This is often championed by environmental activists who advocate for change in government policies. These changes are seen as the solution required for a sustainable future.
But who is it that does the technical advising and plays a critical role in the formulation of those policies?
As an environmental engineer, many people may not know the role you play. But the people mandated to ensure the environment is taken care of and oversee the enforcement of environmental laws understand your importance.
Whether they are government agencies or private consultants, they understand and appreciate the role you play in these matters.
But that doesn’t mean that they’ll come looking for you just because you have a degree and are passionate about the environment. As is the case with other careers, there is a process to be followed before you get a chance to utilize your expertise and earn from it.
This process is never fun and no-one wants to stay in it for long.
Starting from writing your resume, going through the interview, discussing your pay package etc, the pressure is always high.
But that pressure can be dealt with if you know what to do. And since the resume bit is the first step, we’re here to help you with that.
In this article, we tell you how to write the environmental engineer resume that will get you to the interview. We’ll guide you through the different sections of the resume and show you how to write them.
Afterwards, you’ll have an opportunity to see how the advice works when it’s all put together. We have two resume samples to help you see how yours could look like if you followed our advice.
One is for an entry-level environmental engineer while the other one is for an experienced candidate.
But before going into all that, let’s first of all share some industry insights. These will help you know what’s going on in the job market of environmental engineering.
ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER SALARY
Salaries are a big part of your career and it’s important that you get paid right.
There are environmental engineers who get paid high salaries due to their vast experience. Others get paid slightly less probably because they aren’t as busy as others.
Then there are those who get paid less than all the others mainly due to a lack of work experience. This is often the case for entry-level environmental engineers.
During the interview process though, you must make an attempt to negotiate your salary. You never know, you could end up with a few extra dollars despite being fresh from school.
According to PayScale, the median salary for environmental engineers is $65,000.
From the image above, you can also see that there are other things which determine your annual take-home pay. Having this information empowers you to know what to ask for even when asking for a raise.
And then there’s the issue of the company you’re working with.
Which companies are you sending applications to?
Different employers pay their staff differently. And apart from the salary and general benefits, others also care about your work-life balance. For example, they would have no problem offering you work-from-home options.
You will have to engage your interviewer on these issues so as to maximize on your employment opportunity.
To give you an idea of what you might earn working for different employers, here’s a list of some of them showing their average salaries.
Environmental engineer job growth
Salaries aside, there’s one more thing you need to know before writing your resume.
Have you asked yourself what your career growth prospects are?
That’s a very important question to ask and get an answer to. The answer might provide the drive you need to aggressively market yourself using an attention-grabbing resume. That’s the kind of resume we want you to write.
There are environmental engineer jobs out there. But so are there environmental engineers other than you who want to fill those vacancies.
For the decade spanning 2018 – 2028, the projected growth rate for environmental engineer jobs is 5%.
Looking at that graph, you’ll see that your career growth is not any faster than that of other engineers. It’s also at the same level as that of all occupations in the US economy.
Anyway, that’s not bad. Governments all over the world are looking for ways of mitigating environmental degradation and your services will be needed.
You’ll however need to be working somewhere in order for your expertise to be utilized. And it all starts with writing a resume that will trample the competition.
HOW TO WRITE YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER RESUME
That is not an impossible thing to achieve, though it’s also not automatic.
Did you know that hiring managers spend only 6 seconds on a single resume?
That’s right. 6 seconds.
Is that enough to read through a resume? No.
So why do they do that?
Because they are busy and have no time to go through all the resumes they’ve received. In fact, the time issue is the biggest reason why Applicant Tracking Systems exist. These help recruiters filter through the swarms of resumes they receive. Aim at getting your resume past the ATS.
After that, it should be your intention to have it read from top to bottom. If that is to happen, you’ll have to convince them that yours is worth the time.
You can only do that by writing it in such a way that makes it interesting to read. And while being interesting, your resume must also tell the hiring manager exactly what she wants to hear.
Here are the five main things you have to cover in your environmental engineer resume.
If you’re short on time and just want to write your resume, then pick one of our resume templates and use it. It will help you write all that you need to as well as keep your resume beautiful and professional.
Let’s get into the resume sections.
Your personal information
Is it possible that you could send a resume without you name on it?
Well, maybe not.
But it can certainly bear the wrong name. Not because you wrote the name of your neighbor but you wrote your name the wrong way.
Such a resume will be immediately disqualified and the hiring manager will have saved 5 seconds of her time.
Good for her. Too bad for you.
Avoiding this is easy. Just ensure you take your time to write your official name. Do not write any nicknames on your resume—no matter how much you’ve become accustomed to them.
Doing that simply says that you’re not professional.
Another small but equally costly mistake can happen when writing your email address.
Think of the email address you registered when you were a teenager. What was the address? A combination of some fancy or celebrity names?
Although that is understandable at that age, it’s definitely not when it comes to employment.
Having an email address with funny names communicates that you may not be serious with the work. And who wants to employ such an environmental engineer?
You need to get a professional email address.
It would be best if you have a personal blog where you regularly post. And since that means that you own the domain, an email address comprising of your name and the domain can be a big boost to your resume.
