Construction worker job description, responsibilities, and resume tips

Last updated: April 25, 2024
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Construction worker job description, responsibilities, and resume tips
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Construction workers have been around for a long time, and the construction industry is showing signs of continued growth.

Construction workers perform many general labor tasks at construction sites, such as building infrastructure, remodeling old buildings, and operating machinery.

This job can be highly rewarding, and you’ll often need little to no experience to get hired. If you enjoy working with your hands, this job could be for you.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what you can expect to do as a construction worker, how to become one, and how much money you’ll make.

We’ll also give you some resume tips to help you land a job.

What is a construction worker?

Construction workers are found at construction sites. The term covers a range of positions, including laborers, bricklayers, painters, plumbers, glaziers, and stonemasons.

Construction workers perform different physical tasks and can work on projects of all shapes and sizes. For example, they can help with new commercial, industrial, or domestic buildings, as well as renovations and rebuilds.

Some construction workers build and repair infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.

Construction workers work in teams and must follow verbal instructions. They follow schedules and strict health and safety laws.

Construction workers can work full-time or part-time hours. The job can include overtime options for those who want to earn more money. In some areas, there may be noise restrictions on building works, so working hours may be limited.

Construction workers often work for construction companies; however, they can also run their own businesses.

Construction worker job responsibilities

The title “construction worker” isn't one-size-fits-all. Construction projects vary and will require different responsibilities.

For example, in commercial construction, there are three varying sizes of jobs that each come with their own tasks, regulations, and responsibilities.

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However, there are some commonalities between most construction jobs.

Common duties of a construction worker are:

  • Tidying up and preparing construction sites

  • Removing potentially hazardous materials and debris

  • Loading and unloading building materials from trucks to be used on the job

  • Operating heavy machinery and power tools used for construction

  • Building or disassembling temporary structures and other sections of buildings

  • Preparing sites for construction by digging trenches, compacting earth, and backfilling holes

  • Following complex construction plans and designs from supervisors

However, these job duties can vary depending on the project.

A construction worker that works on roads will have very different responsibilities than one building houses.

For example, a road crew member may learn to use different types of construction equipment, like a jackhammer, pavement breaker, earth tamper, and surveying equipment.

In general, expect to perform physically demanding tasks that require you to be able to lift heavy objects. You should also keep in mind that construction workers work in varied weather conditions. Working at heights or in tight spaces can also be part of a construction job description.

With more specialization, you could have greater responsibilities involving explosives and computer-controlled pipe cutters.

Construction worker skills and experience requirements

Working in construction gives you the opportunity to use a different skill set than working in an office environment.

Here’s a summary of what you’ll need to start a career in construction:

  • High school diploma

  • Physical fitness

  • Manual dexterity

  • Driver’s license

A lot of the necessary skills come with experience. Most construction jobs require a high school diploma. You can get your foot in the door quickly to build on your skills and advance to more senior positions.

Some construction workers start as laborers before choosing a trade. Once they’ve decided on their career path, they can start an apprenticeship or enroll in a trade school.

Having your driver’s license is invaluable for construction, especially if you’re seeking a supervisor position on a job site.

While you can find full-time work in construction with a high school diploma, there are opportunities to earn more money with specializations.

Many construction laborers earn certifications in welding or scaffolding or even move on to becoming electricians after finding they enjoy this line of work.

Construction worker salary and employment rates

On average, a construction laborer in the US earns $37,770 per year.

Pay varies based on the specific type of construction work you do. For example, a laborer working in heavy and civil engineering construction can earn around $38,510, while a temporary helper will make around $29,520 annually.

Regardless of the specific type of role you’re applying for, you probably won’t have any problem finding jobs in construction.

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Construction laborer and helper positions are growing as fast as average, with 4% job growth expected by 2031.

There'll likely always be a need for these workers to repair and replace infrastructure.

However, laborers may sometimes find themselves commuting to areas with a higher demand for construction to find employment.

What about skilled laborers? The average salary for electricians in the US is $60,040 per year. For plumbers, it’s $59,880, and for carpenters, it’s $48,260.

If you want to work as a brick mason, the average annual salary is $62,380. For glaziers, it’s $47,180.

Construction worker resume tips

An expertly crafted resume will help you land a job as a construction worker. Here are five tips to help get you started.

1. Use a summary statement, not a career objective

Rather than starting with what you want to gain, begin with a summary statement highlighting the skills you have to bring to the table.

Your summary statement should read like an elevator pitch highlighting your accomplishments and expertise. Try to keep it under five sentences.

Here’s an example of a construction job summary statement:

A hardworking construction worker with one year of experience. Has worked on multiple construction sites and helped unload trucks, dig trenches, and erect fences. Is a team player with physical fitness, manual dexterity, and organizational skills. Recently obtained a commercial driver’s license.

2. Include your experience first, education second

Keep your resume organized with the most important information at the top. You only have a short amount of time to get noticed, so make it count.

Your work experience should be after your summary statement, followed by your education.

If you have years of work history, you don’t need to list it all. Your resume should fit on one page or a maximum of two — so stick with no more than your three most recent roles.

