10 tips to accelerate your engineering career

-November 18, 2014

There are times over the course of an engineer’s career where it can feel like the rate of moving forward comes to a slow crawl or worse a stand still.  This period of slow career growth can strike at any time whether the engineer is green and entry level or a seasoned senior professional.  There are many different causes for a stagnating career ranging from being stuck on report duty, working at a company with limited upward mobility or even faltering motivation.  When the doldrums arrive, there are ten things engineers can do to take stock and accelerate or jump start their career growth.  (Access the companion video blog or view it below.)

Tip #1 – Take time to plan your career

Engineers are logical and meticulous people who let few technical details slip through the cracks.  This is why it is surprising to learn how few engineers take the time to plan out their careers.  Most career planning comes as a second thought to the bosses inquiry at the annual review of “Where do you see yourself in five years?”.  This haphazard career planning leaves an engineer’s advancement to random chance and the luck of the draw.    

A critical step to any engineering career is to set time aside at least twice a year if not once per quarter to reflect and pander where you want your career to go.  What is the end target that results in a successful career?  Armed with an understanding of the destination then enables defining the stops along the way!  It is impossible to plan and hit targets if the destination is unknown or to tell if you’ve taken a wrong turn!  Don’t forget to ask the who, what, when, where and why!  Taking just a few hours each quarter to revisit these questions and plan out the path can help identify what needs to be done and how to get there.

Tip #2 – Build a resume that shines

With a career plan in hand the odds today that an engineer will stay at a single company for their entire career is relatively slim.  Periodically changing jobs is a quick way to move up the ladder (and pay scale) to reach career goals sooner.  In order to make these jumps it is critical to build a resume that shines and gets the attention of employers.  There are a number of tips for a good resume that one can and should follow.  “10 Tips for a Successful Engineering Resume” located at http://bit.ly/1vUa4aG, has a number of useful tips, examples and recommendations on how to build a resume that shines!  In order to help jump start building a resume, an engineering resume template can also be downloaded for use at http://bit.ly/1uHuZCY.  One of the most important things to remember is to show what you are capable of and not just list it!

Next: Tip 3

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