Tips for Electrical Engineers to Stand Out in the Current Job Market

COVID-19 has created immense uncertainty all around us. The most important thing to look out for in the current environment is your health and that of your loved ones. So, please take all necessary precautions to safeguard it. 

On the job market front, it is unclear how this situation will play out in the short term. Some companies have already cut production and initiated lay-offs, while others closely monitor the situation.

The job market for Electrical and Computer engineers looks more promising in the medium to long term. According to numerous surveys, such as this one by Forbes magazine, which is titled ‘America’s High Tech STEM crisis,’ the United States, like many other developed countries, will be facing a serious shortage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduates.

But this simple stat by itself shouldn’t be a source of comfort for engineers and engineering students regarding job opportunities and security. We live in a fast-paced world today where skills that are in demand right now may become obsolete tomorrow.

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3 Tips to Help Electrical Engineers Stand Out in the Competitive Job Market

Here are 3 Tips for Electrical Engineers that you can take not only to survive in this economy but thrive:

1. Broad Skill Set with a Specialization

Π represents a broad skill base with specialization in two areas.

T represents a focused skillset with deep specialization in one area.

Until recently, the common wisdom was to choose one or the other.

However, in today’s economy, it is important to have both.

Where do I start??

  1. Make a list of key skills that are in high demand.
  2. Review postings of dream jobs online at various job boards:

2. Work Towards Your PE License

One of the best investments you can make in your career is attaining a P.E. license and getting registered as an E.I.T. Not only will you join an exclusive group of engineers, but these designations will also greatly improve your chances of getting more tangible rewards through promotions, salary increases, job security, and better opportunities.

PE licensing is a long and tiring process, so many engineers don’t pursue it. But for that same reason, those who attain it get recognition and reward for proving themselves as practicing professionals by meeting the strict requirements of their governing engineering boards. 

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3. Improve People’s Skills

Dale Carnegie course turned out to be Warren Buffet’s best investment. I’ve personally taken this course as well, and it has helped me a great deal in improving my people skills, too (link included at the end).

Engineers are stereotyped as smart but socially awkward individuals. The engineering curriculum is partly to blame because it contains limited opportunities to develop people skills. Almost the entire focus is on technical knowledge, labs, and research. This is in contrast to many other academic curricula that heavily emphasize these areas.

As an engineer, you should proactively work on improving your interpersonal skills and do not make mistakes post-graduation. Communication skills form a big part of overall people skills. Many people have a misconception regarding communication skills that they only include speaking skills. That’s incorrect because communication covers speaking, reading, writing, and listening. The last three tend to get ignored because they are not very visible. Your aim should be to improve all areas of communication.

Where can you start?

I’ve included links to the two venues that have served me well over the years in improving my interpersonal skills.

https://www.toastmasters.org

Toastmasters is great for public speaking and overcoming the fear of giving presentations in front of large crowds. It also helps you think on your feet by delivering impromptu speeches. Membership fees are relatively low, and you can probably find a club nearby.

https://www.dalecarnegie.com/en/topics/people-skills

Dale Carnegie course on people skills can help you relate better to others in your personal and professional network. I went through this training over a period of 1 month (1-2 days a week) which included many group and individual activities. By the end of this course, I could see a marked difference in my confidence level. It’s a bit pricey but well worth it.

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Conclusion

Securing a stable and promising job is the goal of nearly every engineering graduate. But with new graduates coming into the market every year, one needs to carve a special niche for themselves to attract recruiters.

Therefore, we have presented these tips for electrical engineers so that you can stand out in the current job market and secure yourself a lucrative job that promises growth and learning.

So, explore all the suggestions and tips presented in this write-up to help you not only stand out to employers in the current market conditions but will also help you in growing and evolving as an electrical engineering professional.

We wish you the best of luck in your job-searching journey!

wasim-smal

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.