How to Sell Your Skill Set in an Interview

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The field of automation engineering is run by professionals who understand processes, follow protocols, and maintain a quality system, all while being as efficient as possible. Therefore, an ideal candidate knows how to create a system, sell the components of the process, and manage the system by using problem-solving skills and critical thinking.

Hiring managers will review your resume for critical skills, industry language, and experience. During the interview, you want to be able to show how qualified you are for the position. Whether you’re working in oil and gas, food processing, pharmaceuticals, or another industry, the ability to explain and sell your skills in an interview as an automation engineer is essential.

Skills Employers Look for in Automation Engineers

Automation engineers are highly skilled workers who have a range of responsibilities and operate and maintain an automated process or system. These engineers must have a complete understanding of the product itself to sell components of the process. They often work with large teams, providing information to managers and conducting or using research when operating a system.

There are several valuable skills to have when moving into an automation engineering role. You can mention these skills on your resume and prove your experience using them during the interview. Essential skills and characteristics that employers look for in automation engineers include:

  • Leadership – Automation engineers often lead project teams that might be just a few coworkers or a room full of people. Good leadership skills and experience managing a large crew are vital to proving your ability to manage a system effectively.
  • Communication – While implementing new technology, you’ll need to explain new or complex ideas to stakeholders of multiple disciplines, whether you are selling components or speaking with company managers. You also need written communication skills for accurate and legible record keeping.
  • Troubleshooting – Engineers often need to debug or troubleshoot existing systems. Troubleshooting skills are crucial when investigating processes and equipment when errors occur.
  • Organization – When carrying a lot of responsibility in your job, organization is a valuable skill. Applicants who can map out projects, prioritize their workload, and keep accurate documentation or detailed notes make successful engineers.
  • Critical Thinking – Automation engineering requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills to find effective solutions when problems arise within a system. Creative solutions make great examples so long as they resolve the issue efficiently and stay cost-effective.
  • Programming and Development – Automation engineers work with computers every day using their programming and software development knowledge. Being able to manage these hardware and software platforms when working in automation is crucial to the role.

Reflecting Skills in Your Resume

As with any job application, you’ll want to curate your resume to fit the role. Those applying for a position in the automation engineering field should use industry-specific language throughout the resume or cover letter. This approach proves your knowledge and experience. Be sure to reference specific computer systems, licensing, test certifications, and equipment relevant to your experience.

To highlight specific skills and write a great resume, give a brief synopsis or bullet point list under each previously held role detailing a skill and how you used it while performing a task or responsibility. For example, your list might include using computer skills to develop scripts while running an automated test or leading collaborative discussions in weekly meetings between management, stakeholders, and team members.

Automation engineers typically have either a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education and training in automation, process control, electrical engineering, or mechanical engineering. On your resume, include your educational background or degrees and any minors or specialties like robotics, statistics, or computer-aided design.

Employers like to see a well-qualified and authentic candidate. Emphasize your skills and knowledge by noting your certifications, whether you’re a Certified Automation Professional under the International Society of Automation or have a Control System Engineer license. You can provide the employer with proof of these certifications during the interview.

Sharing Experience in an Interview

Whether you meet in person with a hiring manager or team or have a virtual interview, the experiences you discuss should relate to the job. Industry managers look for new hires who not only have the qualifications on paper but can also prove how they’ve used those skills in their careers. To sell your skills, use specific examples of times you had to use those abilities when answering questions.

Tread lightly when using examples from your work history where you failed to resolve an issue or made major technological mistakes. While you may have learned from this experience, employers would rather be impressed by the times you did well or contributed to the company’s success. Typically, you’ll get the chance to sell these skills when hiring managers ask questions related to them.

Common Automation Engineer Interview Questions

Hiring personnel ask automation engineering candidates effective interview questions that reveal an understanding of the company, industry, and the specific role. Don’t just answer these questions with a short, non-detailed response. Instead, give examples of why or how you performed a task to prove your knowledge, skills, and experience. Common questions that make great selling opportunities are:

  • Why do you want to work for us?
    Employers ask this question when they’re curious about your professional motivations and how hiring you would benefit their company. Demonstrate your knowledge of the company. Show you’ve done your research, discuss your eagerness to grow as a professional, and talk about how you could improve certain systems.
  • How do you study a problem before making a decision?
    When using problem-solving skills, you must analyze the issue and produce a solution. You might study the problem by running tests, correcting specific code, or rewriting it entirely to avoid a recurring issue. To answer this problem-solving and decision-making question, discuss your method with the employer and why you believe it is most effective.
  • What automation hardware and software platforms do you prefer?
    Automation engineering candidates must be proficient with multiple hardware and software platforms. While you might prefer one platform over another, telling employers you are willing and able to work with any platform shows flexibility. Adaptability in different work settings is vital in the automation engineering field.

Manufacturing industries worldwide need great tech professionals and engineers to guide companies through new and effective technologies. In addition, companies looking for automation professionals want to hire candidates who have what it takes to build products and services efficiently. Learning how to sell your skills to these audiences increases your chances of landing the career you want.


About the Author:

Hazel Bennett is a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words.

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