Transferable Skills in Construction Might Qualify You for Other Roles

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert

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The construction business usually heats up in the spring and summer when the days get longer and the weather gets nicer. This year, thanks to the coronavirus, we’re seeing the opposite. Many non-essential construction sites are closed and work is at a standstill.

While there are still some construction jobs out there, overall, construction companies have shed more than 9 percent of their jobs, furloughing or laying off a chunk of the more than 11 million Americans who work in this industry. Projects are canceled or indefinitely delayed because money is drying up.

If you’re a construction worker who’s been thinking about switching careers, this might be a good time to review your options and consider changing course. While this might feel like an inopportune time to launch a job search, think again. It’s wise to start early because when the crisis is behind us, the competition will be fierce.

And, whether or not you plan to return to the industry, you may need a job now to make ends meet. Your skills are highly valued in many fields. Here’s some advice on how to land a job in this uncertain time.

Transferable skills and training to emphasize on your resume

From bricklayers to crane operators, everyone on a construction site has skills. Some of those skills can translate to other jobs. The skills that translate successfully are known as transferable skills.

Your skills can be divided into three categories: soft skills, hard skills and technical skills.

Soft skills involve communication, interpersonal relations and personality traits. Hard skills are strictly defined and can be measured and certified. Technical skills involve knowing how to use specific machinery or programs.

Here’s a partial list of skills you may have learned on the job, as well as education and training:

Hard and technical skills: Hard skills such as: Physical strength, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, bricklaying, masonry, carpentry, framing, plumbing, electrical, drywall, roofing, sheet metal work, demolition, HVAC, inspecting, painting, repairs, measuring, installation, maintenance, power tools, renovations, surveying, ironwork, and mathematics. Technical skills such as: familiarity with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, Uniform Building Code (UBC) and Hazardous Materials Management (HAZMAT); Microsoft Office Suite; and training on a variety of heavy machinery.

Soft skills: Teamwork, collaboration, active listening, willingness to learn, problem-solving, decision-making, communication and organization.

Certifications and training: OSHA training, American Concrete Institute (ACI) Certification, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) Certification, Associate Constructor (AC), Certified Professional Constructor (CPC), Certified Construction Manager (CCM)

Education: Most construction workers have a high school degree and work their way up with on-the-job training and apprenticeship. That said, if you have taken courses at a community college or pursued higher education of any kind, mention it. Upper-level jobs, such as construction manager, often require a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field.

These industries are hiring people with your skills

There are still some jobs available in your sector. Check Construction Jobs, iHireConstruction and other job boards to see what’s available. However, if you plan to look outside the construction field, there are other roles that require people with your skill set.

If you were in management, including construction operations director, construction project manager, foreman, you might be qualified for these roles:

  • Supply chain supervisor (for example, at a shipping and logistics company like XPO Logistics)
  • Project manager (for example, at a utilities company like PG&E)
  • Maintenance manager (for example, at a hospital)

If you were a roofer, carpenter, painter, ironworker or specialized in another type of construction, you might be qualified for these roles:

  • Specialized construction roles (for example, in transportation, essential retail, healthcare and e-commerce)

If you were a heavy equipment operator, including forklift operator, dump truck driver or hydraulic truck crane operator, you might be qualified for these roles:

  • Maintenance technician (for example, in a warehouse)

If you were a general construction laborer, you might be qualified for these roles:

  • Maintenance technician (for example, at a hospital)
  • Security guard (for example, at a local security firm)
  • Cleaning technician (for example, at a nursing home)
  • Warehouse associate (for example, at an ecommerce company like Shipt)
  • Picker (for example, at an ecommerce company like Amazon)
  • Groundskeeper (for example, at a hospital)
  • Delivery driver (for example, at a delivery company like FedEx)

How to apply for these roles and what you’ll need

If you are applying in-person, you will need a current email address and phone number, a resume and identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

Many jobs you are pursuing, especially high-level ones, will require an online application. To apply online, you will need a current email address and phone number, a resume and identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

How to find these jobs in your community

How to create a resume that will capture an employers’ attention

A good resume is the cornerstone of your job application, especially if you’re pursuing a high-level position. You will need to capture the following on your resume:

  • Career achievements
  • Skills
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Certifications and licensing (where applicable)

To ensure your resume will be considered by the hiring manager, make sure to include keywords and job duties from the job description. That way you can focus on the transferable skills the employer values most.

You should consider cover letters valuable, as well. On a cover letter, you have an opportunity to turn your career into a narrative. That’s where you explain why you’re transitioning jobs and how exactly your skills translate to the new role.

Text resume example: Site Worker applying for a maintenance role

Name: Stewart Alvarado
Address: East Haven, CT 06512
Phone: (555) 555-5555

Summary Statement: Reliable Site Worker with years of experience providing excellent service as a member of a professional construction team. Familiar with safety regulations and occupational hazards. Providing in-depth knowledge of concrete types and gravel, sand, water and concrete mixing techniques. Safely operates forklifts, trowels and paving machines.

Summary of Skills:

  • Preventive and reparative maintenance
  • Safety and compliance
  • Measurement and calculation accuracy
  •  Hand and power tool operation
  • Blueprints and schematics
  • Site coordination
  • Multi-site operations
  • Safety-minded worker

Work History

Site Worker
Mason Construction & Dev LLC
Manchester, CT

  • Interpreted job site supervisor’s orders and technical documentation to complete work with 100 percent accuracy.
  •  Installed new structures, updated systems and replaced worn components to bring buildings up to current codes.
  • Planned, coordinated and managed operations and field safety programs for building construction, and infrastructure and public works projects

Construction Worker
Haven Site Work
New Haven, CT

  • Brought materials and tools from trucks and storage facilities to work site locations and organized for expected needs. 
  • Consulted with customers to understand desires and help each owner meet individual property objectives, raising customer retention 25 percent.

Front Loader
Lots Construction
Manchester, CT

  • Brought materials and tools from trucks and storage facilities to work site locations and organized for expected needs. 
  • Prepared and cleaned surfaces for rebuilding purposes by removing damaged tiles, bricks and mortar.
  • Efficiently prepared job sites by removing debris and setting up materials and tools

Education & Training

Associate of Applied Science, Construction Technology
Technical Education Center
New Haven, CT

OSHA Workplace Safety Certification

My Perfect Resume Builder example

Now, here’s a construction resume example to review. Review it for inspiration on how to craft a resume that will help you with your career transition.

Construction SiteWorker 791x1024

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