Mechanical engineers, those tasked with designing, analyzing, manufacturing and maintaining mechanical systems, represent an in-demand occupation under the engineering umbrella.

Because mechanical engineers are capable of working in a host of industries including architecture, manufacturing and R&D to name just a few, the outlook for employment in the field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is expected to be steady. This is good news, particularly for those expecting to work or already working in the field. With a projected 4% rate of growth for the industry, however, recent graduates with mechanical engineering degrees should expect some competition as they vie with other mechanical engineers for available jobs.

Figure 1: ASME offers mechanical engineers access to a wealth of tailored resources.Figure 1: ASME offers mechanical engineers access to a wealth of tailored resources.

So, what should new and soon-to-be grads do to set themselves apart from their mechanical engineering counterparts? ASME, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, can help.

Following is a checklist of five things new mechanical engineers should do to stand out from their competitors before embarking on a job search.

1. Soft skills

Because new engineers usually have limited practical engineering experience to list on their resumes, the majority of which is likely technical, job candidates should highlight their soft skills, which are loosely defined as leadership, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, interpersonal and social skills, work ethic and flexibility. Mechanical engineers who spend the bulk of their time consumed with technical work often lack such skills. If a job seeker lacks such skills, ASME hosts soft skill webinars for mechanical engineers; these are listed on its job board. Contact them today.

2. Delete unnecessary information

When constructing or updating a resume, a mechanical engineer should remove any information not directly aligned with engineering. Because new mechanical engineers will likely have limited work experience, they may feel the need to bulk-up their resumes by including every job they have ever had. A mechanical engineer should resist adding his or her summer job at McDonald’s to a resume aimed at an engineering firm and only highlight work experience that is applicable.

However, if the work experience offers tangible evidence of how the mechanical engineer honed his or her leadership skills or demonstrated examples of how the applicant works within a team — in other words, soft skills — that information should be included. Likewise, if work included any engineering components, for instance, the applicant fixed the shake machine while working at McDonald’s, that information should be included as well. Otherwise, toss it. For more information on crafting resumes for mechanical engineers, go to ASME’s Career Center and Job Board.

3. Add necessary information

Mechanical engineers are strongly encouraged to take part in co-operatives or internships during their college and high school years. Often, this serves as a practical way to apply what they’ve learned about engineering in the classroom to real-world scenarios. While co-operatives may be more like an actual full-time job than a seasonal internship, both should be included on a resume. Again, only include work experience that is relevant and not information about grabbing coffee for the engineers on staff or picking up their dry-cleaning. For help with highlighting relevant resume information, go to ASME’s Career Center.

4. Network

Mechanical engineers should connect with other mechanical engineers by joining virtual mechanical engineering or other engineering groups such as those hosted on Facebook, LinkedIn or by locating their local ASME chapters. Mechanical engineers can also contact their alma maters to see if there are any organizations within the college or university that allow alumni to join specialized groups. Mechanical engineers could also join professional mechanical engineering organizations or associations like ASME. Meeting like-minded people offers the opportunity to brainstorm, make connections and to discuss the latest trends in one’s engineering discipline. Networkers could also attend conferences and workshops related to mechanical engineering or a specialty area within the profession. To search for mechanical engineering workshops and conferences, visit ASME, which hosts several conferences and workshops throughout the year.

5. Membership

ASME is a valuable tool in the mechanical engineer’s toolbox. Everything needed to embark on a job search is on the ASME Career Center and Job Board, and that includes a listing of available mechanical engineering jobs. Before anything else, mechanical engineers should join ASMEfor access to those tools. As the name suggests, the website and the resources are tailored specifically to the mechanical engineer.

Details about membership

Figure 2: The ASME Career Center.Figure 2: The ASME Career Center.An ASME membership allows mechanical engineers to stay current with the latest trends in the field through sophisticated content, including the monthly ME Magazine, and other frequently published newsletters. Tailored resources will enhance a mechanical engineer’s professional development through discounted courses, journals, papers, the AccessEngineering online technical reference tool and more.

ASME also offers its members access to a robust career center for those looking for new career opportunities, or seeking to improve their professional skills. Included in a membership are free webinars on key topics, articles and access to the ASME Job Board.

Mechanical engineering students and professionals can become ASME members, either enrolling in the ASME student membership program for an annual membership fee of up to $25 or enrolling in ASME’s professional membership program for an annual fee of up to $158. Prices of an ASME membership vary based on academic achievement and professional roles within the industry. Join today!

About ASME

ASME is a professional, not-for profit association with more than 100,000 members in 140+ countries that encourages collaboration and enables knowledge sharing, career enrichment and skill development in all engineering disciplines. Members include engineers at every stage of their careers from college students to leaders in the field. For more information about ASME or ASME membership, visit the website.