5 Soft Skills for Engineers You Can Improve Today

Soft skills are not necessarily the first thing in mind when considering engineering careers. However, in a ideal world where remote work is becoming more and more prominent, it is even more important to make interpersonal connections count.

Mastering the following soft skills will set you up for success in the workplace, and make you stand out while applying for jobs. Continue reading to review five of the most crucial soft skills for all engineers.

Comprehension Skills

In the world of engineering, you are constantly asked to turn ideas into reality. The ability to not only listen but comprehend the end goal of the ideas being placed in front of you is an invaluable soft skill that will set you apart from others in your field. Oftentimes, engineers will have ideas thrown at them that are in just the very beginning stages of a complete thought. Being able to take these ideas, understand what your client is looking for, and not only deliver on what they ask but exceed it, is a vital skill to have.

Going beyond someone’s expectations is always positive, and having a firm grasp of what the client wants, even if the client themselves is not quite sure of what they are asking for, is invaluable in the world of engineering. A great way to improve comprehension skills is taking notes, ideally on paper. Writing down these notes in meetings and as soon as they come up will help you to remember them better, giving you an accessible check sheet that you can build from.

Creativity and Vision

Once you comprehend the task at hand, turning the idea into reality takes additional skills that can be difficult to develop. Being creative enough to go above and beyond on a project not only will set you apart from others in the engineering field but having a creative vision right from the discovery call will help the client buy in to your ideas more and the team as a whole.

A great way to enhance this skill is to ask more questions. Asking your team and the client questions will help to get all possible ideas about a project in the open. Additionally, by asking the client questions, you will sometimes pull details out of them that they had not originally thought of.

Written and Verbal Communication

According to a Harvard Business School Online study of engineering jobs, around one-third of employers actually put communication skills at the top of their want list when hiring applicants. Eye contact and clear speaking are two great things you can implement in these scenarios. They both demonstrate attentiveness and comfortably with pressure situations, two things all employers look for. Regardless of what you are doing in the world of engineering, strong communication is an outstanding skill to have.

Whether it is within your team or with a client, having clear and concise communication will optimize the work within your team and will create a better final product for the client. It can even guarantee future work with that client. By practicing clear speech, and general comfortability with personal interactions, successful client interactions will come easily. To improve this skill, a simple role-play with a friend or colleague can go a long way. Run through different scenarios before you get into these meetings to prepare yourself for different situations.

Emotional Intelligence

All too often, you, the engineer, will have an endless list of tasks thrown at you to accomplish on tight deadlines. Having emotional intelligence in these situations is a skill that can not only help on the communication side of things but also on the interpersonal side. At TriMech Staffing our recruiters have a multitude of tips and tricks for handling situations like this. Being able to appropriately determine a client’s state of mind can be crucial in difficult situations. If you can put yourself in their shoes, not only will it make the client feel more at ease, but it can also help to decide the best course of action for the upcoming project.

On the interpersonal side, all too often you hear about engineers having an immense workload. Being able to decompress in situations such as this is critical to success. Journaling can be helpful to reduce the load of remembering tasks and provides an emotional outlet. It will also help you express your worries if they are brought up in a work setting. You will have turned these thoughts from a jumble floating through your mind, to clear, concise words written down in front of you, making them easier to express.

Negotiating Skills

The aforementioned four soft skills have laid the groundwork for establishing trust between you, your team, and the client, and now we will take a closer look at what to do when that trust is established. Stanford Research Center, Harvard University, and The Carnegie Foundation found that an astounding 85% of job success comes from excellent soft skills, and 15% comes from technical skills.

Negotiation is a fickle task in all business settings. However, it is a crucial skill for engineers. Whether it is within your team or to a client, being able to communicate good terms effectively and level-headed for both parties is essential. By building up your rapport with the client from the skills mentioned before, you have put yourself in a comfortable position to set favorable terms whether it be for yourself, or for your team, to succeed in the workplace.

Need to improve your soft skills?

Soft Skills for engineers are essential to success. Whether it is within your team, or an external party, having a firm grasp of these five soft skills is crucial if you want to optimize your workplace, and set the foundation for success in future projects. Looking for more advice? TriMech Staffing recruiters are specially trained to help engineers improve their soft skills to put their best foot forward when speaking with potential employers.

Dain Ripol

Dain Ripol is the TriMech Staff Augmentation Marketing Coordinator
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