Civil Engineer Skills List and Examples

Civil Engineer
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Civil engineers design and supervise large-scale public work construction projects, such as roads, buildings, tunnels, dams, and bridges. They are responsible for gathering project requirements, testing and evaluating building sites and materials, and managing the overall building process from start to finish. 

Civil engineers typically require at least a bachelor’s degree. Graduate degrees and licensure often are needed for promotion to senior positions.

The skill requirements for any civil engineer job vary widely based on the position. However, every civil engineer should have a strong understanding of industry and government standards, requirements, and guidelines. In addition, civil engineers should have strong analytical thinking, technical writing, and communications skills.

When crafting your resume and cover letters, it's a good idea to include keywords that highlight your skills. When doing so, be sure to include specific examples of times when you demonstrated those skills at work. Remembering keywords describing these skills also is a good idea during job interviews. Of course, every job requires different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Consider the five skills below among the most common and important for engineers, but also familiarize yourself with some additional keywords describing skills that might be just as important, depending on the specific job.

Top Five Civil Engineer Skills

Communication

Communication skills are extremely important for civil engineers, who often lead teams of diverse people and have to communicate effectively with all of them. They also have to speak to clients and the public, explaining complex technical ideas in clear ways. Another element of communication skills is listening. Civil engineers need to listen carefully to the concerns of their co-workers and the needs of their clients.

Critical Thinking

Civil engineers work on almost every step of a project, from planning to design to construction. Throughout each project, they have to solve complex technical problems and come up with creative solutions. These solutions have to be safe, efficient, and cost-effective. Therefore, civil engineers need to have strong critical thinking skills. They have to weigh the pros and cons of different solutions and make the best decisions.

Leadership

Civil engineers often manage diverse teams that consist of contractors, architects, construction managers, other engineers, and more. They have to effectively lead and manage each team, making sure projects are completed successfully.

Project Management

As leaders on a project, civil engineers have to be able to see a project through from start to finish. They must manage diverse professionals and work effectively with clients. They have to make difficult choices to make sure that each project is completed within budget, finished on time, and done well.

Technical Skills

While soft skills like leadership and communication are critical to civil engineering, civil engineers also require hard skills, particularly technical skills. They must be skilled in math and physics, as well as map reading, design techniques, and computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Additional Keywords and Skills

While the skills above are perhaps most common and most relevant, they do not provide an exhaustive list. Other keywords civil engineers should consider using in resumes and cover letters include analytical thinking, decision making, detail-oriented, mathematics, organizational skills, physics, and proactive.