Crafting the best resumes for construction jobs

Posted by Oliver Hogue on 05/07/2018
happy construction worker

Like it or not, industries that used to rely on word of mouth to place new staff are now depending on professional HR services that use machine learning and AI to screen applications. This places increasing emphasis on the content of a professional resume.

Recruiters use applicant tracking systems to filter through resumes and find words or phrases that appear in the key selection criteria in the job description. Poorly matched resumes fail to make it past this stage. 

Here are some tips for writing a construction resume that responds to the changes in recruitment technology, and why you should adapt your resume to target each job application. 

Beating the applicant tracking system

Applicant tracking systems weed out unsuitable candidates by looking for matches between a resume and a job’s key selection criteria. 

One tip for making sure you progress past this first hurdle is to print out the selection criteria along with your resume and mark up where the two coincide. If there are gaps in your resume, then you should go back through your work history to find a situation that matches the criteria. 

If you have no experience in a particular criteria area, find the closest match you can and make the case that your experience in that situation would be applicable in your new job.

Highlight your digital savvy

Take care in your resume to show that you are digitally savvy, especially regarding mobile devices and apps.

There is still a divide between construction professionals who have adapted to new technology and those using traditional methods. Show that you belong to the modern workforce by emphasising your digital smarts. 

For example, Wi-Fi enabled tablets have taken over from walkie-talkies as the main mobile communication device on many building sites. A mobile device might run an app like Homesky, Aroflo or PlanGrid, which architects, project managers and builders use to share project-specific data.

Documents can be transmitted across the vast distances of a major development site, including approvals, timesheets and revised blueprints. If you’ve used an app as part of your job, it needs to go on the resume. 

Quantify your roles where you can

To give recruiters an idea of the scale of your abilities, give them as many facts and figures as you can. Rather than writing “worked on a major CBD construction site heading a team of labourers”, add more detail. For example:

“Worked as project manager on the Elizabeth Street Shopping Mall development in Melbourne CBD, supervising a combined team of 16 plasterers, glaziers and electricians.” 

The more detail you give, the more memorable your resume will be. Recruiters will not remember some generic person who worked on a CBD construction site. But they will recall the project manager on the Elizabeth Street Shopping Mall development. 

Back up every claim you make

Similar to the point above is that you should back up every statement you make when addressing selection criteria. This is a golden rule of resume writing.

So if one of the criteria is “must be able to work independently”, don’t write “I have worked independently on various large developments.” 

That’s because without a concrete example, a claim like that is meaningless to recruiters. Instead, think of a time when you were called on to work independently, then show how your initiative resulted in success, such as:

“During the construction of the new Myer Centre, I introduced a new installation strategy that allowed the project to finish a week ahead of schedule.”

Use dot points for lists

Finally, resist the temptation to come up with an entertaining way to string your licenses, accreditations and affiliations together in one sentence. Even professional writers find this difficult. 

Instead, list them in a separate part of the resume as dot points so that weary recruiters don’t have to hack through a forest of words to discover that you are licensed to work with asbestos. 

These resume tips should help you craft a better resume. But if you want the perfect version, it’s always a good idea to get professional input. In the same way you pride yourself on knowing the ins and outs of the industry, professional resume writers know how to present your career in the best light.



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