Build Your Network
From the first time you set foot on a job site or in a professional venue where you have the opportunity to interact with construction workers, engineers, subcontractors, and others within your field, you need to focus on building your network. Develop potential connections. Get to know people. Whether you’re just starting out or you know you’re going to be changing jobs soon, building your network is the key to knowing what positions are open and getting your foot in the door.
- Carry business cards. This may seem like a cliche, but it’s one of the best ways to literally get your name in the right hands.
- Visit trade shows and talk people there.
- Get to know the people who are coming to your job sites. You never know when one of them will be ready to offer you your next job.
- Volunteer. Whether you’re just starting out in construction or you’ve been working in a specialized position for years, there are jobs out there that need to be done. Check out Habitat for Humanity in your community, donate your time to a local school that’s trying to get a building repaired, or work with local churches as they handle building mission trips. Contractors in your community are working there, too–and they’ll take note of your presence and the quality of your work.
Try to Leave on Good Terms
You know that your current job isn’t working out. Your superintendent has a bad attitude, your hours keep you away from your family when you most need to be with them, and the terms of the contract you signed aren’t being adhered to. No matter how bad it is, however, you want to make sure that you leave your current job on good terms. Give appropriate notice, try not to leave in the middle of a project, and keep your work ethic strong even in the last days of your employment instead of trying to “go out with a bang.” The construction and engineering communities in your city are relatively small, and burning your bridges with one company may make it harder for you to get your next job.
Build Your Skills
Both the construction and the engineering industries are experiencing a shortage of qualified individuals to take those open positions. That means that the more skills you have, the more positions are open for you. Taking the time to develop specialized skills will make it far easier for you to acquire a job in the future. Any time you’re on a job site, ask questions. While you shouldn’t walk away from your own work to watch or help someone else, being available and willing to learn new skills is the mark of a great construction worker–and those skills can be of immense benefit to you later.