Developing Your Soft Skills: Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Them

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The name “soft skills” often leads professionals in engineering to ignore these essential capabilities in favor of developing their technical expertise. While technical skill is vital for engineers, “soft skills”—better known as “transferable skills”—are the abilities that allow you to showcase that technical skill in a way that moves you along your career path.

Here’s why you need transferable skills like communication, time management, and organization, and how to improve them.

Soft skills help you stand out.

The days when engineers could simply put their heads down, do a day’s work, and get noticed and promoted are gone, if they ever existed. Today, the technical expertise and elegance of your work will still be noticed by your team members—but to land a promotion or secure a position with a new company, you’ll need to be able to translate those technical achievements into language non-engineers can understand.

Here, the ability to communicate clearly plays a vital role. Reading clear, concise engineering articles written for a lay audience can help you learn the ropes, and volunteering to produce reports and similar materials can help you put it into practice.

Soft skills help you adapt.

If your company is downsizing or a project recently ended, you may find yourself adrift unless you can adapt to changing circumstances. Soft skills like project organization and coordination, time management, and communication can help you step into a new role, whether temporarily or for the long term. When combined with specialized abilities in a certain area, these soft skills can even help you take on a specialist role in which you become indispensable to the company—and find yourself in charge of your own career path.

Soft skills help you get promoted.

Have your eye on a team leadership, management or executive position? To thrive in these areas, you’ll need more than technical expertise. You’ll also need to be able to communicate, coordinate teams and keep track of a host of details while never losing sight of their importance in the “big picture.” Building your soft skills now prepares you for the day when you’ll lean on them more heavily.

To learn more about how to expand your soft skills and how to showcase them to employers, talk to the bay area engineering recruiters at SoloPoint Staffing. We specialize in connecting engineering job seekers to some of the best job openings in the industry.

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