Construction Pros Offer 10 Tips for Career Success

What does it take to build a successful career in the construction industry? It depends on who you ask. One thing is certain though; there are opportunities abound in the construction industry right now from engineering to equipment operation. Here are 10 tips from industry professionals to get your career started on the right path. The rest is in your hands.

Missy Scherber

 In this new era of construction, there are great efficiencies we’re gaining from technology. But we can't forget where we came from. Our industry was founded on a gritty, hands on, in-person way of getting the job done. The key to success is bringing an understanding of both the old and new way to the jobsite every day.

Missy Scherber, owner and general manager of T. Scherber Excavating


construction career advice

 You have to be self-motivated. I have seen a lot of small business owners waiting for the work to come. You can’t do it in this market. This market moves quick. If you can’t get to it, clients are going to go somewhere else. You also have to be prepared to work long hours. You need to be self-motivated to make yourself go into the office at 9 p.m. to do quotes. It’s easy to drop the ball and say, “I’ll bid the next one.” But the fact is, the next one is going to be for the same customer, and the customer is going to ask the guy who actually gave them a number the last time.

Scott Kandziora, owner and president of Underground Specialists


Katie KelleherThere are three rules I always try to follow:

  •        Be the change you want to see.
  •        Always say YES to opportunity.
  •        Always remain true to yourself.

Katie Kelleher, crane operator for Select Plant Hire Co. Ltd.


Shane Hedmond Construction Junkie

 For those who are new to the industry, it's important to use every day to continue to learn not only your craft, but how that fits into the success of the project as a whole. For the more experienced people, remember your humble beginnings in the industry and use that to help the less experienced. The ability to learn and train are two of the most valuable skills in construction.

Shane Hedmond, editor in chief of Construction Junkie


how to get started in construction

 Never turn down an opportunity to learn. I began my apprenticeship at my family’s general contracting business by sweeping floors. As I got older, I spent time after school and on weekends working in the lumberyard helping customers. Eventually I started working with construction crews at jobsites. These experiences more than anything else, including a college degree in construction engineering technology, prepared me to take a key position in the family business.

Andrew Narvick, estimator and project manager at Narvick Brothers


Michelle Hands This is a Man's World


Work hard and learn from others. Construction is a team effort. I try to convey to women that if I can do it, they can do it. They shouldn’t be afraid to try.

Michelle Hands, founder of NJ Engineering


Ernie Stephens, CEM

 The more training a young manager receives, the better off he or she will be in the long-run. The skills, traits and habits a person can pick up from extensive training provide value. And it’s not only the direct objectives that can be gained from training. It’s also the contacts one makes that can provide important insights and information down the road. Looking back, I think that’s what has really helped me advance my career: just having met the right people to call when needed.

Ernie Stephens, corporate equipment manager for Superior Construction


Ellie Hinds Smithson, ERS Trucking


In our industry, it’s who you know and who likes you. Being likeable is your biggest marketing strength.

Ellie Hinds Smithson, owner of ERS Trucking


Stanley "Dirt Monkey" Genadek


Persevere. Figure out a better way. If something is not working, analyze what that is, modify your behavior and take a different route … but don’t quit.

Stanley Genadek, owner of Genadek Landscaping & Excavation


zach parnell, ITI


Never stop learning. Treat your job as a profession. When you view yourself as a professional craftsman, you will curate, nurture and steward your career.

Zack Parnell, president and CEO of the Industrial Training Institute



Want more tips on growing your career or attracting and retaining top talent? Download our Ultimate Construction Career Guide.

Download Now


Related Articles