Overview

Where there is construction, there is usually a Construction Manager (also commonly known as a General Contractor) so this is a safe and competitive career choice. However, it is not one to take lightly. A Construction Manager is highly experienced and qualified, usually (but not exclusively) with a degree in construction management, architecture, engineering, or something similar.

The responsibility of a Construction Manager is to oversee a construction project from its conception to its completion. This means being experienced in manual building work, having comprehensive knowledge of building materials, site regulations, tools and machinery, being an expert in health and safety, being familiar with construction software and having an ability to both see and share ‘the big picture’.

You will also have excellent people management skills, certifications in first aid and risk management, and the proven ability to function effectively in a crisis. There is a lot to consider and a lot to learn, but this is a very rewarding career choice and attracts a very competitive salary.

Your resume for this role will be technical rather than creative. You will focus on giving examples of your construction experience and demonstrating your skills and certifications. Your key to success here is to be specific and to make your resume achievement-based; spend time detailing past projects and celebrating successful outcomes.

Pay

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for construction managers and contractors in 2015 was $87,400 per year. The typical entry-level education before construction management positions was a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

Pay varies from around $40,000 on the low end of the scale, to upwards of $410,000 dollars on the high end of the scale, depending on the industry are working in, your personal years of experience, and your location.

Construction Manager Salary Statistics

2016 Median Pay$87,400 per year
$42.02 per hour
Typical Entry-level EducationBachelors Degree
Work Experience in a Related OccupationNone
On-the-job TrainingModerate-term on-the-job training
Number of jobs 2016373,200
Job Outlook 2014-2024+5%
Employment Change 2014-2024+17,800
Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics & Payscale.com

Industry Forecast

The construction industry is a fickle one, being heavily reliant on many economic factors including economic growth rates, unemployment rates, interest rates, and content levels of the public, in general. The perfect example of how delicate the construction industry can be was the 2007-2008 financial collapse, which completely decimated home building; which, in turn, had a huge negative impact on the construction industry as a whole.

Times are better, however, and many reports are projecting robust growth rates through 2017. Dodge Data and Analytics Company has forecast a 5% growth rate in the construction industry for 2017, which equates to over $713 billion. This growth rate of 5% is down slightly from 11% in 2015, but it is above the 1% of 2016.

Because the US construction industry has been in a positive growth figure for quite a few years now, a modest 5% is supported for 2017. However, as we stated, that still equates to hundreds of billions of dollars.

With the new president in office, and factoring in regular congressional elections, it is anyone’s guess what growth will look like more than a year from now. However, one thing is for certain: as long as new businesses are opening and industries are growing, there will be a need for construction.

Even when the private sector growth is down, there are often large federal spending projects such as quantitative easing, wherein a lot of federal capital is directed towards state and federal construction projects like new bridges, highways, and other infrastructure upgrades.

On the whole, jobs in the construction industry, and management, in particular, are a relatively stable career to pursue. It is also one where the more diverse your background and the more flexible you are, the more likely you will be to continue to thrive should an economic downturn occur.

Always seize an opportunity to learn new skills while on the job. By diversifying your skillset, growing, and learning, you  will be better able to grow with any company or transition to a different company in the event of economic turmoil.

Types of Construction Managers

There are many avenues a construction manager can take to achieve his job title. A lot of general contractors forge their way up through the ranks, starting as a laborer, over the years acquiring new skills and taking on new responsibilities, eventually making it to managerial level. This is probably the most common career path for construction managers as it is time-tested and generally perceived as one of the more bulletproof ways of climbing the company ladder.

However, if you went to a university and obtained your degree in something like construction management or an engineering specialty, this is also a completely respectful way to enter the workforce at a slightly higher paygrade.

Once in a company or at the level of construction manager, there are many different avenues you can take. With educational background and construction management,for example, you could get a job as a civil engineer, a facilities manager, a construction superintendent, a construction project manager, or even working up to a director of construction position.

Likewise, as construction managers become more specialized –  depending on the company they work for and the continued training they take, it can be very easy to shift into a more specialized positions such as a structural engineer, or even work your way up to a more executive level position such as the vice president of construction.

So, if you are a construction worker, do not despair because you can most definitely work your way up from where you are to team or shift lead, to foreman, to construction manager and beyond.

The construction industry is beautiful in its egalitarian structure for professional advancement. Advancement in the construction industry can come from either hard work on site, hard work in the classroom, or sometimes even both. This injects a special type of upward mobility to the industry that is not usually found in other careers.

