How to Write a Resume for an Entry-level Process Engineering Position That Can Get You a Six-figure Salary
07 April 20227 min read
Akash Kannegulla
Akash Kannegulla

Let’s face it!

A semiconductor process engineering position is one of the most difficult, and high-paying jobs in the world.

Just compare with software, there are more than half a million software companies in the US, whereas there are less than 50 semiconductor manufacturing companies in the country.

The typical acceptance rate is less than 2% in the top chip manufacturers for high-achieving doctoral candidates, which makes it extremely difficult to land these positions.

So how do we land into these six figured positions and where do we start? One word, ‘Resume’, and the way your tailor it.

The video demonstrates in a more hands-on way, but you can quickly read through this article how to write your resume which fits for the semiconductor process engineering position.

Following are the key sections you will need to add to your resume if you have no prior work experience:
  • Personal Info
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Work experience
  • Research experience
  • Publications
Personal Info

Your personal information needs to be accurate with respect to contact details and should be concise when it comes to your location. This section can be generic and would be no different than any other resume.

Read: Beginners Guide for Writing a Stunning Resume.

However, it is worthwhile to note that most process engineer positions need you to be COVID-19 vaccinated, and you may tag that in your personal info section and make it vivid for the recruiter.

Education

If you have a graduate degree such as a master’s or doctoral degree, chances are that the hiring managers are not interested to know about your undergraduate, unless you are from the country’s top universities and would like to showcase that.

Depending on the length of your resume, your undergraduate degree is optional, and you should leave out your high school details from your resume.

It is good to add your graduate GPA scores to your resume so that the hiring managers know that you can maintain a good GPA while working in a research lab to publish papers and present at conferences.

A common question people ask is, “Is it recommended to add coursework in the education section of the resume?”

Well, let’s say the job description says, “the candidate must have knowledge in statistical analysis and statistical process control”.

If your graduate research experience already encompasses the knowledge in statistical analysis and statistical process control, you may leave out without adding any coursework in the education description.

However, if your research does not involve statistical analysis, but you have the knowledge of it via coursework, it is recommended to add the course titles in the description.

This is done in this way so that you avoid redundancies in your resume and utilize the space of adding other specifics of your career.

Skills

Now, this is the MOST important part of your resume which carries a lot of weight in determining whether you are going to receive a call.

So, where do we start?

First, create a sub-section called “Process tools” and write the entire list of semiconductor tools you are good with.

The only online resume writer which can help you do this for free is Wisedoc, so you can just focus on content.

DO NOT put all the skills you have in one single section; it looks clumsy and frustrating to go through easily.
Remember the following rules when listing skills:
  • Write the skills in order of expertise. That is the strongest skill first and ending with skill where you have just beginner knowledge.
  • Write the abbreviations of the skill instead of just the full form. For example, if chemical vapor deposition is your skill set, make sure to put CVD as well.

    a. Bad examples: Chemical vapor deposition, Focused-ion beam etching.

    b. Good examples: Chemical vapor deposition (CVD), Focused-ion beam etching (FIB).

  • Skills should be sub-divided into several categories.

The reason for having the abbreviations is to make sure the recruiter and the ATS systems will be able to shortlist.

The recruiter may be an HR who does not really understand what ‘chemical vapor deposition is as the hiring manager might have told them to find candidates with ‘CVD’ as a skill.

So, you need to make sure to write a resume that can go through all the levels of review (both human and robot).

Once you listed all the process-based skill sets, the second category should go to the data analysis-based skillset.

Why? Understand that semiconductor manufacturing comes with a lot of data and defect analysis.

You are expected to be comfortable with mid-level statistics although you might have not had any courses at graduate school.

The strong recommendation is to get comfortable with tools such as JMP, Advanced Excel, Mathematica, etc. which are industrially accepted for data analysis.

If you have some specific skills sets such as statistical models, commonality analysis, etc., you should mention these in your data analysis skillset.

Lastly, the software expertise. If you have the programming skillset, from a hiring manager standpoint, it’s good to know but not something which you will be made an offer for.

Have this sub-section at the complete bottom and try to keep only a few key ones in the list. Something like process-related CAD tools can fit well in this instead of something like JavaScript or python.

Work Experience

If you are just out of graduation, you mostly would have an internship experience in this section.

However, if you never had a chance to do an internship, this should not dial down your full-time opportunity by a lot.

In your internship experience section, you can add three following bullets in the description:

  • Write about the problem statement you were trying to solve during the internship. Be careful about the IP issues that you disclose here.
  • Write about your contribution to this problem statement.
  • Write about the impact this has created for the bigger picture, as you contributed to a small piece of it.

This should be sufficient, and if you have more than one internship experience, be sure to order them according to the job description you are applying for.

Research Experience

If you are using Wisedoc, you can add a section called ‘projects’ and rename it to ‘Research Experience’.

This is the arena where all your graduate school i.e., master’s or doctoral program research projects need to be stated.

A lot of resume writers online may say that you need to put your projects chronologically as per the timeline of events.

However, in this specific scenario, I would strongly recommend you order the list of projects depending on the job description.

If you worked on an etching-based project 3 years ago, and you are applying for an etching position in the industry, it’s worthwhile to put this project on the top although it’s not the recent most project you have done at school.

The sheer reason is that managers want to look for details in resumes that they care about.

What do we write in the resume project description?

  • The first bullet should talk about the bigger picture and the problem statement of what and why you worked on this project?
  • Talk about the technical details involving technical terminology which best describes the methods you performed during this project.
  • Finally, write about the impact this project had. The impact does not translate to you publishing in a journal or presenting at a conference. The impact can be a sales statement, such as “increased efficiency by 25%” or “enhanced sensitivity by a few orders of magnitude”.

It is recommended to quote the numeric success in the impact bullet of your project.

Publications

This section can come at the end and here is the key tip that most people would want to know:

Tip: You don’t have to list all the publications you have in the resume.

That’s right, the odds of hiring manager reviewing these publications are very low.

The good format for adding the title for publications will be “Publications: 25 | Citations: 60 and increasing”.

This basically represents the quantity and the quality of your work. The final piece of advice for this section would be the format of this publication. A simple solution is to use the “smart” feature in Wisedoc, while a complex solution is to write your own format by researching across Google.

That brings us to the end of this article and if you follow all the steps above in creating a resume, you just multiplied your chances of getting an interview call.

If you would like to learn how to customize your resume according to specific jobs from companies like Intel or Samsung, check out this video at 17:00.

[img-1]Process engineer resume

The Bottom Line

Getting a job in semiconductors is one of the hardest positions and following some rules and guidelines will ease your process of getting into a job without prior work experience. A combination of key terminology words by mapping with job descriptions and a format readable by both humans and robots will set you up for success towards getting an interview.
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Akash Kannegulla
Akash Kannegulla
Akash Kannegulla is a process engineer in one the world's best semiconductor industries and has helped many students with no experience get into high paying semiconductor positions.