Construction Skills: Definition and Examples (With Tips)

Updated February 3, 2023

A person in safety gear guides a hanging load of wood at an outdoor construction site.

The construction industry has a diverse array of careers aspiring employees might pursue. Each position requires various skills, but some are shared across different construction fields. Learning about some of these key skills can help you develop them when preparing for a career in construction.

In this article, we discuss construction skills, list some of the most important ones and describe how to list construction skills on your resume.

What are construction skills?

Construction skills are the abilities and qualities professionals have that enable them to support job sites in different areas of the industry. As with any career, soft skills, like problem-solving or critical thinking, are used along with highly specialized skills. Additionally, many construction skills are transferable, meaning you can use them in other career fields.

Related: How To Become a Construction Manager: A Complete Guide

Examples of construction skills

If you're interested in developing your construction competencies, here are some types of skills you might consider:

Physical skills

Many construction jobs are physically demanding. People with careers in construction often need to lift heavy items frequently at work and stay on their feet for long periods. Here are some physical skills you might need in a construction career:

  • Physical strength and stamina

  • Heavy lifting

  • Endurance

  • Dexterity

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Posture

  • Lifting technique

  • Strong eyesight

  • Good hearing

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) use

  • Fine motor skills

  • Motor accuracy

  • First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

  • Balance

Related: How To Get a Construction Job

Safety procedures and PPE

One of the most important skills you can have on any construction site is a mastery of best practices in safety and personal protective equipment (PPE). Try to familiarize yourself with the best ways to stay safe on any job site and the particular safety nuances of a specific job. This helps you remain free from injury and benefit your employer since most construction companies focus heavily on safety training.

Design skills

Here are some design skills you might need as a construction worker:

  • Building codes

  • Measurements

  • Developing blueprints

  • Environmental regulations

  • Safe worksite development

  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)

Communication skills

Knowing how to communicate effectively with colleagues and supervisors and any direct reports can help you accomplish your work more efficiently. Strong communication skills can also help make the workplace more productive and enjoyable. Here are some communication skills you might benefit from on a construction job:

  • Conversation skills

  • Writing messages

  • Delivering instructions

  • Following instructions

  • Leadership

  • Teamwork

  • Customer service

  • Quality control

  • Price negotiation

  • Labor relations

  • Worksite management

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Conflict resolution

Cognitive skills

Here are some cognitive skills that can help you succeed in construction:

  • Algebra

  • Geometry

  • Trigonometry

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Critical thinking

  • Problem-solving

  • Memory

  • Technical vocabulary

  • Organization

  • Documentation

Technology skills

Technology is an essential component of most modern construction projects, and many construction companies seek to hire employees with strong technological skills. Try to familiarize yourself with the kinds of software and electronic devices most commonly used in your specific construction field.

Here are some technological skills you might need in a construction career:

  • Email

  • Construction management software

  • Mobile apps

  • Building information modeling

  • Virtual reality

  • Augmented reality

  • Estimating software

  • Drones

Growth and developmental skills

Maintaining a growth mindset, or a willingness to learn, can help you develop good relationships with your supervisor and teammates. Many employers try to hire employees eager to learn and grow in their careers. A growth mindset can also help you advance more quickly in the workplace if you hope to pursue supervisor roles. Here are some developmental and growth-oriented skills you may need in a construction job:

  • Coachability

  • Willingness to learn

  • Growth mindset

  • Vocational training

  • Apprenticeship engagement

  • Independence

  • Self-motivation

  • Time management

Related: Using a Growth Mindset To Develop Your Skills

Technical building skills

Depending on your area of construction, you might need specific technical skills. For example, you might work with particular materials, like wood or metal, or in different parts of the construction process, like design or surveying. Here are some technical building skills a construction career may require:

  • Carpentry

  • Stonework

  • Tiling

  • Carpeting

  • Surveying

  • Metalwork

  • Welding

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical wiring

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning

  • Framing

  • Drywall installation

  • Drywall texturing

  • Painting

  • Demolition

  • Roofing

  • Power tool use

  • Concrete

  • Asphalt

  • Repairs

  • Lathing

  • Pipe fitting

  • Cabinetry

  • Window and door installation

  • Trimming

  • Heavy equipment operation

  • Minor equipment repair

How to improve your construction skills

There are several steps you can take to improve your construction skills:

1. Develop a list of your construction skills

When you're ready to improve your skills, you can begin by brainstorming the types of skills you have or are learning. Consider making a physical or electronic list to keep track of the skills you wish to include. You might also include a list of those you hope to improve.

2. Learn through experience

One of the best ways to develop these skills is through experience. You can start with smaller jobs or perform basic tasks on your own to hone skills, like woodworking or critical thinking. You might also ask your supervisor for greater responsibilities if you hope to develop knowledge in different areas.

3. Consider mentorships

Mentorships can help you network with other professionals and learn skills you want to develop. See if you can work with more experienced professionals on your job site and shadow them to see how they apply their skills. You might also try to schedule time with experienced employees for a certain time each week to ask them questions.

Construction skills in the workplace

Here are some tips for construction skills in the workplace:

  • Ask for help. Asking for help from a supervisor or coworker can help you develop skills you may need improvement. This can be especially important in construction to ensure you comply with any safety or legal requirements.

  • Consider other aspects of the job. As there are different components of construction jobs, including surveying, designing, building and inspecting, learning about these other areas can help you develop your skills. For example, understanding physical building can help designers be more strategic with their drawings.

  • Transfer skills. Many construction skills are transferrable, including problem-solving, critical thinking and communication. You might develop these in other areas of your career, education or life and apply them to the needs of your job site.

How to highlight construction skills

Here are some areas where you might highlight your construction skills:

In your resume and cover letter

When you're ready to add construction skills to your resume, list soft and technical skills in their resume section. You might highlight one or two in your professional summary section to show your best qualities.

In your cover letter, you can expand on these topics slightly. You might connect your construction skills to the needs of the company to which you're applying. For example, if you list technological skills in your cover letter, you might explain how they support a company's mission of providing innovative building services to its clients.

In your interview

In your interview, you have the opportunity to discuss your abilities further. Consider sharing specific examples to help hiring managers picture how you might help their company. For example, if they ask about a challenge, you can describe the situation, what you did and the outcome, emphasizing how your work helped the company.


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