transferable skills


Are you interested in changing careers and going into construction, but not sure which of your skills would impress recruiters? You need to identify your transferable skills. These are skills that are useful in a variety of roles. Often these also fall into the category of soft skills, which are non-technical skills that you learn through life experience.

Here are 10 of the top transferable skills employers look at when considering employees from other sectors:

Communication skills

This is one of the most important transferable skills an employee can have. You don’t necessarily have to be a great speaker or expert report writer. You just need to accurately get your point across to your boss and co-workers. If you are able to ask questions when you’re unsure or able to voice your concerns, you will be able to work more smoothly. You also need to be able to send good emails or write up reports and other documents to ensure all employees are on the same page and know what to do. Additionally, clients will need to know how the project is progressing or get an analysis of a project.

In construction, workers on a job site need to communicate to ensure everybody knows their roles and to keep safe on site.

Management skills

On a construction site, management is essential to successfully and safely complete the project. A manager will need to coordinate and effectively manage the crew on site. They will need the ability to juggle projects, keep on top of progress, keep track of tasks and the crew and delegate tasks. You need to be able to identify team members’ strengths and effectively utilise them. It is also important to know their weaknesses and help them to overcome them.

As a leader, you also need to earn and command the respect of your team and support them. You need to be able to keep calm, especially under pressure, and treat your team with respect. The abilities to resolve conflict, discipline your team and guide them to a good outcome are also important.


Your qualifications and education can also be a deal-breaker. If you’re interested in entering the construction industry, it’s a good idea to get a few construction certifications or courses. This is something that even industry professionals and veterans do to keep up with the newest trends and technology.

Skills in Maths will also be useful since construction requires careful measurement and calculations.

Language skills will help you in writing reports, completing work orders and filling out all kinds of documentation.

Physical strength and endurance

Unless you spend the whole day in an office with paperwork, most construction roles are hands-on. You’ll need to be strong physically and have the endurance to complete a project. Some construction roles require heavy-lifting or the ability to work under stress or in potentially dangerous conditions, such as on top of scaffolding or a roof.

Clerical skills

There is a lot of paperwork and organisation required in the construction industry. You need to be able to keep track of various projects and their progress, be good at time management and be able to do paperwork.

Even if you’re not working in an office, you need to be able to interpret work orders or client briefs to get the info you need to start working.

As transferable skills go, being able to keep organised is a great skill to have, as this makes your work more efficient and safe. You’ll work with deadlines and need to be able to complete the project on time, without constantly putting yourself and your team under pressure.

Technology skills

Like other industries, technology in construction is constantly being updated. It is important that you’re able to keep up. You need to be able to master basic programs for communication like emails and messaging, time management, and typing up reports. In addition, you’ll need to learn how to use speciality apps, machinery, and software.

If this sounds daunting, don’t worry. If you have a basic knowledge of the programs, practice will make perfect.

Willingness to learn

Like we’ve mentioned above, industries are constantly updating and evolving. Recruiters prize candidates with a positive attitude and who are eager to learn and improve themselves. Always be willing to learn new skills and methods and how to use new tools and programs. Often, you can do this on the job. Sometimes you may even be sent on courses by your company, which will improve your CV.

A strong work ethic will also help you get ahead in your job. You need to take pride in your work and do your best regardless of the reward, be honest, and take the initiative. If you take responsibility for your work and mistakes and learn from things that go wrong, you will earn the respect of your colleagues.

Building and mechanical knowledge

These are important skills if you’re planning on doing anything technical. If you don’t know how to use machinery correctly, you can get injured or even injure someone else. Or you won’t be able to complete your assigned task. If you don’t have prior knowledge of construction and machines, this is something that you can learn on the job. But it may mean that you have to start with a lower-level job, such as a training program or apprenticeship. Alternatively, you may have to look at an office-based job, where these skills are not needed.

Problem-solving and critical thinking

In the construction industry, you need to think on your feet and solve problems quickly and innovatively. It is also important to look at a project critically and be able to identify any potential problems and rectify them timeously. You’ll also need some research skills to keep up with the latest trends, technology and techniques.

Since construction is a risky industry, it’s important to use these skills to make the job site as safe as possible. You need to be able to identify and analyse risks both in the project and your team.


Without teamwork, no project will get done on time and under budget. As part of a construction team, you need to effectively work with other people. You should be able to take responsibility for your assigned tasks, but also assist your colleagues if needed. It is essential to build good working relationships and to effectively communicate to complete your common goal.

If you are still lacking in some of these areas, see how you can improve. There are many business skills and self-help books that can help you with the basics. You can also chat with friends and family members to find out which areas you can work on and perhaps even get a few tips from them.

For more advice on your transferable skills, how to get into the construction industry or vacancies, contact Simpson Dean.

Find out how to improve your CV, the benefits of remote working and other tips for employees, visit our blog for a range of informative articles.

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