Construction Skills: Definition, Examples And How To Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The construction industry offers a wide range of challenging work opportunities in various work environments. For professional success in this sector, it is essential to have specific traits and skills. By learning about some important skills needed for contraction jobs, you can make an effort to develop them and get started in a career in the construction industry. In this article, we define construction skills, provide some examples, discuss how to improve your skills, learn how to use these skills in the workplace and explain how to highlight them on your resume.

What Are Construction Skills?

Construction skills are specific skill sets that professionals in the construction industry use to undertake various tasks related to planning and constructing physical structures. By possessing these skills, you can find the job you want in the construction sector, be effective in your work and advance in your chosen career. The educational requirements to work in this field depend on the construction job you decide to do.

Menial construction jobs generally do not have any eligibility requirements beyond being physically and mentally fit. Jobs with advanced skills like bricklaying, plastering, sheet metal working, welding or carpentry may require apprenticeship experience. Construction professionals like site supervisors, plumbers, electricians or construction equipment operators may require formal training credentials and licences. Architects, interior designers and engineers need graduate or post-graduate degrees to work professionally in construction. Aside from informal or formal qualifications, you can benefit from various soft skills like communication, interpersonal or leadership skills. Many construction skills may be transferrable to other career fields.

Related: How To Write An Objective For A Construction Worker Resume

Examples Of Construction Skills

You can review the following examples of construction skills to consider developing your professional competencies:

Construction building skills

You may need to know any of these construction building skills to embark on a construction career:

  • Surveying

  • Carpentry

  • Stonework

  • Metalwork

  • Framing

  • Concrete work

  • Asphalt work

  • Masonry

  • Drywall installation

  • Drywall texturing

  • Painting

  • Tiling

  • Trimming

  • Roofing

  • Window and door installation

  • Carpeting

  • Welding

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical wiring

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning

  • Renovation

  • Demolition

  • Power tool use

  • Lathing

  • Pipe fitting

  • Cabinetry

  • Repairs

  • Heavy equipment operation

  • Minor equipment repair

  • Machinery operations

Physical skills

Since a lot of construction work can be physically taxing, it is essential to have the following physical abilities to work safely in the construction industry and avoid injuries:

  • Physical strength and stamina

  • Endurance to stand long hours

  • Dexterity and flexibility

  • Fine motor skills

  • Good balance

  • Good hand-eye coordination

  • Good eyesight and hearing

  • Good posture

  • Heavy lifting

  • Correct lifting technique

  • Compliance with safety protocols

  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Knowledge of first aid and CPR

Management skills

The following management skills can prove beneficial in your construction job:

  • Verbal communication

  • Written communication

  • Listening

  • Leadership

  • Teamwork

  • Labour relations

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Conflict resolution

  • Customer service

  • Work scheduling

  • Worksite management

  • Quality control

  • Price negotiation

Design and planning skills

You may require the following design and planning skills to work in the construction sector:

  • Interpreting specifications

  • Developing blueprints

  • Reading, interpreting and understanding drawings

  • Noticing problems or mistakes in blueprints

  • Deciding which materials to use

  • Estimating

  • Determining how to schedule different phases of construction projects

  • Ability to procure and organise building materials

  • Understanding building codes

  • Taking accurate measurements

  • Understanding building, environmental and electrical codes

  • Complying with building rules and regulations

  • Knowledge of worksite safety procedures

  • Ability to use computer-aided drafting (CAD) software

Cognitive skills

The following cognitive skills are necessary for succeeding in the construction industry:

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Mathematics

  • Problem-solving

  • Critical thinking

  • Memorisation

  • Documentation

  • Technical vocabulary

  • Organisation

Technology skills

It is essential to have the following technology skills to have a construction career:

  • Good phone etiquette

  • Ability to use email

  • Ability to use mobile devices

  • Ability to use mobile apps

  • Ability to use construction management software

  • Ability to do building information modelling

  • Ability to use virtual reality

  • Ability to use augmented reality

  • Proficiency in estimating software

  • Ability to operate drone cameras

Growth and developmental skills

The following growth and developmental skills can help you to succeed and advance in your construction career:

  • Willingness to learn

  • Ability to learn

  • Self-motivation

  • Good time management

  • Ability to work without supervision

  • Growth mindset

How to Improve Construction Skills

You can consider the following suggestions to improve your skills and enhance your chances of getting hired:

1. Develop physical strength and stamina

Construction jobs can be physically demanding, Depending on the job you do, it may require you to stand for long periods, be exposed to hot, cold or rainy weather, work in enclosed spaces, tolerate loud noises and lift and carry heavy objects. If you intend to work in construction for the long term, it is essential to keep yourself physically fit.

