Career advice for engineers

Think Again: Improve the next step in your engineering career and make your current job more fulfilling.


Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE MediaMany engineers are too humble or busy to think much about career advancement. Yet practicing a few soft skills can get you ahead, when the time comes, while making the time in your current position more fulfilling. The Oct. 12-13 CFE Media Career Smart Engineers Conference offered engineering career advice from 11 speakers and other inspiration along the way.

Mark Goodale, principal at Morrissey Goodale LLC, said:

- Showing a vulnerability in a key moment can help you bond with others.

- People don’t buy what you do. They’re more interested in why you do it.

- Are you getting the most from your own resources? Find what markets are most valuable.

Mark Goodale- Lead through trust, rather than fear. Encourage an environment where people can have their say (not necessarily get their way). Not listening and not talking are among the two biggest wastes of time, because if people cannot say no, the yeses are meaningless.

- Be about continuous improvement and finding out what customers want. One year from now, what can you say that you did to transform your company, unit, or team?

- Advance relationships, not just projects, by establishing common ground early, getting others to believe in you, selling your strengths, and closing the deal—showing you’ve exceeded objectives.

- Create a system that creates astonishing value by encouraging people to resolve problems. Find and resolve workarounds.

- Figure out what it is you really need and get it, setting goals for the next 12 months. Find ways to work toward those goals.

- Open people’s eyes to what they’re blind to. Educate them on things they don’t know they don’t know.

Erin , PE, LEED, AP, Arup, said:

Erin McConahey- Everyone is a free agent because company loyalty isn’t what it used to be. Know what you bring to the table and be able to say it in 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

-You’re just as good as what you just did, since people have short memories and can move through positions. Be able to say what you just delivered.

- Every uncertainty is an opportunity to grow, even though ambiguity usually makes engineers uncomfortable.

- Work is just one slice of your life. What are your priorities and needs? How do you want to be remembered by the people who matter in your life?

In your journey, are you engineering value, and do others know it? If not, think again, change some plans, and set a few alarms over the next year to measure how you’re doing.

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