How to Get a Job as a Mechanical Engineer | 10 Tips

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

To launch a career in mechanical engineering, learn about what mechanical engineers do and discover ten tips to help you get your first job.

[Featured image] A mechanical engineering student works on a project in a lab.

What do mechanical engineers do?

Mechanical engineers design mechanical devices, mechanical systems, machines, and tools. This engineering discipline spans many industries, including automobiles, heating and cooling systems, healthcare devices, and robotics. These engineers are involved in all process stages, from research, design, and development to building and testing. 

As a mechanical engineer, your day-to-day tasks might include: 

  • Analysing problems to identify mechanical solutions

  • Designing and redesigning devices, systems, and subsystems with the help of computer-aided design and analysis

  • Developing and testing device prototypes and using the results to improve the mechanical design 

  • Leading the device manufacturing process

  • Improving maintainability and reliability to reduce downtime of systems and equipment

  • Researching and meeting with stakeholders to understand needs, requirements, and expectations

10 tips for getting a job as a mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers are highly skilled professionals. These ten tips can help you prepare yourself for an engineering job. 

1. Earn a degree in mechanical engineering.

To become a mechanical engineer in India, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree in technology (B.Tech) in mechanical engineering. An alternate route is completing a three-year mechanical engineering diploma course from a polytechnic college. To advance your career, you can go even further and earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering (M.Tech) [1].

2. Learn business fundamentals.

Beyond skills specific to mechanical engineering, you may be more marketable to potential employers if you have a good grasp of business basics. Engineering firms are looking to hire skilled engineers who understand how total production costs affect their decisions. Navigating income statements and balance sheets might give you a competitive edge.

Engineering Project Management: Risk, Quality, Teams, and Procurement

3. Think beyond mechanical engineering. 

Mechanical engineers are often tasked with innovating solutions and creating designs that require skills beyond what you gain in mechanical engineering programs. Some of the design issues you might face or the software you'll have to use could be outside your speciality. Top engineering organisations recommend gaining some training outside of mechanical engineering, too.

4. Develop your technical skills.

As a mechanical engineer, you'll use computers regularly, so it makes sense to gain proficiency in relevant areas of IT and computer science. Strong tech skills will be beneficial if you're working on integrating sensors into machinery or using technology to analyse designs or run simulations. Build a strong foundation in technology with applied data science using Python or computer-aided design and manufacturing specialisations.

5. Get licensed.

To be more independent or achieve higher leadership levels, consider earning a PE (professional engineer) licence. To do so, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or equivalent recognised by the Statutory Authority or Government of India and at least five years of professional work experience. There may be other requirements depending on the state where you seek the licence. [1]

6. Find a mentor.

Working with someone with more industry experience can be helpful when you're just starting. This person can help guide you and shape your career path. Check with the HR department at your job or internship, join engineering societies, or connect via social media to find a mentor to guide you.

7. Sharpen your communication skills.

Communication is key, and employers look for candidates capable of explaining their designs and concepts to colleagues and clients who may need to become more familiar with mechanical engineering terms or systems. You might also need to be tasked with writing reports, so you must be proficient in written communication. You’ll likely need excellent organisation, time management, problem-solving, and attention to detail. Learn fundamental principles for communicating more effectively by taking the Oral Communication for Engineering Leaders course from Rice University.

8. Create a resume that gets noticed.

Write a resume highlighting the most relevant skills to each engineering job you apply for. Also, highlight relevant work experiences and education. Be sure to craft a resume rich in keywords and industry-specific phrases, which will help it pass automated applicant tracking systems (ATSs).

9. Practise common interview questions.

You can feel confident going into your first interview when you are prepared. You can go over some common interview questions ahead of time to build confidence. Although every interviewer has their style, these are a few questions you’re likely to encounter: 

  • General questions to get a sense of your background and expertise, including questions about the first thing you designed or how you'd explain complicated designs to people without an engineering background

  • Behavioural questions designed to get a sense of how you work, which might include questions about mistakes you’ve made in the past or examples of situations in which you had to provide data to support an important decision

  • Technical questions geared towards your discipline or the speciality required by the job, with possible questions about cold drawing processes or the purpose of heat treatment

10. Connect with others.

Your university peers and instructors, mechanical engineering societies, and networking events can all be potential sources to lead you to your next great job. Stay connected and actively seek out new connections to extend your network. Additionally, it’s important to continue learning even after getting a job to remain on top of the latest technologies and techniques. 

Next steps

Enroll in Introduction to Engineering Mechanics at Georgia Tech to see if a career in mechanical engineering is right for you. Alternatively, build your job-ready technical skills with the Autodesk CAD/CAM/CAE for Mechanical Engineering Specialisation.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Article sources


Indeed. "How to Become a Mechanical Engineer," Accessed April 5, 2024.

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