Here are some steps you can follow to ensure that your engineering career becomes everything you want it to be in 2019.
#1 Show Up
I’ve never heard of a success story that started with, “Well, he never showed up….”. When it comes to establishing yourself as an unstoppable engineer, you need to be there in order to make the magic happen. A constant presence in the workplace is one that employers notice, and that attention is vital in engineering jobs.
#2 Promise and Deliver
You’ve probably heard “underpromise and overdeliver”, but that’s outdated advice. You want to advertise the best you have to offer, and then deliver exactly what was promised. A career is a marathon, not a sprint, and being realistic about your capabilities is how you get ahead.
#3 Do Your Research
Whether you’re looking for a new job or seeking to up your game at your current position, few things are more impactful than doing your research. Asking a few questions about a prospective employer from your research notes during an interview shows you care.
#4 Engage in Professional Networking
Engineers work as part of teams. Embrace that aspect of your career — your colleagues, clients, and employers are part and parcel of your life moving forward. No one can finish a project by themselves.
#5 Avoid Negativity
Pessimism has no place in your career. It’s not a matter of if you’ll succeed, it’s a matter of when — and if you doubt yourself, your employers will know. Whether it’s your own inner voice criticizing your work or negative coworkers spreading pessimism, avoiding negativity is an important step in staying motivated and passionate about your work.
#6 Business Does Matter
Building a career in engineering requires an understanding of far more than just the technical side of the job. The business side (sales, budgets, capital, future maintenance, and so on) is often as, if not more, important to employers than the technical aspects of engineering.
#7 Be Persistent
Persistence and dedication are invaluable personality traits. Imagine you’re looking for work: resumes and applications will get rejected or ignored, prospective employers will tell you “you’re not the right fit”, and some interviews will just go poorly. An engineer that takes these rejections to a heart is one that needs to learn to shake it off and keep smiling — there’s always more opportunities.
#8 Be Confident
When looking for work, confidence is key — it’s what helps you sell yourself as a competent professional. A certain level of anticipation and nervousness is to be expected from an interviewee, but true self-doubt is something that you can’t afford to keep around. Don’t underestimate yourself and remember an interview is about you — don’t be afraid to brag a little.
#9 Write and Communicate
You need to write, and write well. The ability to communicate your ideas in a clear, concise fashion is an invaluable skill when it comes to career-building. Whether it’s technical, written, or online communications, you need to be supremely confident in your ability to convey ideas across every medium.
#10 Build Your Technical Skills
Motivation, dedication, and communication are the hallmarks of an unstoppable career but don’t neglect your technical skills. Continuing professional education might seem like pure tedium at times, but keeping your skills honed and ready for action is invaluable. Consider additional professional certifications and always keep an eye out for upcoming industry changes.
#11 Build a Life
An unstoppable career is backed up by a fulfilling life. The days of all work and no play are long gone — nothing is more vital to a long-term career path than a happy engineering work/life balance. Take up a hobby, a sport, something that gets you out of the office and away from work.