– By Chris Lamb, Managing Director of Optima Systems Consultancy
As the post-pandemic recovery continues to gain momentum and job vacancies are on the rise, the key challenge for us employers is to find the right candidates to fill the roles.
For many of you, there has never been a better time to reflect on your current job and to explore what opportunities could be available for your career path. Have you thought about how will you respond when opportunity knocks — and how can you prepare for success once it does?
There are many routes through a worthwhile and rewarding career in systems engineering. Thinking about the potential steps on the way and the order they could take gives you options you can develop towards so when a suitable prospect appears you are ready for it.
As an employer who’s been interviewing a great number of engineers over the years, I think that there are several distinctive traits beyond technical expertise that can really set you apart from other candidates:
- Seeing the whole picture
At Optima we always looking for systems engineers who can comprehensively understand the bigger picture; the system and the context within which it exists. It’s important to resist driving straight to the detail and focussing on breaking down a problem into its constituent parts.
- Inquisitiveness and curiosity over judgement
Keep asking “So what?” to understand the details, unearth and identify the fundamental aspects of a problem which allows effort to be focused on the things that really matter.
- Excellent communicator
Learn to present problems, ideas and solutions, often visually, in such a way that creates understanding and enables collaborative progress. You need to be able to tailor your communication to the audience across all levels and across all disciplines.
- Courage over comfort
Don’t be afraid of change and be prepared to challenge the orthodoxy. Be adaptable, looking at problems from different perspectives and consider alternative approaches to the “way it has always been done”.
- Keeps eyes on the prize
Make sure you can understand and articulate what the destination looks like and can guide those around you, quietly and confidently, to move in the right direction.
- Can handle imposter syndrome
Can you get up to speed quickly and hold different perspectives and arguments? Gain the confidence to feel comfortable to propose alternatives in a pragmatic, constructive and appropriate way.
If you can clearly demonstrate these critical soft skills in conjunction with your knowledge and qualifications, then you will be in with a fighting chance for any job that you are qualified for.
To those of you open to a new career challenge, visit our current vacancies and get in touch for a chat!