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Top Skills Needed to be a Mechanical Engineer

Looking for a position as a mechanical engineer? It’s an exciting opportunity to design, build and test mechanical devices such as tools, engines and machines.

Talent and training in mechanical engineering will provide you with a number of hard skills (as human resources recruiters call them), such as computer design, simulation and testing. You’ll also need a thorough grounding in accepted industry standards.

But in addition to hard skills, you’ll need a number of soft skills. When you look at job postings and respond to them, it’s just as important to be aware of these requirements as your hard skills. Without strong qualifications in both, it’s hard to be successful at an optimal level.

Similarly, you need to point out soft skills in your materials when searching for a job. Cover letters and resumes need to include both. You need to interview with examples of times you’ve demonstrated excellent hard and soft skills.

Read on to find the top soft and other skills that employers are looking for in their mechanical engineers.

1. Problem Solving

A portion of every mechanical engineer’s day involves solving client problems. Mechanical engineering is often figuring out how to make mechanical or thermal devices work better, more efficiently or have different capabilities. Solving the problems requires hard skills, of course, but it also requires strong analytical ability, which is a soft skill.

2. Creativity

Mechanical engineers often develop and design products. In the case of mechanical engineers, the products can be anything from robots to environmentally friendly power generation. Conceptualizing, developing and inventing entirely new products calls for creativity.

3. Clear communication abilities

First some of your colleagues may not be trained as engineers. You will need to communicate priorities, issues and needs clearly.

Second, clients will need to be walked through the workings of the exciting new products you and your team will develop. You will need to explain to non-engineers the how, what and why of new products and processes.

4. Collaboration

Almost all engineering roles take place in a collaborative environment. You will likely work on a team, and need to be an excellent team player. You need to collaborate effectively with a broad range of people.

You’ll also need to collaborate across functions. Many mechanical engineers work with other types of engineers, architects or IT professionals. The teams can be very diverse. Top job candidates exhibit an ability to collaborate across functions and with diverse sets of people.

5. Mathematics

Yes, we know this is not exactly a soft skill. Many people might classify mathematics as a hard skill. And you also need the hard skills of statistics and calculus.

But what we are talking about here is the part of mathematics that’s an aptitude. The bottom line for mechanical engineers is you have to have strong mathematical aptitude to excel at the job. You have to be totally comfortable with math and like it.

Let’s put it this way. The world has many people in it who might love to design new solar panels, robots and innovative batteries. But however strong their desire is, they won’t be able to do those things if they don’t have an aptitude for mathematics.

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