For each entry, include the job title, company name, and date range. You should also add your top duties, focusing on those that are relevant to construction.

Don’t have any job history? Highlight any other activities you’ve been involved in, such as volunteer work you’ve done, teams you’ve been on, or your certificates or personal achievements.

3. List job experience in chronological order

Keep your resume skimmable by listing your experience and education sections in chronological order. Start with your most recent position, and work your way back.

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This makes logical sense and will be easier for the recruiter to understand.

Chronological resumes are one of the most common formats and are accepted by most employers.

Your resume’s components should be in the following order:

  • Personal contact details

  • Summary statement

  • Professional experience

  • Education

  • References

Read our chronological resume guide for more tips and sample resumes.

4. Keep it as relevant as possible

If you’re applying for construction jobs, do your best to list relevant experience. Make sure you include any previous construction experience you may have.

If you don’t have any, try to focus on relevant aspects of the experience you do have and include that on your resume.

Transferable skills are beneficial in any industry. For construction, the types of skills you should look at include physical fitness, manual dexterity, teamwork, and communication.

You can also highlight any related responsibilities you may have had at a job.

For example, if you were a barista, mention that you did a lot of lifting and cleaning. Or, if you’ve worked in a warehouse, driving a forklift and unloading trucks will look good on your resume.

The right attitude and physical abilities are usually enough for an entry-level construction job.

5. Use numbers when possible

It’s one thing to say that you did something, but if you can back it up with results, that’s even better. Use specific numbers to back up your claims on your resume.

For example, you can say you have five years of experience in a specific industry. Alternatively, if you’ve won an award or obtained a certificate, you can mention the year this occurred.

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For example, you could say you gained a forklift operator license in 2020 or you previously worked on a construction site with a 100% safety record.

Construction jobs hiring right now

There are many types of construction jobs hiring year-round. Let’s take a look at some positions to help you begin your job search.

Remember, if you’re just starting, look for a construction worker or laborer position. Once you gain experience, you can apply for more senior roles.

Construction worker

A construction worker performs various tasks depending on the job site. You can find them preparing sites for construction, operating heavy equipment, and assembling structures.

Construction workers put up temporary fencing and dig trenches. They follow building plans and make sure the structure is safe.

Construction workers support skilled tradespeople, including bricklayers, roofers, and carpenters.

If you want to work as a construction worker, you’ll need to be physically fit, motivated, and have good time management skills. You’ll have to start in an entry-level position, but after you get experience, you can add new duties to your workload.

Browse construction worker jobs on Jobcase.

Construction superintendent

Construction superintendents oversee the construction process. They are in charge of scheduling, sticking to a budget, and making sure construction plans are followed.

Construction superintendents work closely with clients and keep them updated with building progress.

They organize the various construction workers coming to the site and make sure they all work together.

Construction superintendents check that construction areas are safe and report any incidents that occur. They’re also responsible for following strict construction laws.

These leaders have excellent communication, organization, and time management skills. Most construction superintendents also have a bachelor’s degree or construction experience.

Browse construction superintendent jobs on Jobcase.

Construction inspector

Inspectors review the plans (and completed projects) of buildings to ensure safety compliance. They also review old structures for safety purposes.

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Construction inspectors travel to different worksites and use a range of testing equipment. For example, they can check electrical components, plumbing, and moisture levels.

Construction inspectors also make sure everything is level and up to code. If there are any red flags, they can give violation notices. In some cases, these inspectors can order work to stop completely.

They keep logs and create reports.

Construction inspectors need a high school diploma or equivalent. At least five years of experience in the construction industry is also usually required.

Browse construction inspector jobs on Jobcase.

Construction engineer

A construction engineer (or civil engineer) oversees the construction of large projects. They design and develop plans for the repair and construction of buildings.

Construction engineers look at different information. For example, they check data, survey reports, and environmental factors.

When planning each project, they balance the cost of construction with regulations and risks. They apply for building approvals and make sure all materials meet a high standard.

Construction engineers work closely with construction superintendents. Most of the time, these workers have a bachelor’s degree.

To work in this role, you’ll need to be detail-oriented and organized.

Browse construction engineer jobs on Jobcase.

Electrician

An electrician is a skilled construction worker. They install electrical components, including wiring, lights, and other energy services.

Electricians can be found on construction sites for new builds, as well as existing properties. If there's an electrical issue, an electrician will be called in to find the fault and make repairs.

They have strong technical knowledge and know how to read blueprints. They use a range of tools, including drills, pliers, and electrical tape.

The most common pathway to becoming an electrician is through an apprenticeship program. Electricians need to have manual dexterity, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills.

Browse electrician jobs on Jobcase.

Bricklayer

Bricklayers work on construction projects and renovations. They use bricks and mortar to build walls and other structures.

The materials can vary depending on the job and may include clay, stone, and concrete blocks.

They work closely with other construction workers and report to the project manager. Bricklayers often start as laborers and learn the skills they need on the job.

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If you want to work as a bricklayer, you should be prepared for a role that's physically demanding. You'll spend most of your workday outdoors, and you should be comfortable lifting and bending. You should be self-motivated with attention to detail.

Browse bricklayer jobs on Jobcase.

