3 Unexpected Soft Skills to Look for in Engineers
As we mentioned in our first blog on the five soft skills for engineers, engineering isn’t only about robotics, manufacturing, structure analysis, and programming. These days, the technical skills of engineering aren’t enough to succeed as an engineer.
To be a successful engineer, you need soft skills to call on to be more focused in your role, get along better with your coworkers, and be able to make informed decisions quickly.
In this part two of our soft skills blog for engineers, we look at three unexpected skills that can make you an even more desirable candidate and, once hired, a top valued worker. Check out these three unexpected (but highly valuable) soft skills for top engineering talent:
Engineering is an industry built on rules and highly efficient processes. Predictability is a top priority for engineers who are working to consistently deliver results that are as close to on time and on budget as they’ve been estimated. But what if things don’t go as planned?
Resilience is one of the most important soft skills for engineers. But it’s not only about being able to deal with difficult situations and keep cool under pressure. True resilience is an ability to bounce back in a short amount of time and redouble your efforts rather than how badly you take the situation.
Engineers need to be able to understand that there are going to be tough situations even when things are going well. They need the skill of handling setbacks so they can get back on track quickly and keep the work moving along smoothly.
There are some things you can do to build resilience in your career.
Be prepared to fail:
You might fail, and you might be disappointed in your failures or shortcomings. But employers need people who can take what they’ve learned from failures and use those lesson to create better, more efficient, and safer processes.
Engineers love solving problems. But few people admire someone who brags about their achievements and calls attention to their successes. A key trait to being a resilient engineer is humility. Again, mistakes are bound to occur. You’ll have a much easier time rebounding from those mishaps when you’re able to take things in stride and accept that making mistakes is part of being human.
Being ready for change:
Engineering is a dynamic field. Engineers need to have the flexibility to adapt and change. One of the best ways to be proactively resilient is to build your skill set of problem-solving strategies such as:
- Keeping calm
- Asking others for input
- Developing your capacity for critical thinking
But other skills that can help you further prepare for change and help you to thrive, such as keeping an open mind, a sense of humor, and a willingness to learn new tools and techniques.
Quick decision making
In some situations, you need to make fast decisions. But it’s also important to be thoughtful and strategic.
Engineers who can make quick decisions are highly valuable employees because they can often focus on the task at hand and figure out solutions quickly and efficiently. But what if you don’t have time to think about all the variables before making a decision. How do you train yourself to make better decisions on the fly?
Learn to listen and be adaptable:
It might sound counterintuitive, but you can learn to listen better by slowing down and making active attempts to gain knowledge from other people’s opinions. Listening is a huge part of being successful. Not listening can be even more harmful than ignoring feedback.
Try to make a habit of documenting all your tasks, including what you have to do, what your goals are for the day or week, and what decisions you might make on top tasks. This might seem like overkill, but many successful engineers keep these lists handy for quick reference as a reminder of their priorities and solutions when their thinking might otherwise be scrambled in the heat of the moment.
Don’t work in a bubble:
Part of being a great engineer is communicating your work and ideas effectively to others. The better you communicate with your coworkers, the easier it will be for you and your team to work together successfully, meet deadlines, and complete your projects.
Engineering is a team sport. Engineers can’t and shouldn’t be expected to do their best work on their own, which is why it’s critical to be able to work well with others. Being an agreeable and cooperative person will help you build trust and relationships with your colleagues, fellow engineers, and management.
But agreeability can be such a nuanced, subjective trait. How can you truly train yourself to be better at listening and communicating with others? Try it in your next meeting (or interview) and make a conscious effort to ensure you’re allowing everyone the time to contribute their ideas and opinions. Brainstorming sessions where everyone contributes solutions are a great way to teach yourself to work more effectively with others.
Work with RHM Staffing
Speaking of working well with others. One of the top strategies you can take to becoming a sought-after and successful engineer is to work with RHM staffing. Not only can we help coach you in learning these effective soft skills, but we can be your advocate all through the interviewing and hiring process.
Are you interested? Contact RHM Staffing Solutions today.