In an era where jobs are becoming scarcer, interviewing and applying for jobs is considered an art in itself. Long gone are the days your grandparents talk about, where a person could walk out of one job on a Friday afternoon and have a new one by Monday morning.
In today’s cut-throat employment market, applying for a new job shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, there can be dozens of applicants for even a basic, entry-level position. Impressive college educations aren’t as highly rated as they once were. The world is changing, and you may need to change along with it.
What about if your trade is in building and construction? Is this an easy industry to get into? What do you need to start a career in construction? Let’s discuss a few tips and tricks that can make searching for a building and construction-based job a little easier.
Why Should You Consider a Career In the Construction Industry?
Simply put, new construction workers are always needed. Entry-level jobs open up all the time, and from there, you have the prospect of working up to a skilled trade.
Jobs such as carpentry, bricklaying, and landscaping generally require a basic qualification, but the real invaluable skill comes from practice. When it comes to construction work, only having theoretical knowledge is not good enough. Practical, hands-on experience is needed.
So, you can start at a basic, construction-laboring job, and work your way up as a skilled worker.
Applying For a New Job: The Dos and Don’t
There are plenty of prospective construction and building-based jobs, which we’ll discuss later. However, before you land your dream job, you need to prepare. Hiring managers are looking for more or less the same qualities in construction workers as they do in any other field.
Regardless of how qualified you are for the position, or how “entry-level” the position is, every application and interview should be taken seriously. Let’s discuss a few top tips to ace an interview:
- Read the job description thoroughly.
It always pays to read and reread the job description. This may seem like a basic tip, but it’s easy to get complacent if you’re already familiar with the field of construction. You may even have worked in a similar job before. However, checking and double-checking that the job is right for you before you apply means you won’t run the risk of looking unqualified or poorly prepared in the interview. Worse yet, you could find yourself in a job that you aren’t equipped to handle.
- Prepare well for the interview.
Everyone gets nervous about job interviews. You can help to reduce your anxiety by preparing well the night before. Get out the outfit you plan to wear, check out the route you’ll be taking, and review commonly-asked interview questions. Make sure you’re to date on everything the company has done lately, and get out any documents or certificates the interviewer might want to check.
Make sure you leave the house in good time. Most of these tips are common sense, but they can make your interview go so much more smoothly. Being prepared will leave you feeling more confident and relaxed in the interview itself, and reduces the chances of something going wrong at the last minute.
- Make a good first impression.
First impressions really do count. Remember, the hiring manager will be watching you carefully to see whether you’re the kind of person who will work well in their company. No matter what construction-based skills or experience you have, a bad first impression can scupper your chances of getting the job.
- Let the interviewer set the tone for the interview.
It’s important to be observant during your interview. Even if you feel that a formal attitude is out of place on a construction site, take your cues from the hiring manager.
- Follow up.
Far too many interviewees forget about following up on interviews. After each interview, you should send an email (or even a note, if you feel that you particularly connected with the interviewer) to thank them for their time. You could mention subjects you discussed during your interview and politely ask for any feedback or advice.
Even if your interview didn’t seem to go well and you doubt you’ll get the job, you should still send a follow-up email.
- Be late.
Regardless of what kind of job you’re applying for, punctuality is crucial. Especially in a job such as construction, where deadlines are important, lateness could scupper your job prospects right there. There’s also a chance that the hiring manager won’t be able to see you at all, even if you’re only five or ten minutes late.
Simply put, lateness shows that you aren’t able to manage your time well enough to hit a deadline. It also shows disrespect for the hiring manager and indicates that you don’t value their time.
- Apply for a job you’re not qualified to do.
It can be tempting to think you can simply “pick up” the other aspects of your job later on. However, in construction and building, inexperience and mistakes can have serious consequences. If there’s a particular job you’re interested in but aren’t qualified to do, why not try gaining the necessary qualifications and reapplying?
- Dress down for the interview.
If you’re applying for a job in construction, you might not see the need to dress up. After all, if you’re working on a construction site, you won’t be dressing up for work. That may be true, and turning up to your interview in casual clothes might be just fine. However, if you aren’t sure, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
In short, it’s far better to dress a little too nicely for an interview, than to turn up in your old, casual clothes only to find that the hiring manager is dressed neatly. This ties in with the “making a good first impression” section we discussed earlier.
Types of Construction Careers
Now that you’ve primed yourself for job applications and interviews, what kind of construction career should you consider?
