Step 1: Building your resume
The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview!
The person whose qualifications most closely match those sought by the employer gets the interview. To maximize your chances of getting an interview use the same skill/keywords in your resume as those sought by the employer and provide specific examples.
Key items for consideration
- Your resume should fit on one single-sided page only unless significant related employment/experience requires additional space.
- Use consistent indentation, capitalization, font, spacing, and margins (1 inch).
- Use a standard font like Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman in 10 pt or larger; 11pt is best.
- No templates! They may not be compatible with the employer’s online systems and are difficult to edit.
- No personal pronouns (I, me, you, etc.)
- Use “bullets” to list key skills, responsibilities and results. The more relevant the position or key skills used/demonstrated, the more bullet statements.
- The order of the following headings might change based on the relevance to the position: Skills, Work History, Activities and Achievements
- Use boldface for the most important information o Adopt the language (keywords, skills, etc…) used by the employer
- Should be at the top of your resume
- Name is bolded and 14-20 point font.
- Address information same font size as the main body text (11pt) and include all information in the sample.
- Email address should be professional (e.g. NOT email@example.com) and good for at least six months.
Resume objective (optional)
- Listing the position you are applying for can be beneficial if it matches position listed by the employer
- Do not include if you are: A) unsure of position employer has available; B) employer has more than one position for which you would like to be considered; or C) you have limited space.
- Include degree, current/intended major, university name with city and state, and expected grad date.
- Optional components: GPA if above 3.0, semesters on the Dean’s List, Study Abroad experience, previous colleges attended, related course work, national accreditations, etc.
- Omit high school information unless something exceptional.
- Use “Relevant Experience” as heading if includes relevant unpaid position(s).
- If you have both relevant and unrelated work experience consider using one of the following headings: Work History or Other Employment
- Employers want a reverse chronological (most recent first) list of jobs held with dates of employment.
- List position title, name of employer/organization, location (city and state) and dates.
- Use the same skill words as those used in the job listing.
- Give details. Employers want to know exactly what you did and what you accomplished.
- Check to make sure statements are in the correct tense. Present tense if currently performing the task, past tense if no longer performing the task.
Activities and Achievements
Employers want examples of initiative, leadership, teamwork and other job-related skills. Demonstrate this by including involvement in extra-curricular activities and other achievements.
Additional Skills (optional)
Skill sections should include relevant skills sought by employers such as proficiency in certain computer programs or languages, job specific certifications, foreign language skills, etc.
Sample resume content for a Mining Engineering graduate:
123 S. Virginia St. ∙ Reno, NV 89557 ∙ 555-555-5555 ∙ firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Nevada, Reno Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering
Expected grad date: Spring 2014 | GPA: 3.72
- Underground Mine Design
- Rock Mechanics
- Mine Feasibility
- Mining and Sustainable Development
MineSight, Vulcan, AutoCAD, Trimble GPS, Microsoft Office
- John Mackay Club Vice President (2011-2012)
- UNR SME Mine Design Team Member (2011-2012)
- Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Student Member
Relevant Work Experience:
Nevada Division of Minerals, Carson City, NV | May 2013-August 2013
- Used GPS and Topographic maps to locate potential mine hazards.
- Traveled to various locations to find abandoned mines and fenced and in-filled them.
- Performed database entry to log known and potential hazards. Rye Patch Gold Corp., Reno, NV June 2012-May 2013 Geologic Sampling Field Technician
- Collected soil, sediment, rock and RC drill samples in support of drill programs at multiple sites as part of a team
- Kept thorough records regarding locations and quality of samples
Kinross Gold corp., Round Mountain, NV | June 2011-August 2011
Survey Department Intern
- Performed duties as a mine surveyor both in support of production and special projects
- Conducted GPS/total station surveys, layout, and generated weekly production maps
Other Helpful Experience:
Mining Engineering Department, University of Nevada, Reno | Sept 2011-Present
Survey Department Intern
- Collaborated with faculty, students, and university IT department administrators to maintain labs for the Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering.
- Worked to monitor and maintain software, hardware, and renewal of licensing agreements.
Step 2: Applying for the job
Applying for a job involves many steps, both for you and for the employer. Be sure that you're actually interested in the position and willing to jump through any hoops the application process calls for. Here are a few tips to think about before you apply (These tips were compiled by Chelsey Kent, PHR, HR Business Partner, Mining and Construction Background):
- Are you willing to perform pre-employment testing and are you confident that you will pass? Most mining companies perform these pre-employment tests and require that you pass them before hiring you. These might include:
- Background check – Be honest about past convictions if asked on an application, because they WILL show up on a background check. Just because you have been convicted, does not necessarily disqualify you.
