Construction and Skilled Trades 101


Are you interested in getting a job in the construction industry or starting a career using another skilled trade? Many businesses are looking for talented temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire employees to complete projects. Specialized positions that businesses are now hiring include:

  • Superintendents
  • Carpenters (rough and finish)
  • Plumbers and masons
  • Painters
  • Drywall (installers and finishers)
  • HVAC (heating, cooling and sheet metal)
  • Electricians
  • Cement (form and finish)
  • Skilled and general labor

What Skills Do I Need?

For construction and skilled trade positions, the skills you need depend on the job. You can get your foot in the door with a limited secondary education if you’re able to demonstrate that you have plenty of real-world experience. Those years of vocational and technical classes you took in high school could come in handy when filling out a job application, as could the summers you spent building decks and painting for your cousin’s now-defunct construction company.

Other positions might require technical certificates and professional licensing. HVAC specialists, for example, usually undergo a three- to five-year apprenticeships and need to acquire both a state license and an EPA certification. Plumbers require similar apprenticeships and licensing in addition to vocational training at a technical school or community college.

How Do I Land a Job?

As more young people choose to go to traditional colleges after high school, the number of those pursuing careers in the trades continues to fall. The result is a high-paying, in-demand field. But you have to do more than meet the minimum requirements to start a career in the trades.

For starters, be choosy about where you’re searching for positions. While online job boards post plenty of jobs, they might not be legitimate sources of income. Red flags include misspellings in the advertisement and no mention of necessary licenses.

The best way to find a position in your chosen field is to network. Take advantage of career placement opportunities at your college and keep in touch with former professors and classmates. You can also join professional organizations such as Associated Builders and Contractors or the National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors where you’ll meet others in your field.

Stand Out From the Crowd

When applying for a job, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Work with your college’s career center to make sure your resume is organized and highlights your experience and skill set. Get recommendations from former employers, apprentices and anyone else who can vouch for your work. And don’t be afraid to brag a bit — make sure to highlight awards or certifications that will set you apart from other applicants.

You can also streamline the application process by working through a staffing agency. Contact Decton Staffing Solutions today to find out what construction and skilled trade positions are available in your area!