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10 tips for a stand-out construction CV and cover letter

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Rebekah Valero-Lee Candidate Hub

So you’ve got the skills and experience for a role in construction, but how do you grab a recruiter’s or potential employer’s attention? With an average of over 100 applicants for every job opening, it’s important you have a CV and cover letter that help you stand out from other candidates. Here’s our 10 top tips to make your job search a successful one.

1. Tailor your CV

When applying for a construction role, it’s important to tailor your CV to suit the position. Each role will require different skills: for example, a large construction company may be driven by results, while a small construction firm might be more interested in the skills you possess. Pull out key areas of the job specification that you have experience in and make sure they’re included on the first page of your CV.

2. Research the employer

You shouldn’t just research a company when an interview has been confirmed; look at what construction projects they’ve recently been involved with and discuss one or two briefly in your cover letter. It’s important you use this as a way to showcase your own expertise rather than simply showing-off about your research. For example, would you like to work within a similar project or perhaps this is what attracted you to the role?

3. Keep it concise

Use subheadings and bullet points to best reflect your skills and experience. Name projects you’ve worked on but don’t forget to also focus on key construction attributes, such as teamwork, time management, reliability, communication and safety.

4. Highlight your achievements

Using a subheading for achievements draws attention from a recruiter or potential employer. Include awards you or a project you’ve worked on has received, and good results generated. It could be how a task you’ve carried out has had a significant positive effect on the company, but make sure they’re things you’re proud of (and not just written for the sake of the paragraph).

5. Use industry terms – but not too much

Have they used any industry-specific phrases, terms or buzzwords? Add them into your CV but make sure it sounds natural. Although you don’t want to use too many, construction-related acronyms are great for shortening your CV and keeping it straight to the point.

6. Avoid gaps in your CV

In construction, it’s not uncommon for workers to have gaps between projects, but adapt your CV to focus on when you were in employment without being too vague on dates. Employers are quite understanding about this but you don’t want lots of gaps as this can give off the wrong impression.

7. Write a professional summary

Underneath your contact details, write a brief summary that includes your current job role, qualifications and the area of specialism, if applicable, plus your most recent engineering project. Don’t forget to include years of experience and a few key attributes. This is where potential employers will first see what you’ve got to offer, so again keep it sharp and concise. Where do you see yourself in five years? Mention your aspirations and future career path.

8. Proof read

Your CV and cover letter have to be spelled and punctuated correctly. Ask someone else to proof read it to ensure there aren’t any mistakes as this could make you appear sloppy or lazy. Take pride in your CV and cover letter as you would in a construction project.

9. Avoid using clichés

Avoid hyperboles and clichés. Persuasive language has to come across effortlessly, so write your CV with the aim being to impress them with its content – your attributes and experience.

10. Include an idea

In your cover letter, nothing’s stopping you from explaining what you would bring to the role. Would you introduce new procedures? How would you go about starting off the position successfully? Using your initiative is a key skill in the construction industry, and to an employer, you’ll seem keen to start.

Think you’re ready to start applying? Search our construction job listings to find a role suited to your skills and attributes.

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