Did you Know Engineers Need Soft Skills?

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Post #26 Employers Gage your Soft Skillset

Yes, you read this correctly.  Engineers don’t just need linear thinking in terms of mathematics and logic.  It is essential engineers possess the skills necessary to get along with humans.  You may connect well with other engineers, but do other people understand your way of communicating?  And why should you care?  Read this to understand why engineers need soft skills and why they’re so vital to your success.

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What are Soft Skills Anyway?

Think of soft skills as being opposite your tangible and technical skills.  One easy definition is that soft skills are a measure of your emotional intelligence.  Your soft skills set the foundation for you to be able to use your technical skills.  Soft skills come from your personality, your attitude and your intuition.  Are you resilient, patient and perceptive?  How well do you handle stress and unexpected circumstances?  Soft skills involve your ability to work with others, to manage, to lead and to mentor/teach.  If you can negotiate, persuade, and sell then add those to your list of soft skills.  The abilities to handle politics, to network and to make presentations are also considered soft skills.  If you possess emotional awareness and self-confidence, those are soft skills.

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Why Should I Care?

If the previous paragraph isn’t self-explanatory, let me put it in perspective for you.  As you progress through your engineering journey in college, you will be taking more and more engineering courses.  Your comfort level working with other engineers should rise.  Naturally, this could lead to a decreased level of engagement with non-engineers.  Do you see a problem here?  When it is time to converse with customers, financial managers, operators, or managers at work, you may stumble.  Soft skills allow you the ability to deal with difficult people in a variety of situations.  Your employer would prefer to hire students who can display a high level of soft skills.

In conclusion, your soft skills are a representation of your level of emotional well-being.  Engineers need soft skills and employers are good at detecting where you stand.  Your technical knowledge, while helpful for engineering, is only half of the equation.  The better your emotional state of mind, the more effective your soft skills.  The more effective your soft skills, the further you can propel your future career.

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