If you want to start your career in the construction industry but are worried that you do not have the required industry-specific skills, then worry not. While there are specialised skills for the construction industry, there are a whole range of transferable skills that can be carried over from your previous work experience, to the construction industry. Especially if you are a recent graduate, employers tend look more for potential which can be proven through a good set of transferable skills.
What are transferable skills?
Simply put these are a set of portable skills, skills that can be used in a variety of jobs. These are more general, unlike the specialised knowledge a person gains as they grow with a career. Transferable skills are those that can be applied to any kind of career in any industry. Some of these soft skills include effective communication skills, problem solving, integrity, initiative, creativity and a good attitude towards work.
Why are transferable skills important?
Remember, when trying to find employment in the construction field, to show employers that you have potential. By highlighting your transferable skills, you prove that you have the ability to learn and adapt to any industry requirements competently. As the name suggests, portable or transferable skills are the work experience skills you take with you no matter what industry you decide to venture into.
Some of the most important or valuable transferable skills you should cultivate or highlight when applying for a job in the construction industry are described below. Developing these along with your more industry-specific knowledge and skills will help you be a much sought after employee.
Working on developing leadership skills with the aim of one day leading a team or heading your own company is a great goal to have. However, when starting out in an industry, your leadership skills will play a different, though no less important role. You will have to demonstrate your ability to take responsibility and lead during certain situations, in order to achieve company objectives and goals. It is during situations that call for initiative and quick response or decisive action that leadership skills are important. To shine you should be charismatic, genuine and be able to build a good working rapport with others.
Some traits of good leadership skills include a calm temperament especially under pressure, consistency, ability to be diplomatic and to negotiate non-confrontationally. Further, you should be supportive, someone your co-workers can depend on.
Being able to manage your time effectively is one of the most valuable skills you can develop. It reduces stress in your work life by improving your productivity and efficiency. Completing tasks within a given timeframe will earn you a reputation for dependability, which is a key skill for construction projects.
Practically all industries today, require technological skills and the construction industry is no exception to this. The construction industry has undergone a digital transformation, utilising the latest technology to streamline functions that used to be done manually, such as with the use of 3D designs, the use of augmented reality and drones.
This skill is vital for any industry. Being able to communicate precisely, clearly and calmly, no matter the situation will always serve you well. Especially in the construction industry, workers should be able to communicate project requirements, professionally and concisely.
Both verbal and written communication skills should be developed, so that liaising with the different areas within the scope of a project happens smoothly. Are you assertive, yet polite when you speak? Can you be tactful when handling tense situations? Can you communicate your requirements and questions professionally in your written communications? These are questions to ask yourself and develop upon to hone your communication skills. Miscommunication and misunderstandings can lead to errors, delays and additional expenses.
An important aspect of communication is the ability to listen effectively. In order to complete a job successfully you need to understand the requirement correctly, the processes and the information provided. Without good listening skills, you will work on assumptions and probably not deliver the expected outcome which could lead to missed opportunities and deadlines and revenue loss.
To succeed you need to be a good team player. This is especially so for the construction industry which is collaborative in nature with a great number of different elements coming into play to reach a common goal. Working well with those on your team and with teams of other sections and departments is integral to the smooth flow of a project. Teamwork is also about motivating each other to encourage work and improve communication with everyone onboard to do their part towards reaching the common goal.
Project management, Organisational skills and problem solving
Project management is the skill needed to align all factors of a project and ensure that they are working in-sync towards the end goal. This is where organisational skills also become important as you have to juggle and organise all the different elements to work in unison. A thorough understanding of the project requirements is important as well as the dedication to see through a decided strategy plan. Problem solving, budgeting and scheduling are all integral parts of project management.
Commercial awareness is the ability to deduce the commercial viability of a project. If you work as a project manager on a construction project, then you will need to streamline work practices to make them work within the given budget. The ability to spot any defective areas and suggest alternate solutions is an ability highly valued in the construction industry.
This is the skill needed to enter data, schedule appointments, release communications and for hiring new recruits. This is especially useful if your construction industry role is an office based one dealing with admin work.