If you are already managing construction projects or looking to break into the field, the skills on your resume tell whether you are ready for the job. Obviously, the good skills to put on a resume are related to project management. But you should also include specialized, creative, and analytical skills.
Here are the top nine construction manager skills that will make you standout from the rest:
1. Specialized skills and certifications in math and accounting
When you have special experience, training, or certifications in business math, you set yourself apart from many project managers and superintendents. People assume that anyone managing construction projects is good with numbers, but someone with training in accounting principles can improve budget decisions made at the project level. Someone with a deep understanding of business accounting understands better how the project and portfolio decisions affect company finances.
2. Adept at research and analysis
Your life experience includes everything you’ve done. Look for instances where you gathered information and analyzed it to make important decisions. While a single instance of this doesn’t make you a research and analysis wizard, those instances add up. If you often found yourself researching, analyzing, and deciding the best course of action, then that’s worth mentioning in your resume. A construction skills list that includes research and analysis will position you for some of the modern construction needs related to gathering data and analyzing it.
3. Skilled at specialized technology
Any construction project manager is well acquainted with spreadsheets, estimating, and project management software. These days you must use, or at least have a working knowledge of various apps and digital devices. Your specialized experience with BIM, drones, virtual reality, augmented reality, and spatial tools is valuable. If you have experience or certifications in using construction-specific software like Procore, that experience means you might require less training. These specializations also make you a potential trainer who can mentor junior managers in new tech as the employer adopts it.
Flexibility and adaptability make project managers resilient. You need to be resilient now, more than ever because of the constant changes. The construction manager who looks backward more than forward falls behind. Being resilient means you recognize disruptions and respond quickly. It means you can adapt to match the demands of changing work and world environments. It also means you cautiously watch for opportunities to innovate in the face of change.
5. Balancing detail with the big picture
Construction is a profession driven by details. But you can spend too much time and energy in the weeds, that you might miss the big picture. The project isn’t better off when the windows get installed on time while the building’s envelope is still open to the weather. What you need is a magic method for keeping the details and the big picture balanced. When you have that magic, mention it on your resume.
If you are good at coming up with ideas for better ways of doing things, then you are innovative. You have figured out how to walk the fine line between “the pressure to compete and the freedom to explore.” Every construction business needs to innovate to stay ahead of change. Otherwise, it plateaus, and unless “no growth” is part of the business plan, the company loses its competitive edge.
The problem many construction businesses face is they lack innovators. Without these inquisitive people who ask tough questions, the business stagnates and eventually falls behind other businesses in its class. If you are innovative, you bring new ideas to the business for viewing and shaping the future.
Popular culture and movies still glorify the hero who saves the day as the cure for whatever ails society. However, in reality, a company with a lone wolf who decides everything usually fails at the hero’s weak points. There are too many variables for one person to have all the answers.
A business with a diverse set of people who have diverse life and work experiences outperforms other businesses. So a construction manager must be a collaborator to blend all the advantages and minimize the disadvantages.
Aside from diversity, all construction projects have multiple entities working within their own systems to complete their pieces of the whole. A construction manager needs to have well-honed collaboration skills to make all the pieces fit on time and within budget.
A construction manager constantly deals with a list of jobs that are in various stages of preparation and completion. When they speak, their point needs to be crystal clear. When they write, the words need to be descriptive and brief. But they also must be keen listeners and skilled at finding the meaning within the meaningless. The last time you excelled at communicating to overcome a challenge should be on your resume.
The list of leadership qualities is long. But the most important for construction managers are honesty, fairness, and enthusiasm. Dishonesty breeds contempt and corruption, which are the last things you need on any project. You can’t please everyone, but you can show you were objective in your decisions. Your enthusiasm and love of the work are contagious and inspire optimism, even in the face of discouraging challenges.
There are far too many things to put on your resume, so take time to think through them. Use the ones that best describe you and your experience because the job needs to fit you as well as you fit the job.