By definition, engineering is a skilled, technical profession. That’s why it’s so easy to get hung up on your technical skills when you’re customizing your resume for a job search or when you’re in an engineering job interview. However, employers are looking for more than just technical skills in candidates. They also want to see soft skills – less tangible yet equally critical skills that make you a well-rounded professional and an excellent addition to a team.
Here are five soft skills you need to develop to build a successful engineering career.
Engineers do not exist in a bubble. They must communicate effectively with their technical team but they must also be able to communicate highly technical information to people who do not have engineering expertise. From company leaders to clients, it is essential to be able to break down highly complex information into messages that non-technical people can understand.
Engineering projects do not get done by single individuals. Even small projects are highly complex and require the work of many professionals and support staff. And because the workforce is so diverse, teams are typically made up of people who come from different backgrounds and perspectives, so it is important to be able to work effectively with groups of people who take different approaches to work.
Adaptability and Flexibility
Wouldn’t it be nice if every project went off without a single hitch? In reality, every single project will hit multiple snags along the way no matter how well-planned they may be. Businesses want engineers who are able to adapt quickly to unforeseen changes and issues.
Engineering is bound by certain mathematical and scientific rules, but innovation only occurs when engineers can think creatively. Finding new ways to solve old problems can help your company move faster, control costs and innovate forward-thinking solutions.
Whether you formally lead a team or not, leadership traits are a critical success factor for engineers. Leadership is about seeing the bigger picture, setting an example, presenting new ideas and motivating teammates when stress levels are high and morale is low. Leadership can also be about rolling up your sleeves and taking up tasks that fall outside the scope of your job description in order to get the job done.
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