Tweaking Your Resume And/Or CV For More Effectiveness

Mining companies globally are looking for skilled professionals but that doesn't mean you're an automatic shoo-in for the job! Regardless of your qualifications. You still need to stand out amongst other applicants so you reach the shortlist, even though it's probably a very short shortlist for some mining professions! One thing you can do to help yourself do that is by updating your CV and/or resume. 

The Difference Between A CV And A Resume

Incidentally, if you're curious about the different between the two, or have been guilty of thinking they're one and the same thing, they're not. A resume (it's French for 'to sum up') is a one or two page summary listing the skills and experience you possess. This document should morph and evolve as your career lengthens, and ideally should be tailored for each specific job as you apply for it. 

A curriculum vitae or CV (this time it's Latin for 'course of life') is a more static, and typically much longer, document. As the title indicates, it provides a complete and detailed run down of your past educational and professional history and can include a personal profile listing your attributes and skills. If you've written professional papers or undertaken research projects for example, that goes into your CV. Normally a CV is accompanied by a covering letter.

Where to use CVs and Resumes

Depending on where you come from, or where you're applying for jobs, you'll find one of the following probably applies:
  • They're considered distinctly different documents; this is the case in North America where you would normally only use a CV if you're applying for medical or academic positions.
  • 'CV' is used to describe both resume and CV type documents; in Europe, the UK, and New Zealand the term 'resume' isn't used at all. You therefore need to weigh up the job and figure out which type of document is going to be more appropriate (or contact the company and ask which they'd prefer).
  • 'CV' and 'resume' are used interchangeably and either term may refer to either type of document; you'll find this is often the case in Australia, South Africa and India.

So to answer the question of which to use where – there is typically only a major distinction between the two in North America. Elsewhere, you'll likely need to use your judgement as to which one is more appropriate. But as a rule of thumb, maybe consider which one you'd be most likely to submit if you were applying for a job in North America and go from there. Or as mentioned, contact the company and ascertain which they require. In many cases, it's probably more of a resume style document, particularly for mining positions.

Tweaking your CV / resume to make it more effective

In today's mining employment environment, tweaking your resume/CV to include
  • a professional summary that draws attention to what makes you the best person for the job,
  • providing digital evidence of your experience, and
  • ensuring (within reason of course) that the role you've played in various projects / activities comes across as being a pivotal one
could mean the difference between your application being considered, or binned.

Make sure your CV / resume includes a professional summary 

An effective professional summary is a good way to bring yourself to the attention of recruiters. Make sure however that it's relevant for the position in question. Check the main requirements for the position then use those as keywords to tailor your summary so it sells you as an authority or expert in your field. Another good use for this summary is ensuring it emphasises what the company stands to gain by employing you rather than one of the other applicants – your unique value points. Incidentally, some companies use application-tracking software that relies on keywords to match applicants with positions. As with any good search algorithm – if something doesn't contain the right keywords, it doesn't get 'found'.

Focus on what you've done, not what the team has done

When describing your experience, don't make it sound like you were an observer. This is a common mistake people make – they'll say something like 'I helped…' or 'I was part of a team that….' Rather than doing that, focus instead on what you accomplished/instigated/implemented yourself as part of that team.

Back up your experience by adding (digital) proof of your value to previous employers

This doesn't mean telling prospective employers how good or experienced you believe you are. This is about proving that you do have the skills you're telling them you have. You do this by including statistics, facts, and links where relevant when describing your experience. If you wrote a paper or report that has been published online, provide the link to it in your resume.

Keep it short and sweet, and make those words count

Resumes, as we've already mentioned, should only be 1 or 2 pages long. That means you don't have a lot of space to waffle. Keep things on topic and only list experience and skills relevant to the job you're applying for. Get rid of superfluous words – you can use bullet points to highlight important points and remove the clutter.

Be bold and active rather than meek and passive!

Another tip that will make your resume stand out is using action or dynamic verbs to describe your previous roles and experience. There's a great list here of good ones for resumes and CVs. Using these verbs in combination with key skills can send a powerful message to recruiters about your skills and experience! What you also should definitely do is avoid using passive verbs or passive sentence construction too.

Make sure you keep your resume/CV up to date

There's nothing worse than coming across a job you just know you'd be a perfect fit for, realising applications end COB that day but it's going to take you at least that long to update your resume. When you do something that enhances your value to potential future employers, update your resume accordingly in real time. Whilst you're about it, you may want to remove some of the older entry level jobs you did way back.

Ensure the most important and relevant information is in the top half of your resume

It's the same principle as reading a web page. If the first few paragraphs don't grab the reader's attention, they're not going to bother reading right to the end. Likewise, if a recruiter doesn't see something pretty quickly that makes you stand out as someone worthy of making their shortlist, they're very unlikely to keep on reading.

Adding a bit of visual polish doesn't hurt either

Whilst it doesn't have to be state of the art design wise, your resume / CV should still look smart and be easy on the eye. Here are some pointers that will help you do this this:

  • Make sure the font is one that is easy to read
  • Allow enough white space to improve readability
  • Use bullet points rather than paragraphs (they're more concise, and easier to read)
  • Apply the same formatting throughout – if one heading is bold, then all headings should be bold
  • Use numerals instead of words for numbers. It not only makes more impact but also frees up space. Also use % instead of 'percent' for the same reasons
  • Some phrases in resumes are dated; one of them is 'references available upon request'. Today's modern job seeker rarely refers to references at all so do likewise
  • Make sure your contact details are current, and that your email address is professional. Consider setting up one specifically for the purpose if your current one is not particularly suitable; you'd be surprised how much people notice things like banal and inappropriate email addresses, particularly in a business setting!
  • Make the filename meaningful for those on the receiving end. Just calling it 'Resume' is a sure way for it to get lost amongst all the other similarly named resumes a recruiter may receive. A file name consisting of your first and last names plus 'resume' on the other hand makes it much easier to find.
  • Generate a pdf document to send off to companies. Sending the word processing file itself is a formatting disaster waiting to happen.

Finally, proof read it, several times…. Leave a gap in between if you can because you'll often pick up things you missed when you come back to it after a break.
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