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Find Your Next Job ... Right Now

Construction businesses today are hiring only the best and the brightest. Why? Because they can. The economy has created an employer's market, making it all too common for open positions to close the same day they're announced. Hunting for a job requires speed and connections, and the job seeker who is online has both.

April 27, 2009

Construction businesses today are hiring only the best and the brightest. Why? Because they can.

The economy has created an employer's market, making it all too common for open positions to close the same day they're announced. Hunting for a job requires speed and connections, and the job seeker who is online has both. Company websites, online social-networking communities and niche job boards all combine to make the online job hunt fast and effective (not to mention free).

Even without a personal computer or Internet access at home, there are still many local ways to get connected. Libraries, unemployment offices and cafes, coffee houses, and restaurants with free WiFi are great options. Another option is to ask current employers if use of their computers and Internet access after work hours is available. If the job seeker is being laid off or their project is ending, the employer may be open to the idea.

Where To Start

Scouring the Internet for jobs can be overwhelming, so it's best for job seekers to narrow the field. Before logging on, job seekers should take 10 minutes to make a list of the skills and experiences they can bring to their next employer, as well as a list of the new job's must-haves, such as location, job duties and salary requirements. This list is not to be shared. Rather, it's to keep the job seeker focused, guiding him or her to the most appropriate web resources.

If a particular company holds appeal, it's a great idea to visit the organization's website. Often, a construction business will post open positions directly on their site. Even if an organization does not have a job posted, job seekers can send their information to the HR department.

The most up-to-date job postings are available at online job boards. But the vast array of options can be overwhelming. Visiting niche job boards serving employers in specific markets — such as agciajobs.com, a website for Midwest highway, bridge and underground construction professionals — is the best way to narrow the field.

Resumes For The Online World

No matter which online route a job seeker pursues, an updated, online resume is crucial, as it is the main method of communicating with an employer. Many in the construction industry, however, do not have a prepared resume, as they are accustomed to phoning or walking in at a company's location to inquire about work.

But in today's market, standing out among the throngs of job seekers is an absolute must for construction job seekers — and the resume can help job seekers do just that.

When applying for a job online, job seekers must have a way to succinctly communicate their qualifications viae-mail. A resume and cover letter, saved as a Word document or PDF file, is the most professional way to submit these documents.

Preparing an online resume is much the same as preparing one in paper-form. There are definite must-haves and certain things to avoid.

Must-have information includes contact information, including an e-mail address; an objective tailored specifically to the job; education, including names of the institution(s), dates attended and degrees or certifications earned; most recent work experience and the specific duties performed on the job; and certifications, licenses and training.

Speaking Of Cover Letters

The cover letter is a note of introduction allowing an employer to read an applicant's enthusiasm and interest. It allows job seekers to spotlight certain qualifications, provide clarification, give additional details, and show personality.

There are some "don'ts" when it comes to preparing resumes and cover letters, including the following: social security numbers; salary requirements; personal information, such as hobbies, family or religious affiliation; negative experiences with former employers; and photos.

Coming Offline For An Interview

One of the best things about an online job hunt is the wide array of jobs available. However, what this may do is introduce an employer and employee from two different regions.

If a job seeker is asked to travel a long distance for an interview, he or she may ask if the company provides a travel expense reimbursement. So long as the request is presented in a professional, non-threatening manner, most employers will be open to helping with expenses, which could include airfare, gas and lodging.

Presenting an eager, yet professional appearance is key. Interviewees should clarify the company's dress code, and dress one step closer to the formal end of scale when getting ready for the interview.

Following up the interview with a thank-you e-mail, citing a specific piece of information the interviewee gleaned from the meeting, is not only appropriate; it's a must.

A recent survey by Industry People Group, which runs niche job boards mepjobs.com and agciajobs.com, revealed that nearly 60 percent of contractors in the field anticipate changing jobs in 2009. That makes for a tremendous amount of competition for open positions in the industry. Job seekers who use online tools elevate their chances of breaking through the commotion and finding their next job — quickly.


Author Information
Cassey Sanger is talent acquisition manager for Industry People Group, powering job boards mepjobs.com and agciajobs.com.

 

Career Website Launched

"Attention all skilled highway construction workers and equipment operators — jobs in Iowa are available." That's the message the Associated General Contractors of Iowa's new career website (www.agciajobs.com) is sending to Iowans and others interested in working for Iowa businesses.

Robert Cramer — co-president of Cramer & Associates, a Grimes, IA-based highway/heavy contractor, and senior vice president of AGC of Iowa — says, "We've struggled for many years trying to find skilled help, so this is an effort to address the long-term issue of getting people into construction."

Launched in January with partial funding from the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the primary purpose of AGC of Iowa's website is to address a serious challenge facing the construction industry — identifying, hiring and retaining skilled construction industry professionals.

According to Iowa DOT, the state's highway construction workforce is aging (average age of a skilled construction worker is 47) and candidates are not being drawn into the industry quickly enough to compensate for the exodus of the baby boomers.

Roger Bierbaum, director of the Iowa DOT's Office of Contracts, says, "Iowa will be receiving nearly $358 million in federal highway funds through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009. This means a significant increase in highway work and a wonderful opportunity to put more Iowans to work in the construction industry."

Bierbaum also says the site will help contractors comply with federal and state requirements related to recruitment and hiring, including an effort to recruit minority and female employees.

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