21 Essential Skills for Every Type of Engineer

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Your resume is your first opportunity to attract interest, so showcasing your relevant engineering skills is essential for impressing the hiring professional who reads it. Take advantage of both the skills and prior work experience sections of your resume to highlight your most relevant abilities. Learning about these skills may help you present your best features to any potential employer. In this article, we discuss the top skills to list on an engineering resume.

What are engineering skills?

The talents required to be a successful engineer include a combination of both hard and soft skills. They allow an engineer to perform the duties of the position and also work with coworkers to operate as a unit efficiently. You may develop engineering skills by attending formal education programs, gaining relevant employment and pursuing certifications.

21 examples of engineering skills

No matter the industry, a diverse range of skills is necessary to excel as an engineer. Here are examples of some of the most common skills employers look for, with examples of how to showcase them in your resume:

1. Problem-solving

A large part of an engineer's job is assessing a situation, identifying problems and then finding solutions. Employers may want to see that you are capable of handling challenges in your daily work.

Example: “Adept at identifying problems resulting in inoperable production machinery, troubleshooting potential causes and devising a solution to return the machine to operating condition as promptly as possible.”

Related: How To Become a Mechanical Engineer

2. Computer science

No matter what field of engineering you are working in, it is likely a requirement to use computers to do your job effectively. Skills like programming are valuable across a broad range of engineering disciplines and are appealing to prospective employers.

Example: “Utilised computer modelling programs to develop simulations for structural designs and test the load capacity before finalisation of project blueprints.”

3. Attention to detail

When working in a field where precision is important, such as engineering, an individual must have strong attention to detail. Employers may like candidates who can demonstrate their ability to not overlook small but important details.

Example: “Tested malfunctioning computer chips, troubleshooting for apparent signs of physical damage and performing repairs and installations, paying close attention to the precise placement of all wiring and contact points.”

Related: How To Become a Network Engineer: A Complete Guide

4. Pressure management

Engineering projects can be challenging, so a candidate needs to be reliable under stress. By highlighting your ability to deliver in difficult situations, you can make yourself appealing to potential employers.

Example: “Managed a team of engineers constructing a new prototype model on an accelerated timeline to have the test model available in time for demo at a major convention, resulting in positive reviews from the press following the debut presentation.”

5. Teamwork

Few engineering projects involve an engineer working on their own without coworkers or outside professionals. Teamwork skills are essential for ensuring you can cooperate with teammates to succeed as a unit and perform to your highest combined ability.

Example: “Worked alongside a team of five engineers to develop new body design, increase aerodynamics and improve overall fuel economy.”

6. Creativity

Often when attempting to find a solution to an engineering problem, you may not have direct experience with an identical problem or need. In these situations, a creative mind can combine prior experiences in new ways to create a solution to the problem. Creativity is a very important skill that employers may look for in your resume.

Example: “Constructed a customised guide for use with a table saw to allow the carpentry team to more easily create required pieces of lumber, significantly reducing construction time for each project.”

Related: How To Become a Petroleum Engineer: A Complete Guide

7. Communication

Despite the fact that engineering is often an analytical profession, there is also a significant amount of interpersonal interaction needed for success. When applying for engineering positions, potential employers may want to see if you possess the ability to work with creative professionals and others in your workplace.

Example: “Managed multiple tasks simultaneously while attending weekly team meetings to discuss and complete a design for a new prototype car that was expected to be launched at the end of the year.”

8. Management

Many engineering positions require managing employees or outside contractors who are working on your project. A manager must act as an effective leader to direct team members in the best way possible toward their goals.

Example: “Managed a team of eight engineers in the design of a new model of SUV, presenting the finished prototype to the committee within three months' time.”

9. Presentation skills

It is common for an engineer to present their designs or plans to both internal and external groups, so it is important that you are able to clearly articulate your ideas in order to be successful. Presentation skills may involve speaking, designing presentations and answering questions.

Example: “Monitored progress of all construction projects, assessing safety issues and recommending changes for future projects based on conditions on-site.”

10. Leadership

Leadership skills are often necessary for many types of engineering positions, especially when working with a team. This does not mean that you need to be the manager of your team, but it can include leading by example and demonstrating your knowledge in specialised areas to help others learn.

Example: “Conducted weekly meetings with team members to review progress on new model sports car prototype, ensuring all members were on track with their assigned tasks and we resolved timely any potential problems before considering a launch date.”

Related: How To Become a Project Engineer: A Step-By-Step Guide

12. Research skills

Research skills are often necessary within engineering positions to help determine advancements within the field, develop products and gather information. Engineers commonly conduct research by reading academic journals, studying competitors' products and examining various other forms of literature.

Example: “Participated in policy development within government agency for new model hybrid SUV, researching energy efficiency standards and determining the effect of various components on each.”

13. Quality assurance

Quality assurance (QA) is important for ensuring that the plans and designs you produce are of high quality and that other engineers can use them in development. Many QA departments only hire engineers with the ability to help evaluate the quality of products, plans and reports.

Example: “Applied quality control practices in all areas of vehicle assembly, working with the engineering and design departments to determine the most effective ways to improve automobile chassis strength and overall integrity.”

14. Design abilities

Many companies hire engineers with exceptional design abilities because they can come up with new solutions and create highly effective products. Design abilities include creating technical drawings, product plans, protocols and guidelines.

Example: “Overhauled entire product line of luxury SUVs, redesigning all components and increasing fuel economy by 7% without sacrificing the look of the vehicle.”

15. Software skills

Software skills are crucial for many engineering positions, as many engineering jobs involve working with software such as CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAM (Computer Aided Manufacture) or other types of computer-based programs. Software skills are especially useful for software engineering positions.

Example: “Used software tools to help design body of new bicycle, adjusting frame geometry based on feedback from riders.”

16. Project management

Employers may require engineers to perform project management tasks, especially in engineering roles that involve managing a team. As a project manager, you may manage multiple projects simultaneously while remaining organised and efficient.

Example: “Managed multiple projects simultaneously within vehicle assembly facility, including designing parts for new SUV assembly lines and redesigning the manual assembly area for efficient use of materials and personnel."

18. Supplies management

Supplies management is a vital role within engineering departments because machines like 3D printers often use Engineers with supplies management skills are adept at inventory control, budgeting and other similar tasks related to supplies.

Example: “Managed purchasing of supplies and materials, organising inventory and storing them properly to ensure maximum efficiency.”

19. Data management

Engineers may use different types of data when performing their job, including CAD (Computer Aided Design), G-code (3D printing) and government databases. Data management is necessary to ensure that you can effectively store data on computers while making sure that your files are secure.

Example: “Organised a large amount of data for a planetary research project”

20. Accounting skills

Many engineers require accounting skills to properly track expenses and bill clients. Using accounting skills may involve operating accounting software and using math abilities.

Example: “Tracked expenses of all design projects, ensuring we did not lose any payments and filed all financial reports with government entities on schedule.”

21. Systems management

Systems management is common in engineering positions that involve manufacturing products. This may require you to effectively operate machinery, including taking appropriate action when issues arise utilizing your knowledge of machines and structures.

Example: “Managed machinery for making parts for new line of mid-sized luxury SUVs, diagnosing problems with automated machinery and ensuring the most efficient operation at all times"

What are the three main roles of an engineer?

While engineers have several responsibilities, here are three of the most common ones:

  • design

  • production

  • research and reporting

Your main tasks may vary depending on the industry you work in, your specific employer, your skill set and how senior of an engineer you are.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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