Definition: The application of scientific and technical principles to improve the design, manufacturability and operation of products, equipment, processes, and systems in a manufacturing facility.

General: Because of the emphasis on product quality, innovation, and rapid time to market, engineers play a critical role in the business world. You will work as part of an engineering team with the responsibility of analyzing existing processes and systems, identifying improvements, and managing projects from idea to implementation. You will tackle issues like continuous improvement, product quality, yield enhancement, reduced lead times, statistical process control, ISO compliance, production problems, documentation, external vendor certification, new product manufacturability and new product introduction.

Key Connecting Points:
Technical skills: Engineering positions require an engineering educational background and technical aptitude. Even if your skills are slightly out of date, highlight your aptitude for working with technical systems or any technical-related work in your military experience. Most companies will ask engineers some basic technical questions in the interview, but will limit the questions to your field of expertise (i.e., if you are an ME, they will ask you mechanical-related questions). It is important that you prove your comfort level with technical systems, as well as your desire to improve your skills.

Project management skills: Engineering work is project based. You should have several examples from your military experience of projects you effectively managed where you had to coordinate the efforts of a group of people to accomplish a difficult task by a given date while maintaining a budget and other resources. Some necessary skills include communication, analytical, and planning skills; the ability to coordinate resources across functional departments, to manage a time schedule and budget, to resolve conflicts, and to motivate people to produce results. In the interviews, use projects you managed such as shipyard repair projects, changes of command, implementing new operating procedures, leading unit deployment, program management, inspection preparation, etc.

Leadership skills: While you will not directly supervise people as an engineer, you must show an ability to work well with, relate to, influence and motivate people when you do not have any direct authority over them. Think about ways you motivate peers and civilians in your military jobs when you cannot use your rank. Manufacturing plants are team based where you will interact with people from varied backgrounds such as operators, maintenance teams, other engineers, plant management, external vendors, and many more.

Problem solving skills: Engineers solve complex problems. You must be able to talk about a disciplined problem solving method where you researched problems, analyzed possible causes, defined root causes, developed action plans, and proactively identified ways to avoid the problem in the future. Use military examples where you solved complex problems from start to finish.

Possible Job Titles:
Process Engineer
Project Engineer
Maintenance Engineer
Application Engineer
Manufacturing Engineer
New Product Engineer

Sample Job Description – Engineering Please keep in mind the following job descriptions are just three of many possible Engineering job descriptions.

As a Manufacturing Engineer, you will work closely with production teams in a manufacturing plant to identify ways to optimize the process and equipment. Your mission is to improve production results (product quality, efficiency, yields, regulatory compliance, etc.) and to provide technical support and assistance to the production areas. You will get involved in troubleshooting production problems, developing corrective solutions, participating in process validation and acting as a liaison between manufacturing and other departments in the plant. While you will have the responsibility to identify process improvement initiatives, you will work with a broad range of plant groups for implementation including production, quality assurance, technical support, and engineering services. Engineers fill key positions that will have a lot of exposure within the company. This plant is highly automated using state-of-the-art equipment and systems. The plant’s internal structure is moving toward high performance work teams, with fewer management layers and a more direct line of communication. They are ISO9000 certified which creates the need for state-of-the-art systems in the areas of quality, process validation and documentation.

As a Project Engineer, you will be responsible for diverse engineering responsibilities in support of several plants and facilities. You will coordinate numerous projects simultaneously and bring all phases of projects into one organized action. At times you will be involved with and responsible for design, purchasing, construction, installation, vendor relations, start-up, debugging, operations and training. You also will provide technical assistance to plants in areas such as troubleshooting, design, procedures, safety and operations. Projects might range from implementing corporate-wide facilities (structural) improvement to correcting a particular plant’s quality problems. You will do a good deal of work with vendors and contractors; they will be implementing a lot of projects you handle (construction, maintenance, testing, etc.). Therefore, you will have to be able to organize and direct them, monitor and ensure compliance. This position requires excellent engineering skills, strong cross functional leadership skills and an ability to manage complex projects from start to finish. You will interact with all levels of management throughout the company’s plants.

As an Application Engineer, you will be a part of the corporate headquarters where you will work closely with marketing, R&D, and the Field Application Engineering groups. You will develop a thorough understanding of one of your company’s product groups, their application with customers and how they compare technically to the competition. You will provide technical engineering guidance to the Field Application Engineers on product specifications, customer training, and future product enhancements, as well as assist them with product performance issues and customer problems. You will work with R&D groups to define and develop the next generation of product architectures and features, keeping your company on the cutting edge of new product trends. You will get involved in developing alternative customer help and training mechanisms (www, etc.), prepare technical proposals for future products, establish relationships with industry experts, and represent your company on key technical and standardization committees. In this position, you will become an expert on your market, your company’s product offerings, and the technical application of your products in the customer environment.