Sample Resume Download

Below is an example of a construction manager resume that you can read, download, and model your own resume from Do not forget, though, that your resume is a reflection of your unique experiences and skill sets. You do not want to just copy another person’s resume as this will not help you stand out from the crowd.

Take this resume below and use it as a reference point, or guidelines, to construct (no pun intended) your own unique resume.

View Large Version

How To Write Your Own

If you have up to 10 years of experience, you will probably want to keep your construction resume to around one page in length. If you have just over one page and it looks awkward, you can adjust your font size by the first decimal point to try to make things look better, but be sure that you keep the overall font size between 11 and 12 point.

Choose the Correct Format

You want to start out with your most recent experience and end with the oldest; however, you don’t want to include jobs that are not relevant to the construction industry. So, for example, if you were at McDonald’s for year in between jobs, or worked as a house cleaner, you want to exclude these from your resume or just list the employer and the date with no bullet points underneath.

The goal is to make your resume as topically relevant to the position you are applying for as possible. You can do this by reading the job description thoroughly and trying to reflect that skills and experiences the company is seeking as you write your own resume. The idea here is to make your resume seem like an exact match link in the company’s chain and to make them want to hire you now.

Quantify Achievements

Make sure to quantify your achievements numerically whenever possible. You can do this by stating the size of a team you helped to manage, or budgets you allocated while on-the-job. Likewise, you want to highlight safety qualifications as is this is at the forefront of construction industries and regarded is a very valuable asset in new employees. For specific work experiences, you want to talk about key projects you managed, how you worked to overcome problems, whether you achieved the project on time or even before its due date, and by how many days. You also want to include staying under budget and maximizing efficiency through your own managerial initiatives.

After you write your experience section, you want to include an education session if you went to university. This is where you list your degree and your GPA if it was over 3.5. If you did not go to university, include your high school name, the year, and the fact that you have a diploma.

Include Additional Related Skills

Below your education section you will have an additional skill section in the certification section. These may be listed in whichever order you please. Often times, to maximize resume space, people listen in just one section entitled “Additional Skills and Certifications”.

It is in your additional skills and certification section where you want to list specific construction certifications you have. For example, you can get a certification from the Construction Management Association of America which can be taken online for a fee and looks really good on a resume.

In addition to specific certifications, which we will talk about later, you will want to include safety training, such as OSHA classes you taken, as employers will need to spend money on these if they want to hire you and you do not have them. Listing them on your resume will indicate to the employer that you are not only safe and reliable, but that they will save a little bit of money and time in terms of training, should they hire you.

Once you finished your resume, give it to a couple of friends and ask for their opinions, as it is hard to get a really good idea on whether you have missed something big when writing your own resume. In the end, it will help you construct an overall higher quality resume.

Sample Bullet Points

Below is a selection of professionally written bullet points that are useful specifically for construction management resumes. Just as the above  resume sample, you do not want to copy these bullet points exactly, as they were not written specifically for you. Like all the construction jobs, while standards are referenced, customization is key in producing a quality product result.

Sample Construction Manager Bullet Points

Task
Confer with supervisory personnel, owners, contractors, or design professionals to discuss and resolve matters, such as work procedures, complaints, or construction problems.
Plan, schedule, or coordinate construction project activities to meet deadlines.
Prepare and submit budget estimates, progress reports, or cost tracking reports.
Inspect or review projects to monitor compliance with building and safety codes, or other regulations.
Inspect or review projects to monitor compliance with environmental regulations.
Plan, organize, or direct activities concerned with the construction or maintenance of structures, facilities, or systems.
Study job specifications to determine appropriate construction methods.
Investigate damage, accidents, or delays at construction sites to ensure that proper construction procedures are being followed.
Prepare contracts or negotiate revisions to contractual agreements with architects, consultants, clients, suppliers, or subcontractors.
Develop or implement quality control programs.
Develop or implement environmental protection programs.
Implement new or modified plans in response to delays, bad weather, or construction site emergencies.
Interpret and explain plans and contract terms to representatives of the owner or developer, including administrative staff, workers, or clients.
Perform or contract others to perform prebuilding assessments, such as conceptual cost estimating, rough order of magnitude estimating, feasibility, or energy efficiency, environmental, and sustainability assessments.
Apply for and obtain all necessary permits or licenses.
Evaluate construction methods and determine cost-effectiveness of plans, using computer models.
Contract or oversee craft work, such as painting or plumbing.
Direct and supervise construction or related workers.
Determine labor requirements for dispatching workers to construction sites.
Requisition supplies or materials to complete construction projects.
Implement training programs on environmentally responsible building topics to update employee skills and knowledge.
Procure Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) or other environmentally certified professionals to ensure responsible design and building activities or to achieve favorable LEED ratings for building projects.
Develop construction budgets that compare green and non-green construction alternatives in terms of short-term costs, long-term costs, or environmental impacts.
Apply green building strategies to reduce energy costs or minimize carbon output or other sources of harm to the environment.
Direct acquisition of land for construction projects.

