How Can I Prove to a Potential Employer That I am Seriously Interested in a Construction Claims Career?

Posted by Steve Thomas , Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada on Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Do you want to learn the best possible ways to prove to a construction claims and disputes employer that you are the right candidate to join their company in this high value niche sector of the construction industry?  If so, read on as this blog will give you all you need to know.

At Maxim Recruitment we want our specialist quantum claims delay and dispute candidates to make a great impression and to build specialist careers in this high value job sector.  We only work with high calibre construction claims and dispute employers, and they know what they want to see in a CV.  Senior Consultant, Associate Director, Director and Expert level candidates should know and be acting on the following advice (but the don’t always), early career planners, engineers and quantity surveyors seeking to enter delay and quantum roles in particular may benefit from taking on board some of the following six points:

1.  Demonstrate the Qualifications Required for Specialist Claims and Dispute Work

This first point is basically one that you either have or you haven’t – do you have or are you undertaking a qualification that demonstrates your commitment to your intended career direction into claims and disputes?

A BSc in Quantity Surveying (Hons) in Civil Engineering, or an equivalent degree in construction is great to have for what you are doing at the moment.

In order to stand out as a great candidate for claims and disputes, it is a good idea to have completed or initiated your Chartership RICS/MRICS and probably also a specialist qualification such as an LLM or MSc in Construction Law pr MCIArb.

Candidates can also have MCIOB, MCIArb and MSc in a relevant field of Construction. We are often told that a common mistake that candidates make is getting a law degree before getting Chartered - companies usually prefer candidates who are Chartered and later get a law degree if appropriate.

Having or getting specialist construction claims and disputes qualifications are a great way of showing your commitment and long term value to a specialist claims and disputes employer.

2.  Get the Hands On Claims and Dispute Experience Your Hard-Earned Qualifications Deserve

At Maxim Recruitment, Steve Thomas, my Director and I have recently encountered numerous candidates who have completed their MSc or LLM in Construction Law but then have stayed with their cost consultant or main contractor employer so consequently not had any exposure to claims, quantum, delay or any other aspects of construction disputes.  What a waste!

As your salary grows within mainstream contracting or cost consulting work, the further away you will get from a starting salary within construction claims and disputes that you will be happy with.  Take your construction law qualification and put it into practice.  Get in touch with Steve or I and we can talk you through what is involved in a move to the work you have studied hard to prepare for.

If the realisation comes later that you should have made the move into specialist construction disputes there will also be a second problem on top of the pay/experience gap – one of credibility – why if you didn’t want to do claims/disputes when you became qualified to move into that specialist area, why do you suddenly want to do it so much later?

3.  Mention All the Claims and Dispute and Related Experience You Have Fully On Your CV

Applying for a specialist claims and disputes job role requires a different approach compared to a ‘traditional’ Quantity Surveying, Planning, Engineering or Project Management CV.  What experience of claims or delay have you had within your current role/s?  Are you explaining it in full? What have you learned and what excites you to learn next and what do you want to do more of by way of following a dispute through its stages?

Have you been a part of a team during a dispute?  Did you write letters or evaluate entitlements and have knowledge about one or more forms of contract?  If you have done anything directly or indirectly relevant to claims and dispute work, you must refer to it and highlight it in your CV.

Previous hands-on experience in claims and disputes work is highly desired by all hiring companies and should be outlined clearly in your CV. Search out experience of this with your current employer or expose yourself to experience and the key issues and actions to show your commitment and potential.

4.  Read Up and Around the Claims and Disputes Sector

Even if your practical exposure to claims and disputes is limited, you can show commitment to your career direction by reading up and around your desired specialist career direction.  Have you been on the Society of Construction Law’s website?

One of the industry standard texts is the Delay and Disruption Protocol which can be downloaded for free.

You don’t need to have memorised the whole thing – but if you are able to refer to aspects of it relevant to what you have done or want to do in your career, surely this is a fantastic ‘green flag’ indicating you are committed to your career and to proactive self-study?

5. Tailor your CV Intro / Candidate Summary Properly

Many Candidates put a personal statement or a summary about their experience and their career ambitions at the start of their CV. Have you done this and does it succinctly summarise your capabilities and your intended career direction?

This summary works really well to build for the reader a clear picture of your motivation and commitment to get into or to progress within Claims and Disputes sector.

If you want to make a transition in your career you should make a particular effort to write this section to the highest standard.

6.  Apply for Claims and Dispute Roles that Match Your Experience and Capabilities

There are well over 100 specialist construction claims and disputes jobs advertised on our website.  The worst way to choose one to apply for or seek progression with is to merely choosing the highest salary.  The construction claims and dispute industry is just like all others – there is a market rate for skills and the best pay is given to those who have invested in their careers and can offer their employers something rather than start the dialogue and recruitment process by demanding something.

Good experience, good qualifications, a good network of contacts, ability to work independently and experience of managing others on tasks are all valuable skills.  The ability and willingness to work hard and do what needs to be done are also attributes an employer will notice and reward.  How are you showing this on your CV in terms of both your experience, loyalty and continuity of employment with previous employers, but also in the diligence with which you have prepared, proof read and take ownership of what is written on your CV?

In Summary:

We really hope that the above 6 points are a good summary and checklist of how best to demonstrate you are seriously interested in getting into a construction claims and disputes career.

The above advice is also relevant to early career claims and disputes candidates whose careers have stalled through a wrong turn with an employer that isn’t giving you the environment you need to progress your specialist career.

Steve Thomas and I are here to discuss how we can help progress your career and of course your salary and remuneration within the claims and disputes sector – please reach out with your diligently updated CV via the Maxim website - you can submit your CV or apply for the vacancy that is of most interest.  You can also connect with us on both LinkedIn and join our specialist “construction Claims Quantum Delay Early Careers Group .We look forward to being in touch.

Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas
Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada
Maxim Recruitment

Steve is responsible for Maxim Recruitment in the UK. He is based in the Maxim head office in Leicester, Leicestershire and regularly travels to meet employers, job seekers and to attend construction industry networking events all over the UK. With over 20 years' experience in construction and property recruitment he works with a number of repeat clients and engages in search and headhunting assignments for a range of premium UK and international clients.