When employers hire systems control engineers, they typically prioritize technical skills over soft skills.
Being able to handle the actual demands of the work and having the technical knowledge required to design, monitor, control and maintain engineering systems and machinery is most important, but that doesn’t mean that employers aren’t looking for specific soft skills as well.
In fact, many companies that hire systems control engineers look for candidates with very specific soft skills, or those that are more difficult to quantify or teach, to ensure a good cultural fit and that the engineer has the ability to succeed in all aspects of the position.
While every employer has its own specific set of criteria and preferences for hiring, if you are looking for a job in this field, be sure that your resume highlights some of the following traits that are most commonly sought.
Systems and control engineers often work with other engineers with different specialties, as well as those who don’t have an engineering background, including customers and clients, marketing and the executive suite.
Therefore, it’s vital that you have excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to explain complex topics in a manner that others can understand. Remember, not everyone has completed an online MS in Systems Engineering program and understands what you mean when you use technical jargon or other complex terminology.
In fact, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers argues that the ability to write, speak and listen is crucial to the success of any engineer in any specialty. Don’t forget that listening is just as important as speaking, either.
The field of engineering offers many opportunities for misunderstanding, and the ability to listen effectively can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and roadblocks to problem solving.
2. Teamwork and Collaboration
There’s a common perception that those working in the scientific and technical fields don’t always work well with others, but the reality is that the exact opposite is true.
In fact, a study of academic projects and papers undertaken by the Kellogg School of Management found that there are far more team projects than individual ones, and the number of solo innovators and researchers has decreased significantly since the 1950s.
However, it doesn’t take an exhaustive review of existing work to prove that teamwork in engineering is a must. Virtually every engineering project requires a team of specialists to handle all of the aspects of design, implementation and maintenance.
Thus, systems control engineers must have the ability to effectively collaborate with others, which requires skills in communication, compromise, problem-solving and decision-making.
3. Flexibility and Adaptability
By definition, engineers need to be adaptable as they must constantly handle changes to the immediate environment and solve problems on the fly. Employers are looking for engineers who can quickly assess problems and think on their feet to develop solutions and who are willing to make changes as necessary.
That being said, adaptability goes well beyond the specific job description. Today’s businesses must be nimble and constantly changing to meet new market challenges and trends.
As such, they require employees who are flexible and willing to change and grow with the organization, not individuals who resist change at every turn.
Leadership is another general personality trait that nearly every employer is looking for in any employee. Within the scope of engineering in particular, leadership typically refers to a willingness to take initiative, to try new and innovative ideas, to be resourceful and to be able to motivate and encourage others.
Being able to lead teams and projects is invaluable to your career success and will increase your marketability to employers. You need to show that you can be a leader and will consistently help the company work toward its goals.
Finally, employers are looking for systems control engineers who are creative and have the skills and willingness to uncover innovative and effective solutions to problems. Troubleshooting is a key aspect of this field, but employers don’t want engineers who can only temporarily fix problems.
They want to hire individuals who use their knowledge and creative thinking abilities to not only uncover the source of an issue but find a permanent solution. This often requires creative thinking, so be sure to show how you can think and solve problems outside of your textbook knowledge to gain an advantage in the job market.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic combination of skills that will make you irresistible to any employer. However, if you can demonstrate these traits in addition to your credentials and technical abilities, you have a good chance of landing a great job in the field of systems engineering.