Maximizing Results for an Internet Construction Job Search

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brassmein  ->   construction gangbox journal  ->   construction job search

Construction Job Search Tips

Effective Use of the Internet for Construction Job Searches

by Howard Watkins

There was once a time when the construction road-worrier carried an infamous "Little Black Book" containing a list of phone numbers for recruiters and associates that could be relied on to provide him with the best opportunities. To line up his next project he would often have to steal away to a pay phone, an unattended office phone, or even take a day off to make contacts during business hours.

The modern construction worker has two important tools that make his life much easier, the Cell phone and the Internet. The Cell phone allows him to contact prospects any time of the day from any location without risk of reprisal, and the Internet exposes him to more opportunities than could previously be imagined. For obvious reasons the Cell phone was quick to catch on but the Internet was a step that both recruiter and job seeker have been reluctant to take.

While opportunities abound, my inbox stays full of resumes and queries from desperate jobseekers. While most recruiters run their ads on generic websites that poorly target the professional craftsmen, the jobseekers comb the Internet maze for that perfect opportunity. It's like a game of blindfolded tag. But lo, with a little insight on how the search engine works the jobseeker can greatly improve his chances of landing the best projects, even in hard times.

The trick here is to use the keywords that will narrow your search to something useful. I made a quick test on a major search engine to demonstrate the usefulness of trade terms in narrowing the search results.

Keyword = construction job returned over 19,000,000 sites.
Keyword = pipefitter returned 333,000 sites.
Keyword = pipefitter + journeyman returned 82,400 sites.
Keyword = pipefitter + journeyman + Louisiana returned 3,530 sites.
Keyword = pipefitter + journeyman + Louisiana + industrial returned 844 sites.
Keyword = pipefitter + journeyman + Louisiana + industrial + per diem, narrowed the field to 107 sites. Seven of the first ten results were recent ads for industrial pipefitters in the state of Louisiana that offer per diem.

It can be seen here that well selected keywords can weed out all but the most useful results. For the best outcome, select your keywords from a list of the most likely words to be used in an ad for your craft. Start with the narrowest target, and continue to broaden the target by using fewer definitive words.

Other good keywords include: shutdown, turnover, outage, overtime, own tools, experienced, Travel pay, immediately. If you want to find work on the larger projects, use keywords for two or three different crafts on the same search, ie Ironworker, pipefitter, or include the name of a preferred construction company.

The major search engines have an advanced search feature that enables more specific searches by including or excluding words and tying words together to make a phrase.

There is a host of construction job boards and forums that offer free posting of job ads. In the beginning most of the craft recruiters were reluctant to use them. For the most part, card files and rolodexes had always worked just fine and there was no incintive to change. In some part it was just aloofness and snobbery. Lately some of the more enlightened recruiters have broken ranks and use the boards to their advantage in craft placement. The more astute users select the boards that offer the most exposure to their targeted audience. A list of the boards can be found at

Too many job search sites require a time consuming registration and log in. Often they search only among their own paid ads and the results may be very small and off target. In addition their ads usually show up on the results of general search engines anyway. If you put a high value on your time, you may want to bypass most of them. monster has the largest database as well an email notification agent. The registration process is a little intense, but than you are done. You can also post your resume for free.

Visit for a complete array of construction industry information and resources.

Howard Watkins