Construction Worker Resume Advice
By Daniel Green
In days gone by you could walk into a place, meet the boss man and on a handshake deal have yourself a start the next day. Like it or not those days are long gone. Now you’ve got to have your resume & tickets up to date, have a functioning email address and know how to use a computer! Man, these recruiters have unreasonable expectations. Imagine having to be organised just to get a job!
Finding a really great job is like finding the one. No, not Neo from The Matrix. The one as in the man or woman you want to spend the rest of your life with. And like being more selective when finding your better half, finding an epic job has a lot more hurdles to jump – but boy is it worth it.
Don’t Just Give It Up
Contrary to popular belief, a resume is not there to tell prospective employers everything there is to know about you. Yes, it briefly outlines your work history, experience and tickets & licenses. Really though its just to give recruiters a taste so that they forget all the other resumes in their inbox and call you. So how do you stand out amongst the hundreds of other workers looking for work?
The First Date.
Imagine you’ve met a great girl or guy and you’re about to go on your first serious date. Would you arrive in your dirty old work ute, unwashed, unshaven and dressed in yesterday’s shirt? No. You’d clean the ute, iron your shirt and arrive early with flowers – because you want to make a killer first impression! It’s the same with your resume. If you want that well-paying, long-term job with that reputable company then you’ve gotta put some effort in!
Wash The Work Ute!
You never get a second chance at a first impression and your resume may be the only chance you’ll get. It may not seem fair but anyone who lays eyes on your resume is already starting to form an opinion of you. Unfortunately it’s just human nature. Let’s say you’re a recruiter or business owner looking for a full time roofing plumber. You have an inbox full of resumes but only one job to give. You open up resume number one.
Now, Dave Kelly could be the best roofing plumber in the world. Nice guy, great dad, feeds the homeless every Sunday night. But as unfair as it may seem he’d be hard pressed to get a job with a resume like that. Let’s be a bit more specific.
- The first thing is the email address. An email address shouldn’t be offensive or need explaining.
- Second is the poor punctuation, grammar and spelling. If the role needs any documentation done then perhaps Dave will struggle.
- Thirdly – the overall layout. It’s messy and gives the impression that Dave is messy.
- The fourth issue is that it’s unclear what tickets and licenses he has. He has a forklift license but what type? Does he hold the EWP over 11m or under? Perhaps the employment package includes a car but it’s a manual – can Dave drive a manual car?
- The final alarm bell is the plea for help – a promise of reliability. Right or wrong it makes you think Dave has let people down in the past.
Now all of these things could be untrue. But when recruiters and business owners see hundreds of resumes for a single job they just don’t have the time to look beyond these basic flaws to the potentially brilliant worker behind them. Poor Dave’s resume is closed and the next one is opened up.
- It’s well presented. Ellen has put some effort in, giving the impression she’ll do the same with her plumbing work.
- It’s organised, giving the impression Ellen is organised.
- All the information about her tickets is easily accessible.
- We know she lives in St. Peters, so we can start making guesses about how far she may travel to get to work.
- We know she’s been employed by Reece for four years, which is quite a long time. She must be employable.
- She has referees.
In addition to this a good recruiter could make the following assumptions.
- She shares the same surname as the business at which she did her time. In reality Mick Priest is probably her Dad. If he’s an old school career plumber then there’s a good chance he held Ellen to a higher standard than usual.
- She builds race cars with her Dad, so she probably still talks to him. We could assume that if he’s an old school career plumber he was more likely hard but fair. Hopefully this means Ellen won’t need to be wrapped in cotton wool and with any luck she’ll be pretty grounded. She’s also a female in a male dominated industry.
- We assume she’s 24 – 27 years old based on, a] when she began her apprenticeship and, b] that McDonald’s is a role traditionally for adolescents. So she’s young, hopefully pretty fit and likely injury free.
Like the assumptions we made about poor Dave, we could be completely wrong about Ellen. But at least Ellen is about to receive a phone call, and on the strength of that phone call she could be invited in for an interview.
Dating Resume Etiquette
There’s a couple of basic rules regarding resumes.
- Make it short and sweet. A good resume should be two pages long [unless you’re young/inexperienced and don’t have two pages of information to give]. One page is too short, three pages is two long. The idea is not to tell a recruiter everything about you. The idea is to tell them just enough to pick up the phone and call you.
- Make it look clean. Put your full name, email, phone number and home suburb on top of the first page. Under that you should write a personal summary. One sentence is enough. Then list your current tickets and any expired tickets below that. By now you should be about one-third to halfway down the first page. This is where you start listing your work history beginning with the most recent job. Use dot points to outline what each job entailed before moving onto the job you had before that. If you’re older, ten years of employment history is enough. Your work history should carry over to the second page. At the bottom of this page it’s a good idea to put some personal interests, although if you like getting on the cans all weekend it would be a good idea to omit that.
- Font. The text should look clean and simple and it should be the same font for the entire resume. It should be 12 – 14 point [the size], which is about 200-300 words per page. No cartoon text, no text that looks like handwriting, no text in other languages.
- Tickets? Some recruiters prefer you include all your tickets and licences. If you do decide to go this way make sure the copies are in colour, are clear and are included with the resume in one whole document.
- Make sure your referees are, a] professional and not personal, and b] contactable. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get a referral so you can employ a great worker but their number is wrong or they don’t answer the phone.
The Do Nots.
- Screenshot and email a ticket you’ve already got on your phone. The image looks pixelated and some details cannot be checked which creates extra work for the recruiter. You don’t want to create extra work for them!
- Email your tickets one by one. The recruiter will then need to download all your tickets from all of those emails, put them together in one file and store them somewhere on their computer. Again – this is extra work! Either do this yourself or find someone who can.
- ‘Pad out’ your resume. If your resume shows only a little experience – be honest. Some recruiters are briefed to look for inexperienced workers because they can be easily shaped compared to older workers who can be set in their ways.
- Lie. Do not, under any circumstances, lie or tell mistruths in any way. Recruiters are cunning, have screened and interviewed more people than you’ve had hot dinners and have no mercy for untruths.
Propose. They’re Worth It.
This may seem like a lot of information and a lot of work. To the uninitiated it can ever seem unfair. Just remember that the very hurdles you jump to get employed are the same ones that will keep you there. Go put a ring on it!