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How to Nail Your Application for Resources Jobs

Most major resource companies operate their own employment services using internal recruitment functions (in house staff) and the facility of an online application process is typically available via their website. This approach is standard across the industry particularly with the larger companies, but it often takes some time between applying online and receiving a response from the company about a job you have applied for.

This is because the employment function may be recruiting for hundreds of jobs and each Recruiter typically manages between 20 and 30 positions at a time.

Typically companies seek minimum experience and qualification requirements against which they screen the suitability of candidates. This can sometimes be done via an application form process where certain questions determine your level of suitability for a role and automatically screen you in or out against the criteria.

The selection process can include a combination of assessments such as:

  • Application forms
  • Resume screening/shortlisting
  • Telephone interviews/screens
  • Face to face interviews
  • On line or supervised assessments (personality, intelligence and safety)
  • Assessment Centres (behavioural observations in team environment, solving problems etc).
  • Reference checking
  • Medical exam

Always apply online to major companies or where a company has the facility to accept applications via their website. Do not email a person directly unless you have been asked to or are referred by another person. Otherwise, it creates work for the receiver and your details are rarely entered into the database – you then miss opportunities.

Also note that major employers who have their own internal recruitment functions will typically always select a candidate who has meets their requirements and has applied directly to them, rather than being presented by an Agency.

Don’t ask for feedback on why you were not successful, unless you were interviewed or very well progressed down the selection path. Given hundreds of applications are received, Recruiters simply do not have the time to provide feedback on why you were not selected. The reality is that you will be typically told that other candidates were better qualified anyway – which doesn’t provide you with any further specific details.

Where companies don’t have the facility to accept an online application and you are required to send by post, be sure that your resume is targeted and aligned to the job – this may mean changing the order of the information and editing in or out information that is or isn’t relevant.


Applying for small business or labour hire that supplies the industry

Employment in the resources industry often occurs indirectly through sub contractors to the larger operating companies. Resource companies raise the capital to explore and identify mineral deposits. They hire geologists and engineering experts to determine whether or not the resource can be produced.

If the project goes ahead then large subcontractors are hired to do much of the groundwork for a major project, such as earth moving and building of mining infrastructure, or for offshore, laying the pipe on the seabed.

The large contractors will employ smaller contractors to contribute to this work and also to provide more specialist services such as manufacturing and equipment hire, servicing and maintenance.

As the resources industry has drawn many people and skills from other industries, there is a real shortage of skills in particular areas. The small business sector is also experiencing chronic shortages of skilled labour particularly in regional centres around Australia.

These small businesses cannot possibly compete with the higher pay that resource sector companies offer, however, not everyone can get into the high paying jobs and certainly not immediately. This is critical for you to remember – too many candidates seeking an entry-level opportunity, cite a salary requirement that exceeds their level of skill and experience – but because media quotes high average salaries, candidates believe they can achieve the same level salary first up. Put simply – you can’t and won’t so don’t exclude yourself at the outset by saying you want a salary that may be deemed inappropriate or outrageous to the employer.

Large companies like BHP Billiton, Woodside and Rio Tinto receive hundreds of applications for trades and operator type roles. When targeting your first opportunity into the industry, it is then often more effective to apply to smaller operations or contracting companies that provide labour to the larger companies. Too many people overlook this simple, but highly effective approach. Construction sites or short term shutdowns, for example, are considered the best ‘grooming ground’ for those wishing to get a foot in the door – however, they typically mean long hours and non-even rosters.


Apprenticeships and Traineeships Application

A great way to get into the industry on the way to employment for people with no or limited experience, is to take up a trainee or apprenticeship program. Most of the major companies in the industry – Rio Tinto, Woodside, BHP Billiton, Barrick Gold, Santos, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines – offer Apprenticeships and Traineeships and will typically advertise on their respective websites in around August/September each year. To obtain an Apprenticeship or Traineeship, companies will screen your application against the following criteria:

  • Satisfactory results in English, Maths and Science to a minimum of Year 10 level;
  • Enjoy practical and mechanical work and technical activities;
  • A commitment to safe working practices and the ability to work to safety guidelines;
  • An ability to work successfully as part of a team and to work independently;
  • A willingness and capacity to learn new skills;
  • Accountability for your actions and output;
  • An ability to work shift work;
  • An appropriate standard of health and fitness, and
  • No skin allergies or reactions to grease, oil or petrol.
  • Strength to handle materials, tools and machines;
  • Good hand-eye coordination.


For those under the age of 21, the legislation currently requires a guardian/parent to be bound by the relevant Apprenticeship Agreement until the apprentice attains the age of 21 years. Legislation is under review and it is expected that the age will change to 18 years, but it is uncertain when the legislation will be passed and gazetted.

No apprentice under the age of 18 is permitted to work underground on a mine site. This is a requirement of the Mines Regulations, not the industrial training Act. This also applies to offshore work.

An apprentice, if under the age of eighteen years, shall not be required to work overtime without his/her consent.

The school leaving age rose to 17 years of age on 1 January 2008, however undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship is an approved option.

Seek further information from Australian Apprenticeships here.

Using contacts in the industry

Talk to as many people as you can about your application, goals and work preferences; most companies continue to employ people through word of mouth. Companies offer current employees a ‘spotters fee’ for any new employee who is subsequently hired as a result of their referral (this is called an Employee Referral Program). This means current employees are on the look out for people they think have the skills, experience and personal attributes to join the company. Employees only get paid for successful candidates, so they will only refer those they believe have a very good chance at getting a job. Therefore, be mindful of the way you conduct yourself around others and the more people who know you ‘are on the market’, the better your chances.

15 Steps for Beginners in Resources


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