5 Key Differences in How to Write an Engineering Cover Letter

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Professional development is an essential feature of engineering cover letters and belonging to professional associations shows that you are committed to your career.

You might be thinking, “Why do I need to learn how to write an engineering cover letter? I’m not even looking for a job right now.” But there are several reasons why you should still learn how to write an engineering cover letter, even if you’re not currently looking for a job.

1. It’s always good to have a solid engineering cover letter ready to go, in case you need it for a future job search.

2. You may want to apply for a job that’s not currently advertised. In order to be considered for these jobs, you’ll need to submit a cover letter with your application.

3. Your current employer may be downsizing or restructuring, and you may soon be looking for new employment. Don’t wait until you’re unemployed to start looking for a job.

engineering cover letter

What is an engineering cover letter?

A cover letter is a document sent to the employer that expresses interest in identifying the job or qualifications for the job in question. Usually, applicants send them with their application documents, including resumes.

Cover letters enable engineering applicants to give more detail on skills than resume examples.

A well-written, perfect engineering cover letter can make the difference between getting an interview and getting passed over.

But writing a great cover letter can be tricky. It’s not always easy to know what to say or how to format your cover letter based on your resume. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to write a cover letter for engineering jobs.

We’ll walk you through everything from how to format your resume to how to write an effective introductory paragraph.

Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to end your letter in a way that will leave the hiring manager wanting more.

I’ll also give you real engineering cover letter examples that have landed top positions.

engineering cover letter

Once you’ve finished with this resource, you’ll be ready to write a cover letter that will get noticed and help you land interviews.

What should be included in an engineering cover letter?

As well as including the basic sections needed in all cover letters — your contact information, a professional salutation, and body copy that includes a compelling introduction and closings with the need to act — every engineer cover letter should:

Reflect your latest and directly relevant skills and should also include some measurable accomplishments that are mentioned within your resume!


Focus on your specialty in engineering

In engineering, the profession encompasses a range of occupations, including civil electrical, software or mechanical engineering. Engineers do various jobs which require specialized training and hands-on skill.

Employers are always searching for reputable candidates to complete projects at an optimal pace. Show them you have the best skills and abilities to apply for the specific position. The technical knowledge needed for your job depends upon the engineering field that you are in.

The biggest challenge that people face when writing a cover letter is knowing how to position themselves clearly in the opening paragraph. This paragraph is your chance to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and pique their interest. You should focus on your specialty — the more specific the better.

[mechanical engineer specialized in automation ]

While some people prefer a shotgun approach that leaves themselves open to a variety of roles, in my experience the sniper approach works best. Targeting your exact specialization leaves the hiring manager in no doubt as to the suitability of your candidacy.

It’s a double-edged sword. There are risks inherent in either approach … I say pick your target!

Open with a strong introduction

Because engineering jobs require specific skills, most applicants have technical skills similar to yours. The skills you need to include in an effective cover letter makes it easier to distinguish yourself from candidates with the same qualifications you are applying for.

How can you write an introduction to an civil engineering cover letter?

Engineering cover letter example – download our free engineering cover letter template!

“As a leader in process engineering with eleven years of experience delivering projects in the oil processing industry for facility expansions, studies, and upgrades, I am confident I possess the skills and qualities you seek for the position of BLANK. My expertise in team and project management, client relations, cost reduction, and quality control make me an ideal candidate. Please allow me to highlight my qualifications”…

So let’s break down the three things this cover letter got right.

Number one, and this is the most important tip, hook the reader in by specifying specialized expertise and experience in the target opportunity. If you do this right, it’ll keep them reading past the first paragraph and onto why you should have this position over the other applicants.

Let’s take a look at what John did in his example. “As a leader in process engineering with eleven years of experience delivering projects in the oil processing industry for facility expansions, studies, and upgrades, I am confident I possess the skills and qualities you seek for the position of BLANK.”

Let’s pause right here. In this one sentence, John does three things. He first hooks the reader in by mentioning his specific field of expertise, years of experience, as well as the specific industry. He also makes it clear what types of projects he has worked on. Thus he makes it clear that he understands the company’s needs and can meet them.

The next challenge engineers face is choosing the correct keywords to highlight their specialized skills and qualifications. The rule for this matches the sniper approach: choose the keywords that match the job description.

While technical skills are the most important, soft skills that appear in the job description should not be overlooked.

An Engineering Cover Letter should include effective technical skills, the ability to work under pressure, problem-solving skills, strong leadership skills, interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication skills, commercial awareness, engineering skills, and teamworking abilities.

Your cover letter gives the reader an idea of what they will read in your engineering resume about how you will contribute to the company’s success. The keywords should match the exact words from the engineering job description.

The final challenge that people face when writing a cover letter is ending it effectively. You should always end your cover letter by mentioning how you will follow up, and then provide the hiring manager with all of your contact information. You can also provide additional information that is relevant to their job description or list any skills you have that are not already on your resume.

You need to convince the hiring manager that your motivation, energy, willingness to learn will make you a stronger addition to the team than someone who might have a bit more experience but fail to be interesting in their cover letter.

Okay, I spent a lot of time on this first tip because if you don’t get this right, none of the other stuff matters because they’re not going to keep reading.

