Mechanical Engineering Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 11, 2021 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated February 11, 2021

Published January 3, 2020

A career in mechanical engineering can be both lucrative and rewarding. Mechanical engineers have an education, get hands-on training and have a unique skill set including problem-solving and math. They use their skills to design, build and test mechanical devices like engines and machines.

In this article, we’ll discuss the common skills employers list in their job descriptions and how to list them on a resume.

What are mechanical engineering skills?

Mechanical engineering is a mix of hard and soft skills covering areas such as math, computer skills, design and communication. It is considered to be one of the more expansive of the engineering disciplines because they work in many areas, including the manufacturing, research and automotive industries.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Examples of mechanical engineering skills

These are the top skills employers mention in job descriptions for mechanical engineering. You can develop these skills further to help your resume stand out.

  • Communication

  • Creativity

  • Problem-solving

  • Math

  • Attention to detail

  • Collaboration

  • Project management

Communication

Mechanical engineers should have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They often need to explain their ideas and designs to clients who do not know engineering terms or are not familiar with mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers need to be clear in their explanations so that clients and peers understand the design or idea and feel confident in the execution of those ideas. They often need to write technical reports and should be comfortable putting their thoughts into specification formats as required by some industries.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Creativity

One of the main duties of mechanical engineers is the design of mechanical systems. In various industries, these designs will need to evolve with changing technology and building systems. A mechanical engineer will use their creativity to design new tools, products and systems that solve issues that come up through these new technologies. 

Problem-solving

Problem-solving is an essential skill for mechanical engineering. Along with creativity, mechanical engineers will use problem-solving abilities to work through issues that might come up, for example, during testing of new products or a system malfunction in an HVAC system. A mechanical engineer will need to use this skill in their design calculations to develop and test prototypes, validate product experiences and test-building materials. They can also use this skill to help identify design improvements for current products.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Math

Mechanical engineers use math every day. This is the main skill that they develop throughout their education in high school, through college and on the job. Their math skills are used to solve problems that could be caused by miscalculations. This is also a useful skill in providing cost estimating for design improvements or new products. Many software programs used in mechanical engineering are heavily influenced by correct mathematical calculations and input.

Attention to detail

In mechanical engineering, various skills work together to create mechanical systems and products that help to improve lives and communities. When issues come up, mechanical engineers will go through calculations and test systems to find solutions to those issues. Being detail-oriented allows them to perform quality reviews to make sure these types of situations don’t happen again. This is also useful during testing because if a calculation is off, a mechanical engineer will see where the problems lie.

Collaboration

Mechanical engineers often work with others to solve issues and create new technologies. They might work with other non-mechanical engineers and technical personnel such as architects, scientists and designers. Mechanical engineers should be comfortable in a team setting and collaborating with others to assist with project deliverables.

Project management

A mechanical engineer is often called upon to solve problems related to mechanical systems and other devices. They may bring together a team of engineers and designers to come up with a solution. Having project management skills to lead a team of both technical and non-technical people will be important for a mechanical engineer’s career.

Sample mechanical engineering resume skills and work experience sections

To highlight your mechanical engineering skills on your resume, highlight specific tasks and examples of accomplishments that show these strengths and skills. Using action verbs, you can explain to a potential employer how you would be a great fit for the job. Make sure you are using the vocabulary listed in the job description to help make sure your resume includes relevant keywords the employer will notice.

Mechanical engineering resume skills section

  • Effective verbal and written communication skills

  • Creative and analytical thinker

  • Superior problem-solving skills and math capabilities

  • Highly collaborative team player

Mechanical engineering resume work experience section

  • Led my team through an eight-week creativity session trying to solve an issue with newer technology

  • Using math and creative thinking, collaborated with three other teammates to fix an issue with a new medical testing device that now runs smoothly and has a 0.05% error rate

  • Project manager for the boiler project where we designed a new, efficient system to replace the old boilers in a commercial building

  • Reworked math calculations to improve an error code from 0.05% to 0%

  • Designed and created a new medical device that will help to test diabetic blood-sugar levels without pricking a finger

  • Designed the new HVAC system for the University of Milwaukee’s School of Medicine which is 30% more energy-efficient and has helped to speed up recovery times for patients in the clinic by 2 days

  • Worked with a five-person team to develop a new engine for a new brand of car that runs on solar and steam power

  • Assessed and tested over 100+ pieces of automobile equipment that was assembled for commercial use

  • Created design standards for all the boilers at the University of Minnesota, including satellite campuses

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