2. Improve communication skills

Excellent communication skills are necessary when working in the construction business. While performing your work duties, you may give instructions to or receive instructions from work colleagues, supervisors and other construction site personnel. You may have work-related discussions and make verbal or written reports. Being able to express yourself clearly can enable you to work more effectively and build good workplace relationships.

3. Acquire technological skills

Given the technological advances in the construction sector, it is crucial to have strong technical skills to get hired for many construction jobs. It is a good idea to review the current job advertisements for the career you are interested in and note the technological knowledge needed for the position. You can then familiarise yourself with the devices and software programs employers want candidates to know in your construction field.

4. Boost literacy and numeracy skills

Literacy and numeracy skills can help you comprehend design plans, blueprints, written specifications and other construction-related documents. You can write detailed work reports. You can also make accurate measurements and calculations, which are extremely important for ensuring construction and building safety. Your chances of getting and advancing in a construction job are high if you have good literary and numeracy skills.

5. Cultivate critical thinking

The ability to think critically and apply your critical thinking to your everyday work on the construction site can improve your work performance. By using reason, common sense and problem-solving skills, you may be able to handle your daily challenges better. You may also make a better impression on your colleagues and supervisors.

Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions And Examples

6. Have a growth mindset

A growth mindset displays a willingness to learn, improve and advance. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with this kind of positive attitude towards their work. Along with making you more employable, a growth mindset is also essential if you intend to have a long career in the construction industry.

7. Understand safety procedures and PPE

Since construction work can be risk-filled, it is crucial to understand safety procedures and use personal protection equipment (PPE) while you work. Depending on the job you have on the construction site, you can wear safety goggles, thick gloves, sturdy boots and overalls to work safely and avoid injuries. Many construction companies are strict about requiring their employees to use PPE and undergo safety training.

8. Get better at time management

Most construction projects follow an established work schedule, and being efficient at time management is necessary to be effective and timely in your work. You can complete assigned tasks on time and show initiative to accept more work responsibilities. You can find various strategies online to become better at time management.

9. Refine organisational abilities

Being well-organised can prove beneficial when working long hours on a construction site. It can help you understand work objectives, plan work tasks, ensure all materials are available and know where they are on the site. You can focus on the most important work tasks and complete them on a priority basis.

10. Pay attention to details

Paying attention to work details and completing tasks in predetermined steps in essential for working effectively in the construction sector. You can notice if the work is of the required standard, if it is necessary to make any changes or repairs and if you ought to replace or fix any items. You can also determine when to report something to the supervisor. Being alert to your surroundings can save you from redoing work, keep you safe as you work and can help you avoid risks and injuries.

Related: How To Write A Construction Management Resume Objective

Construction Skills In The Workplace

By implementing your skills in the workplace, you may make a good impression on your employers, and it could bring you more work opportunities. Here are some workplace skills to consider:

  • Being flexible: You may encounter unexpected challenges and obstacles in your construction work. By being willing to adjust and make changes, you can handle things better.

  • Undertaking physical work: You may carry or cart construction materials such as bricks, sand, gravel and cement, dig ditches, lay bricks, plaster brick walls and so on.

  • Developing and reading blueprints: You may read blueprints to understand the fundamental plan of the construction project and know exactly what you are to do on the construction site.

Ways To Highlight Construction Skills

Here are some ways you can highlight your skills through the hiring process:

On your resume and cover letter

Read the job description carefully. You can find a few skills words in the description. Employers usually prefer candidates who have those skills or are currently learning them. Include the relevant ones in your resume and provide more details about them in the cover letter.

Related: Comprehensive Guide: How To Become A Construction Manager

During a job interview

After creating a list of your relevant skills, practise talking about your work experience, certifications and educational credentials. Employers are more likely to offer you a job if you explain how your skills can benefit their construction activities. For instance, you can explain how your skills can support the company's mission of providing innovative building services to its clients.

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