How To Build a Data-Driven Oil and Gas Resume
Amanda Rico, a specialist in resume building, editing, and career solutions for senior and executive-level professionals, provides job seekers with industry-specific resume tips to help you get the job you want.
Throwing out a collection of random buzzwords on your resume won’t help you in oil and gas. While the prevailing misinformation about resume writing from various LinkedIn “influencers” requires that resumes are optimized for an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) above all else, any recruiter worth their salt prioritizes both ATS results and the human reader. Yes, recruiters—especially those in the oil and gas industry—do use ATSs to parse resumes. However, the best way to think of an ATS is as a digital filing system rather than an artificial intelligence that hacks your resume out of the running if you don’t include the correct keywords. With this in mind, you can tailor your resume to gain traction for new roles by considering both readers.
The best rule of thumb is to treat your resume content like you’re an investigative reporter. In short, keep asking who, what, when, where, and why. By asking these questions, you’ll begin to see just how generic your original content appears to recruiters. For instance, let’s say you have a top paragraph on your resume that starts something like this:
Detail-oriented operations manager with proven experience in project management, budgeting, contract negotiation, and leadership.
One of the most critical aspects of your top content is target. Are you aiming for an operations management role in your job search? If not, then you will want to look up required functions for that new role and select skills that align with that target. If you’re still aiming for operations management roles, then start interrogating your content using the who, what, when, where, and why formula. Here is an example.
Who? I’ve overseen 5+ direct reports/50+ indirect reports for up to three business lines while managing technical engineering and project/operations management teams.
What? I’ve managed $20 million to $400 million in CAPEX and OPEX budgets for large-scale projects in the oil and gas infrastructure space (include specific sectors like upstream, midstream, downstream, and renewables, if relevant to the role).
When? I’ve occupied operations management roles for 10+ years and been promoted three times within the same company for raising operational budgets from red to black in only 2+ years (2020 to 2022).
Where? I’ve overseen 4+ business units across North and South America, Europe, and Asia (remotely and in-country).
Why? I excel at operations management because I’m a big-picture thinker who can diagnose operational issues from micro to mega-level scales.
For specific roles in oil and gas, it will be critical to zero-in on which type(s) of operations are within your wheelhouse. Drilling, completions, and production operations professionals will need to clarify what sets them apart based on areas of specialization. The best area to add this content is in the “what” section of your brainstorming session. Since recruiters typically recruit across various sectors, clarifying an expertise in upstream, midstream, downstream/chemicals, or renewables will also be important resume data.
After a strong brainstorming session using this formula, your new paragraph might look something like this:
Senior operations manager with 10+ years of experience stewarding up to $400 million in OPEX/CAPEX for large-scale upstream and midstream projects in the oil and gas infrastructure space. Empowers technical engineering and project/operations management teams of 5+ direct reports/50+ indirect reports in 4+ business units both remotely and in-country across North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Big-picture thinker who diagnoses operational issues from micro to mega-level scales to raise operational budgets from red to black in under 2 years.
Providing these hard details will stand out in a stack of otherwise generic resumes for recruiters. After practicing with this formula to build your top resume paragraph, apply the same method to the rest of your resume content. Each bullet point under your reverse chronological work history should include as much data as possible. Of course, tailor bullet points to your ideal job target as well. This means prioritizing operations-focused details rather than including details that may not be relevant for this target.
While building a resume can be daunting, using this formula provides a baseline for generating enough data for you to gain traction in your oil and gas job search. Using job descriptions like blueprints will provide the basis from which to tailor your oil and gas resume for each application. Overall, the key to building an effective resume begins with interrogating your professional work history and tailoring the data with one goal in mind—your next career move.