Personal and Professional Development to Get Ahead in Construction

Posted by Steve Thomas Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada on Thursday, May 20, 2021


Continuing professional development (CPD) is conducted in many industries. It is the norm in engineering, for example, as well as in sales and marketing. You will find people at all levels within healthcare settings and education continuing with their professional development, too. If you work in the construction sector, then ask yourself why CPD wouldn't equally apply to you. The answer is, of course, that it should. Why?

Well, continuing to develop your professional skills makes sense if you want to earn more, do more interesting work and to simply get on in the construction industry. Anyone working in construction recruitment would point out that the best candidates they put forward are the ones who have stretched themselves both personally and professionally. Indeed, many construction headhunters will be looking for people who have recently updated their CV with new skills or who have been on industry-focused courses not long ago.

Of course, gaining specific qualifications can help your chances with successful construction recruitment no end.  What most employers and construction headhunters are looking for is that you have not been standing still in your career and looking to make progress at a personal and professional level. Read on to find out more about some of the attributes that employers in the construction sector are looking for and how you can acquire them. After all, not every skill you have needs to have been gained in the classroom.


In an industry that relies so much on subcontracting, being able to communicate effectively is a must. Being able to talk clearly is important but brush up on your written communication skills, too. Your CV should be easy to read and well laid out, for example, since this is one of the first forms of communication a prospective employer will see. Spelling errors are something to avoid, so double-check for them with all correspondence emails and covering letters.


Demonstrating you are a team player is crucial to the way many construction firms work. Think about how you might convey this attribute to someone interviewing you. Think about how you can demonstrate teamwork outside of work too, perhaps you have developed teamwork skills organising charitable events or playing in a sports team?


What employers want to see in many sectors is problem solvers, not people who pass difficulties upward through the management chain. This is certainly the case with construction companies, so look back on your previous jobs and pick out times you have dealt with things successfully, perhaps preventing them from becoming problems in the first place. If you show problem-solving abilities, then you are sure to stand out from other candidates you might be competing with.

Time Management

Learn to manage your time more effectively. There are plenty of online courses you can take which will help you to improve your time management. Digital tools will also often help with scheduling and sticking to appointments within deadlines.

Critical Thinking

Again, critical thinking is a skill that is in-demand in the construction industry. This is something that can be learned. We can all think critically but you might need to be mentored to gain the confidence to use the skill you probably already have. Some apps have been developed that offer the right sorts of insights to give you a boost in this area.


If you want to become an executive in the construction sector, then being able to execute decisions will be very important to you. Learn to avoid sitting on the fence or always going with the flow. If you make a decision, be prepared to stick to it and see how things turn out. A key attribute with decision-making is to not be too intransigent, however. Decision-makers who never change their mind are just as problematic as people who never make their mind up at all.

Organisational Skills

Like time management, organisational skills help to demonstrate that you are the sort of person who will be able to handle the extra stresses associated with promotions. Part of showing you have the necessary skills to succeed will involve prioritising workloads. If you can demonstrate that skill in your personal or professional life, then you are more likely to land your dream job!

Stress Management

Everyone responds to stress differently. Some thrive on it while others buckle. Stress management does not mean being able to cope in all situations, however. It means knowing how to react when stress becomes over-burdensome. This is something you can learn from experience. Understand the tell-tale signs of stress in yourself and others so you are better placed to deal with it down the line.


Taking a course on presenting well helps many people who have never stood up in front of others professionally before. Many construction industry personnel find this tough but, in fairness, others are complete naturals. When presenting, preparation is key. Always keep presentations short and to the point. If people want to expand on detail, then allow them to ask questions are delve further. Don't assume everyone wants granular detail, however. An overview is usually enough.

Technical Know-How

The construction industry is a technical one. New technologies, especially green ones, are being brought on-stream all the time. If you are not up to date with the latest information, then you can come across as disinterested by some would-be employers. You don't have to be an expert in all things, though. Take technical courses in the areas of construction you are most interested in but read about the industry more generally. There are more than enough technical blog posts and construction sector news sites around, after all.

See also our blog post:  Construction Claims & Disputes | Desirable experience & qualifications guide

Steve Thomas
Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada