In most developed areas of the world, construction is on the rise. Populations are growing requiring new homes, buildings, and support structures. It’s not just new construction that’s taking place either, there’s also renovations, remodeling, and restoration projects happening. If you’ve already noticed this and you’ve come to GCLG, you just might want to know how to get into construction so that you can benefit from this industry.
With growth happening, and aging workforce members leaving the industry, there is a need for construction workers. We want to help you become a part of that workforce, so we’ve put together this article on how to get into construction.
We’re sure that you’ll gain valuable insight that will help you step successfully into this field. So, get comfortable, grab a snack, a beverage, or both and dive into this article. You're going to find some good stuff.
Who can take up a career in construction?
Within reason, almost anybody can take up a career in construction. Of course, there are some limitations, such as age and physical abilities, but other than that the field is pretty well open to everybody, even women. And why not? Women are just as capable as men.
I know for a fact, as the laminate surface on my countertops was installed by a woman. They even had a rolled backsplash which I never learned to do, even after building many a counter top. She did a great job, that’s for sure, and I’m still impressed, 10 years later.
As for age, legal reasons set minimum age requirements, but there’s really no upper age limit. If you can physically do the work, age isn’t a factor. So, don’t think you’re too old, even if you’re not a “Spring Chicken.”
The hows on how to get into construction
There’s really only three ways to get into construction, but some are more available in some areas, than others. You’ll just have to do some exploration to see what method will work for you.
Method 1: Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are basically “on the job” training programs. These programs pair employees with businesses that are willing to hire and train for a temporarily reduced salary. It’s beneficial to both involved as the employer has the ability to oversee the employee’s training, ensuring that it is pertinent to the business, and the employee gains specific training that makes him or her valuable to that business.
So, how does one locate apprenticeship programs? Word of mouth is one way. Check with contacts in construction and see if they know of any.
Internet searches are a quick way to located apprenticeship programs. A number of states have websites dedicated to programs in the state. Take a look and see what you come up with. I’d be surprised if your state doesn’t have such a resource. Here’s just a few:
Contact local business and ask if they offer apprenticeship programs. There’s always the possibility that a nearby business has such an opportunity that you can take advantage of.
Colleges are another avenue to look into. Most that have trade programs have connections with local companies. Many have programs, placing advanced students in apprenticeship programs prior to graduation. Upon graduation, the apprentice is hired to fill an available position.
If you get a “no” when asking a business about a possible apprenticeship program, it might be beneficial to share that they might be able to obtain grant funding for offering apprenticeships. You might steer them towards the United States Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship USA Investments page where you can find more info about this.
In addition to providing for paid training, apprenticeship programs can possibly provide the opportunity for additional advanced apprenticeship training.
Method 2: Get certifications and education
Training, education, and certifications will help land a job, and in some cases, the training might direct you to a job opportunity.
Check out local trade schools and see what they have in the case of course work. Many times, trade schools partner with area businesses, acting as “pipelines” of employment. Such trade schools have placement offices that help students quickly find employment. This benefits both the student and the school. The student gets a job quickly and the school has bragging rights for helping it happen.
Many community colleges have trade programs and work closely with local businesses placing students in apprenticeship programs, or simply filling jobs after graduation. Obtaining education from a college may lead to earning certificates, associate degrees, or bachelor degrees, all beneficial in your job search. In that manner, you get knowledge and credibility.
Certification programs are also available, both within and outside of schools. Certifications require knowledge preparation to pass any applicable testing standards, and the resulting certificate also provides for credibility in your job search.
Method 3: Find a job
Okay, so this one sound simple enough, and it can be.
I had a friend in high school who answered an ad for a residential construction job opening. He had no construction experience, but still landed the job. It was beneficial that he had taken architecture drafting in high school, so he knew of many of the construction terms and methods that the contractor asked him about.
So, if you’re thinking of jumping into the construction field, do so. But before you do, I suggest that you prepare a little. If you have no construction knowledge, do some internet searching and book reading. It helps to be able to talk about techniques and materials when you know something about them.
Build a “killer” resume, even if you have no construction experience. Write about your skills and knowledge that can transfer to the construction field. Don’t send out your resume until somebody else checks it over, thoroughly. Nothing makes a bad impression like a poorly written cover letter or resume, outside of not dressing appropriately for a job interview.
If you need help in writing your resume, a quick internet search will reveal a number of resources, with templates, samples, and such. With that, and somebody to proof your work, you have no reason not to have a great resume when you’re ready to hand it out.
To locate job possibilities, talk with friends and family. Let them know that you’re looking for a construction job. Share that you’re looking with your social networking peers. Many times it’s not what you know, but who you know in providing for success.
Check the want ads in the local paper and job boards online. There are many out there, so you should be able to hustle something up. When you do, approach the employer with your best foot forward.
Don't forget to seek opportunities online as well. Yellopages, Craigslist, even Facebook and other social media channels are a great way to find some local gigs.
If you are starting up, don't bit off more than you can chew. Start off by looking for "general labor" jobs and "construction helper" tasks. These might be low paying at first, but the experience you obtain is priceless, yielding better career opportunities at the same company or enabling you to go and get some better positions.
So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the article as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you.
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