Cost Estimator Resume Example & Writing Guide

A strong resume is vital for cost estimators in a tight job market. To beat the competition, your resume must highlight your top skills and experience. This guide provides a cost estimator resume sample and expert tips for each section of your resume. Learn what to include and avoid, and how to structure it for maximum impact. Boost your chances of landing your next cost estimator job.

A strong resume is very important for cost estimators to get interviews and job offers. Your resume is the first thing hiring managers see. It needs to quickly show you have the right skills and experience for the job.

This guide will teach you how to write a cost estimator resume step-by-step. It covers what information to include, how to highlight your most relevant qualifications, and an example resume to help get you started. You'll learn:

  • The key sections every cost estimator resume needs
  • How to write an eye-catching professional summary
  • The best way to list your work experience and education
  • Which hard and soft skills will impress employers
  • How to tailor your resume for each job you apply to

By the end, you'll have all the ingredients to create a resume that grabs attention and lands you more interviews. Let's dive into exactly what your cost estimator resume should look like.

Common Responsibilities Listed on Cost Estimator Resumes

  • Prepare cost estimates for construction projects, manufacturing processes, or product development
  • Analyze project plans, specifications, and materials costs
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, and other professionals to gather project details
  • Utilize estimating software and databases to calculate labor, material, and equipment costs
  • Ensure estimates comply with industry standards, regulations, and project requirements
  • Prepare detailed cost breakdowns and reports for various project phases
  • Monitor and update cost estimates as project progresses or changes occur
  • Negotiate with vendors and suppliers to secure best pricing for materials and services
  • Conduct site visits and inspections to assess project requirements and conditions
  • Provide cost-saving recommendations and value engineering solutions

How to write a Resume Summary

An impressive summary or objective section can be the key to unlocking excellent job opportunities, especially in the field of cost estimating, and can be achieved without using complicated jargon.

The Importance of Summary or Objective Section

The summary or objective section is often the first point of context your resume provides to potential employers. Consequently, it sets the tone for the rest of your document. This initial paragraph needs to captivate the reader's attention, concisely highlighting your relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences.

It's, therefore, paramount to tailor this section for each application, matching the language used in the job posting. Generic statements might signal a lack of effort or focus and, as a result, topical precision is necessary. You shouldn't merely reiterate points listed elsewhere on your resume, but instead, this section should encapsulate your selling points in a concise manner.

In the field of cost estimating, this could include mentioning knowledge in specific software or a proven track record in meeting budget restrictions without jeopardizing quality. The key aim here is to show that not only do you understand what the role involves, but that you own that capability set, thus making you a worthy candidate for the job.

Fine Tuning Your Resume Summary or Objective

An objective statement is forward-looking. It's about what you hope to achieve in your next role. This might be especially suited to individuals early in their careers or those seeking to make a significant change. It should clearly state the type of role you are seeking and why your skills, qualifications, and experiences make you suited for that role.

A summary statement, however, takes a rather retrospective approach. It highlights what you have already accomplished in your profession. This can be a summarization of your most significant achievements, skills, and qualifications without falling into the trap of regurgitating your entire resume.

However, regardless of whether you choose summary or objective, there are three key characteristics you must bear in mind:

  1. Relevance: Ensure everything you include aligns with the specific job you're applying for.
  2. Conciseness: Be precise and clear. Avoid ambiguity at all costs.
  3. Proof: Mention quantifiable achievements where possible, as they add credibility to your claims.

Indeed, writing an impactful resume summary or objective might seem daunting, particularly as the landscape of job applications continually evolves. But by tailoring it suitably, staying relevant and concise, you can greatly increase the chances of your resume shining amidst the others.

Strong Summaries

  • A detail-oriented Cost Estimator with 10 years of industry experience. Plan, conduct, and manage cost analyses utilizing my proficiency in AutoCAD and MS Excel. Known for my negotiation skills and my reputation for improving cost-effectiveness by over 20% for numerous organisations.
  • Certified Cost Estimator with strong quantitative and analytical skills and a bachelor's degree in Engineering. Experience includes four years at a manufacturing industry, with a proven record of estimating costs, preparing budget reports, and suggesting cost-effective solutions.
  • Dynamic professional with a deep understanding of financial aspects and business operations. Adept in evaluating financial documentation, formulating cost reduction strategies, and presenting pricing proposals. As a Certified Cost Estimator, I've managed projects worth over $5M, consistently delivering within budget.