Career Objective or Professional Summary

At the very top of your resume, under your name and address, you want to include either a career objective if you are an entry-level or mid-level candidate, or the professional summary if you are a more experienced, veteran candidate.

When to use an objective

A career objective consists of one or two (or three sentences max) listing, in a unique and consistent way, why you are qualified for the position and why the company should hire you.  It can be quite difficult to boil down why you should get a job in just a few sentences, but remember that your resume is more than just your career objective.

The goal of a good career objective is to pique the interest of the reader and get him to read the rest of your resume. It is the job of the rest of the resume, including the experience section, the education section, and the additional skills section, to finally convince the reader to hire you.

When to use a summary

Likewise, if you are a veteran candidate with 10 to 15 years or more of experience, you will probably want to write a professional summary. Professional summaries are a bit more flexible to detail objectives as they can be a little bit longer and they can also include bullet points.

You want to have a similar mindset when writing a professional summary as a career objective:  to convince the reader that he should hire you, based on the skills and experiences that make you unique. The bullet points, if you choose to include them, should be limited to 4 to 6, and should capture your most valuable skills as a construction manager.

You  will probably want to spend about as much time crafting a good career objective or professional summary as you do on the entire rest of your resume; it is just that important. Oftentimes, hiring managers stop reading a resume after just a few seconds, so that introductory portion is a make or break component of the resume.

Think of your resume as a movie, if the opening scene is horrible you are probably considering whether you want to waste your time watching the whole rest of the movie. That is why writers and directors are sure to start movies with scenes with a lot of drama or action -to get the audience hooked and wanting more. You are the director of your resume, and companies are the audience. Now, go make your masterpiece!

Additional Skills & Certifications

As mentioned briefly above, skills and certifications are critical to the construction industry. In addition to the Construction Management of Association of America certifications mentioned above, there are also similar certifications you can get from organizations like the American Institute of Constructors. For a fee, you can take an online course and get certified in just a few months.

These types of certifications are not necessary; however, the more educational experience you have had, the more valuable you will be.

Again, safety should be highlighted in all good construction resumes, and including Occupational Safety and Health Administration training and certification.  It is immensely valuable in this industry. Also, if you work in specialized construction industries such as oil rig construction, for example, you will want to include safety certifications specific to that industry which could include everything from fire management safety, to water safety, to working in hazardous climates.

Likewise, even if you work on land, you want to include specific knowledge and training you have had.  This includes working with heavy equipment, reading construction plans, electrical certifications, specialized software such as CAD knowledge, and any other specialized skills that will help you better accomplish your tasks with the company  to which you are applying.

Useful Skills to Include

Below is a selection of skills that can be included on construction resumes. Every person has unique background, so skills should vary on every resume and you will want to be sure that yours are as uniquely invaluable as possible.

Again, do not forget to focus on equipment and tool skills, software skills, and safety knowledge. These are some of the most important topics to be covered on a construction resume.

Useful Construction Manager Skills

SkillSkill Description
Active ListeningGiving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
SpeakingTalking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical ThinkingUsing logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading ComprehensionUnderstanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
CoordinationAdjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Complex Problem SolvingIdentifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Time ManagementManaging one's own time and the time of others.
Management of Personnel ResourcesMotivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Active LearningUnderstanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
MonitoringMonitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
NegotiationBringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Judgment and Decision MakingConsidering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
WritingCommunicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Social PerceptivenessBeing aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Operations AnalysisAnalyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Management of Financial ResourcesDetermining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
MathematicsUsing mathematics to solve problems.
Management of Material ResourcesObtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
PersuasionPersuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Systems AnalysisDetermining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Systems EvaluationIdentifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Service OrientationActively looking for ways to help people.
Quality Control AnalysisConducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Learning StrategiesSelecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
InstructingTeaching others how to do something.
Operation MonitoringWatching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
ScienceUsing scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Operation and ControlControlling operations of equipment or systems.
TroubleshootingDetermining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Technology DesignGenerating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
ProgrammingWriting computer programs for various purposes.
Equipment SelectionDetermining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
InstallationInstalling equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Equipment MaintenancePerforming routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
RepairingRepairing machines or systems using the needed tools.