How to write Oil & Gas Graduate CV?


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There are thousands of publications available in the web advising on how to write good CV. However, in many cases tips are different and mutually exclusive.I think that main reason behind these differences is the fact that the one, good CV form for all, does not exist. Depending on seniority level, type of work or sector, employers require specific forms of CV. For me good CV is a successful one and the success is when after sending the CV to employer, candidate is invited for job interview. Professional Curriculum Vitae is the first impression you make on your potential employer and for this reason, it is worth to put some effort to make it as good as possible.

In this article, I would like to present on how to write a CV for oil & gas and engineering graduates.

Before you start

As mentioned, the CV is the first impression of your person for employer. It is also the first step in whole recruitment process. Therefore, before making it, the most important and key aspect is to check relevance of your knowledge and experience to requirements set by the employer. I strongly recommend, that before applying for particular position, you should compare the Job Description with your own resume. If you decide, that your background and skills are close to that expected by employer, my advice can be only one- apply!

CV Layout

During our meetings with students and graduates, many of them ask us how to make that CV will be more visible to potential employers. Usually, they ask about specific graphic forms and extras. That is wrong direction. Strange and unique graphic forms of CV, various colors, large photos and different fonts do not help your CV in any way.
Certainly, such kind of decorative CV may help if you are applying for creative jobs like graphic designer or marketing/PR specialist but, it is not suitable for oil and gas professionals or engineering graduates at all. More importantly, such unspecific CV may even be the reason of rejection as some recruiters may see it as signal that candidate does not follow the rules, which in case of oil and gas are very important, if not crucial.

Considering the amount of time and money invested in training to transform fresh graduates into profitable employees, it is understandable that recruiters look for candidates aware of their goals, willing to stay with company as long as possible.
I think, that it is worth to follow few simple rules as CV of oil and gas graduate should be visible not because of layout but because of content. The most important principles are simplicity and transparency, therefore we advise use of verified forms of CV layout as these are also used by recruiters, especially within technical recruitment area.

The most important issues, you should keep in mind before sending application documents for chosen position:

 –  Spelling and grammatical mistakes should be absolutely avoided. Such omissions suggest that you do not pay attention to details and are first sign of your negligence. Such mistakes may cause a lot more questions from recruiters during interview or in worst case scenario, be the reason for rejection. Therefore, we advise to read the printed CV few times before sending it. It is also worth to ask a friend to read it in order to find all mistakes.

– Photo, in general there are couple theories regarding this topic. One of them says that appropriate picture added to resume helps in remembering the candidate and reduces the distance between recruiter and candidate during either phone or face to face interview. The recruiter has impression that he knows the person, at least by sight. On the other hand, you really do not know who screens your CV and what impression it can make on this person. Certainly, funny, naked and holiday photos should not be a part of professional CV. If you think that your photo can make positive impression on person reading the CV, feel free to add it, if not there is no need for that. For example, in Fair Recruitment all Cvs forwarded to our clients are without any photos in order to provide equal chances to all candidates who are considered in particular recruitment process. The only exception is when employer requires Cvs to have photo included, which is quite popular in case of offshore companies.

– Contact data should be on top of the CV. You should provide all telephone/mobile numbers and email addresses. As to emails, funny email addresses may create negative impression. While using funny, private e-mail, it is worth creating different one to use while sending applications and for other professional activities. Following scheme can be useful: first name initial + surname or last name, which is close to model used by companies. It definitely looks better than your nickname. As to residential address, it is not mandatory but from our perspective it is worth to add it because sooner or later during the recruitment process, employer will ask about it. When you are looking for the job in company which is located in the city where you live at the moment, it could be additional advantage. Remember, that in case of two or more similar Cvs, the employer will consider candidates’ location as additional criteria in favor of local candidate.

– Information about employment or educational record should be arranged in reverse chronological order. This is standard, period. Any other form of providing information in resume may result in omitting of relevant information

– Using the same font guarantees that CV will look the same on all computers.

File format also should be common. The best at the moment are .doc and .pdf. We do not recommend the newest version of MS Word because there are chances that some companies do not use this software. While sending your resume to recruitment agency, do not use secured .pdf. Usually agencies use own CV Layout and need to convert your CV, so it must be easy to edit.

I think that based on above information you should not have any problems avoiding most common mistakes regarding the form of CV. Now I would like to present the most important issue,

The content of graduate CV:

Education should be described in details. You need to put information about name of university, major, specialization. In case of university career, as long as it is related to the job you apply for, it is worth to put information about relevant courses and master thesis topic. In case of earlier education, information about school is sufficient and there is no need to describe high school courses in details. The only exception to that rule is, when you finished technical college or trade school with profile relevant to industry sector.

– Definitely including information about Grade Point Average is a good idea. Employers always look for the best students and good GPA can be the key factor influencing employer’s decision. Question about GPA score is one of the most popular in case of graduate recruitment, so sooner or later you will be asked about it. I think that it is worth to also include diploma examination grade, the diploma thesis grade and master thesis diploma. Usually they are higher than GPA and can make a good impression.

Language knowledge is essential for employers. Despite the fact that knowledge of English is a standard, its level should be described precisely. You can use standard gradation like fluent, advanced, intermediate or use the The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages which is popular mainly in continental Europe. Information about level of technical English and any other foreign languages you know, will be also highly appreciated and may be decisive for recruiter’s decision.

– Apprenticeship while studying is a very important factor, influencing employers’ decisions of inviting candidate for the interview. Therefore, we recommended to include such information in CV. Please remember to include information about your responsibilities during the apprenticeship, company name and other data, which might be useful for potential employer.

– Participation in extracurricular activities and courses. It is perfect when such activities are in the line with the job offer or company business.

– Participation in student associations, scientific societies, conferences. Together with apprenticeships, extracurricular activities and courses, conferences are the signal for the employer that candidate is interested in the sector and willing to learn.

– Specific software or methodology knowledge. If during studies or through extracurricular activities you acquire knowledge about specific software or methodology, it has to be visible in the CV. However, the information should also be specific about the level of knowledge. During interview, the recruiter will ask about it and therefore it is better to provide detailed information beforehand, so you would not be surprised by questions about the software/methodology relevant, to let’s say, proficient level.

– In case of some work experience connected to the industry, it is essential to describe all responsibilities. In case of holiday work or part time job, which is not connected with our education, it is worth to briefly inform about it. Generally all employers like hardworking peoples.

All these rules have one in common, Curriculum Vitae has to be true. Apart from obvious ethical reasons, you should remember, that all information provided in resume can be easily verified either during interview or through references check. Therefore, you should estimate your knowledge and skills in particular subjects. It is much better to lack some skills and confess to it, than lying about their knowledge.

Just imagine situation: your resume says, that your English is fluent however, during interview it turns out to be basic or pre-intermediate. The first thought of company representative would be “if for that candidate this is fluent English, I do not even want to know what intermediate means in other topics”

I hope that presentation of most important issues related to writing good CV will be helpful. Starting with relevance check, through layout and content, ending on spelling and grammar all above information form a basic compendium for those making the first step in their professional career. Based on my advice, you should be able to create resume that will catch recruiter’s attention and you will be invited for interview. However, our practice shows, that even the best CV does not guarantee such invitation in case of each recruitment process. Nevertheless, you should stay positive and keep trying, especially, that oil and gas industry is very close to face the problem of growing demand for professionals. Wishing you all the best!

Jakub Pawłaszek

Managing Director of Fair Recruitment

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About author

Barbara Pach

Marketing Manager of YoungPetro; Student AGH University of Science & Technology in Cracow; Poland SPE Student Chapter

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