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Jon Taylor is a Principal Business Consultant at Global Recruitment Agency CSG. He has over 8 years’ experience within the Mining industry and specialises in the placement of senior level positions, focusing on the Exploration, Geology and Technical areas of the mining lifecycle.

Whenever you’re in pursuit of a new role, it’s essential to have a document that conveys your full experience, competencies and skills. Mining is a competitive market – with incredible earning potential and access to some of the most beautiful, remote locations – which means roles within it are highly sought after. You therefore need to make sure that you have the best CV to ensure you get that dream job. Having recruited in this industry for over 8 years, there are numerous factors I have noticed can be the difference between candidates going forward for interview or not. I’ve put together some personal hints and tips for you to make sure you have that perfect CV.

The Basics – I see CVs every day. What I don’t see is people using a professional font like Calibri or Arial. This is always number 1 for making you’re CV look ‘the part’. A big no-brainer is including your contact details. Some jobs are filled overnight, so you don’t want to miss out on that dream role just because you’ve forgotten to add your number or email. Proof reading and spell checking are also vital, but often overlooked. The most professional looking CV can still be dismissed on the basis of a simple typo.

Structure –The better CVs set out work experience from the most recent going back to the oldest. Don’t order chronologically starting with your graduate experience 15 years ago. In Mining, what you did most recently will be much more relevant and mean a lot more to a hiring manager.

This means, by extension, that your education details will reside at the bottom too, and why shouldn’t they?

If you don’t happen to have a degree (and let’s face it, 99% of mining jobs require a degree as per the job descriptions) why would you put it at the top of your CV which could immediately ‘disqualify’ you from the process? Let your experience go first and then let them question if a degree is all that necessary in the first place. Trust me on this one, I’ve seen it for myself.

Another key reason is that, as an academic, you often sit behind desks in a very removed setting. Working the daily grind can change you and give you experience that alters your methodologies from school. The person you are today is probably far removed from the student you were in college/university.

K.I.S.S – As well as being a great rock band in the 80’s, K.I.S.S stands for ‘Keep it Short and Simple’. Personal preferences aside, hiring managers will always prefer concise CVs with clear punchy sentences. Don’t try and sell yourself by writing everything you did in a role or by being overly technical- you can use the interview to convey the greater detail of your specific skills and experience. Use your CV to bait the hiring manager into wanting to interview you. This can be done by using short, sharp and accurate details of your work experience and skills. Why not use bullet points rather than paragraph upon paragraph of experiences and skills? For example, if you were a Metallurgist on a lead-zinc operation which underwent an expansion, a simple bullet point or two to highlight your involvement in the project, the plant used and any key achievements would suffice.

Snappy Sentences – For the bullet points detailing your positions, use verbs at the beginning of each sentence. You want to show immediately the actions you performed, and these are the words that every hiring manager likes to see. Examples include: increased, reduced, improved, accelerated, produced, budgeted, launched, identified, eliminated, led and managed.

CV Length – A common question I am asked is ‘how long should my CV be?’ How long is a piece of string? For me, my answer for this differs between individuals, as I would base it entirely on individual experience, namely how long you’ve been in the industry and the amount of experience you have. I follow the guidelines of:

  • Careers up to 7 years: 2 pages is sufficient
  • 7-10 years: 3 pages
  • 10+ years: 4 pages

Don’t take this as gospel, but it’s a good template for ease of reading and keeping the reader’s attention. For each role always include; The DATES you worked there, the COMPANY name, the SITE/LOCATION, the POSITION and then 3-4 KEY POINTS about your experiences and skills learned. If you used certain software packages then include that too.

Focus on quality writing and the quality of the accountabilities and achievements rather than the quantity. My mum made fantastic lists for our weekly shop when I was young… Basically, lists have their place. Your CV is not that place.

If you’ve been good enough to progress during your tenure at a company it’s also important to show each role that you held there, but group all of them under one larger heading including company, site and overarching dates so that the person reading understands that you’ve not ‘jumped around’ from company to company, from job to job. An example of this would be if you worked for BHP Billiton as a Junior Mine Geologist and worked up to Chief Mine Geologist in the space of 10 years. This is how I would set it out on a resume;

2001-2011 BHP BILLITON – (INSERT LOCATION(S) HERE) 

Dec 2009 – Sept 2011 Chief Mine Geologist – (Insert Location)

Synopsis of role/ Brief outline of role 

  • Responsibility 1
  • Responsibility 2
  • Responsibility 3
  • Achievement 1
  • Achievement 2
  • Achievement 3

Apr 2005 – Dec 2009 Senior Mine Geologist – (Insert Location)

Synopsis of role/ Brief outline of role 

  • Responsibility 1
  • Responsibility 2
  • Responsibility 3
  • Achievement 1
  • Achievement 2
  • Achievement 3

And so on…

The above also shows the company you worked for trusted you and believed in your skills in order to make the step up rather than recruiting externally.

Consultancies or EPC Employees – The consultants and contractors of this world work on a multitude of different projects. Do you include all of them in your CV? My answer is both ”Yes” and ”No”. If you worked on a site for 1-2 months and nothing ‘major’ happened, add it but don’t go into too much detail. If you worked at a site for a long duration of time, worked on a major project or there was a key part you played in the success/turnaround, then add it. But always add the dates of when you worked at each site and for how long.

If you worked somewhere on a contract basis it might be worth mentioning that. This is just to avoid hiring managers getting the wrong idea and thinking you were let go for bad reasons.

The Dreaded End Bit Do I include references? Do I add my personal interests? What about the sites I’ve visited or books I’ve published? All valid questions. Include referees if you know the referees are happy to vouch for you. If they want to be contacted by you prior to someone else calling them out of the blue then do not include them.

I live and die by the simple rule: include some personal interests if you want. It’ll show you’re human. If not – I don’t think it’ll deter a company from interviewing you. The reason I say this is because you’ll never know if the hiring manager also plays hockey (or whatever sport/hobby you have) – instant rapport!

Cover Letters? I find these outdated, personally. I think your time is better spent outlining your synergy to the job you’re applying for in bullet point form. This will allow you or the recruiter that is representing you to illustrate your candidacy clearly and concisely. The handy thing about the bullet points is that:

  1. They can be used across multiple cover letters
  2. They can be added directly into cover letters.

Finally, just like a cover letter, customise your CV as required. No two jobs, or employers, will be the same and they will each want very specific experience in different areas. What’s more, in markets like Mining, which can fluctuate so dramatically, you’ll never know when you may have to step up or step back. Keeping two CVs up to date for two positions you have experience for will be advantageous as it allows you to be agile and flexible in both difficult and booming markets.

What I will also repeat is, don’t take this as gospel; these are just things I’ve noticed go down better having worked in the industry for a long time. Really, above all, any changes you make should be based on what you’re comfortable with and what you want to do.

With that, I wish you the best of luck in your job search!

Jon Taylor has been recruiting within the Mining industry for over 8 years, 4 of those at Global Recruitment Agency CSG. He specialises in the placement of senior level positions in the Exploration, Geology and Technical areas of the Mining lifecycle.

CSG specialise in Mining recruitment alongside that of six other industry sectors. To view all of CSG’s live vacancies or to read more about their services, visit the CSG Talent website.

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