What’s it like to work in… construction project management?
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Construction project managers oversee construction projects from planning to completion to ensure quality, time and budget targets are met. Construction project managers may work in a commercial or residential setting and could also be responsible for projects such as bridges or roads. With a varied task load, construction project managers may be involved with negotiating contracts, securing building permits or scheduling the phases of building work. A degree in a construction related discipline will be helpful for graduates looking to enter the field, although industry experience and good organisational, communication and planning skills are also essential.
Here are some insights taken directly from graduates in construction project management roles:
“A typical day involves talking to sub-contractors about their current and future work, ensuring that it’s properly co-ordinated and managed, thus minimising the chances of clashes on site. It also involves trying to resolve simple problems on site.” Trainee Manager, Mace Aviation at Mace Limited
“A typical day involves a morning safety briefing with subcontractor supervisors discussing health and safety, progress and interface issues. Conducting site specific safety inductions and setting subcontractors to work with permits and relevant information. Monitoring of subcontractors’ work, looking primarily at quality, health and safety and progress.” Graduate, at Kier
“Liaising with contractors on site to discuss activities, health and safety, workforce and issues. Chairing meetings with many different professions, including contractors, supervisors, quantity surveyors, architects and clients. Also carrying out checks on health and safety, checking quality and updating progress.” Assistant Site Manager, North West at BAM Construct UK
“Being outside, meeting a variety of people, having a sense of achievement at the end of a project, variety of workplaces i.e. different sites or being in the office for a time. Potential to travel to different countries to work. Long hours.” Assistant Site Manager, Devon & Cornwall at Kier
“Varied day to day. Get responsibility very early on. I work with a difficult client. No admin staff, so the PM team have to do all of our own admin. Often there is a lack of support from senior staff. Instead of helping find solutions, people often just point the finger blaming people.” Assistant Project Manager, at Mace Limited
“You are given responsibility from day one. Asking questions is encouraged, recognition for doing a good job. Many benefits, such as fresh fruit, team nights out, sporting clubs.” Graduate Project Management , at Jones Lang LaSalle
Application Advice: Update your CV and put down any industry related work experience that you have. Put down if you have played in any successful sports teams as I know everyone does this but it still proves to the person reading the CV that you are a team player etc. Make your CV stand out is some way and make sure it is on one side of A4, think about the layout and how best you can represent yourself.
Interview Advice: Create some model answer of questions which you are likely to be asked in the interview so that you can go into the interview feeling calm and collected. Standard Questions: -Why do you want to work in this industry? -Why do you think you should get this job? -Explain a situation where you have gone above and beyond the call of duty?
Graduate Design Co-ordinator, Design Department/Birmingham at Bouygues UK
Application Advice: Project Management is equally about the interpersonal skills as academic. Demonstrate extra-curricular interests that show you have something about you that demonstrate your ability to get on with people and manage situations.
Interview Advice: Show confidence but relax, the ability to be professional in a high pressure environment is critical to being a successful project manager.
Project Manager, Higher Education and Government at EC Harris LLP
Application Advice: It’s all about people, managing them and supporting them. It is great fun also.
Interview Advice: Show how enthusiastic you are and being a good team member is more important than showing off.
Assistant Site Manager, Western at BAM Construct UK
Click here to view the full range of job reviews by graduates working in construction project management.
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