Post #46 How To Discover Yours
You have heard, like a broken record, that employers want students with leadership skills. This may not make sense to you because your current focus is how to be an engineer. Read this post if you are overwhelmed by thinking about your engineering leadership skills. I guarantee there are leadership skills within you; we can find them with a little creative thinking.
Awards, Scholarships, Grants
This is probably obvious to most of you. Whether you are applying for an internship, coop or full-time employment, high school awards are applicable. Since you may not possess direct professional experience upon college graduation, it is appropriate to list high school achievements, awards and accolades. If you were one of the best students back then and you were recognized for your efforts, list them on your resume. Have you received awards from clubs, committees or maybe your church? List those on your resume as well. Scholarships and grants are a must on your resume. All these items indicate certain characteristics to a potential employer. Whether they are direct engineering leadership skills or not, you will sell yourself short by omitting them.
I briefly mentioned this topic in Post #11 where I discussed ways to answer different interview questions. Think about tough times at home and how you made an impact. Were you (or are you) somebody’s caregiver while a full-time student? That person’s life could have been in your hands without your asking for it. Have you dealt with chronic or life-threatening health issues while remaining active and continuing with your life? Perhaps you raised a younger sibling in place of a parent. Or you started working at a very young age to help support the family or to start saving for college. There could be several other scenarios where you stepped up in life and made an impact. These are all indications of a leader and they are worthy of noting on a resume.
You don’t have to be president of a club. You don’t even have to be a vice president. A title is only a title. And while titles are great, there are so many other ways to be a leader without having the title. Titles don’t mean as much as your experience. Think of the groups, clubs, sports teams or any other activities you participated in. Did other people look up to you and ask you for advice? Were you a mentor, did you teach others how to do things or did you come up with great ideas? Did you ever show people how to raise money, save money or help with budgeting? Did you take charge at some point on a project when you noticed others didn’t? Have you started your own blog or YouTube channel to share valuable content? When was the last time you volunteered either your money, your time or your wisdom to help others in need? These are a few questions to get you thinking about how you have served others in the past. A leader, after all, is one who serves.
Engineering leadership skills are not about fancy titles. They are about taking initiatives to positively contribute to the world you are borrowing.