- Pre-employment physical – Stay healthy. You must meet the minimum physical capability requirements in order to perform the job you are applying for.
- Pre-employment drug screen – Stay sober. Mining is a zero-tolerance field for being under the influence of drugs and alcohol at work. You will get tested. Different forms of testing include urine, oral swab and hair samples. Some tests are more accurate and can trace back further than others, so be smart and stay clean. Oftentimes the employer will also drug/alcohol screen randomly during your employment, post-incident/accident and for reasonable suspicion.
- Be prompt to respond to requests for additional documentation during background checks. The sooner you respond, the quicker you can be hired
- Give your current employer appropriate notice of resignation. Your new employer would want you to do the same for them.
- Be prepared to bring all documentation needed for a new hire orientation.
The cover letter
The cover letter is a tool to help introduce yourself in a memorable, personal way during a job application. For each job you apply for, you should include a new cover letter unique to the position and company.
Cover letter components:
- State what position you are applying for and briefly introduce yourself (e.g. major, etc.)
- Describe how your experiences, skills, and interests are a good match for the position
- Explain why you are drawn to the company you are applying to (aka, what makes them special in your eyes)
- Seal the deal-respectfully ask for an interview
Step 3: Nailing the interview
An interview is more than a resume. At the interview you'll get to demonstrate value, persuade an employer, share your personality, and shine! In short, it is your chance to articulate why you are the best candidate for the job and seal the deal. The best way to do this is to prepare through information gathering and practice. Then you will be ready to perform!
Gathering information: Looking out and looking in
Making the best first impression requires effort and preparation on your part and a good understanding of the organization (products, services, projects, positions, etc.). At this point, it is crucial that you develop a strong understanding of the organization’s history, culture, and context in the field. This knowledge will enable to you to determine how you can contribute to their goals.
Below are ideas of what to look out for and tools to use in your research:
- Find out why they exist, their goals, and strengths.
- Are there new projects or issues for them or within the industry?
- Who are their competitors and what are their projects?
- Identify questions you have about the organization, structure, position, industry, etc. to ask during the interview.
- Research tools: Google, word of mouth, networking, competitors, news, company website, job description, mission
Your resume got you the interview, but now you must transform the words on your resume from a 2-D description of your abilities, experiences, and education into a 3-D picture of why you are the best fit for the job. It is no accident that this section follows “looking out”—you must remain focused on why you are a great fit for that particular organization, based on what you found by “looking out”. To construct this picture you will need to have a solid self-awareness (interests, values, abilities, experiences, etc.).
- Underline the important keywords from job description
- Write a sentence for each keyword explaining how you meet or have the potential to meet that need
- Expand the sentence to tell a memorable story
Once you have a good understanding of what you have to offer and what the company is all about you are ready to move to the next preparatory step: practice answering questions. Key to this step is to anticipate questions and come up with great answers, followed by communicating those great answers succinctly and effectively. Here are some ways to do this:
- Read job description and brainstorm questions
- E.g., outdoor position might have questions about your experience with camping, whereas a project management position might ask for examples of leading a team project
- Remember school projects count too!
- Look at typical interview questions
- Ask friends that have held the job before
- Write out answers and rehearse them out loud and in front of a mirror
- Do a mock interview with a friend or the career coordinator
The University of Nevada, Reno subscribes to a mock and practice interviewing tool called Interview Stream. Create a free account and get started practicing your interviewing.
Now that you are prepared with your responses, you must prepare to make a positive impression. Timeliness, professional dress, and basic courtesy will aid in this task. Be sure to arrive a few minutes early, so that you can do one last check of your outfit and appearance. Whenever you meet employees at the company be sure to smile and be friendly. When you enter the interview room, introduce yourself and offer a firm handshake (with your right hand).
- Be confident (not arrogant)
- Provide clear examples of how you met their needs
- Listen carefully and take notes of their needs
- Express interest in the job and respond thoughtfully
- At the end of the interview ask some of the question you formulated during your preparation
Making a Good Impression After the Interview
- Send a thoughtful and genuine thank you note within 24 hours (email is fine)
- Reflect on the experience
- Follow-up, if you have not heard within the time frame they identified
Keep job search moving
Ideally, you will get a job offer, but while you wait it is important to keep your job search moving. Continue applying and accepting interviews until you have an offer in hand. Once you have accepted a position be sure to withdraw from other job applications.