So it’s time to write your engineering experience record. For me, this was the most time-consuming task of the whole process. Part of the reason for that was procrastination, but a more legitimate factor was that I had to recall and summarize the experience from one Master’s degree and 4 positions at different companies that spanned 8 years.
Yes, as we have already covered on this blog, you only need 4 years of overall experience to qualify. However, to be safe, I decided to summarize most of my professional history, especially since it was unclear how much of that experiences (e.g. my Master’s degree in a different discipline from my bachelor’s, and some positions where I was not supervised by a P. Eng.) would count towards my final tally.
It ended up over 5000 words and 20 pages long (partiallydue to the tabular format and some formatting-related page breaks). I don’t say this to brag nor to provide an example. Ideally I believe that the experience record should be a much more concise document. Consider mine to be a special case.
When I finally sat down to start writing this document, the first thing I did was search to see whether there were any fine examples out there on the world wide web. I was hoping to find some past (successful) applications that demonstrated how to structure and write about my experience.
The PEO does provide a form for the experience record. One would assume that this template is all that you need. However, once I started actually writing my version, I found this template to be inadequate. Specifically speaking, it seems that too many different criteria were lumped into each of the form’s entry boxes. For example, for Practical Engineering, the statement below outlined the expectations of what your response should contain:
Describe your practical engineering experience in relation to the function of components as part of a larger system, limitations of practical engineering, significance of time in the engineering process, knowledge and understanding of codes, standards, regulations and laws
I wanted to structure the document in a way such that I knew I had covered all of those bases. Further searches revealed only ONE (UNO!) example of a PEO experience record. Lucky for me, it was written by Mr. Darryl Stahlke, hosted on his personal site, and the format he used addressed my concerns exactly. Darryl separated each sub-section into it’s own entry in the form. This made the process of entering all the information slightly less mind-numbing. Kudos to you, good sir!
The experience record shared by Mr. Stahlke was a useful inspiration for how to structure my experience record. However, Gavin Simone (of PracticePPEExams.ca, who unlike myself, I consider a true expert on the P. Eng. licensing process) kindly pointed out to me that Darryl’s experience record is rather dated (circa 2002) and its content, in very brief, bulleted format, would be unlikely to meet to PEO’s present-day standards. Gavin has helped hundreds of engineers obtain their license all across Canada, so I trust his judgment on this.
I took the liberty of creating a very simple template based on Mr. Stahlke’s approach. and you can download it here: PEO Work Experience Template.
Once the structure of the document was decided, it was time to write. This was the most difficult part. I tried to learn from Darryl’s example, but his work experience was just far too different from mine. The vague instructions provided by the PEO didn’t help much either. Next blog post I’ll walk you through my submitted experience record, with real-world examples and text.