There are no cast iron rules for how to write a graduate CV for your first construction job. However, there are a few tried and tested methods that are known to have worked. So, read on for our top tips on how to write a CV to secure that first construction job.
1. Tailor your CV for every job application
This can’t be stressed strongly enough. Don’t ever send out a generic CV and hope to hear back from prospective employers. Graduate jobs in any industry, especially the construction industry, are highly sought after and, therefore, incredibly competitive.
If you can’t be bothered to read the job description thoroughly and answer all and any questions that the recruiter has asked of you, don’t expect the recruiter to look favourably on you.
Instead, in your CV, highlight the key skills, desirable qualities and preferable experience that the recruiter is looking for, from the ideal candidate. Also, make sure that you demonstrate how you meet as many, if not all of these requirements, as possible.
Format your CV so that it flows naturally and the reader doesn’t have to jump around the page looking for certain key pieces of information. Don’t use any unusual fonts or coloured paper; you want your CV to stand out for its content, not because it’s odd looking.
Include all your relevant industry experience and qualifications up front, don’t hide them away at the end of your CV. If in doubt, follow a simple layout of:
- Personal statement
- Key skills and experience
- Qualifications (exams and industry-specific)
- Work history to date
- Interests (if relevant to the job application)
At the top of your CV write your personal statement. This one paragraph piece of information, at a glance, informs the recruiter of what strategic value you could bring to the company, should you be hired. Break it down into three sections:
Who you are. This lets them know your background, e.g. a university graduate of Durham University with a 2:1 honours degree in civil engineering. What industry experience you have, e.g. I have undertaken two internships within leading construction organisations X and Y.
What you can bring to the party. Outline your core skills that you have acquired through your studies and relevant work experience, and ensure that they match what the recruiter is looking for, from the job description.
Your career aims. This lets the recruiter know what you’re hoping to get out of this job, e.g. looking to secure a position within the construction industry where I can bring immediate strategic value to the organisation, which will also allow me to develop and build on my current skill set.
Don’t let your CV go beyond two pages of A4. Keep it short and sweet. Succinct sentences work best. Use bullet points to highlight each statement. Save any lengthy examples for the interview.
3. What to include
In the construction industry, recruiters want to see what projects you have worked on or contributed to. This allows them to gauge your experience, and, if they’re familiar with the project, what exposure you will have had to the industry.
If you have a working knowledge of any construction specific computer programs, note those down too. Recruiters will want to know what level your computer skills are, what software you are familiar with and what your competency is on it. This allows them to determine what further training you would require to bring you up to speed.
List any memberships of any relevant organisations such as:
- Association for Project Management
- Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
- Institution of Civil Engineers
- Institution of Structural Engineers
4. What to leave out
Don’t include a photograph of yourself; you aren’t applying to be a model. Also, avoid any spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors, or prospective employers are unlikely to want you representing their brand.
Make sure you leave out overly personal information, such as:
- Marital status
- Country of origin
- Date of birth
- Arrest record
Finally, rarely will you get the chance to meet the recruiters during the CV sift, so make sure your CV shouts about you in a way that you would, if you could talk directly to the recruiters. You want them to wonder why they haven’t hired you previously, not give them a reason to discount you. So, before you send it in, check it once, check it twice, have a friend check it too.
CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent job board. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.