You’re a team player with excellent knowledge and a wide range of skills in electrical engineering. You’ve also put in a good deal of time at your current company, so surely a promotion is on the cards? If you have been working at the same level for a long time and are ready for more responsibility and new challenges, you need to make sure your managers know.
To prove that you are not only ready for the next level but that you are the best possible candidate, here are some tips to help you get ahead as an electrical engineer.
Study for an Advanced Degree
In all likelihood, you have already achieved your bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, but you may want to consider returning to the world of education by studying at a higher level. A higher level of education will not only improve your skills and knowledge but will also show that you are committed to the industry. It can only make you a more attractive candidate when the opportunity for promotion arises. Engineers with masters degrees or a Ph.D. are often paid significantly more than those with bachelor’s degrees. You can get an online masters in electrical engineering to enable you to continue working, earning money, and developing your career while studying.
The best engineers are creative problem solvers, and the best engineering companies are those who innovate and lead the others in the industry. This is why you should always be aware of the current industry news, technological developments, and trends. If you can see a way you can improve an aspect of your company’s operation or you have an idea, speak up. Your superiors need to be able to see the unique value that you bring to the company. Similarly, if someone else in your team comes up with an idea, be sure to encourage and support them as a team player. This will show that you’re not only focused on your own success, but also the wider success of the company.
Explore Other Engineering Fields
Modern technology companies are combining several types of engineering and production methods to create complex products. To ensure that you are able to lead on more advanced engineering projects and can collaborate with others in the industry, try to learn more about other fields of engineering in addition to your area of expertise. Broaden your skill set, and you’ll broaden your opportunities.
Improve Your Soft Skills
Your technical knowledge and expertise is key to your professional success, but you also need to develop your so-called ‘soft skills.’ These are the skills which will make you an excellent people manager such as written and verbal communication, conflict resolution, customer service, and negotiation. By ensuring you have these skills in place in addition to your engineering expertise, you will have a distinct advantage over candidates with similar qualifications and experience but who are lacking in soft skills.
Be Social and Start Networking
Take the time and make the effort to get to know your colleagues and managers. While it’s best to keep relationships professional if you’re aiming for a position of responsibility and authority, making connections could strengthen your career prospects. Developing a deeper understanding of the people you work with can reveal their strengths and weaknesses as well as their likes and dislikes and general attitude to work. It will make you stronger as a team. Networking with influential colleagues and senior managers will help you to build a reputation as a highly motivated and skilled team player. When a promotion opportunity comes up, you’re more likely to be considered a viable candidate. Of course, you don’t need to limit your networking to your company; making connections with people in other organizations keeps you in touch with the broader picture of the industry.
Join an Engineering Society or Association
To increase your opportunity to network, consider joining an engineering trade association or society. You will be able to attend social events and conferences which are local, state-wide, or national. Meeting other ambitious engineers and industry influencers will enable you to build strong relationships with the right people. You may also discover new opportunities to apply for a more senior role in another organization or projects which could expand your skillset. By attending conferences and trade shows, you will stay up to date with the latest industry news which will ensure you’re always at the cutting edge.
Don’t be afraid to promote yourself when you’re networking. Take business cards with you when attending events as you may not get much time to make a lasting impression with other attendees. Leave them with something to remind them of your conversation, which has your contact details. If you’re given business cards by others, keep them safe in case the contact could be useful in the future.
Becoming an authority on a particular topic can also make you invaluable to a team and company. You can share your knowledge with others by creating your own website or blog featuring relevant and interesting articles. There are several professional publications in the engineering industry. Consider writing an article or opinion piece to build your position as an industry expert and enhance your reputation.
Sometimes, there simply isn’t an opportunity for promotion in your current company. This may not be anything to do with your skill set or experience but rather circumstances. You may need to move sideways to a new company where there is more opportunity for progression. It’s important to be patient, however, and it’s probably unrealistic to expect a promotion until you’ve proved yourself in your current role for at least 18 months. Moving from one job to another too often may give the impression that you’re simply looking for a pay rise or promotions before you’re qualified. If you decided that it is time to move on, it might be worth discussing your career with your manager before you make your move. Discuss your skills, the value you’ve brought to the company, and the potential for promotion. In some cases, confidence and ambition are greatly appreciated, and you may persuade them that you are worth keeping.