Is 5+ Years’ Experience an Outdated Prerequisite for Construction Roles?

Employers have always looked favourably upon years of experience as a means test for a strong candidate. The more years someone has worked in their field, the better their expertise, and generally, the less training they need.

However, with the shift in recent years to more dynamic ways of working and the seemingly constant introduction of new technologies, the concept of ‘years of experience’ is a bit outdated. All that experience means nothing if you aren’t willing to back it up with continued learning and adapting.

So while we’re not going to stop seeing requisite years of experience on job descriptions any time soon, what you may notice in your job seeking is that recruiters and hiring managers will be more flexible if you can demonstrate you’re the right person for the job. Here’s why.

1. Companies are often hiring earlier

Companies are moving to hire people earlier in their career and build more robust graduate programs, which feeds into promoting more from within the company and creating sustainable pathways for talent.

Rather than hiring more senior people with higher salary expectations and preset corporate cultural attitudes, companies are looking to bring young talent with great attitudes into their company early and develop them into the team members they need and that complement their existing workforce.

This requires more work from the company to establish better processes, pathways and professional development opportunities but leads to nearly a ‘perfect-fit’ employee that’ll go on to deliver exceptional value to their construction company.

2. Don’t cancel yourself out, apply and get feedback

Companies will use criteria in the job requirements in an attempt to screen candidates, but most candidates assume these are must-haves, which they actually aren’t.

There are so many examples of someone with 3-4 years experience getting hired for a role that stated ‘5+ years experience’ simply because they applied and were able to demonstrate why they were a good fit for the role. Or people being hired who didn’t necessarily have the right project sector experience or slightly less project value experience as an example.

Builders know that often, the perfect-fit candidate may just not be available but if you can show you fit most of the job requirements, they’re often willing to take a chance on you and invest time into bridging the gap.

Simply put, don’t cancel yourself out before you even apply because you could stand out and get hired. Worst case, you’ll get great feedback that will set you up to land the next role. Every interview is a learning experience.

3. Address and acknowledge any experience gap in your cover letter

Use your cover letter to acknowledge your experience gap but go on to address why you’re a great fit for the role in spite of this. TIP: don’t focus too extensively on what you’re lacking. The focus of your copy should be on why that gap doesn’t matter.

Research the company to understand what else is important to them, for example their values, culture, projects, team, etc. TIP: you can do all of this inside your Conecta profile!

Discuss in more detail what you’ve done to date and align this back to the company you’re applying to. Tell them why you’d like to join them. What do you love about their business? What impresses you most? Why do you want to be part of their team?

4. When to apply and when not to apply

Do not apply if you’ve only read the job title and understand nothing about the company or their requirements. Do not apply if you don’t possess the majority of the job requirements.

Apply if you genuinely want to work for the company, honestly feel you match well enough to what they’re looking for and believe what you lack is something that can be learned as you go.


Job ad criteria, especially years of experience, are only ever a guide to the type of person and experience the employer is looking for. It’s certainly not a deal breaker if you don’t meet all of them. Obviously you need to be able to execute in the job but builders know it’s much more important to employ someone who fits their culture and team first: someone who’s a willing and continuous learner, who will grow with them and add value to their business over many years.

If you want to discuss your suitability for any of the roles advertised on Conecta, book a Conecta Career Call with one of our experts today.

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