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5 tips for construction professionals looking for their next career move
25 July 2016
At the beginning of a new financial year, many will be reflecting on the current state of the market within the construction industry. With more than 100 tower cranes currently marking the Brisbane skyline, it’s easy to see that despite the lack of long-term confidence, the construction sector (and particularly the residential apartment sector) is currently experiencing its busiest period in recent memory. Other subsectors, such as aged care, health and retail haven’t developed at the same pace but as the market re-adjusts there is sure to be emerging demand for talent across the entire construction spectrum.
As a specialist construction recruitment consultant, one of the most interesting parts of my job is providing job seekers, both active and passive, with an insight into what characteristics and traits are most sought after by employers, and developing a strategy of how to use this information to secure their dream role.
Here are my five top tips to help guide construction professionals with their next career move:
Move for the right reasons
There are lots of reasons that drive people to leave their jobs – financial benefit, commute time, dissatisfaction with their boss, boredom, having a bad day, office politics – the list is endless. Making the move for the wrong reason can have a long lasting effect on your career. Regardless of what you say in an interview, when the inevitable question of your reasons for leaving your current role crops up, your reputation in the marketplace can develop itself quickly. A reputation as someone who leaves their job because they don’t get on well with their colleagues or someone who isn’t prepared to put in the hard yards on a difficult project will turn off the most trusting of employers. Obviously, if there are long standing problems or your current employer is unwilling or unable to change anything then maybe it’s time to move, but it’s often worth sticking it out through a difficult project or asking to work with a different team within the business if you continue to struggle to work with a colleague or two. When you know it is 100% the right time to move on, you will leave with your reputation intact.
Decide what you really want
One of the most obvious questions I ask during a recruitment consultation is “what are you looking for in your next role?” In an ideal world, most of us would want to work closer to home, on a higher salary, with more benefits, fewer hours, and in a great team that works on interesting projects. In reality, we may be only able to secure two or three of these factors when changing jobs. So decide which are most important to you, and then map out which companies can offer the best mix of what you’re looking for. If you’ve only worked for one or two companies, or are new to the SEQ market, it’s worth taking the time to research which companies are building what, and if possible to find out more about the people who work there. If you’re unsure how to research this, speak to your recruitment consultant, who will have existing relationships with multiple employers. Before fully engaging your job search have a clear vision of the following: the size of business you want to work for, what market they specialise in, where the majority of their work is and what type of environment you will be working in.
Keep your resume short and concise to highlight your capability
Now you know what you’re looking for it’s time to advertise yourself. When it comes to writing your resume, the key thing to remember the resume’s actual purpose – to increase your likelihood of securing an interview, or at least an initial phone call. Your resume alone will not get you the job. Two to three A4 pages is plenty. Don’t waste valuable space listing every single responsibility you’ve had over the course of your career – much more important are your actual achievements. A short project portfolio, tailored to your target employer(s) is advisable, and although opinions will vary on where this should be, my personal advice is on the front page. Essentially this is your ‘headline’ which will put your resume on the top of the pile.
Have realistic expectations
To be blunt, everyone wants higher pay. However, just because one of your former colleagues managed to get a $20k pay increase, it doesn’t mean everyone can get one. Maybe he or she is working longer hours. Maybe they a different skill set to you and their new employer was specifically looking for that. Maybe the company they work for will close down 12 months. Maybe they’ll face redundancy if the overall market conditions change. The point is, if you can secure a modest pay increase, or even manage to keep your salary level, but you also find your true motivator e.g. better long-term security, halving your commute time, an opportunity to work on the type of projects you’ve always wanted to, then you’ve done well. Of course, aim to tick all the boxes of what you initially decided you were looking for, but if an offer comes along which is ticks nearly all of them, it’s worth giving it some very serious thought.
Keep an open mind
We’ve all had instances in life when something turned out better than expected. Maybe it was that time you asked your kids to tidy their rooms and they actually did it properly, or perhaps when you went for an impossible shot on the pool table and sunk the two balls. I recently ate a deep fried Mars bar for the first time – despite my low expectations it was delicious! Keep an open mind when it comes to prospective jobs. If there’s a role going with a company you’ve never heard of, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad job. If the pay level isn’t at your ideal level but your gut feeling tells you that it’s the right job for you, perhaps you can take the job and negotiate a salary review six months after commencement. Stay focused on what you initially set as your target job, but consider other possibilities too.
To discuss any of these points, or for a general consultation regarding your construction career, feel free to contact me on 07 3414 6112 or [email protected].
In short, construction professionals should consider all their options before looking for their next career move. Remember to:
- Move for the right reasons - think about more than the money
- Decide what you really want - prioritise your reasons for moving
- Keep your resume short and concise - highlight your most relevant experience and skills
- Have realistic expectations - particularly around salary
- Keep an open mind - dream jobs come in different forms, yours could end up being different to what you think!