What Soft Skills Do Structural Engineers And BIM/CAD Managers Need?
Years of work gaining vital professional qualifications, CPD and constantly updating your knowledge of the latest technical software is all very well, but employers are also looking for ‘soft skills’ too. What does this mean for the structural engineer or BIM/CAD Manager? What soft skills are important for these kinds of structural engineering or BIM/CAD manager jobs? And if you have them, how can you show prospective employers you’ve got them?
The following are the key soft skills our clients look for in engineering and design candidates. These are the qualities and attributes that can be the differentiator between staying at your current level and moving up in terms of seniority, responsibility and compensation.
Top 5 Soft Skills For Structural Engineer Jobs And BIM/CAD Manager Jobs
While your peers and colleagues may think highly of your technical abilities, clients and other stakeholders may not be so impressed if you can’t communicate your ideas effectively. Communication is not just about sharing information with other people (speaking or writing) it actually starts with listening. As you progress in your career it is likely that you will increasingly need to listen to other people, understand their motivations, drivers and requirements and then respond in a considered and appropriate way. Whether that’s explaining technical aspects of a project to a client, or problem-solving with other members of the team; communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page.
This is another essential skill as you progress up the career ladder. Engineers and designers really need to be able to work as a team, not just internally with other people in the company but also with external parties such as other contractors or consultants on a project. Collaboration ensures that everyone involved has the success of the project as their top priority, not their own individual contribution; and that means leaving egos at the door.
Many of these soft skills are interconnected. For example to be good at collaboration you need to be adaptable and flexible too. This doesn’t mean being a pushover. Instead, it’s about being able to respond to unforeseen challenges and identify solutions that are not necessarily part of what you originally set out to do. Employers are looking for individuals who are not constrained by preconceived ideas about what their engineering or design job entails, they want candidates who think on their feet and don’t always stick to the rulebook.
Technology and the marketplace all demand new levels of creativity and innovation from organisations and their employees. Creativity is not confined to designing original and cutting-edge projects; it’s also about finding creative ways to solve problems that deliver better value for clients and end-users. Engineering and design candidates need to demonstrate their problem-solving and creative thinking capabilities, skills that are essential for any company looking to innovate and compete in today’s marketplace.
More seniority and responsibility goes hand in hand with leadership skills, especially if a role involves managing other people. However, leadership is not only about heading up a team it’s also having the confidence to make decisions, taking the initiative, accountability, and the ability to convince and inspire others.
Do you recognise yourself in the above qualities? If so, and you’re looking for career progression, it’s important to demonstrate these on your CV and LinkedIn profile. Typically you might give an indication of soft skills in your profile on your CV or summary on LinkedIn. However try to avoid sounding clichéd by using buzzwords like ‘team player’ or ‘good communicator’; instead, it should stick to what you can offer an organisation and your actual experience.
The role description field of your CV is the best place to expand on soft skills by including them in your ‘key responsibilities’ and ‘achievements’ sections. For example, use language such as ‘collaborating with a broad range of 3rd parties and stakeholders…’ or ‘communicating goals and objectives to…’, to convey these more tactile qualities and attributes.