Why these are strong?

These examples are good as they provide an overview of the candidate's professional achievements, vital skills, and the time they've spent in the industry. They clearly express the candidate's ability to understand complex financial documents, make accurate cost estimates, and efficiently handle projects of hefty worth. Employers look for these qualifications to ensure that their projects will be completed on time and within budget. Furthermore, mentioning specific software tools such as AutoCAD, MS Excel, and certifications enhances credibility and highlights competence.

Weak Summaries

  • I worked as a cost estimator. It was fine, I guess. I am good at math.
  • As a cost estimator for a while now, I can say it's a good job that pays the bills. I have done some cost estimates and other stuff.
  • Hi there! I did some cost estimating a few years back. Not sure what else to say. Thanks for checking!
  • I was a cost estimator before but now I am looking for something similar but something a bit better. I can do Excel and I work hard.

Why these are weak?

These examples are deemed 'bad' due to several reasons. Firstly, they are vague and do not give specific details about the individual's experience, skills, and areas of expertise. Good professional summaries focus on highlighting achievements, core competencies, and giving a snapshot of what the individual brings to the table. Secondly, they are unprofessional in tone, using casual language such as 'Hi there' in a section of a resume that is generally expected to be more formal and concise. Lastly, none of these examples show enthusiasm or passion for the job, instead making it seem like the job just 'pays the bills.' Employers generally look for employees who seem interested and invested in their work, not just looking for a paycheck.

Showcase your Work Experience

There's a universe that exists within the Work Experience Section of your resume. It is more than just dates, titles, and locations. It's a narration of your professional journey, retracing the footprints that you've left on different projects and assignments. It's the story of you as a cost estimator. With no less respect, let's delve deeper into making this a cornerstone of your resume.

Know What Matters

The absolute starting point is to understand the vital elements that should be part of a cost estimator's work experience. These elements include the scope of work, projects handled, strategies devised, processes optimized, costs reduced, efficiencies gained et cetera.

Quantify Achievements

If statistics are the photographic evidence in the investigations of your professional life, then without them, your career is a mystery. So present the evidence! Translate work experience into numerical values. How many projects have you handled annually? What was the highest budget that you managed? By how much were costs reduced, efficiency increased, or returns amplified under your watch?

Expert Tip

Quantify your achievements and impact using concrete numbers, metrics, and percentages to demonstrate the value you brought to your previous roles.

Be Specific

Whilst generalities have their place in conversation, specifically illustrating your achievements breeds credibility. One cost estimator's achievements aren't identical to another's. Tell your unique story by detailing the type of projects, budgets, strategies implemented, or systems set up.

Steer Clear of Jargon

Cost estimators, like most professionals, have industry-specific vernacular. And while these terms make perfect sense to you and your colleagues, they might sound like a foreign language to others. Therefore, when documenting work experience, use language that any layman can understand. In other words, simplify, clarify, and exemplify your experience.

Reverse Chronological Order

Lay your professional journey on a timeline. List out your work experience in reverse chronological order, the latest job being the first. This layout offers an immediate and accessible insight into your current role and gives the reader a sense of where you are in your career right now.

The profundity locked within the Work Experience section is often accidentally overlooked. Remember, this area is neither an emotionless log of roles nor a flat display of dates. Regardless of the scale of roles or the glamour of corporations, each element presents clues to a cost estimator's character, skills and potential. Embrace this section, decode its complexities, and put it to work for you! As you would do with cost estimations, be meticulous and imbue your professional persona into the information that you provide. Let the reader see not just a cost estimator, but an individual with a distinct career narrative and a promising professional destiny.

Strong Experiences

  • Coordinated the preparation and finalization of project estimates before bid day.
  • Performed detailed quantity surveys and estimated costs for all project materials, equipment and labor.
  • Worked closely with architects and contractors to prepare comprehensive cost plans.
  • Developed and updated risk management procedure which led to a reduction in project overruns by 10%
  • Interacted with clients to identify potential areas for cost saving which resulted in a 5% reduction in project budgets.

Why these are strong?

