Construction workers are the lifeline of construction projects. They do most of the building during a project and perform manual labor like lifting heavy items, clearing, digging or operating heavy machinery. If you feel a construction worker’s job is perfect for you, but you need assistance to become one, you’re at the right place! This guide gives you tips to become a construction worker and helps you write the best resume for the job. With construction workers being some of the happiest employees out there, it’s no wonder this career may be the ideal one for you!
Are you ready? Let’s learn about the different resume types you can choose from to help your qualifications stand out:
See What People are Saying About Us
Job Duties of a Construction Worker
Construction workers perform the following tasks and functions as part of their job:
Preparing the site for construction by clearing, digging and conducting soil tests to remove debris.
Operating equipment like jackhammers, trenchers, excavators, concrete mixers, bobcats and bulldozers.
Using machinery like forklifts and pallet jacks to load and unload supplies, materials, and inventory to and from the warehouse.
Building and demolishing temporary construction structures like scaffolding, shoring and bracing.
Reading and interpreting blueprints and following instructions from supervisors, builders and the construction manager.
Measuring and cutting building materials according to instructions and using them for construction and installation.
Installing and repairing plumbing, performing general carpentry and mechanical operations.
Constructing drywall and working with concrete.
Observing safety guidelines and ensuring that the structure is safe and adheres to all building codes, regulations and policies.
Maintaining and renovating physical structures while adhering to deadlines and budget limits.
Construction Worker Median Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of construction workers in 2020 was $17.83 per hour or $37,080 per year. The overall employment of construction workers is projected to grow by 7% from 2020 to 2030
Top Skills for Construction Workers
Construction workers need to be determined individuals to perform their job. Like many other jobs in the industry, most of their skills are gained through on-the-job experience. The following list describes a few top skills you need to be an excellent construction worker candidate.
- Physical stamina: Construction is a physically demanding career, especially when you’re a construction worker. Long workdays, heavy lifting,and working under the sun can all take a physical toll. To perform well and maintain your health, you need to keep fit. Developing endurance helps you adapt to the different landscapes you will work in and keep you healthy during heavy activity and poor weather conditions.
- Safety: Construction sites are full of potentially dangerous tools and materials. Being negligent in an environment like this can lead to mishaps. Proper handling of equipment and materials is a crucial skill for construction workers to ensure safety, increase efficiency and meet deadlines.
- Policy and procedure knowledge: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is part of the United States Department of Labor and ensures all employees are safe and in healthful working conditions. They accomplish this by holding industries accountable to standards and providing safety training, education and assistance. Knowledge of these and other construction guidelines is necessary to minimize the risk of injury and avoid any legal issues. Noncompliance to OSHA standards is a severe violation and may result in paying steep fines. Complying with these policies also helps avoid any risk to the people who will frequent the structures post-construction.
- Heavy equipment operation: Heavy equipment is expensive and requires in-depth knowledge to operate and maintain. Improper maintenance or usage can cause malfunction, permanent damage or user injury. Handling machines like excavators, trenchers, backhoes and cranes to complete tasks requires proper training.
- Math and reading literacy: Proper understanding of fundamental mathematics such as algebra and geometry and blueprint reading are a top priority for all construction workers. This knowledge allows you to correctly calculate building materials, keep track of measurements and evaluate potential adjustments. While you usually learn basic math skills in high school, many programs offer courses for reading and translating blueprints. You may choose to pursue studies in college or explore stand-alone programs like Blueprint Reading for Residential Construction at the Visual Design & Construction Institute or Intro to Reading Architectural Drawings on Udemy.
- Dexterity and coordination: Construction workers must have great hand-eye coordination to perform their duties safely. You should be able to grasp and align objects with both hands as part of construction-related tasks. Many tasks also require standing up, squatting, sitting and even lying down to best orient yourself. Maintaining flexibility and precision is critical when performing simple job duties, including laying flooring, installing railing, placing countertops, and more.
Educational Requirements for Construction Workers
Construction workers gain skills through hands-on experience. Many choose to gain experience through on-the-job training rather than pursuing an educational route. However, there are options to build your skills through an academic background.
DegreeYou only need a high school diploma, a GED, or an equivalent degree for most jobs. A college or university degree is not required. Still, if you’re looking to gain a broader set of skills, you can attend a program that teaches you about construction processes and methodologies. For example, you can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management degree. The degree aims to teach the foundation of construction engineering and management. Additionally, it also requires students to complete a 12-week full-time internship to facilitate hands-on learning.
CertificationsMany construction workers work toward obtaining a National Center for Construction Education and Research Certification (NCCER). You can get this certification by completing training at an accredited training sponsor, passing an NCCER written assessment, and completing an NCCER performance verification. Alternatively, you can complete an NCCER mobile crane, rigger, signal person or tower crane certification, as mentioned here.
Construction Worker Resume-Writing Tips
Now that you know all you need to become a construction worker, you need a strong resume that can increase your chances of getting the job interview. Following are suggestions on creating an effective resume:
- Stick to one page. A resume that goes on and on for several pages won’t be read by a recruiter. It needs to be short and descriptive. The information you include must be tailored to the specific role for which you’re applying. Make sure you customize your resume before sending it to any new jobs and include only relevant information.
- Quantify your achievements. You should include a list of your daily tasks and at least one notable achievement per previous job. Adding specific quantities to your responsibilities can improve your chances of making a great impression and getting you the interview. Include statements like “worked on the walls and flooring of five house construction projects in a team of 10 workers” and “found quality materials that reduced the estimated expenses by 25%.””
- Add keywords. The key to writing a resume that’ll have the employer wanting to interview you immediately is to closely read the job ad. There the employer laid out exactly which skills and tasks are necessary for the position, so make sure to include in your resume the keywords you find. Match your experiences and skills to the ones the employer wants, thus tailoring your qualifications to the specifics of the role. Since recruiters only skim the resumes they receive, seeing all the keywords of who they’re looking for can get you shortlisted.
What specializations can construction workers get?
Construction workers can specialize in doing specific tasks like roofing, scaffolding, masonry and ironwork. These tasks do not necessarily have a minimum education requirement and can be learned on the job. Alternatively, construction workers can specialize as designated heavy machinery operators. These machines involve a learning curve, and their operators are experts in handling and maintaining them.
Are there any age limits to working as a construction worker?
Working teenagers aged 16-17 years can work in construction, but only to a limited extent. For example, they cannot operate power-driven woodworking machines or work with hazardous substances like radioactive substances, power-driven shearing, punching, metal-forming machines and various power tools used in construction. OSHA offers more details for teenagers working in construction.
What are some occupational hazards of being a construction worker?
Construction workers are constantly in potentially harmful environments. If they are not careful and do not follow safety guidelines, they could risk incurring in injuries. Falling, transportation accidents, equipment failure, related mishaps and exposure to harmful substances are all potential hazards. These accidents can be severe, incapacitating or even lethal if workers are negligent or the workplace is not safe. Working in such conditions highlights the importance of observing safety rules and exercising caution while operating machines.