Top 5 desired soft skills for engineers

In the past, engineers were scarce. Companies recruited them even before they finished their degrees. Today, we have more highly qualified engineers competing for the same position, and companies have become pickier. Now they look for soft skills for engineers as well as degrees and certifications. If you want to get hired, you need to learn these skills.

Active listening

Before, engineers only had to ask specific questions to gather data and calculate solutions. But problems have become more ambiguous. You really need to open your ears to what is relevant to the company as well as the project. If a client tells you to change a standard order from heavy to light beams, you need to let your company know! If more than one sales engineer gets similar comments, you may have a trend on your hands that will affect cost efficiency in the manufacturing process.

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Universities have trained our engineering minds for efficiency. Listening to people seems painfully inefficient, requiring time investment that might not lead anywhere, right? Wrong! When you listen to others, especially when you put yourself in their shoes, you’ll gain new perspectives that may help solve problems. You’ll understand your customer and develop ways to teach and inspire your team members. In more advanced positions, you’ll view problems from a top-down perspective as well as a bottom-up one. This approach will help you communicate with C-level members in a company.


By the time you finished college, most of your decisions followed an immovable reasoning path. However, companies today require new approaches and need people who can handle disruption and innovation. These companies may hire creative personalities for your team. Their ideas might not seem logical to you, and often they have no data supporting their statements. Still, you need take them into consideration and stabilize their ideas with your logic to generate the output your company wants. Your company made the decision to hire them because they do things differently, and you have to learn to collaborate.


Yes, leadership can drive success in employees, but I have seen with my own eyes that passion is more important. Companies value that quality, even expect it, because passionate people go beyond expectations. Deloitte states that only 12.3 percent of Americans possess worker passion. When you show that you belong to that minority, it creates a positive atmosphere and indirect influence on others. And you can be passionate about a certain topic, but being passionate about whatever you do will get you farther. Roles change, and so will your tasks.

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Lateral thinking

If you want to work for an innovative company, you must do more than observe change. You must become a part of it. And to do so, you’ll have to think outside of the box when dealing with a problem. Learn to approach a challenge by a different route, preferably one that saves time or money. School transforms different mindsets into homogeneous forms, but companies want you to think differently, despite your education. If you get out of your comfort zone, you will find it has an amazing effect on your response to traditional problems.


You’ll need to pay careful attention to figure out which companies want what soft skills. You can find clues hidden within job descriptions, on the “about” pages of official websites, or concealed in interview questions. And you need to know how to show recruiters and HR managers that you have these skills. It may mean the difference between getting hired and getting passed over.

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