These examples show specific and quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job position, which can be very appealing to employers. Each of these points gives a clear picture of the applicant's role and impact in previous positions. They provide information on the level of responsibility, technical skills, and highlight the experience in relation to cost estimation which proves the candidate's competence. Using action verbs like 'coordinated', 'performed', 'worked', and 'developed' are also good practice as they show the active role the candidate took in his/her previous jobs.

Weak Experiences

  • - Cost some things
  • - Has an e-mail
  • - Really liked my last job
  • - Wanted to become an astronaut
  • - I like numbers

Why these are weak?

The examples listed are indicative of bad practices when drafting a bullet point list for a work experience section on a Cost Estimator resume. The core of the issues lies in the irrelevance and lack of specificity exhibited in each example. For instance, 'Cost some things' is egregiously vague and fails to detail the nature and scope of the responsibilities handled. Similarly, 'Has an e-mail' and 'Really liked my last job' provide no useful insight into the candidate's professional capabilities or achievements. 'Wanted to become an astronaut' and 'I like numbers' are irrelevant to the position of a Cost Estimator and thus, makes the resume look unprofessional. A Cost Estimator resume should specifically detail the individual's skills, experience, and achievements in relation to cost estimation and associated fields.

Skills, Keywords & ATS Tips

Let's jump right in and talk about hard and soft skills - what they mean for a cost estimator and how they impact your resume. Also, we'll cover how keywords tie into the selection process by using ATS and aligning skills.

Hard and Soft Skills

In the simplest terms, hard skills are the abilities you acquire through learning, such as your expertise in a specific area, while soft skills deal with how you interact with others. In a cost estimator job, hard skills would typically include proficiency in cost analysis and proficiency in estimating software, while soft skills might involve teamwork and communication capabilities. Both categories are crucial—even in analytical roles.

Skills are a crucial part of your resume because they can aid in demonstrating your suitability for a role. Hard skills show that you're capable of performing the job based on your education and training. Soft skills, on the other hand, relate to how you work with others. They can demonstrate your ability to fit into a team and work effectively, which is especially relevant in roles like cost estimation where you may often have to work with cross-functional teams.

Keywords, ATS, and Matching Skills

Keywords are essentially specific words or phrases that describe skills, qualities, or experiences that are relevant to a particular job. ATS, which stands for Applicant Tracking System, is a tool used by many companies to automatically filter resumes based on desired skills and experiences.

Think of the ATS as a gatekeeper. The more your resume contains the relevant keywords from the job description, the more likely the ATS is to flag you as a potentially good fit. It's all about alignment. The better your skills (both hard and soft) match the keywords highlighted in a job posting, the more likely you are to pass through the ATS and get your resume in front of a real person.

However, it's important not to just 'stuff' your resume with keywords. Ensure they are incorporated naturally and genuinely reflect your abilities. Prioritise the keywords that strongly resonate with your skills and ensure these stand out in your resume.

So, in summary, hard and soft skills demonstrate your capabilities, and the use of relevant keywords increases the chances of your resume passing through ATS filters. Get these things right, and you're one step closer to that cost estimator role. Just remember, your skills and keywords should clearly reflect the job description and your genuine abilities.

Top Hard & Soft Skills for Full Stack Developers

Hard Skills

  • Cost estimation
  • Budgeting
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Financial modeling
  • Data analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Project management
  • Market research
  • Excel proficiency
  • Cost control
  • Forecasting
  • Contract negotiation
  • Resource allocation
  • Cost optimization
  • Tender evaluation
  • Soft Skills

  • Analytical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Organization
  • Negotiation
  • Stress management
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Customer service
  • Top Action Verbs

    Use action verbs to highlight achievements and responsibilities on your resume.

  • Analyzed
  • Estimated
  • Budgeted
  • Modeled
  • Evaluated
  • Negotiated
  • Forecasted
  • Optimized
  • Allocated
  • Managed
  • Researched
  • Assessed
  • Implemented
  • Monitored
  • Reviewed
  • Developed
  • Presented
  • Communicated
  • Collaborated
  • Documented
  • Resolved
  • Prioritized
  • Facilitated
  • Solved
  • Coordinated
  • Advised
  • Innovated
  • Supervised
  • Supported
  • Guided
  • Led
  • Trained
  • Implemented
  • Improved
  • Achieved
  • Delivered
  • Education

    To add your education/certificates to your resume as a Cost Estimator, first, create a dedicated section titled 'Education' or 'Credentials'. Here, list your degrees or certificates in a reverse-chronological order (most recent first). Include the name of the degree/certificate, name and location of the institution, and year of completion. For relevant courses or projects, you may add a bullet point underneath each degree. Remember to include any specialization or major relevant to Cost Estimation to emphasize your expertise.

