Civil Engineer Skills List and Examples

Civil Engineer Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

Civil Engineer (175545431)
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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. Often, graduate degrees and licensure 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 communication skills. 

Here's a list of civil engineer skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Included is a detailed list of the five most important civil engineer skills, as well as a longer list of even more related skills.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use these skills lists throughout your job search process. Firstly, you can use these skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these key words.

Secondly, you can use these in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated those skills at work.

Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview. Make sure you have at least one example of a time you demonstrated each of the top five skills listed here.

Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also review our other lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Five Civil Engineer Skills

Communication skills are extremely important for civil engineers. They often lead teams of diverse people, and have to communicate effectively with all of them. They also have to speak to clients as well as the public, explaining complex technical ideas in a clear way. Another element of communication skills is listening. Civil engineers need to listen carefully to the concerns of their team, 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 decision.

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 CAD software.

Civil Engineer Skills

A - G

  • Analyze Survey Reports, Maps, and Data to Plan Projects
  • Assess Environmental Impact and Risks
  • Assemble Project Deliverables
  • Assist With Staging, Testing, and Shipping of Equipment Prior to Deployment
  • AutoCAD
  • Communication
  • Compile and Submit Permit Applications to Local, State, and Federal Agencies
  • Create Blueprints Using CAD (Computer Aided Design)
  • Critical Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Design Public Work Projects
  • Develop Designs, Layouts, and Design Calculations
  • Develop Project Scope and Timeline
  • Ensure Job Sites Meet Legal Guidelines, and Health and Safety Requirements
  • Experience with Civil 3D
  • Experience with Microstation 
  • Experience with Reinforced Concrete and Steel Design
  • Experience with On-Site Construction Observation and Management

 H - M

  • Highly Detail Oriented
  • High Level of Analytical Thinking
  • Identify Possible Design Improvements
  • Leadership
  • Listening
  • Manage and Monitor Each Stage of Project
  • Manage the Repair and Maintenance of Public and Private Infrastructures
  • Map Reading
  • Mathematics

N - S

  • Organizational Skills
  • Perform or Oversee Soil Testing
  • Perform or Oversee Surveying Operations
  • Physics
  • Prepare Designs and Estimates 
  • Prepare Conclusion and Analysis Reports
  • Present Environmental Impact Statements to the Public
  • Proactive and Willing to Take on New Challenges
  • Project Management
  • Provide Cost Estimates for Materials, Equipment, and/or Labor
  • Recommend Modifications for Design Improvements and Simplification
  • Sound Knowledge of Engineering Fundamentals

T - Z

  • Technical Skills
  • Technical Writing
  • Test Building Materials
  • Understand and Design Within AASHTO Guidelines
  • Understand Diagrams, Drafts, Flow-Charts, and Other Information and Documentation
  • Use Software to Design Within Industry and Government Standards
  • Work Effectively Under Pressure

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