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Writing a Good Construction CV


Unbelievably, it’s around 16 years since the Maxim team wrote 6 pages of construction career advice for our (then) new website that included our thoughts on writing a good CV.

Looking back over the content, we have updated words like ‘word processor’ to ‘laptop’ but on the whole we are pretty satisfied that the advice offered has stood the test of time.

So why is it that for the last 16 years and still today, we receive a significant proportion of CV applications that are poorly presented, not checked over and don’t sell applicant capabilities to the full? 

Why do applicants make it hard for the recruiter to understand what they have done and what they want to do, where they are based and risk either not being contacted at all, or being contacted about jobs not of interest to them because they have not made their preferences clear?

The advice we offer in writing a good CV is still worth reading and acting on, but as a cheat sheet, here are the 10 most common CV mistakes and the reasons why adding clear information will help everyone.

1.  Current and desired location

Always add current and desired location to the top of the CV so your preferences can be noted from the start.

2 .  Add contact details to the top of the CV

If your covering email becomes detached or is not imported to the recruitment database your contact details could be lost.

3.   Current and desired job title

Are you making your current job title and description clear and what role you want to do next?

4.  Clear and accurate qualification summary

Have you outlined your most important qualifications fully and with dates?
Are you fully Chartered or hoping to be in the future? 

5.  Get Your CV up-to-date

Does your CV show what you are doing (or not doing) right now?
If not, it’s not up to date and needs to be updated.

6.   Spelling and grammar usage

Ok, not all construction job roles need perfect grammar and perfect expression and this will relate to the role being applied for.  However, Delay and Quantum Expert Witness job applicants DO need to give the right first impression, attention to detail and mode of expression.

Even in 2004 when we wrote this advice, there were spellcheckers. In 2020 you can use a free version of www.grammarly.com to advise you on all aspects of your writing in American, Canadian, Australian or British English.  Don’t tell Nicola Sturgeon or she’ll be lobbying for a Scottish English version too.

7.  Font type, size and colour 

Use a font that looks professional and is easy for others to read.

8.  Use of graphics and columns

Keep it simple! Anyone can copy a fancy visual template – and it doesn’t differentiate your details at all.  It may also make the CV impossible to upload, retrieve and view in a text-based recruitment database.

9.  Covering letters and emails

Covering letters for construction jobs are in our opinion becoming less common and less necessary.

We prefer applications to be made for specific jobs or a general submission via our website using a standard form. During the application process, all information additional to your CV that we need, we directly ask you for. Simple.

10.  How long is your CV?

This blog article on CV writing is now the equivalent of 1 ½ pages long in Word – and have I lost your attention at all yet? Probably not far off.  We receive up to 70 CVs a day at the moment and we prefer not to have to read or skim 7 or 12 of 15 pages (or to get the scales and printer and weigh them) to assess whether we can help.  2 or 3 or 4 pages is always enough when a CV is well written, has a sensible layout with any froth is filtered out making it easy to read.

We hope this advice will help construction job seekers to give the best possible first impression of their capabilities, and to secure a great construction job in an increasingly competitive UK and international jobs market.  It might help us recruiters finish work before midnight too!

The Maxim Recruitment Team
UK / Canada / Hong Kong / Australia / Middle East




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