Diving Into the Job Requirements

Stating Your Skills and Experience

· Include specific skills that will help with the job opening

· Include education, experience and certifications that are relevant to the requirements of this particular job opening

· Describe any special skills that could help the company succeed with you in this position

“Process Engineering. As a Process Engineer for leading national and international companies serving the oil industry, I have optimized oil processing facility equipment and safety, leveraging expertise in detailed plant design, creating simulation models, PSV sizing, P&ID development, hydraulic work, line list creation, heat and material balances, and datasheet and equipment design. Committed to continuous improvement and accelerating task completion, I am constantly scanning the work landscape for opportunities to optimize procedures and processes. For example, on a recent Cenovus pipeline expansion, I facilitated the setup of a program that automatically calculates individual drain freeze times with detailed analysis and time tables based on user input of elevation profiles and pipe size lengths.”

“Education – I have a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the New York Institute of Technology, as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Machine Tool Technology from the New York City College of Technology, where I was trained in the European style.”

“Continuous Improvement – Seasoned in Lean, Six Sigma and Kaizen 5S methodology, I have consistently improved engineering operations, profitability and customer satisfaction throughout my career. For example, as Director of Operations in Engineering, for National Elevator Cab & Door Corp., I eliminated waste in engineering, purchasing and production, advanced throughput, propelled profitability and reduced the design-to-manufacturing lead time.”

5 iCareerSolutions Cover Letters

Highlighting Your Achievements, Awards, or Special Recognition

Prompting Interest from the Hiring Manager [Including making them want more]

· Include a list of key accomplishments you have from previous jobs

“For example, on a recent Cenovus pipeline expansion, I facilitated the setup of a program that automatically calculates individual drain freeze times with detailed analysis and time tables based on user input of elevation profiles and pipe size lengths.”

“Project Management. Adept at synergizing team efforts to complete client projects against challenging deadlines, I manage projects from initial design stages and supply brown and green field process support. I have piloted up to 12 projects at once while mentoring junior engineers and consistently deliver on time and within process budgets of $120M and project budgets of $500K. I also offer a track record of saving clients money. For example, on a Husky facility study, I saved the client $10K by sourcing a new line heater technology that cut costs on unit and glycol purchase, operating expenses, man-hours to load units with glycol, and inspection and certification fees.”

In these examples, John gives specific evidence of his top keywords: “optimizing processes and procedures,” “continuous improvement,” and “task completion” that are both measurable and provable in an interview.

When you finish writing your cover letter, it’s important to leave the hiring manager wanting more. You can do this by ending the letter with a brief summary of your qualifications and why you would be a great fit for the job.

You can also mention that you look forward to hearing from the company soon and would be happy to provide additional information. This will make the hiring manager more likely to want to learn more about you, which could lead to an interview!

“I offer a strong background as an analyst that has prepared me for this position. In fact, my experience working with clients and software systems is specifically relevant to the requirements…


Ending the Cover Letter on a Positive Note

· Recap your qualifications and why you’re a great fit for the job

Mention that you would be happy to provide additional information

word image 4

What Sets You Apart from Other Candidates

“These are but a few of the ways in which I have achieved bottom-line results for my employers, and you can rest assured I would bring this same engineering expertise, client focus, and strong business acumen to detail to your organization. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss further your needs and my qualifications. I look forward to hearing from you.”

Leaving the Hiring Manager Wanting More

The most important part of writing a cover letter is making sure that it leaves the reader wanting more. If you can write a compelling conclusion, demonstrating what makes you uniquely qualified for the position, you are far more likely to get noticed.

While it may be tempting to simply re-state your interest in the job opening, this does not leave the hiring manager wanting more. Instead, when writing a cover letter that leaves an impression on the reader, use your conclusion to share some details about yourself and why you’re a great fit for the position. This will help ensure that your resume is not lost among other applications and that you land an interview!

Purpose is to entice reader to review resume.
Be extremely concise and keep paragraphs brief.
Divide internal paragraphs into sections that focus on particular skills.
Focus on accomplishments to prove skills.

Additional Resources

Cover letters are an important part of any job application, but they can be difficult to write. If you need additional help, the resources below can provide you with everything you need to know to write an effective letter.

Engineering Cover Letter Sample

Engineering Cover Letter Sample

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Arno Markus BA, MSc., CPRW, CEO, and Founder of iCareerSolutions is a Multi-Award-Winning Certified Professional Resume Writer,  a powerful LinkedIn Profile Writer, and Personal Brand & Job Search Strategist with global experience. Arno has done recruitment consulting in Helsinki, Amsterdam, and Toronto. He also worked in nuclear proposal writing for the Government of Canada prior to switching to empowering professionals to achieve ambitious career goals full-time.  Arno is an expert at dissecting job descriptions and marketing his clients to ensure they get where they want to be work-wise.

He began his winning streak in 2017 receiving the National ROAR Award – Experience Writer Modern Design from the National Resume Writers’ Association. Since then he has consistently ranked among the top writers in the North America. In 2018 he received many honorable mentions, including Best Technology Resume and Best Executive Resume. Then in 2019, he received two TORI Awards from Career Directors International, bringing the total recognitions he has received to 11 industry Awards and Honorable Mentions. Last year he received Best IT Resume by the Career Professionals of Canada.For more information on Arno, you can check out his LinkedIn profile, at https://www.linkedin.com/in/arno-markus/ or his website at https://icareersolutions.com/

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