    Resume FAQs for Cost Estimators


    What is the ideal resume length for a cost estimator?


    The ideal resume length for a cost estimator is typically one page. However, if you have extensive experience or certifications, it can be up to two pages. The key is to be concise and highlight your most relevant qualifications.


    What resume format is best for a cost estimator?


    The reverse-chronological format is generally recommended for cost estimators. This format lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job first. It effectively showcases your career progression and relevant experience.


    How should I highlight my cost estimating skills on my resume?


    Highlight your cost estimating skills by including a 'Skills' or 'Core Competencies' section on your resume. List relevant skills such as cost analysis, bid preparation, quantity surveying, project management, and any industry-specific software or tools you are proficient in.


    How can I quantify my achievements as a cost estimator on my resume?


    Quantifying your achievements is crucial for a cost estimator resume. Include specific metrics, such as the percentage of cost savings achieved, the dollar value of projects you estimated, or the number of successful bids you prepared. This demonstrates your impact and ability to deliver measurable results.

    Cost Estimator Resume Example

    A Cost Estimator is responsible for accurately calculating the costs associated with construction projects, including materials, labor, and overhead expenses. To land this role, your resume should showcase your proficiency in cost estimation software, knowledge of construction methods, and strong mathematical skills. Highlight relevant projects and quantify achievements that demonstrate your ability to prepare detailed cost estimates and budgets. Tailor your resume to the specific job requirements, using clear formatting and emphasizing your expertise in evaluating project costs and maximizing efficiency.

    Sebastian Hill
    (237) 692-8733
    Cost Estimator

    Dynamic and detail-oriented Cost Estimator with a proven track record of accurately forecasting project costs and optimizing budgets across various industries. Skilled in leveraging advanced estimation techniques and fostering collaborative relationships with cross-functional teams to ensure project success. Adept at analyzing complex data, identifying potential risks, and implementing cost-saving strategies to maximize profitability.

    Work Experience
    Senior Cost Estimator
    06/2019 - Present
    Bechtel Corporation
    • Spearheaded cost estimation for multi-million dollar construction projects, consistently delivering accurate estimates within 2% of actual costs.
    • Developed and implemented a standardized cost estimation methodology, resulting in a 15% reduction in estimation time and improved consistency across the department.
    • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to identify and mitigate potential cost risks, resulting in an average cost savings of $500,000 per project.
    • Mentored and trained a team of 5 junior cost estimators, fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional development.
    • Presented cost estimation findings and recommendations to senior management, securing buy-in for critical project decisions.
    Cost Estimator
    02/2016 - 05/2019
    • Prepared detailed cost estimates for infrastructure projects, including highways, bridges, and water treatment plants.
    • Conducted thorough market research to ensure the accuracy of material, labor, and equipment costs.
    • Collaborated with design teams to optimize project scope and identify cost-saving opportunities, resulting in an average savings of 10% per project.
    • Developed and maintained a comprehensive cost database, improving the efficiency and accuracy of future estimates.
    • Assisted in the preparation of bid packages and participated in client meetings to present cost estimates and address queries.
    Junior Cost Estimator
    08/2014 - 01/2016
    Kiewit Corporation
    • Assisted senior cost estimators in preparing cost estimates for commercial and residential construction projects.
    • Conducted quantity takeoffs and maintained accurate records of project scope and cost changes.
    • Collaborated with subcontractors to obtain accurate pricing for specialized trade work.
    • Participated in regular project meetings to ensure cost estimates aligned with project goals and timelines.
    • Continuously updated cost databases and stayed current with industry trends and best practices.
  • Cost Estimation
  • Budgeting
  • Financial Analysis
  • Risk Management
  • Project Management
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Value Engineering
  • Cost Control
  • Data Analysis
  • Primavera P6
  • Microsoft Project
  • AutoCAD
  • Excel
  • Communication
  • Education
    Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
    09/2010 - 06/2014
    University of Washington, Seattle, WA