Are you in the process of graduating from a construction management degree program? Or, did you recently graduate from a degree program? You likely have questions about how to get started on the right foot beginning a career in construction management.
Let’s examine some of the most important aspects of your new career path so that you can position yourself for short-term success and long-term growth in the construction industry.
A Successful Start to Your Career in Construction Management
Consider these valuable tips for launching out in construction management.
1. Continue to Learn
The learning process does not stop when you receive a piece of paper that confirms you have graduated from your Construction Management degree program. Being a successful construction manager requires a commitment to continuing education:
- Continue to invest time into learning your craft.
- Focus on areas where you need to grow so that you can turn weaknesses into strengths.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest issues affecting constructors.
2. Understand Project Administration
Construction projects often bog down due to poor project administration. You should strive to understand the common roadblocks at each stage of a construction project and grow your knowledge of how to overcome these setbacks.
By taking this approach, you can proactively identify problems and present solutions to keep the project moving along. Consider the key aspects of project administration that you should strive to understand so that you can become proficient in supporting the end-to-end delivery of a finished project:
- Procurement of resources: what materials, equipment, and tools do you need to successfully complete the project?
- Duties and responsibilities: do you have the right people for the job? And, who is responsible for each aspect of the work to be completed?
- Job site mobilization: do you understand how to walk a job site and submit appropriate documents so that the work can begin?
- Project closeout: do you have the appropriate crew to complete the project and make a clean handoff to the owner?
- Sustainability: is the completed construction work capable of standing the test of time?
3. Work on Communication Skills
A construction manager’s ability to lead and motivate people to perform the work largely depends on your ability to effectively communicate. This includes oral communication such as providing instructions on a job site and written communication such as filing reports about what happened at the job site.
You also need to be a good listener to be a good manager of people. This way, you can understand the actions, behavior, thinking, and motivations of your people. Then, you can support them on the path to driving toward the ultimate goal of completing each project that you manage.
If you believe that you need to work on certain areas of communication, then you should consider taking a managerial communication class, attending a webinar, or pursuing other forms of upskilling. Always look for ways to enhance your ability to communicate effectively because this is a life-long skill!
4. Commit to Ethics
The construction profession relies on a system of ethical competence, management excellence, and fair dealings in complex construction works. A commitment to ethics enables you to best serve clients, support your company, and look out for the safety of everyone involved.
Ethics is something you take with you every day to the job. It doesn’t sit on the sidelines in favor of trying to meet a timeline, save a buck, or cut a corner on quality. There is never a good reason to sacrifice ethics to realize a short-term result. Continue to learn more about how to support this critical aspect of managing projects so that you can quickly identify and address issues.
5. Build Your Network
When beginning a career in construction management, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There are so many critical aspects to being a construction manager that it can be intimidating to step into a construction management role.
That’s why you should continue to build your network of construction professionals so that you can tap into the experiences, perspectives, and knowledge of the individuals who have already walked down your path.
Look at the contacts you have through your construction management degree program. Whether it’s professors, mentors, faculty, or other students, you should start building out your network now so that it can grow over time.
Then, when you encounter an issue you didn’t expect to encounter or you come across an ethical issue that you’re unsure how to address, you can quickly reach out to a specific contact in your network to find help and support.
6. Join AIC!
If you are preparing to graduate or recently graduated from a construction management program, then you may already be familiar with our organization.
At AIC (American Institute of Constructors), we provide construction management students with a clear understanding of their current capabilities to ensure that you have a core competency and are ready to contribute meaningfully to the construction industry. The litmus test is our robust AC (Associate Constructor) exam.
Many colleges and universities incorporate our AC exam into their degree program. The comprehensive exam covers critical areas of construction management that reveal strengths and weaknesses in the area of construction management. The exam also ensures that a graduate has acquired the necessary education to manage construction projects.
Acquiring knowledge and passing the exam is just the first step, though. To take the next step of truly becoming an outstanding construction manager, we recommend becoming an AIC member to support your career path:
- Grow your network of contacts across the U.S.
- Get involved in the construction industry.
- Learn more about ethical issues in the industry.
- Join the AIC Board to learn from those who have been there before.
- Become more marketable to your current employer or future employer.
- Prepare to eventually become a CPC (Certified Professional Constructor).
Note: the AC Level I Certification is now the CAC Level I Certification, as of November 2022.
Find More Resources in Your Construction Management Career
AIC promotes individual professionalism in the construction industry to advance the quality of construction work. We set high standards for construction professionals, and we believe you will benefit from participating in our organization.
We are here to help you throughout your career. We offer many opportunities for construction managers to learn and advance in their careers through education, networking, involvement, ethical competitions, and more.
– We invite you to subscribe to our email newsletter so that we can stay in touch with you. You’ll receive valuable resources directly to your inbox so that you can continue to grow. Just drop your email address in the sign-up box below.
– Interested in becoming a member of AIC? Visit our AIC Membership page to learn more about becoming involved as you begin your career in construction management.