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How to actually improve your maintenance engineer CV

Which maintenance engineer will you hire?

Candidate 1 states the following in their Curriculum Vitae (CV):

  • Responsible for completing root cause analysis.

  • Responsible for developing & updating maintenance procedures.

  • Responsible for completing quality control plans for all repair work.

Candidate 2 states the following in their CV:

  • I completed 50 Root Cause Analysis (RCA). The corrective actions of the RCA resulted in R10m savings in loss time production.

  • I updated 13 maintenance procedures. This reduced the preventative maintenance tasks by 3 hours per week.

  • I completed 39 Quality Control Plans (QCP). The QCPs assisted in zero reworks.

I prefer candidate number 2. Why? Because I understand the depth of his/her experience.

I have a clear picture of how fast he/she will adapt to our environment.

What I know as a fact is that "good looking" CVs do not matter... The content matters.

A CV revamp needs to focus more on articulating your experience in a quantifiable manner.

You need to focus less on adding color, adding a picture, adding columns, etc.

Focus more on the substance of your CV, and then worry about the cosmetics later.

Here is a summary of the substance your CV needs to focus on (in the order of importance):

1. Work accomplishments.

Work achievements are not limited to awards. You can add a separate section in your CV for awards.

The work achievements I am referring to here relate to the specific and quantifiable impact you had in your current or previous positions.

The description I presented for candidate number two is a perfect example of writing a compelling work achievement.

Specific and quantifiable work achievements are not built equally. You will need to focus on work achievements that are important for maintenance engineer roles.

This will require you to research what is essential for such a role. Here is what I think is crucial for a maintenance engineer role:

  • Ability to identify and resolve issues on specific mechanical or electrical equipment.

  • Ability to write work procedures.

  • Ability to lead and project manage maintenance activities.

  • Ability to save maintenance and production costs.

There are many others. Simply search for maintenance jobs and see what most companies are looking for.


  • Be deliberate with the work you do.

  • Plan all your activities.

  • Quantify all your activities concerning their impact on time, cost, safety, and reliability.

  • Capture your impact in a spreadsheet or word document.

  • Copy and paste the data in your CV.

Click here to read my blog post on writing laser focus CVs.

2. Critical skills.

The work experience you gain will result in obtaining specific skills.

For example, writing maintenance procedures gain your skills in researching, writing, and using Microsoft Word.

My advice is that you summarise the essential skills for each role. Focus on using keywords such as:

  • project management,

  • programming on a CMMS,

  • advanced MS Excel, etc.

Try to embed some of your skills within your work achievements.

For Example:

  • "I used MS projects to plan and execute 7 general overhaul projects."

  • "I used MS Excel VBA codes to develop a maintenance tracking sheet which reduced the maintenance planning time by 4 hours per week."

  • "I used AutoCad to develop the as-built plant layouts, which addressed an OHS Act audit finding."

3. Legal certifications or registration.

You may be appointed as a maintenance engineer that needs to fulfill the role of a:

  • Certificated Engineer in terms of the General Machinery Regulations,

  • Explosives Manager in terms of the Explosives Regulations, or

  • Certificated Engineer in terms of the Mining Regulations.

These roles require specialized certifications. Make sure you understand which certifications are needed and work on getting it.

Hint: There is a massive drive on factory energy efficiency improvements. This may require maintenance engineers to be Certificated Energy Managers.

4. Qualifications

Make sure you understand the vital qualification for maintenance engineers. For example:

  • If you are an artisan with a trade test, then work towards getting your national diploma and higher engineering qualifications (e.g., Bachelor's of Technology Degree).

  • If you have a Bachelor's Degree, then work towards getting your Master's in Engineering Management.

  • If you already have a Master's Degree, then work on getting specific experience and certifications.

Please update your CV with the above recommendations and let me know if you get more interviews.

**Please share this post for the benefit of others**

1 Comment

Monty Bridges
Monty Bridges
Sep 07, 2021

Appreciate you bloogging this

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