There are many ways to hunt for a job in construction, but some methods are more proven and reliable. When seeking executive or senior management positions, there are some basic ideas to keep in mind.
1. Research, Research, Research. Know everything you can about the employer and the position before you apply to any job opportunity. By targeting your job hunting efforts to a few key opportunities or employers, you can take more time to make the right impression by being better preparted.
2. Who is in charge? Learn who is in charge of the hire. If it's a public or private opening, there is always someone in charge of the hire. By researching the employer, and making a few calls into the department or to suppliers you can identify the person in charge. Sending your resume to anyone else is likely to disappoint you.
2. Get noticed. Whether you are applying for a publicly posted position, or trying to encourage an employer to create one privately for you, make sure to submit your profile or brief resume directly to the hiring authority via express mail. It's important to get noticed from the piles of paperwork that may be sitting on someones desk top. Personal delivery or express mail will often do the trick.
3. Professional Networking. Utilize your network to find “insiders” within the employer you want to work for who can help you identify the hiring authority, learn about the employer and the position. There may even be an Employer Referral Program that can help them obtain a cash reward if they refer you. Your network can help provide an introduction for you, and may also help you identify suppliers or clients of the employer, or ex-employees who can provide you invaluable insight.
4. Be proactive and creative. Do some detective work and find out where the hiring authority will be outside the office so that you can try and meet with her (industry trade association event, project job site, client or supplier's office, favorite restaurant, gym or coffee shop). If you must visit the office, make it a point to show up in the late afternoon or early morning unannounced to see if the hiring authority will meet with you for a brief introduction. Submit your portfolio package (resume, references, project accomplishments, etc.) in a classy folder. Make sure to place a well crafted cover letter on top the package indicating the top 4 reasons you are interested in employment with this employer, and why you are an ideal match so she knows you have done your homework. You might even consider placing a $5 Starbucks or Planet Smoothie gift card glued to the top of the cover letter as a token for taking the time to review your package. Nothing is more relationship binding than a pleasant face-to-face encounter.
5. Customize your resume. Know everything you can about the position and what the employer is looking for before you prepare your resume or profile. Each position is unique so make your presentation unique, and tailored. Don't send in a detailed resume or generic biography. Your initial submission should be a brief one page summary focused on why you match the requirements of their ideal candidate. Any other information you provide will only minimize you effort to be the ideal match (few employers ever read past the first few paragraphs of a resume). Learn how to customize your employment history, accomplishments, education/credentials so they best match their need. You can always provide additional information once the employer has expressed an interest in you and requests more from you.
6. Edit your work. Have a third party review and edit every email, resume and correspondence with the employer for grammar and spelling mistakes. Too often we know what we want to say but fail to properly communicate it in writing because we forget the reader does not know all that we know. You can't afford to make a foolish mistake when trying to make the right first impression.
7. Provide relevant references. Include a few outstanding reference letters from respected people relevant to the position and employer. Utilize your network to seek out those you know who know the hiring authority or other employer personnel, and get references from them. The closer to home you can get with your references the better.
8. Always Follow up. Don't just send in a resume, or quit after your initial meeting. Continue to pursue the sale until a decision has been made. There is nothing wrong with being polite and persistent. Go-getters are achievers and are recognized as such. Stop by with additional questions and utilize your network of professionals who may know the employer to put in a good word for you. Any efforts you make should be followed up on to assure you are getting the attention you deserve. Until a decision has been made on you, you need to be proactive.
9. It's a job, not just an adventure. Job hunting for someone unemployed should be their full time job. Everything from getting up early, to working an eight hour day is what will be required of you until you start your new job. Searching out public and private openings, developing and utilizing your network, making presentations, etc. will all take time and discipline. Don't worry about the outcome, just stay focused on the daily duties and in time your efforts will be rewarded. Do your best during the work hours and leave it alone when done. Don't allow yourself to take the job hunt home with you.
10. Enjoy the ride. If unemployed you now have the luxury to focus on some of the hobbies and interests you could never do while employed. Take advantage of the downtime and take care of yourself. Join that gym, learn that new foreign language, volunteer at the church, join a sports team, take a class and broaden your horizon. Life is more than just work.
Written by Frederick Hornberger, Hornberger Management Company, Wilmington DE, "Construction Recruiter"
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