Plumber

Plumbers install and maintain water piping systems. They also install pipes and water fixtures for bathrooms and toilets. And they prepare plumbing for appliances, such as dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators.

They work on a range of building projects, including domestic, commercial, and industrial structures.

Plumbers often need to work in tight spaces. They use a range of tools, including wrenches, pipe cutters, and spanners.

Most plumbers learn the skills for the trade through an apprenticeship. To work in this role, you'll need manual dexterity, problem-solving skills, and teamwork skills.

Browse plumber jobs on Jobcase.

Carpenter

Carpenters work with wood and other materials. They usually have a specialty, such as cabinet making or wall installation.

Carpenters read blueprints and use their math skills to cut materials to the right size. Whether it's a door frame or an entire wall, these blue-collar workers make sure every job meets strict building codes.

Sometimes, carpenters are called in to make repairs or upgrades to existing homes or businesses.

To do the job, you'll need solid carpenter skills. The most common way to learn the trade is through an apprenticeship program. Attention to detail, math skills, and manual dexterity are all essential.

Browse carpenter jobs on Jobcase.

Roofer

A roofer is someone who installs, replaces, and repairs roofs. They use different components, including roof sheets, shingles, and screws, to make sure the structure is weatherproof.

Projects can vary, from homes to industrial buildings to sheds. These construction workers use hand tools to cut and seal each roof. If there's a leak, the roofer can make repairs.

The role involves working outdoors and at heights, and you should feel comfortable using a ladder.

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You can get started as a roofer with workplace training. If this is your dream job, you can start as a helper until you gain experience. Roofers need physical fitness, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills.

Browse roofer jobs on Jobcase.

Glazier

Glaziers work with glass products. They install and replace windows and skylights, and they cut glass to the right size.

Glaziers know how to read blueprints, and they can install glass in a range of structures. Sometimes, they need to work at heights, including high-rise buildings.

Glaziers make sure the glass is installed into frames without any gaps. Then, they seal the area to make sure it's weatherproof.

Most glaziers complete an apprenticeship program, which can take three years or longer. To work in this role, you'll need a steady hand and manual dexterity. Glaciers need math skills to take accurate measurements.

Browse glazier jobs on Jobcase.

Plasterer

Plasterers use plaster in building projects. They use wet plaster to protect walls and ceilings from environmental damage. And they work with plasterboard partitions and cement.

Plasterers can repair damage to walls, including cracks and holes. Experienced workers can also apply decorative plaster, such as cornices and rosettes.

They leave surfaces smooth and ready for painting. They can be found on both new construction sites, as well as existing properties.

Sometimes plasterers learn their skills through an apprenticeship. Alternatively, you can gain experience through job training.

The job involves working at heights, and you'll need to use a ladder. Plasterers need attention to detail, manual dexterity, and teamwork skills.

Browse plasterer jobs on Jobcase.

Painter

Painters use paint brushes and rollers to paint a range of surfaces. For example, they can paint walls, doors, and ceilings.

They prepare the work area and clean and sand as required. Painters apply tape and cover floors and furniture to avoid paint splatters.

They work with customers to find the right shade and paint type. Painters can work both indoors and outdoors.

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Most painters learn through workplace training. You should be confident using a ladder and working at heights. You’ll need to be comfortable bending and stretching.

Painters need excellent communication skills, manual dexterity, and time management skills.

Browse painter jobs on Jobcase.

Stonemason

Stonemasons work with different types of stone products, including granite, concrete, and limestone.

They construct walls and flooring, both indoors and outdoors. For example, they can build exterior walls or create footpaths and retaining walls.

Stonemasons use hammers, chisels, saws, and other tools to cut and shape the stones to fit perfectly together. The role can involve working at heights and in tight spaces.

Most stonemasons complete an apprenticeship program. To be successful, you'll need analytical skills, manual dexterity, and physical fitness. The ability to lift heavy stones is a requirement of the job.

Browse stonemason jobs on Jobcase.

Boilermaker

Boilermakers work with boilers and vats — these can contain either liquid or gas.

They install, repair, and maintain these systems. Boilermakers read blueprints and assemble a range of components. Plus, they replace damaged pieces, such as seals or pipes.

Boilermakers look for leaks and faults and make repairs. They use different power tools to do their job and can work at heights and in tight spaces. The role can involve traveling to different worksites, including remote locations.

Most boilermakers learn their trade through an apprenticeship program. To be successful, you'll need mechanical skills, physical fitness, and the ability to work independently.

Browse boilermaker jobs on Jobcase.

Land a construction job today

A career in construction can be extremely rewarding for the right person.

If you prefer working a physically demanding job rather than being behind a desk, you’ll enjoy this type of work. It’s a stable career choice with a good job outlook, and you aren’t required to complete extensive schooling.

Most people start out as construction laborers or helpers. With experience and education, you can boost your skills and become a superintendent, inspector, or engineer. There are also different trades you can focus on, such as carpentry, electrical, or plumbing.

Start your career by browsing construction worker positions on our job board.

You can find tips for job seekers to help you land a career in construction by visiting our Getting Hired Resource Center.

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