Careers Finding a Job Important Skills for Construction Jobs Share PINTEREST Email Print Don Mason / Getty Images Finding a Job Job Searching Skills & Keywords Resumes Salary & Benefits Letters & Emails Job Listings Job Interviews Cover Letters Career Advice Best Jobs Work-From-Home Jobs Internships Table of Contents Expand What Are Construction Skills? Types of Construction Skills Physical Skills Office Skills Design and Planning Codes and Regulations Management Skills By Alison Doyle Alison Doyle Alison Doyle is a job search expert and one of the industry's most highly-regarded job search and career experts. Alison brings extensive experience in corporate human resources, management, and career development, which she has adapted for her freelance work. She is also the founder of CareerToolBelt.com, which provides simple and straightforward advice for every step of your career. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 09/26/20 Construction can be a physically and mentally challenging career, though a personally and financially rewarding one. Some people work construction for a brief time, perhaps to raise money for college, while others spend their entire working lives building—or demolishing—in the world of contracting. Prospective construction workers might not realize how many of the required skills they already have. Many people learn construction skills by working on their own projects at home, or by doing volunteer work with neighbors or community organizations. There are also skills that are highly relevant to construction work, such as mathematics, that you may have learned in another context. What Are Construction Skills? Anything related to the planning and erecting of physical structures involves construction. While most construction jobs begin on site performing menial, rigorous tasks, those that have practiced in the industry for many years go on to manage entire construction teams for impressive projects. Entry-level construction jobs typically have no educational requirements, though high school-level training programs can be a big help. Some apprenticeship programs require a high school diploma or GED. To practice certain advanced skill sets, such as welding, you may need specialized training and appropriate licensure. Many construction jobs pay well. Types of Construction Skills Specific construction skills include bricklaying, carpentry, pouring cement, putting up drywall, and installing specific types of equipment. Be sure to tell your prospective employer the tasks that you have experience performing and the amount of experience, even if it is not directly relevant to the job for which you are applying. Employers typically appreciate versatile workers who can take on additional tasks as needed. Construction tasks may include: Masonry Carpentry Painting Drywall Electrical Plumbing Framing Building site supervision Construction management Construction reports Concrete Roofing Sheet metal work Demolition Renovations Repairs Building codes Electrical codes Environmental codes OSHA safety requirements Interpreting specifications Reading and interpreting drawings Inspecting Measuring Organize building materials Reading and interpreting drawings Engineering Erecting Hazardous materials HVAC work Installation Ironwork Metal lathing Pipe fitting Refrigeration Rigging Steam fitting Surveying Trim Construction equipment Maintenance Power tools Physical Skills As a construction worker, you will not only have to be strong and dexterous; you will also have to be smart about how you use your body. Proper ergonomics, including correct lifting posture and careful attention to safety, can prevent painful and costly accidents; career-ending injuries do not only occur for athletes. Bad habits can also result in repeated minor injuries that young, fit people may dismiss and ignore, but will add up to disabilities years later. Also, proper movement is more efficient and effective. Construction work generally involves: Physical enduranceCompliancePersonal protective equipment (PPE)Heavy liftingDexterityHeavy equipment operation Office Skills Construction businesses, similar to all other businesses, require budgeting, planning, record-keeping, and marketing to stay viable. If you have office skills, including familiarity with word-processing, spreadsheets, and publishing software, have excellent telephone etiquette, and good organizational skills and communication skills, you can be an important asset. Even if you spend most of your time on site, being able to pull into the office as needed is important if the office becomes short-staffed. Typical office skills include: Mobile devicesMicrosoft officePhone etiquetteOral communicationWritten communicationInformation managementBasic mathPunch listsSchedulingCustomer service Design and Planning Whether you are designing the project yourself or following someone else’s plan, you need to know how to read a blueprint. You also need to understand design well enough that you can spot problems or mistakes; while rare, blueprints can contain errors. You might also need to make decisions about what materials to use or how to schedule different phases of the project, and a good understanding of the project’s design will be critical. These skills are important in the design and planning phase of a project: Interpreting blueprints Giving and following directions Project management Flexibility Construction management Construction reports Estimating Identifying the building process Identifying material costs Understanding the design Codes and Regulations As a construction worker, you will be subject to building codes, environmental regulations, safety codes, and labor agreements. While entry-level workers will not be responsible for enforcing those regulations, training will go more smoothly if you know the rules. Inspectors will appreciate it if you know all the information they’ll need for site visits. There is also the possibility that your employer—or your site supervisor—could break the rules. Your own safety, and that of your client and those who live and work near your site, might depend on you recognizing and responding to the problem. Therefore, these skills are also necessary: Integrity Compliance Environmental awareness Adherence to safety measure Problem sensitivity Discernment Attention to detail Labor relations Negotiation Management Skills Obviously, not all construction workers need management or leadership skills, but having them certainly gives you more advancement options in your career. Managing work sites, developing estimates and negotiating prices, performing quality control, and reaching out to prospective clients are all important skills for construction workers. Management skills typically include: Project managementLeadershipManaging a teamGiving and following directionsTeamworkCollaborationQuality assuranceComplianceSafetyDirectingSupervisionProblem-solving How to Make Your Skills Stand Out Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: Review your work history and include any skills or experience in specific jobs and professions. Even if you are applying for a position in which you do not have direct experience, familiarity with skills in related positions can be a bonus for the employer.Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: Most construction jobs do not require a cover letter, unless you are applying for a management position. In that case, be sure to mention a crew or two that you successfully managed in the completion of a construction project.Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: If you know how to do something relevant to the job description, say so. If you have specialized training or licensure (such as a CDL), say so in your resume and interview.