Tips on Landing Superintendent Jobs in a Recession

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The global recession, which started to manifest itself in December 2007, has adversely affected many industries so much so that job prospects are gloomy in many sectors. One of these sectors that continue to be affected by the recession albeit to a lesser degree is the construction industry, which still manages to hire workers and professionals.

There are two factors involved. For one thing, the business of government in terms of looking after the nation's physical infrastructure like roads, bridges and pipes must continue despite the gloomy state of the economy. For another thing, the emerging green construction sector is on the upswing with its emphasis on retrofitting older buildings and constructing new structures to conform to eco-friendly standards. Both of these developments provide for more employment opportunities particularly for highly-skilled superintendent jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for construction superintendents are higher than average until 2018 despite the recession. However, the competition for superintendent work is very keen especially with the infusion of new blood, new technologies and new techniques in the industry. Fortunately, it is possible to have an edge over the other applicants with the following tips.

Get Educated

Increasingly, employers are looking for construction superintendents with a four-year bachelor's degree in any related field like construction management, construction science and civil engineering. These programs are offered by over 100 universities and colleges in the country with courses including but not limited to project planning and implementation, construction methods and materials, contract administration and financial management, laws on building safety and standards as well as information technology.

After completion of the bachelor's degree, higher education such as a master's degree in construction science or business administration can be pursued although most programs will require a certain number of years' experience before admission. It is also possible to pursue a 2-year associate degree in construction technology or management as well as participate in educational and training programs provided by industry organizations. The important thing is that the education requirement in many superintendent jobs can now be fulfilled by the applicant.

Get Certified

Although a valid certification as a construction manager is not a compulsory requirement in finding the right superintendent work opportunities, it is an advantage. This is because the certification is evidence of professional competence and sufficient work experience since the certifying agencies will not provide said document without the applicant passing the stringent certification requirements.

There are two agencies that provide for construction manager certification. First, the American Institute of Constructors provides for the Associate Constructor and Certified Professional Constructor designations upon completion of requirements and examinations. Second, the Construction Management Association of America gives the Certified Construction Manager designation.

Get Experienced

Education and certification are not the be-all and end-all of being an effective construction superintendent. Practical experience is as important, if not more important in many respects, than a bachelor's or master's degree simply because construction is about dealing with concrete materials and methods, pun not intended, than with abstract concepts.

In fact, many of the superintendent jobs offered by employers specify a certain number of years' experience in the construction industry preferably one that involved hands-on labor. Thus, many construction workers like masons, carpenters, plumbers and electricians will move up the ranks to become construction manager with the assumption that education and certification has been acquired, when and where necessary.

Get Moving

A construction manager must show the willingness to travel to many job sites in one day, to be on call 24 hours a day especially on rush jobs, and to be assigned wherever the work is located. Keep in mind that many decisions must be made at the job site instead of at the office so the ability, desire and willingness to travel must be an inherent quality.

Although many construction managers will work 40-hour workweeks, this is not possible with construction projects that operate all through the day and night to be within the planned timeframe. Thus, it is also necessary to accept being awaken at night to solve problems, delays and issues at the job site.

Superintendent work is very demanding on the mind and body. Thus, when applying for superintendent jobs, it is a very good idea to present yourself in the most positive light possible. Demonstrations of positive personal traits like ability to work under pressure, performance of effective multi-tasking, quick decision-making skills, strong leadership skills, excellent communication skills and even bilingualism are effective persuasion tools towards securing the job.
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