This is especially if you publish posts about the environment. If you have one, include a link to the blog right after your LinkedIn profile link.
Summary or objective?
Immediately after introducing yourself, you should write your career summary. This is also known as your professional summary.
But there’s also the career objective. Which one should you write?
Some hiring managers believe that there is no place for career objectives any more.
But there is. You just have to understand the difference.
A professional summary is used primarily to sell your candidature on the basis of your work experience. You should use this when you have worked for some years and have accumulated some notable career achievements.
A career objective on the other hand is used when you have no work experience to show off. This is a common scenario for environmental engineers who recently graduated and are looking for their first job.
If writing a summary, then you should basically highlight 4 or 5 of your best achievements. These are what will make the hiring manager see the need to read the rest of your resume. And the more your experience the better since you’ll have more achievements to pick from.
Note that we’re talking about achievements and not tasks and responsibilities. Many environmental engineers list tasks and responsibilities in an attempt to show how they were in charge of big projects. This is meant to show them as responsible, reliable and even team leaders.
Although the intention is good, the approach is wrong. Such candidates probably haven’t known the secret to getting hired.
Here is the secret and you can freely share it with your friends.
Hiring managers are employed to ensure the business benefits from the best staff. During the recruitment process, that means hiring only the candidate who will add value to the company.
Therefore, if you want to get hired, you must show that you will add value.
By showing that you added value wherever you went.
You do this by showing the “Before” and “After” of your being there.
Check out the below example.
If you don’t have any work experience to pick from, then you’ll be using a career objective. This too can be decorated with some achievements and words which show that you’re results-oriented.
Your goal when writing a career objective is to sell your notable achievements from private projects, internship and even volunteer or freelance work.
Here is how to do it properly.
If you have worked as an environmental engineer in the past, you have a big advantage when it comes to this section. Your work experience is a powerful weapon which you should use to get the hiring manager swear by your abilities.
In any case, if you’ve benefited your former employer, won’t you benefit your future employer?
The trick though lies in showing just how you benefited your past employer(s). And as already mentioned, you don’t do that by talking of how much responsibilities you had.
The way to show the difference between when you went in and when you left is by using numbers. Not only don’t numbers lie, but they also speak clearly and powerfully.
Here is an example of how you can do that.
Maybe you haven’t worked before as an environmental engineer and are hoping to land your first job. You can also benefit from this advice.
Yes, you don’t have environmental engineer work experience. But don’t you have experience working in other areas other than environmental engineering?
Have you done any volunteer work? Have you been involved in any project focused on the environment? Have you written any articles about the environment? Maybe even in the university magazine or blog? These could have required some research which helped you learn something.
The bottom line is that you should never say that you have no work experience. And if you truly have none, then first apply for a volunteer role in an organization dealing with environmental matters.
You probably think that writing about your education is simple. The only information you have to provide is the university you attended, the years and the program you enrolled for.
Nothing different from what you know. Right?
Well, you can do things differently if you want your resume to better stand out.
First of all, if you have not directly worked as an environmental engineer, then consider putting your education before the work experience section.
If you haven’t seen this anywhere, then know that it’s possible and you can do it. This will be especially helpful if you went to a highly-recognized university. Just the name of the university alone will help draw some attention to you.
Also, you’ll do well to include some relevant coursework in this section to prove that you’re academically qualified for the job.
Check out the below example.
The skills section is the last mandatory section for your resume. You use it to showcase the unique skills which will hopefully make the hiring manager value you more than the others.
As simple as it sounds, this is a powerful section if used well. You’ll have lost a big opportunity if you just listed the usual skills every other environmental engineer lists.
Are you thinking of writing communication, teamwork, critical thinking and the like?
Well, you’re not the only one. Write that and it will be difficult for the hiring manager to see why you should be called for the interview and not the other candidate.
To make it easier for yourself to get interviewed, think differently.
First of all, don’t assume that you know the skills the company is looking for. Find out from the company itself what they want. You’ll get this information from the job post.
Every job post includes a job description telling you what is expected of the successful candidate. The words used to describe the job, abilities and skills required, are called keywords.
If you can connect your skills to the keywords in the job description, then you’re a smart environmental engineer. Not only will your resume make it through the ATS, it will also make the hiring manager want to interview you.
Here is a list of skills unique to successful environmental engineers. Remember to get directions from the job post.
- Reading Comprehension
- Complex problem solving
- Active listening
- Active learning
- Project management
- Quality Control Analysis
- Resource management
- Social Perceptiveness
- Systems evaluation
- Public speaking
- Interpersonal skills
- Time management
SAMPLE ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER RESUMES
As promised, we have two sample resumes for you. They show how to apply the advice shared and what the resulting resume will look like.
Go through them for some inspiration then pick one of our resume templates and use it to write your own environmental engineer resume.
Entry-level environmental engineer resume
Experienced environmental engineer resume
If you follow this pattern of writing your resumes, you’ll definitely spend less time job hunting compared to other environmental engineers. This is how you pass the first test—the resume test—and get to the second one—the interview.