With around 1 in 10 university graduates embarking upon a career in engineering each year, it's important that you are aware of the necessary skills and qualities that engineering employers are looking for to give yourself a competitive advantage over the other candidates.

One of the beauties of working in this industry is that there are a wide range of jobs available to suit all types of personalities and levels of expertise. Some positions demand a high level of academic achievement, some relying more on technical expertise.

Incorporated engineers and engineering technicians need to have a high level of attention to detail, reasoning ability, the skills and knowhow to make things happen and strength of character to manage others.

On the other hand craft workers and operators will need basic mathematical ability, resilience, patience and of course, manual skills.

Regardless of the role in which you will be working, there are a common set of intangible skills that employers look for across all engineering disciplines:

  • Effective communication skills - with an increase in the documentation and instructions that engineers use in the workplace, clear and concise communication is a requirement.
  • Interpersonal skills - you need to know how to effectively work as part of a team and work with customers to identify needs and provide solutions.
  • Technical knowledge - whatever technical expertise is vital to your job, you need to understand how to apply this to solving practical problems.
  • Organisational skills - being able to prioritise tasks, manage your time effectively and resource planning are key skills for engineers.
  • Enthusiasm and commitment - learning new skills is part of every engineer's role, so you need to be adept at assimilating a lot of new information.

More importantly, employers are looking for evidence that you are well rounded, take an active interest in and have an understanding of the engineering industry. Furthermore, that you have the motivation, drive and ambition to make an impact within their company.