Construction managers are the overseers of the construction site. They supervise all operations in construction to ensure that everything runs smoothly, on time and on budget. Compared to construction project managers, construction managers have more technical knowledge and are directly concerned with the project’s construction.
If construction management is your calling, and you’re ready to put in the work to become one, this is the guide for you. From the requirements to become a construction manager to writing a resume that gets you a job, we’ll cover the entire process.
The first step in writing a resume is knowing the types of resume formats:
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Job duties of a construction manager
Construction managers look after the construction part of a project and aim to enable seamless operations. They usually have previous construction experience and are familiar with various construction operations that lead to the completion of a build.
The following list highlights the job duties and responsibilities of construction managers:
Managing personnel, equipment and materials on a construction site.
Tracking and managing inventory and supplies for budgeting and loss prevention.
Managing the construction budget.
Managing, hiring and taking responsibility for subcontractors.
Ensuring that the project fulfills local, state and federal regulations.
Planning work schedules of workers and checking their performance.
Performing construction quality reviews, site surveys and reporting to senior management.
Producing status reports to ensure timely delivery to customers.
Overseeing that the building is constructed as per client specifications.
Arranging meetings with different parties, organizations and stakeholders.
Arranging for personnel logistics wherever necessary.
Checking plans with the architects, engineers and other experts.
Preparing cost estimates and making proposals to project managers and senior management.
Construction managers median salaries
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of construction managers in 2020 was $46.72 per hour or $97,180 a year. Employment for this role is projected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for other occupations.
Top skills for construction managers
Construction managers need to be highly skilled to perform their duties effectively and efficiently. Aspiring candidates for this role should possess technical knowledge and management abilities.
The following are the top skills you need to be a great construction manager and land your dream job:
- AutoCAD proficiency CAD software is a popular tool used by civil engineers, architects, and even aeronautical engineers for construction. Expertise in one or more CAD software is nonnegotiable for construction managers as it helps generate 2D and 3D drawings of projects, thus ensuring accuracy. Navigating CAD software can provide additional project details that make assigning job duties according to project needs much more efficient. It is also a great tool to simplify blueprints and allow for adjustments mid-construction. Many online resources like Cadalyst and CADTutor offer tutorials and courses to learn CAD software such as AutoCAD, Revit and Rhino 3D.
- Budgeting Construction managers need to estimate the cost of a build based on the scope of the project, time of delivery and any other additional details, such as number of workers to hire and materials to buy. You should know how to create and calculate estimations accurately to ensure the project stays within budget. Even before a project begins, accounting is necessary to approximate its viability and potential profits.
- Supervising Supervising takes up a lot of a construction manager’s schedule. Each project will require inspection and consistent monitoring of the environment and the workers. You should also be well-versed in building codes and regulations and Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) guidelines. Guaranteeing that your construction site and workers follow all rules and policies ensures personnel safety under your leadership and the future inhabitants of the completed project.
- Organization Being a construction manager involves juggling multiple responsibilities for each project, such as hiring work crews, supervising, scheduling, managing finances, and much more. Maintaining an overview of all your tasks can help you prioritize and meet daily and long-term deadlines. Using project management software such as Buildertrend, Houzz Pro and Procore can help you maintain a strict schedule and ensure each task is tracked and completed promptly.
- Problem-solving The most effective managers can anticipate and quickly solve problems as they arise. Construction managers with excellent planning, goal setting and collaborative skills are often the most successful at navigating and avoiding issues. When setbacks do appear, the ability to assess, reorganize and implement solutions can make or break a project. Remaining calm and collected when facing obstacles will allow you to make logical decisions under pressure and effectively communicate solutions to your team members.
- Communication A construction manager oversees every project from start to finish and works with many individuals along the way. The construction manager needs to deliver clear and concise instructions to their team members to fulfill goals and plans. Often, build projects are incredibly complex and tasks need to be distributed so that crews understand objectives and their deadlines. To make this process easier, construction managers can leverage collaborative software tools like Buildertrend, Procore and ProjectTeam to streamline the delegation of tasks.
Educational requirements for construction managers
Construction managers usually have previous experience as construction workers, which teaches them about the operations and processes in construction. Management skills and techniques are generally gained on the job.
