I have seen a few posts on LinkedIn of late referring to why CV’s are not making an impact when applying for jobs, so I thought I would collate a post to try and give some advice on how best to maximise the potential of your CV, plus also a few tips on how Recruiters search for potential candidates (or how I do anyhow!).
Although I am offering this advice for CV’s, this can also be taken into effect when collating a LinkedIn profile to maximise your chances of appearing in Recruiters searches. You have to remember that not all positions will be advertised for you to apply for and companies may have the strategy of searching for potential suitable people first, before advertising to the market.
Apologies in advance if the below is long-winded, but I will try and give as much advice as possible.
As I specialise in Oil & Gas Well Operations, I may use this terminology in any examples.
- A CV does not have to read like War & Peace and be 10+ pages long. It is about the impact of the content and not the length of the CV.
- Utilise the full page space. Only too often I see huge amounts of white space on CV’s. As long as the sections and wording are spaced correctly, it will be clearly readable - so use the page space given to you!
- After initially including your name and any personal details you wish to include, always use a profile summary to start off your CV content. This can be utilised as a Cover Letter would be when applying for roles and should be inter-changeable to highlight skillset and information towards specific roles/criteria’s you are targeting. Also include topics such as if you speak any different languages, as this is one thing that I definitely search on for specific projects. Try and keep it to half a page at the max though.
- Include any professional qualifications on Page 1. A lot of Oil & Gas roles require professional qualifications, so make these stand-out towards the beginning of your CV and not at the end.
- Next should be your Career History/Positions – this should either commence on page one, or at the top of page two, not any further down. It should be in a form of either bullet points or short and concise paragraphs. On too many occasions I have nearly passed out trying to read a 10+-line paragraph with no punctuation.
- Always clearly state the company you worked for, country and project location, plus include in the description the project name if applicable – Recruiters will search on these key words.
- Always include your full job title such as ‘Senior Drilling Engineer’ or ‘Senior Drilling Supervisor and not ‘SDE’ or ‘SDSV’ as these abbreviations cut down key word searchable options.
- Do not just copy and paste your job description into your CV, make it personable.
- When describing your duties and the role you undertook, include key words and specific details.
Recruiters will undertake key word searches when either searching on-line or on CV’s to match the criteria they have been asked to look for.
For example: I would search on key words such as: Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD), HPHT, Horizontal, Vertical etc. If I know the rig type or name, then I would also search on this, so include these details and even the installation/rig name if possible. I have filled many roles over the years by searching for individuals who had previously worked on the rig that the project would be utilising and placing them to work back on it.
- Do not be afraid to add any achievements made in a particular role. These may be on a personal/team basis or how the project ended. The further back you go on your Career History/Positions, less in-depth information may be required, especially if a certain position may not relevant to what you are applying for. A CV should be more top heavy on career experience information than bottom heavy. There is an importance to show any Training Courses that have been taken, so list these after the Career History section has been completed. You do not need to list a whole page of courses, just select which you believe are most relevant at that time. If possible, include reference details. In this day and age, quite often people will be contacted (as may be known to the Hiring Manager/Recruiter) prior to a candidate being engaged with to gain some background information – especially in contract/associate positions. If this can help your application, why not include it? For a re-cap (as I do not want to end on No.13!), use the below as a guide to the set-out of a CV.
Any Personal / Contact Details:
Profile / Summary:
Career History: (including work achievements)
References: (if applicable)
One thing to remember is to not take any application rejections personally (I know this can be hard in the current O&G climate), as there are other criteria’s to why someone may not have been considered for a role and it could just be down to someone else matching the criteria better. I know this can be extremely frustrating, especially when of late it seems a high level of applications are not being responded to, so choose your Recruitment Partner wisely.
If you present your experience in the correct way, then your details will get noticed and when a suitable role does become available, you will be at the fore-front of your Recruitment Partners mind and automatically added to their short-list.
I hope the above can help with potential job searches and best of luck.
Author: Lee Clarke