When you think about in-demand engineering skills, you probably think about technical abilities. While technical skills are crucial for success, recruiters and hiring partners are looking for something deeper. Soft skills impact your ability to work well as a member of the team, and in today’s market, those skills are equally as important as technical skills. These are the top five most sought-after engineering skills you should highlight in your next interview.
Yes, engineering is about precision. You can’t “get creative” with measurements or equations, of course, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a creative thinker. Valuable engineers are creative problem-solvers, looking for new approaches to challenges. Solving a problem when you’re under tight deadlines and budgetary constraints requires outside-the-box thinking, so be prepared to talk about some of the creative solutions you’ve contributed to in your career.
Engineers do not operate in a bubble. They must communicate effectively with stakeholders, team members and clients. Written and verbal communication must be clear – miscommunication can spell big trouble on a complex project. Be ready to showcase your ability to communicate with leaders, peers, clients and non-technical stakeholders on a project.
Engineers work as part of a group, and that team must operate like a well-oiled machine. People who are not team players cannot succeed in the industry, so it is important to demonstrate your willingness to work as a team member and your ability to both lead and follow in group settings.
It would be nice if engineering projects always went according to plan, but the truth is, there are always obstacles and challenges. Depending on your industry, challenges can range from regulatory changes to budgets to weather issues to staff turnover to malfunctioning machinery to clients who move the goal posts. It is important to be able to roll with the punches and adapt quickly when things change. Prepare anecdotes that highlight times when you’ve had to adjust quickly to changes or setbacks and discuss how your adaptability helped the project stay on track.
Desire to Learn
As an engineer, you know you have to keep your licenses and credentials up-to-date, but that’s just the bare minimum if you want to succeed and grow in your career. Companies are looking for engineers who actively seek out opportunities to build new skills, stay ahead of trends, learn new approaches, etc. During interviews, discuss the ways you seek out new opportunities to learn both on the job and in your spare time.