However, the following educational requirements need to be fulfilled to get hired for this occupation:
DegreeAfter obtaining a high school diploma or a GED, you will need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a field related to construction. Some options include the Bachelor of Science in Construction Management offered at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design and the Civil Engineering (B.S.)/Construction Engineering and Management (M. ENG) dual degree offered at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Another unique option is the Architectural Technology, B.S.A.T.- Construction Management degree provided by the New York Institute of Technology.
The aim is to get a degree that will teach you about construction processes, management techniques and computer/software-related skills essential to your job duties. These courses aim to provide students with in-depth technical knowledge to be efficient at management and decision-making at any project level.
CertificationsVarious organizations provide construction management certifications you can get once you meet the experience requirements and pass a written exam. The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) provides a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) title to professionals who apply and meet their prescribed criteria. Another organization, the American Institute of Constructors, offers the titles Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC). The AC certification is for recent graduates of four-year construction management programs, or those moving into the field from other industries. However, the CPC certification is for seasoned constructors looking to advance their title after several years of experience.
Construction manager resume-writing tips
Now that we’ve discussed how to become a construction manager, let’s look at how to write a good resume. Your resume has to correspond to your level of experience, your education and your professional abilities. A good resume opens the doors to getting to the interview phase and landing the job of your dreams. The following resume-writing tips will ensure that your resume is solid:
- Write a captivating resume summary. Your resume is where you introduce yourself as an interested and qualified candidate to the hiring manager. As such, you want to blow them away with your first impression by writing an engaging objective statement or professional summary. To do this, ensure that your resume includes as many job-specific keywords as you can. The keywords you should include in your resume overall are the ones the employer used to describe their ideal candidate in the job post. Adding these keywords helps you come off as an ideal candidate for the job. Also, it compels the hiring manager or prospective employer to read your resume further instead of moving on to another one after the first few sentences. Therefore, always rewrite at least your resume summary — but ideally your entire resume — making slight modifications to the job requirements in accordance with the job description.
- Mention your fluency in languages. Construction is a field frequented by people from different backgrounds. As a manager, one of the critical skills you need is communication, and fluency in languages helps you in that regard. If you can fluently communicate in more than one language, mention them in your resume. Even if there are some languages you aren't an expert in, you can mention them with your level of fluency. For example, say that you can speak, understand, read and write Spanish, but only have a basic conversational level in French. Include this information in your resume explicitly stating your expertise in each language.
- Select the best format for your qualifications. Making your resume short and organized is crucial to getting your resume read and shortlisted. While using a good template or layout and a simple font makes your resume look professional and modern, the resume format you choose can highlight your unique qualifications. If you don’t have a lot of experience in the role you’re applying for, a functional format may help you stand out by focusing on your skills and dimming your work history. Alternatively, if you have sufficient or extensive experience, you can choose to focus on the details of your work experience with a chronological format or balance your skills and experience with a combination format. Again, the resume is your first impression, so proper presentation and organization of your details is vital to make a good impression.
What are the different types of construction?
There are seven basic types of construction work:
- Agricultural:- Structures like silos, ditches, embankments, barns and sheds used for agricultural purposes fall under agrarian construction.
- Commercial:- Commercial construction includes building structures for commerce, trade and business like buildings and skyscrapers for corporations, banks, shopping malls and stores, theaters and amusement parks.
- Environmental:- Environmental construction involves projects that improve the environment’s condition like wastewater and sewage treatment plants and air pollution control.
- Heavy civil:- Heavy civil refers to constructing heavy public infrastructures like bridges, dams, airports and roads.
- Industrial:- Structures used for production and storage purposes like factories of different types, oil refineries, chemical plants and cotton mills are considered under industrial construction.
- Institutional:- Institutional construction includes buildings used by the public and built by the government, like hospitals, police and fire stations, libraries, parks and museums.
- Residential:- This type of construction includes buildings built for individuals to use for residential purposes like houses, villas, apartments and farmhouses.
What is the difference between a construction manager and a construction project manager?
A construction project manager’s job is broader and less construction-related than that of a construction manager. The construction project manager is also higher in the hierarchy of management, meaning that they usually hire the construction manager and depend on them to make cost estimates and manage the workers.