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Soft Skills – How to Increase Your Employability and Promotability

Author: Luke Grakovich

Published date: 2019/09

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In the fast-paced and competitive world of engineering, self-awareness around what you bring to a position and business can pay off big dividends for your future development. Technical skills and experience are very important; however, the good news is they are not the only factors in how your employer will assess your value.

 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills can be defined as anything that is not related to your technical ability and qualifications but relates more to your personality. The promising thing about soft skills is that they are something that you can directly impact and the more aware you are of them, the more you can develop them. 

 

Why are they important?

Soft skills are becoming increasingly more important in the market with a big focus on not just what you can do but how you do it. This can directly impact your earnings, in terms of future promotions as well as opportunities to lead projects and take on more responsibility within your current team. 

 

Outside of technical skills, what else can I contribute?

To ensure a business is bringing on the right people they are placing increased importance around ensuring new starters reflect their own company values. A lot of these you will find on a company’s web page. This can be a great place to start if you are looking at an interview and which soft skills you will want to highlight!

According to LinkedIn some of the highest sort after soft skills are:

  1.  Creativity – If you can bring new inspiring ideas to the table even in a competitive environment you will always be valued by your business. Whilst creativity in the engineering industry helps you to be identified within the field.

  2. Persuasion – The powers of persuasion can keep projects on task and under budget by allowing them to continue and ensuring all parties stay happy. Many project managers and senior engineers will often need to have difficult conversations with contractors and local authorities to keep projects running smoothly.

  3. Collaboration – Ever worked on a multi-disciplinary project? Then the value of being able to collaborate and coordinate resources and ideas in a team environment can’t be overstated.  Engineers are expected to coordinate multi-disciplinary design packages in complex environments and their ability to work in a team is critical to the success of a project.

  4. Adaptability – Companies will frequently change internals systems, processes, templates, even internal management! So, if you can’t adapt and use these changes to your advantage you will be left behind for those who can. Engineering resources and timelines will shift during a project so engineers who are adaptable and can quickly respond to the new requirements are going to be more successful.

  5. Time Management – The ability to juggle multiple, and sometimes conflicting, priorities is a valued skill across all industries. Engineers’ workloads can be a variety of equally important activities such as civil design, project management, liaising with stakeholders, water & road authorities as well as several others. Obviously, managing all these factors is highly reliant on good time management skills.

 

Next time you are applying for a job or due for a promotion, and want to stand out from the crowd ask yourself if you have been self-aware, ensuring you haven’t left any soft gaps in your development. Take the time to reflect and develop some of your soft skills and not only emphasise your technical abilities and qualifications. There are many free resources out there so read, listen, ask your colleagues and watch your career soar to new heights!