Building a resume and cover letter for a career in construction is an essential, yet overlooked part of the process of getting the job you want. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Building the Cover Letter
The key to a good cover letter is explaining how you are the right person for that specific job, not just relaying your experience. Even those who don’t have as much experience will often get a second look if the applicant can explain thoughtfully why they want to work at the company in question, and why they would be good at the job. The cover letter is where you want to set yourself apart. Here’s a good template to start!
You want to present yourself as someone who is detail oriented, is excited about the job and exudes energy, no matter what the position. This is important for those who are just starting out in their field, and therefore don’t have relevant experience to use as examples to showcase competency. Focus on the fact you’re a fast learner, can work hard and are reliable. Bonus points for those applicants who have done extra research and can give examples of projects that the company has worked on before, and why they admire their work.
If you’re applying for a construction manager job or a job that requires management experience, be sure to focus on the numbers and the bottom line. Employers want to know how and why they will be better off financially from hiring you. Make sure to show your understanding of the business side of things by showing cases and giving examples of how you can make their business more efficient, effective and ultimately more profitable.
Make sure that you read the job posting carefully and completely. Sometimes employers will want you to answer specific questions or include specific details in your application. Do not shoot yourself in the foot by not reading the job description fully. Lastly — be sure to proofread. It is the pet peeve of many HR managers and business owners when applicants can’t show that they care enough to proofread their work. Don’t be that person.
Building the Resume
The resume is where you show direct examples of experience and skills that will make you the best person for the job. Again, cater your experience to include things that will apply to the career you’re applying to.
When it comes to resume examples and templates, there are many available online for free. A good writing guide can be found here. Don’t get too bogged down in the details and design of your resume. Often, the simpler the better. Be sure to include many details, even ones that you don’t think are relevant. In the first draft, include budget data on projects you have worked on, the success of projects that you’ve had experience with, and anything that you believe could apply to the job you’re applying for. After the first draft, you can go back and refine it down to a final draft you’re happy with.
If you’re new to the industry, be sure to include positions and experience that highlight your ability to learn and work hard. This could be academically, or in other jobs where you showed your reliability and your willingness to work hard and finish things you start.
As always — proofread, proofread, proofread. Get someone else to look at it for you. Read it out loud. Finally, apply! You’re hard work and attention to detail will serve you well.
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