Network engineers are on hand to complete one of the most vital services to a growing technology-based company: the setting up, development and maintenance of networked computer systems in a place of business. 

A network engineer can work either internally with a company's IT support team, or externally within an IT networking consultancy that outsources work.

It's perhaps one of the most demanding roles in support-based IT positions as it requires engineers a rapid problem solver with strong analytical skills and an extremely confident communicator.

It does, however, come equipped with the pay rates and opportunities for progression that engineers would expect. Let's take a look at how candidates can help secure themselves interviews by reviewing the necessities of both the CV and cover letter.

How to write a cover letter and a CV for a position in network engineering?

Cover letter.

Those who are applying for network engineer jobs after being out of the loop for quite a while often fall into the trap of thinking that the cover letter needs to thoroughly detailed with all of their past professional experiences.

While it is a good idea for network engineers to help discuss times when they've offered networking support in limited windows of time and maybe even reducing the cost of the overall system in place, it's not a good idea to ramble on about all of what candidates can bring to the table. Instead, candidates need to be selective.

As a general rule of thumb, candidates should only outline their most recent professional experience that relates to network support and as where possible demonstrate their technical capabilities. This will allow them to sell themselves in as short and concise manner as possible without going into too much padding, which employers will often ignore and might even lower the impression of the candidate in their minds.

Candidates who choose to focus on just one particular role within network engineering will be doing themselves a favour in order to secure themselves an interview, but before that can even be done, they need to make sure their CV is read beforehand. This can also be a stumbling block for some.

The CV.

Again, formatting is key when it comes to the CV. Network engineering, along with most IT support roles, will benefit from the basic chronological format of CV. This outlines a candidate's experience from most recent to oldest, along with what they did that was of particular importance to a place of work within IT.

Maintaining focus on your goals within the engineering and IT field will make you attractive to employers, a few key areas that you'll want to mention within your CV if you have experience are:

  • Technical certifications
  • Hardware
  • Operating systems
  • Networking/protocols
  • Programming/languages
  • Web applications
  • Database applications

Candidates will need to be choosy when it comes to what experience they list on a CV. They won't necessarily benefit from outlining every last job they've ever had, but rather they should limit themselves to the past five working years if they have had a varied professional history.

Candidates should also avoid discussing posts that aren't relevant to network engineering, for example, retail jobs or anything that could be completely irrelevant to IT. While these can be listed, candidates will need to be particularly skilful in how they're listed.

Space permitting, it's useful to highlight some of the soft skills that a candidate possesses. These can be included in the 'career summary' section and will help employers to get a better understanding of what else you can also bring to a company besides your technical IT abilities.

Watch our tech recruiters outline their top CV writing tip here:

One of the most important things candidates are often told to do is ensure there are no gaps in their CV. This is true, but it does present an issue in how candidates can sell themselves when they've been doing jobs that aren't related to their current field.

This is where using choice adjectives can come into play: words that are related to network engineering and the role itself without discrediting anything they've done in the past. One of the main focuses of network engineering is reducing downtime, so candidates could discuss times in previous jobs where this has been the case.

Perhaps they've been in jobs that are particularly high volume and required a quick turnaround. This is particularly useful for those in network engineering and should be sold to the highest degree. 

Candidates will need to pay particular attention to the education section of their CV as well. This is because there are specific certifications that are required in order to progress into the field.

Entry-level qualifications including Networking Fundamentals by Microsoft are often requested by employers, but candidates should always demonstrate their commitment to the role by progressing onto the MCP certification wherever possible. MCSE qualifications are also particularly useful for those within the network engineering field.

Employers will usually request that applicants have a degree, a degree in the following subjects will go a long way to helping you get your foot in the door:

  • Computer science
  • Computer software/computer systems engineering
  • Computer systems and networks
  • Electrical/electronic engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Network security management
  • Physics.

When candidates have had this training and education in the past, it should always be outlined regardless of the date. However, if it has been some time since their certification and they've not been working within the field, candidates might want to consider an entry-level qualification as a refresher course to make their CV more relevant to prospective employers.