There are many different careers in construction and building, and each one is a skilled trade. Most of these trades do require basic qualifications, but the real skill comes from practical experience. You can start as a basic laborer and work your way up to a skilled trade. Here are a few trades you consider as a newcomer to the field of construction.
- Construction laborer
A construction laborer is the backbone of the building industry. Taking on work as a construction laborer can be a great start to a career in construction. Once you’re familiar with the industry, you can focus on specializing in a certain area.
However, construction laboring is hard work. It’s only suitable for fit, healthy persons, willing to put in the work to advance their career.
Bricklaying is a trade that seems simple but is in fact more complicated than most people imagine. Skilled bricklayers are difficult to find. An experienced bricklayer can up to £42000 a year and may specialize in restoration projects, stonework, and more.
Carpentry is a classic skill, and some people have a natural knack for woodwork and joinery. To become a skilled carpenter, you’ll need an apprenticeship first. Fortunately, carpentry apprenticeships are relatively easy to find and help to shape a strong construction career.
- Construction manager
A construction manager is responsible for overseeing the building site, including the safety of everyone on-site, materials used, deadlines, and much more. A good construction manager can up to £65000 a year. The key to being a good construction manager is to know the building industry inside out. There are endless challenges and obstacles to a successfully completed project, and it’s the manager’s responsibility to meet those challenges and get the job finished on time – safely and efficiently.
Like carpentry, electricians need qualifications and an apprenticeship. Working with electrics is dangerous, so there’s always a need for good electricians. In fact, an electrician will have a place on virtually every single building site you can imagine.
A landscaper is responsible for creating and maintaining parks, gardens, and other outdoor spaces. It’s perfect for someone who loves gardening and has a flair for creativity. It’s a good entry point for relatively unskilled laborers, giving them a chance to develop and hone their skills.
Dealing With Rejection
Getting rejected for a job is never pleasant. However, there are a few things you can do to use rejection as a learning experience.
One of the best things to do is to ask the hiring manager for feedback. You could include this in your follow-up email or not.
Of course, not every interviewer will get back to you with feedback. In fact, some interviewers may ghost you altogether. This means that the interviewer won’t contact you about the job at all. While this can be upsetting, it’s important not to take it personally. Often, you personally aren’t to blame. There could simply be too many candidates for the job, or there may be someone more qualified than you.
Either way, it’s good to look at unsuccessful job applications and interviews as a good way of practicing your interviewing skills. A good hiring manager will get back to you with tips and feedback for improving your interviewing style in the future.
Remember, building and construction is a thriving field. Stay focused on your goals – there will be a job opening for you sooner or later.
Tips For Staying Motivated
One factor that can cripple your job-hunting energy is job frustration. This is when you try your best, but you can’t seem to find success. Here are a few tips to stay motivated and land your dream job:
- Apply for a job you’re passionate about.
Passion and a genuine interest in your chosen field are something that shines through to a hiring manager. Construction and building work can be a field with great job satisfaction, as you see a creation take shape thanks to your hard work and skills.
However, this also works the other way. There’s nothing wrong with looking for a job just to pay the bills, but employers may be looking for something more.
- Take breaks in job searching.
Job hunting is hard. It’s tiring and can be extremely frustrating. Take frequent breaks where you rest, refresh yourself and don’t think about job hunting. If necessary, schedule time to job hunt, with regular breaks factored in.
- Ask for help in your search.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. If you already have friends or family in the construction business, ask for their advice, or recommendations about where to apply. At the very least, keep your loved ones updated on your progress. This can make you feel less alone in your search.
- Listen to advice.
Criticism isn’t always easy to take. While you don’t need to take every piece of advice you’re given, you should at least listen carefully. Especially if you ask hiring managers for feedback, pay close attention to what they have to say. You may be surprised or even embarrassed at the feedback you receive, but the advice could make the difference between landing your next interview – or not.
Some people have a negative view of the construction industry. They might imagine that you’re either a laborer or an architect, with no in-between.
Of course, this isn’t true. The beauty of the construction industry is that it’s a thriving business, with new projects and opportunities opening all the time. It’s possible to start at the bottom of the career ladder and work your way up to a skilled, valuable trade. Alternatively, an apprenticeship can give you a wonderful start in your chosen career.
Construction workers are highly skilled people and the backbone of our society. If you’re creative, hard-working, and love to see tangible results of your work, a career in construction could be perfect for you.