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Your Pathway to Promotion

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It can be frustrating and confusing to see coworkers with less experience and fewer years under their belt getting promoted while you seem to constantly get passed by. But it doesn't have to be that way. Promotions don't just happen––take action and step up your game so that you can be a winning candidate.

The American Institute of Architects said the number of U.S. construction jobs for March 2017 was 2.6 percent higher than it was for March 2016. With over 170,000 additional construction employees finding work at jobsites, now is the time to prepare yourself for the job you want so when a vacancy opens you will be ready to fill it.

Here are some steps to help you get there.

Step 1: Find a niche.

There are ample opportunities in the construction industry, so deciding which one is the best fit for you is a great first step to positioning yourself for a promotion. Once you determine which area suits your passions and interests, you will be able to focus your efforts on developing the skills you need in that area. There are plenty of resources online to help you determine which positions would be a good fit for you. For instance, U.S. News and World Reports ranked construction management, electricians and plumbers as the top three construction jobs for 2017 based on salaries, market, future projections.

If you want to move up, you need to prepare yourself for the job you want and start following the path that will lead you there. 

Step 2: Work with mentors.

Recognized apprenticeships, required for some specialized areas, not only help you to learn new skills and get noticed by key workers specializing in that area, but they can lead to a journeyman's license. Whether it be working as a glazier installing windows, or working on plumbing or electrical systems, an apprenticeship will help you to become a valued, skilled worker with increased opportunities. 

Electricians and plumbers can take this a step further by getting additional training and becoming a master election or plumber. The additional training will pay off with more responsibility, versatility, and a higher salary. It's a great time to consider a specialized field because according to the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, companies are having a hard time finding qualified electricians. It projected the number of electrician positions will grow by 14 percent between 2014 and 2024. The outlook for plumbers is also bright with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipating a 12 percent growth in this area. 

Step 3: Educate yourself.

Some areas of construction generally require more formal education than others. If you set your goal on a construction manager position, prepare yourself for success. Those with a degree in construction science, building science, or civil engineering have a step up when it comes to reaching this goal. At this level, special attention must be paid to time management and the budget in addition to building a strong, safe structure. Learning how to accurately estimate the cost of a project and keep to a budget will help you work your way up. A well-planned and maintained budget leads to happy employees and more importantly, happy clients. 

Step 4: Look for Opportunities.

Education is important, but a degree without experience can leave you wanting when it comes to moving up. Ask for more responsibilities where you can prove your ability to handle larger projects. Managers love employees that show initiative. In addition to quality work, construction relies on teamwork. Take the time to build relationships with clients and co-workers within the industry and supervisors will take notice, Stacy Bledsoe, director of human resources for PCL Construction Enterprises, Inc. said. That extra effort can lead you to a promotion.

Step 5: Be passionate.

It's obvious when a person loves their work. These are the people asking questions, trying a new approach and learning all they can about their job. Ask questions, share ideas about better ways to perform your job and always keep learning. Passion is contagious and managers notice those employees who put forth strong, consistent effort. In addition to the passion, it's important to demonstrate your commitment to the company's values and reputation. 

Step 6: Learn to lead

Ask to take the lead on a project involving others or to mentor a less experienced worker. This will give you the opportunity to display your leadership abilities, an important quality in any industry. Responsibility often goes hand in hand with leadership.

Step 7: Go get it.

Don't expect the promotion to come to you; you won't automatically move up just because you've done what you've been told. Speak up. It's important to bring attention to your work, ideas, and value, not the fact that you feel you've been overlooked. 

Step 8: Be an active listener.

In the construction industry, it's important to listen and take notes when a project is being described so projects don't have to be constantly re-explained. But it's also important to be engaged and ask questions when they do arise.

Being complacent is the quickest way to find yourself standing still as others are being promoted. If you want to move up, you need to prepare yourself for the job you want and start following the path that will lead you there.

If you liked this article, here are a few more you might enjoy…

8 Ways to Get a Promotion at Your Construction Job

How to Hire Talented Workers Even During a Labor Shortage

Building a Collaborative Industry Culture


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