Five Tips for Building a Career in the Construction Industry
Do you love working with your hands? Are you ready to jump into your new construction job with both feet? Before picking up that tool belt, check out this guide—we’ll share information on not just beginning a construction job, but how to turn it into a successful career. We sat down with Joseph Truini, a long-time professional carpenter, homebuilder, remodeler and owner of Custom Woodworking by Joseph Truini. Here Joe shares tips for working on the job, diversifying skills, business ownership and more.
1. Listen Up, Pay Attention, and Ask Questions
A big part of working in construction consists of working with others, especially when you’re new to the job, crew and/or trade. The more experienced members on your new crew are likely to be helpful but may not be incredibly patient. This is where the look, listen and learn dynamics come into play. “My rule is pay attention when they tell you how to do something,” Truini says. “If you don’t get it right away, ask immediately. They may be talking too quickly, using language you don’t understand or different terminology from how you were taught. At first you have to be patient and persistent. If you don’t know you have to ask.” Once you get things down and start proving yourself, you’ll begin to gain your coworkers’ trust and respect—but just remember, everyone has to start somewhere.
2. Add New Skills
Take it from the pros: Even after years in the field, there will always be a few new skills you’ll have to learn for new jobs. Learning on-the-go can be challenging, especially when you’re working with relatively new tools and materials. When you’re on the job, “You have to figure it out, your coworkers will show you, but they don’t have time to hold your hand,” says Truini. Just stay positive, remember what you learned in school, and be patient. You’ll get it with time.
3. Learn Your Craft
It takes hard work and dedication to succeed in the construction industry. As with most jobs, attention to detail and an eagerness to learn and produce quality work will take you far. If you take the job seriously and always make it a point to look for better, smarter ways to do things, you will make yourself an asset to your crew in no time. Take it from Joe: “There’s always a better way to do something. They’re called tricks of the trade for a reason.” When you add to that bag of tricks, you’ll start turning that job into a career.
4. Study Multiple Trades
While it’s important to focus on your craft, don’t discount the benefits of diversifying your skill set. Joe Truini learned all about home building and repair starting at age 10 when he worked alongside his father, the superintendent of the building they lived in. “My willingness to study various construction trades has been invaluable to my career,” he says. “It’s not that you can’t succeed by being skilled in one field, but for me, having professional experiences in many trades—home remodeling, repair and maintenance, new home construction, commercial construction, tile setting, cabinetmaking, and woodworking—has broadened my business opportunities and made me much more marketable.”
It’s not just personal diversification that makes you successful; the same principles apply to business ownership. In fact, Jessica Porter, editor of Construction Executive, cites diversification as one of the major factors of growing a construction business. “Successful contractors