Stiff competition and limited employment opportunities mean that many job seekers struggle to attract employers and pass interviews. This is especially true for the engineering industries. Engineering-related job hunters will need to develop and update the right soft skills, which include personal qualities and interpersonal attitudes.
Employees want professionals who are flexible with their schedules, preferences and responsibilities. Flexibility is a can-do attitude that people should act on and not just talk about. During interviews, it’s recommended to describe project experiences or workplace scenarios that required flexibility and resulted in benefits and new understanding.
Time management skills are crucial for job applicants because new hires must often juggle a variety of roles and responsibilities. Be prepared to explain how you prioritise mundane duties and urgent daily tasks to help your potential employer understand your awareness and organisation skills.
Texts with popular acronyms and casually written emails may help to establish rapport, but they may also demonstrate professional incompetency. Many business leaders and educational experts worry that technological advances are weakening people’s ability to clearly and effectively communicate. It may help to mention that you prefer to engage clients and coworkers in face-to-face conversations.
Why soft skills matter
Soft skills are not related to degree level or technical expertise because they help people re-prioritize the right tasks, proactively solve problems and communicate well with others. Soft skills encourage productivity, collaboration and excellent customer service. In fact, most consumers select technical professionals based on their abilities to establish rapport, respectfully communicate and take the time to help others.
Know what you’re talking about
Expertise is a valuable commodity. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s bad news both for you and the company you’re doing the work for. But that’s no critical job skill at hand. Even if you start with relatively little niche knowledge or precise understanding of how a prospective company uses its resources, you can learn. If you’re applying for an entry-level position, the company might actually prefer a little less hands-on experience so they can train you how they prefer.
The hottest job skill isn’t really knowledge
The most important skill is being able to articulate knowledge and have a worthwhile conversation. Every single job involves some degree of communication, and the interview doesn’t end just because you get the job. You need to be able to have a meta-conversation about what you do, not just be able to do it.
Be able to understand questions full of technical jargon
Take the time to learn engineering industry-specific terminology. Even in your own thoughts, start referring to tools with their official names. The last thing you want is a director to walk by, understand your spreadsheet, and ask you questions you can’t even begin to answer.
Be able to explain procedures to new employees and auditors
Explaining is an extremely underrated skill. You’ve probably sat through dozens of podcasts, lectures, and meetings where you want the speaker just to get to point. But when they do get to the point, it sounds like a mix of vague and technical nonsense.
If you can present yourself as having both deep technical knowledge and the ability to concisely explain it without generalizing, you have a unique asset. People will prefer to listen to you than someone who rambles or over-complicates, which makes you extremely powerful.
Access the industry
Remember, the first step to growing your career is to step into your desired industry. Job experience is key, so apply for jobs at engineering companies. While you might not get your dream job as an engineer from the start, beginning in a related position is key. You can work your way up as you build your resume.
Earn engineering certifications
Talk to your employer about signing up for training with AWS, GCP, Azure, or other platforms. You can earn credentials and certifications by doing so. If your employer is not able to cover your training, look into doing so on your own. These certifications will be worth it down the line.
The engineering industry is all about who you know. Attend conferences, connect with staffing firms, and join networking groups to meet experts and professionals in the industry. By making these connections, you can build your professional web and continue to grow in your career as an engineer.
Keep up with new technologies
No matter where you are in your career, its essential to stay educated on up-and-coming technologies. This way, you can stay one step ahead on the future of the cloud industry. So, when certain certifications are in demand, you can be one of the first to add them to your resume.