Mechanical engineers need to have exceptional technical skills in order to succeed. These skills are critical for a job that requires precision but they are not the only factors for success. Today, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for more than just math, computer and science acumen. Soft skills impact your ability to work well as a member of a team and they are equally important to your technical qualifications. Here are the five most in-demand skills for mechanical engineers that you should focus on during your job search.
It’s easy to want to be rigid in your work as a mechanical engineer – after all, your work requires accuracy and precision. However, things change rapidly and it is important to not only expect the unexpected but to be able to adapt quickly. As you interview for jobs, prepare anecdotes that highlight times when you have had to adjust to changes and challenges and discuss how your adaptability helped a project stay on track.
On the spectrum of “creative” jobs, mechanical engineering is the polar opposite of something like graphic arts. However, mechanical engineers do need to have creative problem-solving skills. Engineers who add value look for new approaches to existing challenges. Outside-the-box thinking leads to innovation, but it can also lead to cost savings and improved workflow on critical projects and initiatives. Take an inventory of some of the most creative solutions you’ve come up with in your career and showcase them in interviews.
Mechanical engineers do not work independently. They work as members of a team and they need to be able to communicate effectively with their coworkers, leaders who might not be technically inclined, and other crucial stakeholders. Miscommunication can lead to problems on a complex project so it is very important to talk with hiring managers about your communication skills as well as your communication preferences.
Engineers work as part of a group, and that team must operate like a well-oiled machine. This means having both the ability to lead when necessary and to follow when it’s required. Good team players are able to table their egos and put the goals of the team and the project ahead of themselves. During interviews, be sure to talk about team goals and contributions.
Desire to Learn
Mechanical engineers must keep their credentials updated but if you just do that bare minimum, you will fall behind. Employers are looking for engineers who prioritize learning and development and actively seek out opportunities to grow. Talk about the ways you build your skills, stay ahead of trends, learn new approaches, etc.
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