macdonald and company
macdonald and company

How to Land Your Ideal Project Management Construction Job

Posting date: 26 February 2019
Tim Stranks our consultant managing the role

11 Essential Qualities To Highlight To Prospective Employers 

Your ideal project management job in construction could be available for you now, today; the type of job where your experience will enable you to excel with new challenges, supervising a large team, controlling budgets, developing work package strategies, and ensuring health and safety on site. To land your ideal job in construction project management, you’ll need to write the perfect CV and demonstrate the qualities that the employer demands at interview. 

Each of the project management roles we recruit for have their uniqueness. However, we’ve been able to build up a list of the most common skills and responsibilities requested for by developers when they are hiring for project management roles. 

Project Management Skills & Responsibilities In Construction 

1 Managing and engaging the team 

A project manager with a developer must both manage and engage their team. Management relates to delegating, monitoring and measuring tasks in a supervisory capacity. Engaging people in a project has a more substantial effect on outcome. When a team is engaged with a project, they will be more productive, produce better quality work, and be more receptive to ideas as well as more proactive at creating solutions. Challenges occur daily in every project – engaged teams cope with these as a matter of routine. 

2 Delegation & Coaching 

It isn’t your responsibility to do all the tasks required through a project, but it is your responsibility to delegate them. To do this effectively, you should have a good understanding of the requirements of each task and who will be best suited to get that task done. This means you need to pick the right team, matching individual skills and talents to task requirements.  

You should also encourage people to develop their skill sets, through mentoring and coaching. This will help them develop their career, and thus give the team greater ability to undertake project work in the future. Enabling self-development and delegating tasks effectively allows the project manager to concentrate on keeping the project and the team on track. 

3 Prioritisation & Organisational Skills 

As a project manager, you will need to prioritise tasks and organise time and resources. Your ability to do this is key to running successful projects, organising your own time and that of your team. You’ll need to understand what needs to be done and when, have a good handle on completion times, and juggle multiple responsibilities to achieve daily, weekly and longer-term project goals. 

4 Communication 

At the heart of project management success is communication. You will need to communicate up and down the project chain, using appropriate communication channels to relay important information to clients, suppliers, project teams and contractors. 

5 Planning & Risk Management 

As a project manager, you will be required to estimate costs, prepare work packages, develop schedules for milestone deliveries, supervise and monitor project work, and conduct regular reviews to keep the project on course. 

Whatever project management methodology you use, the ability to employ and adapt to different planning tools to assign tasks, manage milestones and resources and organise project teams gives you an edge as a manager: all successful projects are planned. 

Adaptability in planning also includes the ability to plan for risk, and then adapt to evolving project circumstances that change the risk profile of a project. Such circumstances may include legal and regulation updates, changes in project scope, issues with resources, and problems with staffing. 

6 Hiring, Disciplining and Firing 

It’s generally your responsibility to get the right people to do the jobs required through a construction lifecycle. It may be that your experience means that you have a good network of people you can call on, and this will help with what is perhaps one of the hardest of your responsibilities as a project manager: hiring and firing. 

7 Keeping Project Stakeholders Informed 

The project manager is the boss on site, but there are others to whom you are responsible: the project’s major stakeholders. Your boss and the clients. There should be no surprises when you communicate project progress to these stakeholders. Good project managers keep their boss in the loop by committing to regular meetings and providing daily or weekly reports, depending on the size of the project. They don’t hide issues, instead presenting potential impacts and possible solutions when problems occur. 

8 Management Of Budgets 

Project managers must be financially adept, controlling costs to help the development achieve its forecast profits. You will have a good understanding of the financial side of the development business, and manage the budget using appropriate software. 

9 Conflict Management & Disputes 

Management and leadership skills required extend to managing conflicts between construction workers, and with subcontractors, third parties and within the management team. Unresolved disputes jeopardise a project, while simmering conflicts between people place a strain on teamwork. Project managers understand the law that dictates management of personnel issues, and how to apply this in procedures and in practice. 

10 Contracts & Agreements 

A project manager may be required to draft contracts with a range of third parties, including:
  • Architects 
  • Materials suppliers 
  • Subcontractors (electricians, carpenters, and heating and cooling professionals) 
  • Planners
  • Finance professionals
  • Others involved in the project 
These frameworks are important in the oversight of a development project. 

11 Relationship Management 

The successful delivery of a construction project rests on many factors, not least of which is the smooth relationships with senior staff, directors, suppliers, contractors and others. The project manager must therefore be adept at building and maintaining these relationships, coordinating meetings and communicating regularly. 

Qualities Employers Look For 

There are other qualities that developers seek in their search for their next project management hire in construction; for example, a forward-planning goal setter who takes the long-term view in line with the company’s goals. This may include self-development, coaching of employees, and involvement in long-term business planning. 

There are also some tangible measurements of success that will help mark you out as the perfect candidate for an exciting project management role. A consistent track record of delivering projects within time and cost budgets will be of huge appeal, especially if development financing attracts hefty penalties for late delivery. By evidencing that you can plan and project manage construction projects in line with a variety of constraints and objectives, you take another step toward your objective of getting hired. 

It is also important to show that you are a good team player, and that you’re open to feedback. Each project is different, and good project managers accept help and advice from those more experienced than them or with complementary skillsets. This attitude helps to build up the project manager’s talent and knowledge, while also being beneficial to the current project. 

Develop Your Strategy To Get Hired 

If you are considering your next move as a project manager in construction, it is essential to develop a strategy to achieve your goal. You should have an idea of the type of employer you wish to work for, and connect with specialist recruiters directly or via LinkedIn to learn of suitable openings as they become available. Construct a killer CV, which you can customise for specific roles and employers. This CV should include: 
  • A personal profile that highlights your experience 
  • Your area of expertise 
  • Your professional and career ambition 
In addition, your CV should detail your core skills and competencies, supporting qualifications (and recent CPD) and evidence of your experience. When customising for specific roles, eliminate unnecessary details before you submit your CV. 

Preparing For Your Interview 

It’s easy to forget exactly what you do as a Project Manager, because you use your skills to execute your responsibilities daily. It is a useful exercise to consider the 11 skills and responsibilities that you employ in your job, and how you have applied these in specific projects. By gaining a deeper insight into what your qualities and experiences are, and how you have applied these in your responsibilities as a project manager, you can prepare: 

A tailored elevator pitch to introduce yourself and address the needs of the employer (e.g. “I’m a project manager with nine years’ experience, and have focused on seeing multi-family city centre units through to completion in short-timescale projects for the last three years.”). Meaningful and relevant stories which evidence your experience, problems encountered and solutions developed. 


Distinguish Yourself - Stand Out

Unique questions that will distinguish you from the run-of-the-mill candidate – questions that show your interest in the company and the role, and that provide you with the opportunity to respond to the answer by highlighting what you bring to the role. 

As a project manager, you have a key role to play in the success of construction projects. You should demonstrate that you are an effective communicator, motivator and team builder, and that you bring the experience and expertise that the employer requires. 

By demonstrating on your CV that you have the necessary industry experience and people skills, avoid micromanagement, have the ability to develop people and deliver projects on time and within budget, you will put yourself at the forefront of the employer’s shortlist for interview. Prepare well for this, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t receive an offer shortly after the interview. 

To connect with the best project management jobs as soon as they become available, contact our recruitment teams today and connect with us on LinkedIn
How to Land Your Ideal Project Management Construction Job
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