Resumes for Construction Careers

In this April 22, 2014 file photo, a man works on a concrete form during construction of a new Veterans Administration hospital in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo. RJ SANGOSTI, DENVER POST/AP
In this April 22, 2014 file photo, a man works on a concrete form during construction of a new Veterans Administration hospital in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo. RJ SANGOSTI, DENVER POST/AP

You may be a top-notch roofer or plumber, but without a resume, you may lose out on the job to the competition. How will employers know that you happen to be a jack of many trades and certifications -- one who sticks with a project until it's completed -- if all you do is fill out the same application as all the other job applicants? Producing a well-crafted resume could speak volumes about your craftsmanship.

"I'm always impressed by a worker who comes in with a resume," says Steven Greene, vice president of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), based in Florida. With more than two decades of human resources experience, Greene has valuable perspective on hiring construction workers. "Professionalism will get you in the door -- and a resume will give you that professional look," he says.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

If You Build Your Resume, Employers Will Come

Whether you write it with the Resume Builder or on your own, three core elements are essential to a construction-job resume, according to Greene:

  • Education and Certifications: Greene stresses the importance of mentioning all management and safety courses you've taken as well as any other relevant training in related trades. "I look for well-rounded candidates," he says.

    Monster Resume Expert Kim Isaacs adds, "It's a good idea to mention your familiarity with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] regulations and Universal Building Codes [UBC] where applicable." Isaacs also notes that you should list any industry licenses (e.g., electrical), apprenticeships, certifications, valid driver's licenses and licenses to operate heavy equipment as well as the types of equipment you're licensed to operate.

  • Experience: When listing your work history, include all pertinent jobs, and mention your level of involvement in each. "Focus on your accomplishments," Isaacs suggests. "How did your expertise contribute to a successful construction project?"

    For each job or project completed, Isaacs recommends including a "Project Highlights" section, which "helps employers glean key details about the depth and breadth of [your] experience," she says. Ask yourself the following questions when completing this section:

    What? What did you work on? For instance, indicate if you constructed highways, residential developments, schools, etc. "Including details of particularly challenging projects (e.g., a structure built on a hillside) and how these challenges were overcome is a good idea," says Isaacs.

    Also, indicate whether you managed other workers. For example: "Supervised a team of 20 contractors within electrical, plumbing, roofing, instrumentation, mechanical and field engineering trades."

    How Much? Include details about project budgets if your projects were completed on or under budget.

    When? Include details about project timelines if the projects you worked on were completed ahead of schedule or on time. If you worked on a project for its entire duration, emphasize that; such diligence suggests a high level of responsibility and overall work ethic, Greene notes.

  • Who? Where? Be sure to include the names and contact information for former employers that you trust to offer good work references.
  • Skills: Take advantage of this section of your resume to highlight all the industry skills you use on the job that could also serve as commonly searched resume keywords. You can search for construction jobs using resources like Military.com/veteran-jobs, and review sample job ads for your ideal position to be sure you are mentioning all applicable skills. Some skills of interest to employers include: Construction management, carpentry, masonry, welding, Sheetrock, installation, paneling, painting, ceramic tile installation, millwork, etc.

    Don't forget to mention your soft skills, too, such as your reliability, good attendance, punctuality, strong work ethic, etc.

Monster Resume Tips

Isaacs offers the following additional tips for building a resume:

  • Select a resume title that reflects your job target and one or two of your top credentials in the field.
  • Complete all fields in the "Target Job" and "Target Job Locations" sections to alert employers about factors important to your candidacy, such as your desired job title, ability to work overtime and availability to relocate.

Related: Search for Construction jobs.

The Next Step: Find the Right Job

Whether you want to polish up your resume, find veteran job fairs in your area, or connect with employers looking to hire veterans, Military.com can help. Sign up for a free Military.com membership to have job postings, guides and advice, and more delivered directly to your inbox.

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