15 Steps for Beginners in Resources
February 13th, 2020
To gain employment or your next role in the industry, there are several avenues available:
- Applying through platforms such as MyPass Global
- Applying directly to resource sector companies
- Applying through labour hire and specialist industry recruitment companies
- Undertaking the training linked to a job, including Apprenticeship
- Working for a small business or subcontractor to the industry
- Using contacts in the industry.
Before you start, you should consider:
- Your interests – what is it that I enjoy doing? What am I good at?
- Lifestyle choice – will I be happy working and/or living in remote locations and often in extreme temperatures? Does fly in, fly out work suit my personal and family life? Am I prepared to relocate? Am I happy often being away for family events, including Christmas?
- What am I prepared to do to obtain the qualifications and experience required for my preferred role? Am I prepared to do an apprenticeship for a number of years or to obtain the necessary tickets and/or licenses required in my own time and at my expense?
Having access to a computer is essential as you will need to search for information and to lodge on-line applications. You will also need an electronic copy of your resume and scanned electronic copies of any tickets, licenses or other qualifications that you have.
Next it’s research, research, research! This is the main area where people fail. It is not enough to blindly send off dozens of resumes without tailoring your application and demonstrating that you know about the job and organisation to which you are applying.
Strongly consider relocating to where the jobs are – whilst many companies offer fly in, fly out work, they typically do this from the State’s capital city or a major regional centre (eg Perth, Brisbane, Townsville). Residing in the State, or the exact location, where you are seeking employment will significantly improve your chances. Companies will rarely relocate employees and families for entry-level or blue collar positions. Therefore, if you are applying for work in Western Australia and live in Victoria, you will find it more difficult, if not impossible, to get a start over others already residing in Western Australia who have similar, or even less, skills to you. Many relocate temporarily to seek work with contractors and to get a start – this approach allows your family to remain in your home location and for you to secure employment before undertaking the big decision and expense to relocate the family without employment.
It’s also important to consider that if you are going to apply to the majors for fly in, fly out roles, you will typically be competing against others who may have done the hard yards at a residential location, like Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland or Mount Isa for example. If you target your applications to the lesser known and preferred locations, you will significantly improve your chances. Too often we see spend significant dollars on completing training programs when their money would have been better spent on two to four weeks in a hostel for example, meeting with contracting companies to get a start in places like Kalgoorlie, Perth, Port Hedland, Newman, Karratha, Townsville, Mount Isa etc. When a job advert states “local hire conditions”, this means that relocation will not be offered. It also suggests it will be almost impossible for you to get a foot in the door over a local.
Identify the necessary qualifications (TAFE, apprenticeship, licenses or tickets) required and research relevant providers. We do, however, recommend against spending thousands of dollars on tickets and licenses. Focus on the type of jobs you want as your entry point and that alone. For example, if you want truck driving to be the entry point, do only this. If you want scaffolding/rigging to be the entry point, do this. Then spend your energy and time focusing on jobs which require that ticket. Again, too many people spend far too much money getting as many tickets as possible (this can come with time), but it needs to be balanced with experience. Nothing looks more suspicious to a recruiter to open up your applicant history on their database and find you’ve applied to everything and anything – it suggests you are qualified for nothing and, worse, can’t work out what it is you want to do. See next point!
Never say “I am willing to do anything”. This is the quickest and easiest way of ensuring you DON’T get a look-in. The volume of positions or candidates available means companies do not have the time to work out which position you may be suited to. Couple this with the fact that there are too many other variables to consider (will you work shift, what salary, can you do fly in, fly out etc) and it becomes far too difficult and cumbersome for the Recruiter to work out your next career move. You need to identify what it is you want to do and tell the company what that is and what skills and experience you have for that job. Again, really consider the type of job you want and continue to shoot for that – at least initially. Industry recruiters often receive applications from people in other industries – teachers, police officers, nurses etc – who all have fantastic skills which are transferable, but they apply to everything advertised and it ends up working very much against you.
Register to receive ‘Job Alerts’ from company websites and www.theresourcechannel.com.au. This means that every time a relevant vacancy is listed, you will be alerted by email.
Consider yourself a “product” – think of yourself as a product on the market. You need to consider what it is that an employer wants and then how to market yourself according to their requirements. The more you can demonstrate that you meet the requirements they have, the better your chances. Don’t use acronyms on your resume – assume the recruiter does not know about every mining, oil and gas term or employer.
Be careful how you respond to ‘rejection’ – we cannot tell you the number of times a candidate is black listed for responding to a “sorry you have been unsuccessful” letter with something inappropriate such as “F___ you” or “you can shove your job…”. As much as it is frustrating and disappointing to receive such a letter, resist all temptation! And don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the rejection letter looks like it comes from a generic email address or database, that the original recruiter doesn’t receive it – they do! All it does is prove to the recruiter that they were right to not select you in the first place – and they will make a note on your applicant card. For those few who actually write something like, “Whilst I’m disappointed not to have been selected, I thank you for the opportunity to apply and will continue to do so”, you’ll have no idea how that stands out. When employers write about their company values on their web page, they typically mean it – so if you demonstrate behaviours that don’t align with those values, you won’t last long in the process.
Think about ‘contact points’ – when a recruiter is making contact, what impression will they form? Too many don’t consider their voicemail message (does it identify who you are?) or email addresses, both of which can be very unprofessional from our experience! When you answer the phone, always identify who you are. There is nothing worse as a recruiter, having to ask, “is this..? when they call. Also consider where you reside in the electronic world – do you have a Facebook page etc? If so, ensure that it is only available to those you want it to be available too. Recruiters have become much savvier at checking on candidates using other sources like Facebook.
Talk to as many people as you can when on a job – find out about the site and the equipment you are working on. This demonstrates interest and builds your knowledge about what work may next be available. Build your network of contacts.
Target like-type environments – any roles where you are working on roster, working on shift, working in remote or country locations and demonstrating a mechanical aptitude will be highly beneficial.
Target the ‘supplier’ – for many large mining companies and for most offshore operations, it is not the ‘operator’ who employs the labour. In other words, employees are sourced and employed via a labour hire company.
International candidates – Moving internationally, interstate or to a different location is a major and expensive undertaking. Before moving, it is strongly recommended that you do thorough research on the location and the jobs on offer. If you are looking to move from an international location, please refer to the section called ‘Overseas Applicants’ to ensure that your qualifications will be recognised in Australia and if not, what you can do to achieve recognition. It is, however, a distinct advantage to be residing in the State or region where the jobs are as organisations like to start people as soon as possible and to minimise relocation expenses.
Do not pay for online guides, qualifications, advice or resume services – be wary of a number of online services for fee. Our philosophy is that information for candidates should be free. Any qualification purchased online will not be accepted by the industry. There is no one “magic” resume template so be wary of anyone touting that there is.