems that produce electricity using renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, or biofuels.
Integrate electrical systems with renewable energy systems to improve overall efficiency.

Career Objective & Professional Summary

Depending on your experience level, you will want to include either a career objective or a professional summary at the top of your resume to kick things off and pique the reader’s interest.

Entry-Level Objectives

Entry level candidates, or those with less than 10 years of experience, will usually want to stick with the career objective. Candidates with 10 to 15 years or more of industry experience can consider a professional summary, which is a little bit longer than a career objective and can even contain bullet points highlighting key specialities that were developed over the course of your career.

For those of you writing a career objective, be sure to stick to only 2 to 3 sentences highlighting your key educational and internship experience, if you are a fresh graduate, or your key work experiences from your first couple of jobs. The goal is to communicate to the employer why he should hire you and get him to read the rest of your resume, so do not overthink it too much.

Experienced Candidates Write Summaries

For those of you writing professional summaries, know that it can be a little longer than a career objective, meaning up to three or four sentences in total.  Here you will write about your cumulative knowledge of the industry quantified by your years of experience, and even, perhaps, milestone projects you have completed.

As mentioned above, for professional summaries you can sometimes include 4 to 6 key bullet points that represent significant skills you have that are expressly being sought by the employer via the job description.

Whichever way you choose to kick off your resume, know that the whole point of it is simply to introduce yourself as an applicant and get the reader to move on to your actual work experiences, education, and skill sections.

People can sometimes get too caught up in trying to write a magic bullet of a career objective, when in actuality, all you usually have to do is to reflect a couple of sentences in the  original job description posting.

Additional Skills & Certifications

Since this is an engineering resume you want to go light on the personal skills like communication skills and focus more on technical knowledge and software knowledge.

For example, an employer values seeing things like Autodesk or AutoCAD in your skill section more than they do organizational skills. Even though organizational are highly desired, it is expected that you will be organized as an engineer.

List as many specialized software tools as possible as it shows you have a more diverse background. Employers might use different tools themselves, so seeing that you have previous experience with any set of software makes them happy because they won’t have to train you on them.

There are many different certifications you can include, and if you are looking to advance your career it is always worth considering taking more classes, either at a trade center, or online, to further bolster your resume.

Useful Skills to Include

Below are some skills selected specifically for engineering. You can use this as starting point when brainstorming your own additional skills section. Remember, more than any other part of your resume besides your name, this section should showcase yourself and your previous experiences.

Useful Electrical Engineer Skills

SkillSkill Description
Reading ComprehensionUnderstanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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.
WritingCommunicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical ThinkingUsing logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem SolvingIdentifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
SpeakingTalking to others to convey information effectively.
Active LearningUnderstanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
MonitoringMonitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
MathematicsUsing mathematics to solve problems.
Operations AnalysisAnalyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Systems EvaluationIdentifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
ScienceUsing scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Social PerceptivenessBeing aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Judgment and Decision MakingConsidering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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.
CoordinationAdjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
PersuasionPersuading others to change their minds or behavior.
NegotiationBringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
InstructingTeaching others how to do something.
Management of Personnel ResourcesMotivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Learning StrategiesSelecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Service OrientationActively looking for ways to help people.
Operation MonitoringWatching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
TroubleshootingDetermining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Quality Control AnalysisConducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Technology DesignGenerating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
Management of Financial ResourcesDetermining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
Management of Material ResourcesObtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
RepairingRepairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Equipment SelectionDetermining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
ProgrammingWriting computer programs for various purposes.
Equipment MaintenancePerforming routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
InstallationInstalling equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Operation and ControlControlling operations of equipment or systems.

Additional Resources

American Society of Mechanical Engineering

Coursera.org (online education)

Interviews

Take a look into the lives of real Engineers, what they do, their backgrounds and their day-to-day responsibilities.

Day in the life of John Poots, Electrical and Electronic Engineer at Intel:

Rio Tinto engineer day-in-the-life and interviews: