Keywords may just sound like a marketing buzzword, but the language you use, how concise you are, and the formatting you use all contribute to scannability and appeal of your resume. These are key to landing an interview, especially for roles that have many applicants. While revising your resume, remember, you have only six seconds to stand out!

Job seekers have been advised for a long time to emphasize action verbs in their job-search applications. That action verbs associated with “what you did” are the keywords. In the vast majority of cases, they are nouns, but they can be phrases, too.

Construction Keywords Related To All Trades

Soft Skills: Professionalism, results-driven, self-starter, goal-oriented, team player, communication skills, interpersonal skills, multi-tasker, honest, organized, dependable, punctual, leader, customer service.

Construction-Specific: Valid driver’s license, own hand/power tools, safe and clean working environment, regulatory and safety compliance (OSHA, ADA, UBC, HAZMAT), equipment maintenance, available for travel and flexible shifts, LEED certified.

There are also many role specific terms to consider. Don’t know what to focus on as you revise your resume? Copy and paste the construction job description into a free wordcloud tool. The more often a word is used in the job description, the more important it is to the role. Just a simple scan of Suffolk’s general career page produces the following:

revising your resume wordcloud

If you remove some company references and common terms, priorities for Suffolk are clearly as follows:

  • Smart and helpful staff
  • Experienced staff
  • Candidates that have worked on projects
  • Workplace culture
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Experience with spreadsheets
  • Family and values

Don’t Have The Skills?

It may seem backward, but it’s possible that as you complete this exercise to update your resume that you’ll find you’re lacking or need a refresher on role-specific skills. If you can’t get this experience quickly at your current job or in school, check out these sites and free applications to help boost your resume.

  • Khan AcademyImprove your Microsoft Excel knowledge through various exercises and videos.
  • Excel ExposureTake this free online training course to improve your Microsoft Excel skills.
  • Coursera: Build career skills from over 2,000+ courses from top schools and universities.
  • Google Drive / Docs Tutorial 2016: A Google Drive / Google Docs tutorial using the 2016 user interface.

Once you’ve completed these trainings, update your resume and start applying. If you’ve already applied, bring updated copy of your resume to your interview.

If you need any help thinking through your next steps, drop us a line!


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