In today's cut-throat competitive job market, making yourself noticed among the thousands of other applicants is the stepping stone, at the heart of which is your resume. Most resumes first land in a database of a kind or the other - be it a job board, the company's applicant tracking system or ATS, LinkedIn or at the very least in the inbox of the recruiter.
Since the recruiters receive numerous resumes, they first shortlist by scanning them with certain keywords. So, before reaching the hiring manager, you have to get through the ATS and other forms of database; meaning your resume needs to be written not only for managers but the ATS as well. To have your resume come up to the recruiter in the results of the keyword search, make sure that it contains the keywords that the recruiters and employers are looking for.
We've compiled a checklist of the must have keywords on your resume, that will help you in being noticed by the recruiter to increase your chances for landing that job.
Personal information and education
1) Your Location
Most of the jobs in the industry are based on relocation, but in a lot of jobs today the employers are looking for professionals from a particular location or may prefer a location over others. So it's only obvious that the employer will run a keyword search based on the location. Make sure that you mention the state and the city as well, so that your profile has increased chances of appearing for either of the keywords.
2) Educational Qualifications
The way a degree is written exceeds more than just a way or two. A degree in mechanical engineering is usually written as BSME, B.S.M.E., Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, BS Mechanical Engineering, etc. Even though the recruiter will run complex searches, to be on the safer side you should mention your degree the same way that they have it mentioned in their posting. It will also be beneficial if you explicitly mention the degree rather than just having it in the abbreviated form.
Many will advise you to add your GPA only if it is above average. But we would recommend you to add your GPA, and exhibit a spirit of transparency and credibility to your resume. If you keep it vague, the recruiters may be lead to believe that your GPA is lower than what it actually is.
4) Languages known
If you known more than a language, mention all the languages. Specify how proficient you are in them - basic, elementary, Professional working proficiency, native and the like.
Details about your work and professional accomplishments
1) The Job Title you are looking for
Go through the job posting in detail. Make sure that you mirror the job title that has been specified in the posting. The recruiters will certainly scan the resume with the keywords that they have used. Many titles in the industry usually have other names as well- you can use a slash there, for e.g. 'Roughneck/Floor Hand', or 'Rig Manager/Toolpusher'.
2) Current and previous job titles
Both your current and previous job titles are significant keywords. You could research on the company's website to see how they state their job titles and accordingly mention yours.
3) Current, past employers, and clients
Your current employer could be an important keyword too, especially when you are working in a well-known, reputable organization. Your experience with prominent employers will count even if it is more than a decade old, so use their names to be placed better in the keyword search. Include all the well-known and prestigious clients that you have served and been associated with, as they not only build a reputation but also serve as important keywords.
4) Your discipline and specialization
Mention your discipline - mechanical engineering, geoscience, petroleum engineering etc. Make sure that your specialization and discipline mentioned is in sync with the keywords that the company has used in the job posting. Sometimes the way companies mention a discipline could differ slightly.
5) Your Skills
This is one area where you definitely should have the job posting as your bible. Make sure the skills you mention resonate the terminology and language used in the description. But also ensure that you do not simply copy and paste what is written in there. This would look cliché and would make the recruiter fall in doubt about your capabilities. You could also turn to LinkedIn and see how the existing employees in the company mention their skills and take you hints from there.
6) Projects in your belt
This is all the more important for our industry, where people and companies are sometimes known by the projects. Projects that you have worked on helps the recruiters know a lot about you, at times more than anything else. The names of the projects are targeted keywords that help a recruiter find the most relevant candidates.
7) Licenses, Certifications
For most of the jobs in the industry, you need to have certain licenses. Even if it isn't mandatory, possessing relevant certifications gives you an edge over others and certifies your competence for the job.
8) Role specific equipment, tools and techniques
The industry is heavily dominated by technical roles and so a complete know-how of corresponding tools involved is indispensable for the positions. Naturally, when the recruiters are looking for candidates in those positions, a major requirement is the expertise of the candidates in the tools. Mention out specifically all the tools and techniques you are well versed with and have hands on experience at.
9) Laws and compliance regulation
The ventures of oil companies extend into multiple countries, which requires them to have people who know the requisite laws and regulations. This is particularly needed for positions in the administration that deal with procurement, customs, HR and the like. If your target job requires you to know the laws, specify the names of the laws you have the knowledge of and the ones you have worked with.
10) Add some soft skills
The Global Oil and Gas Training and Development Survey, conducted by SPE and BP, reveals that soft skills are seen as more significant than technical skills in sustaining and furthering a career in the oil and gas industry. At the top of the pile sits "the ability to learn". Other important skills include "leadership" and "problem solving skills" are innately important to the hiring manager in the oil and gas industry.
11) Volunteering, honours and recognitions
Including all the relevant volunteering programmes that you participated in, helps increase the number of keywords in your resume. So does mentioning the awards and felicitations that you received in any of the companies you worked in - apart from building a reputation in the eyes of the recruiter.
12) Acronyms with what they represent
Our industry puts a lot of acronyms in use, so include as many as possible (relevant to your profile). But to be keyword findable and friendly, specify what they denote too.
Additional note: Using excessive formatting in your resume can cause issues for the ATS or other databases to scan or even import the resume. Sometimes the systems may not even accept the highly formatted resume files. While popularly people believe that such resumes will attract the attention of the hiring manager, they can cut you off in the first phase of ATS and database scanning itself - not allowing you to get through to the manager.