Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Lynsey Gargan from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Lynsey Gargan

Manufacturing Engineer

STEPS

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  Lynsey Gargan
With regard to education I say don't worry if you think you have the wrong subjects in school. I certainly didn't have the subjects you would typically expect.

There are a number of courses that cater to different backgrounds. The most important thing is to do your research. Go to open days, talk to the colleges and generally just find out what exactly you would be getting in to.

Don't just take for granted you know what a certain course or career is all about. Think about what you like to do, and not just necessarily in school, if you find yourself being curious about how things work or how thing are made, it's a good indication that you could like something like engineering.

One of the best things about engineering is that it really can be your passport to the world. There are great travel opportunities within the industry and chances to be involved in the next big thing.

Practically every man-made product around you came from a manufacturing plant, it's a huge industry with a lot of different avenues to take. Innovation is a really big part of what engineers do. The desire to be creative and improve production and processes is an important attribute for a manufacturing engineer.
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Linguistic?
Linguistic 
The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, or story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.
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Personal Skills

Personal skills are those concerned with how people manage and express themselves. They are revealed in those attitudes and behaviours people bring to their work, study and daily activities.

Personal management skills include:

  • positive attitudes and behaviours (e.g. taking initiative and doing your fair share of the work)
  • strong sense of responsibility (e.g. setting goals and priorities; fulfills obligations; can be relied upon)
  • adaptability (e.g. carrying out multiple tasks or projects; being innovative and resourceful; being open and responsive to change)
  • an interest in lifelong learning

People with well developed Personal skills are easier to work with and contribute towards a productive and effecient environment. Consider the following:

With whom would you rather work?

 Someone Who:

 Someone Who:

  • deals honestly with you; says directly what s/he thinks or feels and listens to what you have to say
  • says one thing to your face and another behind your back
  • behaves in a consistent manner; can be relied upon to be courteous and professional
  • is moody and withdrawn one day and cheerful and friendly the next
  • is able to balance her/his personal and work life
  • is a workaholic , unable to care or talk about anything except work
  • is open to your feedback, makes sure s/he understands and works with you to try to resolve the problem
  • gets defensive if you try to give her/him feedback, dismisses what you have to say, and refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem
  • is flexible and willing to adapt or make changes for the good of the team or organization
  • refuses to consider change; sticks rigidly to the established routines, rules and expectations
  • is accountable for her/his actions; admits to having made a mistake
  • blames others for or covers up her/his mistakes
  • recognises your contributions and strengths, both privately and in the group
  • mentions only your weaknesses and problems, both privately and in the group
  • encourages you, listens to, supports and builds on your ideas
  • finds fault with all your suggestions, explaining why they won’t work

Examples of Personal Skills:

Learning skills Seeks and willingly takes opportunities to learn. Shows interest in personal learning and development. Looks for feedback to improve understanding.
Adaptability Adapts easily to new challenges and shows openness to new ways of doing things.
Effective at changing plans or actions to deal with changing situations.
Goal setting Shows the ability to make a decision about what is wanted, and determine when it is to be achieved. Stays committed to the goal, and deals with setbacks realistically.
Initiative Demonstrates ability to take the initiative in a situation. Shows inclination to find opportunities to make decisions or influence events.
Independence Able to perform tasks effectively with minimum help or approval, or without direct supervision.
Motivation Shows the drive to succeed and excel at tasks. Shows confidence in abilities and expects to succeed at all tasks agreed on.
Dependability Is reliable, responsible and dependable in fulfilling duties. Carefully checks work to ensure all details have been considered.
Professionalism Remains calm and self-controlled under stressful situations. Works to deliver the best interests of the organisation at all times, and maintains appropriate dress code.
Your Career Skills distinguish you from others more than you might think!
Where do I start?
You can use the exercise on this downloadable worksheet to discover the most sought after skills needed to get jobs in the modern workplace. By rating yourself on these skills, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses may lie. Then, you can look for opportunities to develop and practice your underdeveloped skills.

Download:
Worksheet - Career Skills Self-Assessment
[pdf - 540Kb, 4 pages]
Download Self-Assement Worksheet