How to write an effective CV when applying for a job in the construction industry

CV writing tips for construction

Applying for a new job can be a daunting task, but our CV writing guide could help you stand out in a crowded construction marketplace.

Having seen hundreds of CVs for a variety of different positions, we have a pretty good idea of what makes an effective CV.

Here, we have compiled a guide to help you whether you are applying for your first job in the industry or looking to take the next step in your career. At the bottom of this article, we have also assembled a list of our top tips.

Do not use a generic template

As soon as you get started, with your CV it might be tempting to dive straight into Microsoft Word and pick the best-looking template, but the majority of hiring managers will have seen these hundreds of times before. You would be amazed at how many CVs we receive that look exactly the same.

To stand out from the crowd, take a bit of time to design your own and make it individual to you. Nobody is expecting a work of art; keep it simple and clear, make sure your biggest strengths are easy to find and draw attention to your most relevant experience. These are the most important things.

What to include in your CV

Break your CV up into sections that are concise and easy to read and try and condense it all into one page. For more experienced applicants, keeping everything to one page might not be possible but always keep it to a maximum of two pages. These are the sections you should include.

  • Personal details

If you want to secure an interview an employer is going to need to see your contact details clearly. Include phone numbers, your email address and links for relevant social media profiles such as LinkedIn.

You are also going to need to write a brief profile outlining your basic experience and skills. Try to keep this to one paragraph and really hit home with the skills that are relevant to the specific position. You can go into greater detail later in the work experience section.

  • Work experience

It goes without saying that an employer is going to want to know where you have worked and when. Include the company name, your position and then a few bullet points highlighting your responsibilities and achievements. It is important to keep this concise as employers often receive hundreds of CVs for a single job and do not have the time to read long drawn-out descriptions.

  • Skills

Include a simple list of your skills that will set you apart from other candidates. An employer will want to know why you are the perfect person for the position specifically, but it is also worth including other skills that outline your strengths. If you can speak another language, we want to hear about it. If you possess advanced driving licenses, tell us. This is your chance to show off.

  • Other achievements

If you have received any awards in your field, highlight them here. You may have written some articles that were published or been included in a story in a construction magazine. If so, bring attention to them and include links where possible.

Education

Don’t get too bogged down with this by including every school you ever attended and your exact grades at GCSE. Instead, focus on your most recent education and the things that are relevant to the job such as higher education and specific training you might have had.

  • Personal interests

Potential employers will want to know a bit more about you personally. Most CV writing guides will tell you to keep this specific to the job but we think it is more important to find out what makes you tick as an individual. The employer will already know about your work experience, education and what you can bring to the role. Use this section as an opportunity to demonstrate your own personality and character. Keep it brief – two or three lines at the most.

In the past, including references on a CV was essential but nowadays this is not needed. Employers will assume you have references based on your work experience and can contact them if you are successful in securing an interview. Leave them out unless you are a graduate or applying for your first job. If so, it might be worth putting down two references to fill some space.

Include exact numbers

There is no better way to highlight your value to a potential employer than figures that back it up. Have you managed a team of construction workers in the past? Great, tell us exactly how many. Did you bring in a project under budget? Excellent. How much money did you save?

Simply telling an employer you have leadership experience and a track record of managing budgets effectively is great but being specific will help you stand out from the crowd. Employers love nothing more than being able to quantify your value and these should be included in the work experience section of your CV.

Check it and check it again

Nothing will do your application more harm than a CV that is littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Frankly, it will probably go straight into the bin. Once you have finished writing your CV, read through it thoroughly to check for mistakes and when you have done that – read it again.

Ask a friend or family member to read it as well for a fresh pair of eyes and use a spell-checker just to be sure. There are a number of web-based tools to help including Grammarly which is particularly good.

Reading it back to front is also useful and helps to identify any words you may have duplicated throughout your CV. Do not submit your application until you are sure that it is error-free. If you are unsure, leave it overnight and come back to it in the morning for a fresh perspective.

Always write a cover letter

Even if the job advert does not ask for a cover letter you should always submit one. This shows a willingness to go the extra mile and that you have taken time and care over your application.

It should be specific to the role and highlight your relevant experience while showing off your individual flair. This is a great chance to go into a bit more detail by highlighting examples of your success. As ever, you need to be concise but be sure to get across your passion by telling the employer exactly why you want to work for their company. Outlining and understanding of the organisation you are applying to is one of the most effective tools when it comes to standing out from the crowd.

Follow up your application

Now you have written and submitted an excellent CV and cover letter it will not hurt to follow it up with a phone call. You might not get an answer straight away but calling a potential employer or recruitment company to ask for some feedback shows great initiative and enthusiasm. Very few applicants actually do this and it can often be daunting. But take the plunge and you might be surprised by how far this gets you.

Top CV writing tips

  • Keep your CV to one page if possible – two pages at most
  • Be concise in your descriptions
  • Be specific. Outline achievements and quantify them with exact figures where possible.
  • Do NOT use a generic template
  • Make it specific to the role
  • ALWAYS include a cover letter with your CV
  • Proofread your CV
  • Follow your application up with a phone call
  • Include contact details clearly