• John Macedo

Success in the construction industry - ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR WORKERS

Updated: Jul 28

The intention of this article is to offer a complete guideline for workers around the world to help them succeed in their careers. Even though I've created it based on the Australian construction industry, I believe it is still relevant to all blue collars, members of the global building industry.


I will cover here the most important things that you should know to become a respectful and valuable worker, and share with you the most useful tips I've collected along the way.


WHY HEAR ME OUT?

We live in a world that is always on the rush. Therefore, reading articles is probably not on your essential things to do, especially if you are working in construction.


Not because you are not interested but because you are used to working with practical and tangible things. My bet is that even now, you think that these guidelines are written by people who have no experience in the field and are just guessing.


But before you put a label on me, the person behind the keyboard, I want to give you a quote from Mike Tyson. Yes, you are right. I am talking about the boxer


“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”


The reason I brought it in the discussion is to let you understand that I know how hard it is to be an exceptional construction worker when we’re knee-deep in the mud, after skipping lunch to save a concrete pour


Yes, I know the feeling. I can’t say I miss it, but I sure don’t regret it and the reason for that is simple. From these moments I acquired the experience and the knowledge I needed in order to succeed as a blue-collar. And I mean how to REALLY succeed.


So, did I get your attention?

Great. If so, let’s move to some in-depth explanation.



WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The most important rule is this: success is personal.


Maybe you want to get a more pleasant job and make more money, you know, move up in the ranks. Or maybe, you don’t care about any of that and success for you is having more time with your family and more work-life balance.


✳️ Every person has their own idea regarding it. This being said, if you’re here, you most probably came for one reason: you want success and you want it in your own terms.


Truth be told, for me, success meant getting promoted to a position in which I could earn more and hard work got me to the place I wanted. I managed to double my pay raise and got to be the one in charge of running the teams in (roughly) one year's time. Of course, that meant more responsibility but I was prepared to learn whatever I needed in order to achieve that.


This being said, I want to tell you everything I learned from being a construction labourer and the road I took in becoming the director of Spades.


▶️ And let you know that I am 100% sure you can do it too.


You might think that some of these ideas may sound cliché and obvious while others do not. But what it really matters here is the work and I am the living proof of that.


Don’t imagine that I didn’t make mistakes along the way. I didn’t follow them all perfectly. Furthermore, everybody who has worked with me and knows me is well aware that I am far from perfect. But, I can assure that if you follow these instructions the best as you can, you will succeed in the construction industry.


This being said, in this article I will be able to read my personal guidance to success which you can use and adapt to your case and life.


So, let’s begin!



GETTING HIRED

As you imagine, nothing that I am about to tell you has no meaning if you are jobless. Because of that, I want to take the time and give you some hints about getting hired.


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HAVE A PROPER CV


As already mentioned, the construction industry is a practical one and nobody really has time for fluffy reading.


If you're looking for work and need some help with the CV part, take your time to read our construction CV guide and template. Link Ccmming soon


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TALK LIKE A PRO


You might think that labour working doesn’t need too much talking, but I want to assure you this is not the case. Only after I switched sides and became a recruiter, I truly understood how much of a difference good communication makes.


I will be honest with you. Lots of the rejections we give are not because of the skills of the potential workers have, but because of the communication part.


Talking like a pro does not imply you will lie about your experience.


It means that you should avoid slang talking and also it means expressing yourself clearly as much as possible. Nothing can sink your boat quicker than asking “what's-up?” and calling the recruiter your “bro”.


Your intentions may be befriending the recruiter to improve your hiring chances, and that’s understandable, but don’t do it. It will only show that you’re not serious about your job. This is valid for any sort of rank, role, length of employment.

Your goal is to BE TRUSTED, not make friends.

As I told you earlier, my first CV was a mess. It was too long and not straight to the point. However, I did get the job I was looking for and I am sure that what helped me out was my talking.


Even though back in the days, my English was far from being perfect. I recently moved to Australia, so you can only imagine that I was not the best person to talk to. However, I tried as much as I could to use the proper wording and express how much I was interested in the role and how respectful I was. Moreover, I let the recruiter know how much I was committed to doing a good job.


So, years later, I know for a fact that was what got me through the doors.


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PRESENT YOURSELF RESPECTFULLY


Remember that the way you talk is not the only “card” you have.

You need to take into consideration other aspects such as the clothes you wear.


I don’t imply you dress formally, but I do recommend you dress up clean.


Another very important aspect you have to take care of is your body language and your manners.


All of this will tell the recruiter how serious you actually are and therefore it will make his decision regarding you to be easier to make.


I must confess that at first, I didn’t understand the importance of this situation. So as you can imagine, when I was labouring I used to wear very worn-out clothes. If I had the worst possible T-shirt, I would wear it.

Of course, I had an excuse for that. I always said it was no use to wear better ones because I would end up destroying them anyway.


It was only after a new worker came along and joined the team that I understood the importance of clothing. He was always careful with what he was wearing and people would look up at him even though he didn’t have the best experience.


That opened my eyes and made me realize that if you want to be perceived as a professional you need to look like one.



GETTING STARTED

Congratulations! You passed your interview. You talk the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk.


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BE A PRO


But what does that actually mean?

It means that you have to live up to the expectations your employer has.


And you know what is the most important thing your employer will want to see? Will want to be sure that you take full responsibility for the quality of your work, you are a professional and have work ethic.


You need to understand that when you look at your work, you look in the mirror. If your work is poor, you will be seen as a poor worker.


▶️ Be sure that first of all, you like what you see because, in the end, you are working for your future and not for the future of the company.

If you realize that, you will be able to see what you really are - a service provider.


Don’t believe me? Let me explain it so you will. When you’re working for a company they are paying you for doing a job for them. That means that you are selling your service to them in the same way they are selling their services to their clients. See where I am going with this?


The only difference between you and the company paying you is the kind of service you are providing.


✳️So, I suggest you provide the service of quality just as good as you expect to receive if you were the one paying for it.


This being said, be as professional as possible. Yes, this includes talking and behaving respectfully. You can learn more about the tips and tricks about being a professional labourer with this article here.


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THE LEARNING STAGE


So, you have just started this new job.

Is that all? Nope.


There are still many things to be learned. Even if you already have the skills to do the job, you will still have to learn about how your new company wants the job to be done, things like procedures to follow and people to listen.


Make sure you’re open to learning. If you already know stuff, good for you, but be humble about it. The time to make suggestions may come later. However, you need to become a trustworthy member of the team and as much as it hurts you, that is not right at the beginning of your employment.


You might wonder how long is the learning stage.


Well, it is my true belief that we never stop learning. However, you can consider you "ready" when you know enough to execute your task perfectly without ever feeling lost or having to ask any questions.


Of course, this cannot be done overnight. It may take a few months to a year, depending on how complex is the job you’re executing.


Let me give you an example from my personal experience. Some time ago, I used to work for a bulk excavation company as an excavator operator. I only was with the company for one month as a subcontractor.



The job was easy to understand, so my bet is that I could have turned into a professional bulk excavator if I were to do it for 3-4 months.


On the other hand, I also provided my services for a screw piling comp