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CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONAL’S GUIDE TO WRITING A CV

 22nd Jul 2016

How are you meant to know how to write a construction CV when it is something you might only do every few years?Some construction professionals have never even written a CV. They might have always been head hunted, or earned roles through people they know in the industry. We read dozens of CV’s every single day, and are constantly getting feedback from our clients on what they like to see when recruiting new construction staff, so we’re in a great position to help.

Here’s our top tips on writing your CV for the construction industry, so you feel confident that you’ll be considered for the best roles.

HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT CONSTRUCTION CV

USE THE TRIED-AND-TESTED LAYOUT

Your CV structure should be clear, concise, and ideally less than 4 pages. Try this structure:

  1. Your name, address and contact details at the top
  2. A personal profile about you, and what you’re looking for. Your key skills in bullet points
  3. Your work history, where each role starts with company name, job title and employment dates
  4. A summary of your employer, job duties and achievements
  5. We prefer education at the bottom of the CV but if you have recently graduated, put it at the top.

LIST YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

The most effective thing you can do is include tangible achievements in your CV. Have you saved your employer money? Made money? Finished a project ahead of schedule? Got some noteworthy feedback from a client? Streamlined a process? Grown a team? If so, make sure you put this in your CV under each relevant role. Numbers and figures make this even more powerful, and is a guaranteed way to make your CV stand out.

UNDERSTAND KEYWORDS

Keywords are a fancy name for phrases that people use in search boxes, like Google or LinkedIn. Being smart about using words that describe you will make you far more visible to employers. It’s simple to start. Think about the role and company you would love to work for.   Make a short list of  the kind of job titles and industry names that people in this career might use . That’s your keyword list! Industry key words could be Groundworks, Fit out, Civil Engineering, New Build, Schools, etc. Job Titles could be Commercial Manager, Quantity Surveyor, Site Manager Project Manager. For example if you are a Quantity Surveyor looking for a Commercial Manager role, make sure you say “I am currently looking for an opportunity as a Commercial Manager” for a chance to appear in search when it matters most.

PROJECTS

Examples of projects you’ve worked on are a fantastic way to showcase your experience. If you are able to show the name of the project/client, value and your responsibilities, potential employers will get a great feel for the work you have done.

FONT

Don’t try to be fancy with fonts. Focus on the content and stick to something simple that is clear and easy to read. Our personal preference is either Arial or Calibri at around 11 in size. It is really easy to read and looks professional too.

For more ideas, here’s a handy guide to all the fonts you’ll ever need. Times New Roman or similar fonts are slightly more difficult to read. In fact, it was invented to be thinner than other fonts by the Times newspaper so they could fit more words on the page.

Today, your goal is to make it easy for an employer to read about you. Imagine they’ve just read 20 CV’s before yours. Trust us, you want to make it as easy as possible to read!

GET YOUR PERSONAL TRAITS ACROSS

Be honest about this. If you are naturally very analytical and detail orientated,then get this across because the right company for you will pick up on this. It is no good writing a CV telling the reader you are an outgoing and energetic individual if you aren’t. Give a true reflection of your personal traits and help the reader quickly understand. .

DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING

Don’t assume the reader knows who you are, what your employers do, what your job involves or what you want. It sounds obvious but we see this mistake all the time.Spell it out and don’t make the reader Google what your employer does (And yes we get that construction is very close-knit but trust us and give yourself the best odds … don’t assume!)

BRIEF EXPLANATION OF WHAT PREVIOUS EMPLOYERS DO

Expanding on the last point, make sure you  give a very brief outline of what your current and past employers do. Use common sense to judge how far back into your career history you should do this. Details could include turnover, type of business (i.e. family business, SME, largest in the UK) If you work for a huge corporate that everyone is bound to know, it doesn’t hurt to have a very brief outline on your department or part of the business.

PHOTO OR NO PHOTO?

This is personal preference, but if we had to choose, we’d say no photo when using a CV to apply for a job. However, if you’re writing a CV to assist in a bid your company is tendering for, photos apparently go down great then!

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR COMPLETED CV

Congratulations: If there are any companies you want to apply to you now, you  have a great CV to send. You could also upload your CV on to one of the big major job boards, however the construction industry has a huge skill shortage, so you’ll  be bombarded with phone calls from recruiters. Some recruiters, like us, are tactful about this — others, not so much, and  will fire your CV all over the place whether you like it or not. Another option is to apply for jobs on job boards that you like the look of, and be sure to tick the option which keeps your CV hidden from everyone else. The best option, of course, is to partner up with a reputable specialist construction recruiter who can act like your own agent. Why not give us a call?

WANT PERSONAL CONSTRUCTION CV ADVICE?

Feel free to give us a call on 01793 435555 or hello@cliftonshardrecruitment.co.uk and we will happily give you our opinion and advice on your CV

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