How to Get Your Construction Management Resume Noticed by Hiring Managers
Catching up on reviewing resumes this weekend from Construction Management professionals at various stages of their careers, I saw resumes on a single sheet and others that could be considered a short storybook. With most resumes we receive (without making a phone call to the candidate), it is difficult to define the individual’s actual qualifications or the position they will excel best in, let alone determine if they will match the right opportunity or the one they will be excited about and own responsibility for. More often than not, when their resume is a single page, after speaking with the person behind it, we hear they read somewhere or were advised by an acquaintance not in our industry to keep it to a single page. Yet that single page, if not written well, will deter almost anyone who is dubious from doing much more than skimming and passing it by. After all, there are only so many hours in a day, and candidates who can articulate in writing their recognition and alignment to the hiring business have already initiated a bond by gaining a hiring manager’s interest in knowing more about them.
The Goal of the Resume
Luckily, I have been reviewing resumes almost daily for over twenty-five years and rarely let someone go by when we know we are the right source to help them find their right career match. I have also gained wisdom on the correct number of pages for a candidate writing their resume. There is no “one size fits all” because each professional has had different experiences, time frames, and circumstances surrounding their experience. The goal of the resume is to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and not deceive. It is to get you in front of the hiring managers for consideration for the position you have demonstrated interest in getting hired for. Your resume is your calling card, documenting the reality of the hard skill credentials you have acquired to date. How you present your hard-skill credentials sheds light on the soft-skill behaviors that accompany those hard skills.
Here Are a Few Resume Tips:
List Credentials in Their Most Recent Chronological Order
Your most recent work history goes first. Always list the job you are presently in or most recently left at the top of your work experience, then the job prior to that one, and so on. Your most recent education goes first—for example, a master’s degree is above a bachelor’s degree. Typically, continuing education and certifications are listed separately from higher education and in chronological order of the date they were completed, with the most recent being first.
The Truth is What Communicates Your Genuinity
In my book Happily Married to Your Employer, I refer to the term “genuinity” and being comfortable enough with your choices or the things that happened to you in life. You choose to accept your choices as they are and move forward in making the right choices in the future. So often, individuals try to mask life events in fear of judgment. We all have workplace choices that may have been different, knowing what we know now, and we may have chosen or acted differently. Yet those experiences are what shape our beliefs in place today. Employers seek authentic employees who own the choices they make. Employers are listening for your ability to take responsibility in the workplace for your actions, behaviors, and the job you are hired to do. Opening doors to opportunity always begins with telling the truth—good, bad, or indifferent. Examples of how to show this on a resume are:
- If you are no longer employed at your last place of employment (identified as still receiving pay from them), do not list “to present” on your resume. It is most often the first question asked and sets the tone for the rest of the interview for what else isn’t up to date or potentially unactual.
- If you were only at a place of employment for a short time, do not leave it off your resume. Almost always in discussion, it is discovered. When it is left off and discovered, even if you state, “I didn’t think it was important because it was such a short time,” you assume it will hurt you if you have it on your resume. The person interviewing may not believe it is the only thing missing, think your behavioral traits withhold things that could be perceived as negative, suspect you are in denial of the situation that happened, or make another assumption that affects whether you get or keep the job in the long run. Do not distort history. Every work experience was important, whether you thought so at the time or want to forget it now or not. It was a choice you made, and your ownership of that choice and how you moved forward is what matters.
Showing Your Foundation in Your Resume
Construction is used to building from a foundation, and our industry is all about relations and relationships. When it comes to your resume, most hiring managers want to know your professional foundation. It helps them find commonality and understand better what perspectives you have been exposed to. You do not need to do this by listing everything out past 15–20 years if you have many years of work history unless you can do it succinctly. A solution is to try a simple paragraph like:
Prior to 2003, I came up through the industry starting as a carpenter/foreman while obtaining my degree. After graduation, I started as a Project Engineer, advancing to Project Manager first with XYZ Company, then ABC Company before hiring in at ZYX Company and moving to the more senior roles held since 2003.
Why Roles and Responsibilities Matter in Your Resume
Titles in Construction Management, such as Superintendent and Project Manager, are used at every Construction Management company. Yet within that title, the responsibilities, team structure, projects assigned, and culture itself can vastly differ from company to company. The tasks often remain similar, such as daily reports, look-aheads, jobsite photos, safety, etc., for the Superintendent role, yet what you built and the team you built it with, along with your role within that team, is what an employer needs to make sure fits within their organization. So often, candidates list the tasks they do but not the structure surrounding them, and the tasks repeat themselves over and over again under each employer, yet each company and job did have differences. A simple statement, such as the two examples below, tells a lot more about your role and responsibilities than listing the standard tasks of a Superintendent over and over again yet not stating what you built or who you built it with. Construction Executives are more than capable of determining if your experience will successfully transition to their organization.
Reporting to the Corporate General Superintendent responsible for leading a team of three direct reports and working with the project management team to successfully deliver a 226-unit, 3-story, 8-building and a clubhouse luxury rental property in Miramar, FL.
Working in conjunction with the onsite Project Manager responsible for delivering a 13,000 sq. ft., ground-up, tilt-wall CVS Pharmacy in Miami, FL, in ten months and ahead of the contracted schedule.
The above statements tell an employer much more about your capabilities than what is standard for a Superintendent job, and they know, under that title, you perform the standard tasks, such as:
- Supervise subcontractors and vendors
- Ensure jobsite safety and security
- Review submittals and prepare daily reports
- Conduct weekly subcontractors’ meetings
- Maintain as-built drawings and direct project close-out
Write an Easy-to-Read Construction Management Resume
What you built and how you are used to working is what employers are seeking to find out. If you wish to list the standard tasks assigned to your role, do it under a heading titled “Key Responsibilities” on your resume at the top under your opening. The easier you make it for the first set of eyes on your resume to determine not only the job you are seeking but also your past experience and nuances, such as whether you are used to being the sole construction super in the field or working with a larger team structure on site, will help an employer determine if they can give you the support you need or time to acclimate to a change. Often, candidates think this transparency rules them out of opportunity, yet it does not and shores up expectations when they decide to hire you because it can be addressed up front. Less is more when it comes to repeated words on your resume, yet the content of those words should be full of direct information about you.
Communicate What Makes You Different
There are so many other tips that open doors for opportunities when it comes to your construction management resume. Making sure to communicate what makes a difference, such as education, licenses, project experience, longevity, location, team structure, and technology, and listing them as succinctly and directly as you can is what matters. Our action- and results-oriented industry will appreciate your ability to do so, and you will find whether one, two, or three pages done concisely is the perfect length for you.
If you have questions or need a guide to help you go from passenger to pilot of your career, call or text us at 305-361-0094.
To a Resume That Opens the Right Door for You,