Mine worker

I so often have frustrated job seekers contacting me wanting to know why when they have a degree, or in some cases more than one degree, can they not get a job driving trucks on a mine or as a laborer in the oil and gas industry, or any sort of job in the resources industry?? After all logically, one would think that it would be easier to get a job if you are more than qualified – even overqualified – for the opportunity. However, in reality, this does not seem to be the case.

The trend at the moment seems to be that more and more often, professionals from various industries decide they want to get involved in the resource industries. The biggest draw card to this industry are the extremely lucrative salaries paid in the industry. There is also has a certain challenge and excitement associated with this industry, which makes it attractive to many job seekers from other industries, who want to get a foot in the doorway. When a job seeker who has a degree and a wealth of professional experience, gets turned down for a job driving trucks, they can get very frustrated, and insulted, and in many cases take it personally. To make matters worse, when they ask why they were not successful, they are simply told that it’s because they are “over qualified”.

So what does a recruiter generally mean when they tell a candidate that they are over qualified?

What it basically means is that you haven’t taken into consideration, the main criteria as to what the recruiter is looking for, for a particular role. This is normally around experience and qualifications. If you are an Accountant, with 10 years’ experience in accounting, this doesn’t mean that you have the right qualification to operate heavy equipment, nor does it mean that you have the experience and the right skillset to do so. Frustrating yes, but if you look at what is required for the job, then it is really understandable….

Another key factor that recruiters take into consideration is the likelihood of a person staying in the job once they start. For an accountant who is used to working in the corporate world, in comfortable offices, to suddenly find themselves in the middle of nowhere, often based in harsh terrain away from their family and comfort zone, the reality is that many of them will decide that it’s not for them after all. Employers assume, often correctly, that the over qualified candidate will leave at the first chance they land a better job. Another worry for the employer is that they will become disgruntled and unhappy in the job, which may affect their performance.

Candidates from other industries wanting to break into the industry need to also remember that even though driving trucks does not involve obtaining a 4 year degree, there are certain criteria that are required for the job, and companies generally also look for candidates that have the relevant experience and hours required, behind their names.

Taking all the above into consideration there are many job seekers from other industries that do get lucky and manage to break into the resources industry, even when they hold a couple of degrees and are generally regarded as “over qualified”. However it may take time, persistence and a bit of luck.

It is also important to tailor your application to suit the role you want to move into. Before submitting your resume, always attach a cover letter giving as much information on why you are wanting to make the move, what you can bring to the new position that would make you valuable, and ensure that any relevant experience that you may have is emphasized on your resume.

It will be up to you to make a convincing case as to why you would be suited to the job. You need to study the job description very carefully and to point out exactly why you would be a good person for the job. You may even need to consider doing some relevant training. You will need to be able to persuade the employer that you really want the job, and make a commitment that you would stay in the job for a certain amount of time.

You need to look carefully as to why you want the job. Simply saying “I need a job” is not going to be an adequate answer in the interview. You will need to communicate to the recruiter that you really want that particular role… so you need to do your homework, and think about what you are going to say when they ask why you want the job.

At the end of the day you need to be able to show the recruiter not only that you can do it, but also that you want to do it!!

One Response to “Are you overqualified for a job in the resources industry?”

  1. Deas Plant.

    Hi, Susan Kihn.
    You make some very valid points in your ar-tickle, not the least of which is the tendency of ‘highly educated’ people to become dis-satisfied with the work environment in and around a remote mine or site.

    One factor that you did NOT mention is the tendency of these people to ‘brandish’ their so-called education in discussions about the work, the conditions, safety, work methods, etc.. I have over fifty years of operating machinery of many types, mostly earth-moving, on many different types of work and I am still amazed at how many of these so-called highly educated people want to tell me how to do my job, how to do it safely, what a certain machine can or can’t do or what is the best machine for a certain job. “Don’t TELL me how to do my job. Get up in the seat and SHOW me.”

    Many of them seem to some difficulty getting their heads around the idea that the best machine for any given job is the one that you happen to have to hand at the time so long as it can be done safely – especially if the one that you really want happens to be 50 or a 100 – or 500 – miles away – or the company doesn’t even have one.

    I plain don’t care what any of these people may think about my point of view that far and away the BEST education institution anywhere is the University Of Hard Knocks. Experience may not be the best teacher but it sure beats whatever is in second place by several country miles. It may NOT be the be-all-and-end-all of learning but without it you can’t truly claim to have LEARNED anything ‘cos you haven’t put the ‘learning’ into practice to prove it.

    As mentioned, I have over fifty years of operating many types of machines in many types of work. I first worked in an open-cut iron ore mine in early 1968, then again in 1970. In both cases, I left because of poor maintenance procedures and repairs not being done as needed. I have never been back to the mining industry since and I most certainly won’t be going back now because of the idiotic levels of safety regulations – especially the long-handled work wear ones – that have become de rigeur in the industry. I also do not agree with the 12-hour shifts that seem to have become pretty much industry standard here in DowNunder. (Australia.)

    Just my 0.02.

    You have a wonderful day. Best wishes. Deas Plant.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *