Skill #1: Knowledge of the core subject
The most basic ingredient that identifies you as an engineer is the knowledge in your field of study. A Mechanical Engineer, for example, needs to know the basics of Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Machine Design, Manufacturing Processes, CAD/CAE, etc. An awareness of the latest technological developments in your own field of study, like 3D printing & Alternative Energy techniques for Mechanical Engineers, will build your identity as an engineer further. We suggest you to be updated on the developments in your field of engineering, irrespective of the career you choose.
Sources: Engineering.com, Electronics for You, Open Source for You, Popular Mechanics, Engadget, Gizmodo etc.
Skill #2: Application of the knowledge
Good grades on your graduation certificate are a reflection of your (curriculum-based) core knowledge, howsoever vague. In spite of that, why do you think the correlation between job opportunities and grades is very less? It is because of the fact that a good knowledge on any subject does not warrant the ability to apply it to solve real-time problems. Employers are keen for engineers, who prove that they can call upon the relevant skills as and when required. We strongly recommend you to start developing projects “that work” to make your application skills evident.
Skill #3: Information Literacy
We, and also the employers, understand very well (from personal experience, of course!) that a limited time of 4 years is not sufficient to learn and excel in everything that the industry demands from an engineer. Moreover, new "jobs" demanding new skills are being created every year. It is, therefore, very essential to be an information literate. Information literacy is the ability to identify the need for information and find resources (online/offline) to start and finish a project from scratch.
Skill #4: Analytical & Creative thinking
Look around. Some of the most amazing gadgets and technologies are creative and, sometimes, simple engineering solutions to daily problems, starting from the smartphone to e-commerce. As engineers, you are expected to be creative enough to come up with innovative ideas and analytical enough to link knowledge from different areas to solve problems. Tinker with every new idea you encounter. Experiment!
Skill #5: Multi-disciplinary exposure
The contemporary workplace makes it inevitable for engineers to work in inter-disciplinary teams with projects that involve skills and tasks that are multi-disciplinary in nature. For example, an electronics engineer needs to work in a team consisting of computer engineers, designers, project managers and marketing managers etc. for a project in mobile technology. A basic understanding of these different divisions in the work will make his/her life easier.
Skill #6: Acquaintance with Computers & IT
The world is now transformed into a place where an understanding of computers and gadgets is no more a trade-skill, but a life-skill. A working knowledge in at least one programming language, the internet, mobile and web apps, social media etc. is as essential as proficiency in English.
Skill #7: Familiarity with Industry Standards
There is an evident gap, reported by numerous studies, between the academic standards in engineering colleges and the actual operating conditions in the industry. Young engineers feel overwhelmed due to the sudden change in working conditions right from the technologies being used to the operating procedures of the organization they (want to) become part of and it reflects in their performance. Learning industry-certified courses is one elegant solution to handle this misalignment.
Skill #8: Passion for learning
The last and the most important characteristic that will make you not only a better engineer but a better person is the never-ending spirit for learning. Many eminent personalities (and "gods") are of the opinion that the day a human being stops learning is the day he dies! Let this single mantra drive your life and you will be successful at whatever you take up.