Two Ways to Improve Your Prospects as an Engineer

Greg Wheeler
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When it comes to stable careers, engineers have long held an enviable position. Due to the recent recession, however, many engineers are finding that, even with excellent engineer skills, great jobs are difficult to find and keep. By making an effort to hone your skills and gain relevant experience, you can improve your career prospects.

Though the unemployment rate is declining, many hiring professionals are overwhelmed with qualified candidates for engineer jobs. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job situation in the industry is still uncertain in many areas. To make yourself stand out from the crowd, you must ensure that your engineer skills stand out.

One of the most effective ways to hone your engineer skills and improve your prospects is to find a co-op or internship position. An internship gives you firsthand experience in a specific engineering field, which can make you more attractive to potential employers. During your time as an intern, you will learn how the company operates, observe full-time engineers at work, and see how projects evolve.

Simply gaining an internship is not enough; as an intern, you must take every opportunity that comes your way. Let your supervisor know that you are interested in learning about every aspect of the business. Ask to sit in on meetings, go on client visits, and shadow different people in the company. In addition, volunteer to take on as much responsibility as you can handle. The more tasks you handle, the more developed your engineer skills will become, which will give you more to offer potential employers.

A second way to improve your engineering prospects is to work on your communication skills. When considering important engineer skills, many people ignore communication. For many engineers, communication is a struggle, which means that employers must hire nontechnical professionals to handle a range of writing and speaking tasks. If you can present yourself to an employer as a skilled communicator, you can add significant value to a firm.

To make yourself more marketable for engineer jobs, you must be able to demonstrate the ability to write and speak effectively about technical topics. Focus on learning how to distill facts and concepts for a variety of audiences, from laypeople to subject-matter experts. Hone your writing skills; an engineer with a strong grasp of technical writing can save an employer a significant amount of time, money, and hassle.

When you make an effort to develop your engineer skills, you can let employers know that you are dedicated to the job. By gaining real-world experience and taking time to become a strong communicator, you'll gain the competitive advantage over other candidates.



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