Construction Skills and How To Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

June 11, 2021

Hiring managers often look for technical and soft skills in candidates for construction roles. To stand out and prove that you can deliver on the job, you must demonstrate that you have these construction skills. You can begin developing your construction skills by understanding what these abilities are and why they are important. In this article, we explore the construction skills that you need to get the job and how to improve them.

What is a construction professional?

A construction professional is a skilled tradesman who operates heavy machinery, removes debris, builds, lifts, repairs and completes other manual labour tasks for construction projects. They also contribute to a safe work environment for themselves and the rest of the construction team. They use various tools such as shovels, jackhammers, pavement breakers and surveying equipment to construct buildings.

What are construction skills?

Construction skills refer to the competencies required to perform tasks on a construction site. You need these skills to deliver on building structures, paving roads, digging quarries, and other projects that require manual labour. They involve technical skills that you gain through training and practice, and natural soft skills for optimal performance.

Read more: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Examples of construction skills

Here are some examples of construction skills you can develop to help you stand out as a construction professional:

Physical strength

Companies require people that are physically fit for construction projects because the job is physically tasking. Therefore, you must possess enough strength to climb ladders, lift heavy tools and objects, dig and operate heavy machinery, among other physical tasks.

Stamina

Construction projects test your stamina as you need to work for long hours in different weather. However, most construction projects take place over the summer months when conditions are more suitable. Companies lookout for candidates that can remain focused and pull through these circumstances to complete the project. You must have strong mental and physical stamina as a construction professional.

Communication

To succeed in any workplace, you need to communicate effectively, so hiring managers look for impressive communication skills. You must be able to communicate with your co-professionals to avoid errors, safety hazards, and improve productivity. This also ensures you can ask questions, process answers, inform others, avoid confusion and achieve company goals within the deadline. You also need to develop your listening and speaking skills to stand out among other candidates.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Hand-eye coordination

Hand-eye coordination ensures you can avoid injuries during construction projects. With this skill, you can also prevent common mistakes associated with construction projects. For instance, you can drill, cut or hammer accurately.

Coordination

Construction projects take place in phases and require coordination skills to ensure things go smoothly. Companies prefer candidates who can coordinate the crew, supplies and equipment. You must organize projects into parts, set deadlines for them and work toward achieving them.

Math proficiency

Construction work requires you to measure items, calculate adjustments and determine angles. So, companies look for candidates with an understanding of geometry, algebra and math. You need to show math proficiency to convince your hiring manager you can deliver on the job. You need a high school education and training to improve your math proficiency.

Proficiency in reading

Construction professionals must interpret code specifications, blueprints and customer instruction. Therefore, having a good mastery of reading is vital. It ensures you can understand documented information and use them to complete your projects.

Technical Knowledge

Professionals must understand the technical aspects of construction clearly to complete the project successfully. Companies need construction professionals with the right technical capacity to complete the tasks at hand. It is important to recognize the various tools and materials you need to fulfill your duty. These technical areas can include masonry, plumbing, demolition, ironwork, surveying, roofing and framing.

Most careers in construction require training and education to develop these technical skills. Consider pursuing certifications through professional organizations specific to your trade.

Problem-solving skills

Construction companies need problem solvers who can take initiative. When interviewing for a construction role, highlight this skill by showing the hiring manager you can offer solutions to problems when they arise. You need to identify problems, analyze the situation, identify a solution and apply the solution. This ensures you can guarantee the completion of the project in any circumstance.

Read more: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Teamwork

Working on a construction site will mean that you have to work with a diverse group of people. Therefore, you must be able to collaborate with other members to achieve a common goal. This requires other skills, such as effective communication, conflict resolution and empathy.

Read more: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

Ability to use tools

You must be able to operate tools integral to your job performance. You need to have experience using saws, drills, measuring tape, crowbar, tile cutter and hammers. You should also have no problem operating larger machinery like cranes, bulldozers and earth movers.

Technology savvy

Technology has massively affected the construction industry, making available new tools and methods of approaching a task. Companies now rely on technology to optimize their process and prefer candidates that can maximize these innovations. You need to use technology to influence the outcomes of construction projects. Examples of these technologies include virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing and mobile technology.

Leadership

Regardless of your role, basic leadership skills help you streamline projects, direct a team and manage work sites, which improves productivity. Leadership skills help you succeed in the construction industry.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to improve your construction professional skills

Here are some tips on how you can improve your construction skills:

  • Undertake necessary training. The construction industry is constantly developing, so it's beneficial to dedicate time to constant self-development. Stay up to date with trends by attending industry training and conferences.

  • Keep fit. Ensure you stay fit as this will help you avoid injuries and ensure you perform at an optimal level. You can create a fitness routine and maintain a healthy diet to achieve this.

  • Leverage Technology. Stay informed about the latest construction technologies by following professional websites, journals and magazines. You should also get comfortable with new construction technologies such as drones, mobile apps and artificial intelligence.

  • Prioritize your safety. In construction projects, safety is very important. You must stay updated about safety standards, guidelines, and practices within the industry. You can take relevant safety certifications through professional organizations in your field.

  • Learn new skills. There will be faster, better, and more efficient ways to complete construction projects. Focus on learning new methods to optimize your current process by speaking with experienced professionals, reading about emerging trends, and watching relevant videos.

How to demonstrate your construction skills

You need to show your construction skills to convince the hiring manager you're the best candidate for the job. Ensure you research the organization's needs and tailor the skills you highlight to meet them. For instance, you need to showcase physical strength when applying for a labour role. Here is how to demonstrate your construction skills in your workplace, resume, cover letter and interview:

Demonstrating your construction skills in the workplace

Here are some ways you can show your skills as a construction professional:

  • Demonstrate your leadership skills by taking the initiative when your team gets a task.

  • Communicate clearly and effectively with your co-professionals.

  • Listen to and implement feedback given by your superiors.

  • Make valuable contributions to solve problems when they arise.

  • Read and interpret blueprints, project specifications, and other relevant construction documents.

  • Constantly develop your technical skills and keep up with the latest trends in the construction industry.

Highlighting your construction skills on your resume

On your resume, highlight all the training and certifications you have taken. If you have a relevant degree, feature that. You should also provide examples of how you showed any of these skills in your previous employment under your “work experience” section. This provides proof to the hiring manager you can apply these skills to real-life situations.

Example: “Carried heavy materials while adopting safe practices to increase overall project efficiency.”

Highlighting your construction skills on your cover letter

If you need to apply with a cover letter, it is the best place to showcase your construction skills. Use this to showcase construction projects that you took part in and the role that you played. For instance, you could show your reading proficiency by stating that you interpreted the blueprint for the project.

Highlighting your construction skills in an interview

The interview stage is a great place to highlight your construction skills. This is an opportunity to explain your specialized certifications, degrees, training, or apprenticeship in detail. You can also use your experience in past projects to showcase how you demonstrated these skills.

Try using the STAR method when answering the question. STAR means situation, task, action, and results. It carries your interviewer along and provides solid examples of your construction skills.

Example: “The client needed us to complete a fitting project in his building. I was the construction manager in charge of the project. I consulted with the client to understand his specific needs, designed a blueprint for the project and assigned parts of the task to construction labourers. We completed the project a week before the deadline while exceeding the client's expectations.”