General labourers have hands-on jobs that are both physically demanding and rewarding. In this article, we discuss what a general labourer is, the skills required to be one, how to become a general labourer, and provide an example resume for this profession. We also answer frequently asked questions about the role of a general labourer.
What is a general labourer?
A general labourer is someone who specializes in work that is physical and hands-on. An example of a general labourer is a construction worker or landscaper. General labourers can work in several places of employment depending on their speciality, but often work on construction sites. General labourers take on responsibilities that range from cleaning construction sites to transporting the material needed for projects.
General labour skills
Here is a list of skills general labourers should have:
General labourers spend a significant amount of time on their feet and need to have both physical stamina and endurance. General labourers should also be able to maintain the same level of efficiency throughout their shifts. They sometimes work long hours to meet project deadlines.
Interpersonal and communication skills
General labourers are generally part of larger teams and come into contact with many personality types throughout their day. General labourers need to communicate their needs effectively and should take part in active listening to understand their tasks fully. This is essential, especially on work sites with safety hazards.
General labourers should also know how to manage conflict in the workplace and will frequently be given instructions from their supervisors. They need to communicate effectively to get a full gasp of these instructions and to complete tasks accurately.
Knowledge of the construction industry
Many general labourers work for construction companies and need in-depth knowledge of this industry. General labourers working for construction companies need to understand how different stages of the construction process fit into the larger whole. They also need to know how to work heavy equipment and machinery. Because general labour is hands-on, these professionals will need to lift heavy loads frequently, so maintaining physical fitness is essential.
Attention to detail
General labourers must display good attention to detail to excel in this field. That's because these professionals frequently work with specific instructions or requests that need to be followed perfectly. This skill is also an asset because general labourers work with heavy machinery and staying focused and alert prevents injuries. Using attention to detail, these professionals can conduct thorough inspections of equipment and ensure they're functional and safe.
Knowledge of heavy machinery and equipment
As a general labourer, you need to know how to manage heavy machinery. Every piece of equipment will have its own operation needs and different models will be operated differently. General labourers need to be aware of various methods of operation.
Ability to prioritize tasks
General labourers are frequently given several tasks at once, which is why they need to know how to prioritize them effectively. To do so, determine which tasks need to be done right away and which ones are of lower priority. You can also assess how long you expect each task to take so you can complete some some easy or quicker tasks between ones that demand most of your time. Learning to multitask effectively is another aspect of prioritization to help you make the most effective use of your time.
How to improve general labour skills
Here's a list of the ways you can improve your general labour skills:
Improving your fitness level
General labourers spend a significant amount of time outside lifting heavy equipment and machinery. As such, general labourers need elevated fitness levels. If you want to be the best worker possible, consider working on your fitness and health.
You can also improve your general labour skills by educating yourself on the fields you're currently working in, or are interested in exploring. For example, you can research or take classes on safety regulations. You can also get a license for using heavy machinery or equipment like forklifts. The more you know about these industries, the more efficiently you can work.
Improve your communication skills
Because of the importance placed on communication skills in this job, general labourers need to have good interpersonal and communication skills. A good way to improve these skills is to practise with your friends and family. When you take part in conversations, identify ways in which you could have spoken more clearly, or practise active listening skills.
How to become a general labourer
There isn't a single path to being a general labourer, however, there are some requirements for those interested in this field:
1. Pursue relevant education
There are no academic requirements for those who want to be general labourers. That being said, some career programs are available for those who have completed their high school diplomas. Colleges across the country have hands-on training courses to prepare candidates with valuable labour skills. These programs deal primarily with the construction and landscaping industries. Students can expect to learn about topics that are related, but not limited to safety, ethics in their industries, project management, and how to operate various machinery and tools.
2. Explore additional training
Many general labourers start their careers by completing an apprenticeship. This training provides professionals with the practical skills necessary to join the workforce directly after. Moreover, many companies will hire successful candidates from their apprenticeship programs.
3. Apply for a job
When you look for a job as a general labourer, you need to decide whether you want to work for yourself or join a larger company. Many general labourers start their own business by providing potential clients with discounts or free appointments to build their client base.
If you want to join a bigger company, you'll want to showcase your talents and skills on your resume and cover letter. You also need to prove your knowledge and expertise when attending an interview.
Sample resume for a general labourer
Here' s an example of a general labourer resume:
September 2018-November 2020
Alt-Limited Construction Services, Montreal, Quebec
- Managed construction equipment and supplies by keeping inventory and loading or unloaded the materials
- Conducted work with concrete like pouring, cutting, and distributing concrete across various commercial and residential job sites
- Repaired heavy machinery and equipment as necessary
- Performed other hands-on responsibilities as assigned by supervisor
- Increased efficiency by 30% by implementing a new distribution system for equipment and materials
- Improved project development time by 20% with concrete grid work system
Senior General Labourer
November 2017-September 2018
Stempleton Industries, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Led a team of general labourers to fulfill various landscaping duties like lawn maintenance and hedge trimming
- Utilized heavy equipment and power tools to perform general tasks
- Maintained the aesthetic of residential properties by planting gardens and removing miscellaneous objects when necessary
Bachelor of Management, The University of British Columbia
Graduating class of 2017 | 3.7 GPA
- Ability to work heavy machinery and equipment
- Loading and unloading equipment quickly and efficiently
- Knowledge of working with concrete
- Ability to carry more than 100lbs
- Bilingual (English, French)
Frequently asked questions about general labourers
Here are some common questions asked about what a career in general labour is like:
What is the work environment like?
General labourers work long shifts, especially during warmer months. The majority of this time is spent carrying heavy equipment and working in a fast-paced environment. Because of this, general labourers need to know how to manage stress and prioritize tasks. General labourers also work frequent overtime hours when deadlines for big projects are coming up. For example, labourers may need to work longer shifts to complete the project on time. General labourers who work overtime hours also benefit from overtime pay, which significantly increases their overall income.
What makes a good general labourer?
A good general labourer is someone who has experience in a variety of job sites and who is comfortable working in a team. They should also have good physical and emotional stamina to help manage demanding work and tasks. Furthermore, general labourers know how to follow instructions accurately and efficiently. This requires them to pay attention to detail and complete projects according to their deadline.
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How does maintenance fit into the role of a general labourer?
General labourers need to maintain both the heavy equipment used during projects and the job sites that general labourers work on. By maintaining equipment and construction sites, general labourers can reduce the risk of injury and increase efficiency.
When maintaining a property or job site, general labourers will be expected to clean the site before and after working on it. This will ensure the overall safety of the job site. Performing this maintenance is primarily preventative; however, it demonstrates a good work ethic and dedication to the overall health of team members.