CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry

Here I’ll cover a step-by-step guide to CV writing for the Oil and Gas industry. There’s a free template and a how-to guide, and you can get my personal help.

Sitting in my tiny office I get people coming to me via the ‘net who work in exotic locations, on the high seas, on oil rigs and drill ships and in the oil fields. And they look to me when wondering about CV writing for the oil and gas industry so they can land a job.CV writing for the oil and gas industry - platforms

So, in this article we’ll cover the full spectrum of topics under the heading cv writing for the oil and gas industry. You’ll learn step by step how to write your CV or resume (same thing) for rig jobs, drill ship jobs, offshore jobs and the Oil & Gas industry in general.

I’ve written lots of these. So in this article I’m going to go through each section of your oil rig or drill ship, or crane operator, or welder CV or resume! I’ll detail what to cover. I’ll provide examples. And I’ll add my comments on how you can get an edge. What you want is a CV or resume (same thing for the purpose of this how-to-write-a-CV-for-the-Oil-and-Gas-industry guide!) that’s simple, easy for you to edit and add to. And above all it must get you results (think jobs!)

I’ll also be introducing you to “The R-i-G CV/Resume” – use it in conjunction with this article (“CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry”.

[NOTE: of course, everyone is different, these sort of guides and CV templates can never deal with each and every aspect of your special profile. So, if you’d like my personal help, I’m totally here to help you, I’ll even do it all for you. Contact me on gerard-oilgas@wowcv.net.]

Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering “who is this guy who thinks he knows all about the Oil & Gas industry??” – read this: “Who Am I To Write An Oil & Gas CV?

CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – Your Step-by-Step Guide

The focus here, of course, is more on technical type jobs – CVs for Drillers, Electricians, Welders, Health & Safety Officers, Mechanical Engineers and Divers. But also Team Leaders, Supervisors, Managers for those disciplines. Let’s get into it. You want to differentiate yourself! You don’t want to just look like a million others. So I’ll be showing you how to do that. We’ll be dealing with your CV section by section.

[NOTE: I’ve included pictures of each section as we go. The design could be ‘sexier’ but it’s good to keep it simple for the sake of applicant tracking systems. And what’s important is the content, keeping it simple so that recruiters can easily find information, etc.]

Section 1a: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – CV Header

First. This is basic. But important. You want to start your CV with this on the top lines:

  • Curriculum Vitae (just to be clear and applicant tracking systems understand it.)
    Joe Bloggs (if that’s your name only!)
  • Electrician | Industrial Electrical Technician | Oil Rig, Drill Ship Electrician (you want to immediately state your most common job titles – this is also important for applicant tracking systems! Tailor what you say here to match, if possible, the job title of the ad you’re applying for.)
  • Email address | Phone Number | Location

CV writing for the oil and gas industry - header

Section 1b: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – Opening or “Summary”

Now, some say you should open your CV with a “value statement”. What is that even? Or an “Objective” section – typically where you say “here’s what I want”. No one cares about any of that. What I recommend instead is just be direct. Provide a short ‘n sharp opening statement. Be straightforward. Speak plainly. Confidently. You want the reader to understand what you do and to trust you. So be direct. Strong. Clear. When writing this kind of oil & gas CV, think of it from the employer’s point of view. Or the recruiters point of view. What do they want? Hey, they just want someone who meets the job criteria, is qualified and who will do a great job. So let’s see what we can say to give that to them!

Step 1 is then to: read the advert you’re applying to quite carefully. Let’s take an example of an Electrician. Here’s an advert:

Advert for Electrician:
Certified Industrial Electrician with recognized National Apprenticeship, Certificate or Diploma such as Academy Profession, City & Guilds, Capstone Assessment or similar.

Higher Degree in Electrical Engineering on a Bachelor or Master Level with further practical experience in accordance with requirements from the National Authorities.

Experience with relevant equipment, including electromechanical, electronic and programmable equipment; hydraulic and pneumatic systems; analogue and digital transmitters

What’s important in it? There are just a few things that are immediate and initial criteria. So in the opening section of your CV, give them what they want. For example:

Drillship, Oilrig Electrician
Certified Industrial Electrician with 10 years’ international experience at Transocean and Maersk working in Brazil, Nigeria and Malaysia. Strong skills spanning electro-mechanical, electronic, hydraulic and pneumatic systems; and a record of zero safety incidents. Available worldwide from Nov 1, 2018.

So, immediately the reader sees that you match what they are looking for. Great. But you need to go further to make an impression. How!? Ask yourself:

  • what benefits are the company looking for?
  • what do they value?
  • what gets them excited?
  • what do they want to avoid?
  • what’s that ‘something special’ you can add?

How about adding – in bold – a strong, confident statement like this:

WHY HIRE ME? I work fast. I work well with multi-cultured, multi-lingual teams. As a team we get things done right, first time! My aim is to save money, meet deadlines and do quality work with minimal ‘comebacks’ even with the latest technologies.

Adapt that to your own needs. Every drill ship, rig job will differ. Do you feel like you’re bragging? You’re not! I mean, why would they hire you if you were not confident in your abilities!? So be clear about what you do. Speak confidently. Show commitment. Nail your commitment to the mast!

Section 1c: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – Skills & Expertise

What you want next is to instantly get the recruiter or employer to get a sense of what your key technical skills are. And that they are a match for their needs! So, provide a short list – perhaps 10-20 items that cover your main skills – but be sure to tailor the list to what is covered in the advert. It must be a strong match.

Key Skills & Expertise: AC & DC Motors; Cabling, Wiring; Generators; UPS’s; Lighting; AVR’s; Switchboard Wiring; Relays, Contactors; Circuit Breakers; Variable Frequency Drives; PLC’s, SCR’s; Transformers; Thrusters; Contactors; Switchgear (LV/HV); Air Conditioning; Refrigeration; Hydraulic Systems; Pneumatic Systems

Experience/Projects: Oil Drilling Platforms; Semi-Submersibles; Jackups; Drill Ships (dynamic); Off shore & on-shore projects, operations

You want them to say, “okay, cool, this guy has what we need, let’s give him/her a call”. Literally from line 1, page 1, paragraph 1 of your Oil & Gas CV! Here’s what it may look like:

CV writing for the oil and gas industry - summary

Right, you’ve given a quick – but targeted – overview of what you do, where you fit in and why they should hire you (you get things done fast and done right, remember!?) A nice neat summary of your suitability, aligned with the advert AND with something ‘extra’ – a confident answer to the “Why Hire Me?” question – no-one ever does this! (Except you, now!) It’s persuasive. Okay, what’s next?

What’s the next logical step? It’s the same as what the reader will be wondering: “what’s this guy’s work experience? where does he work now? who does he work for? what had he worked on?”

Section 2: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – Work Experience

This section is where you really put your hand up and say: “I can do the work! Hire me now. I’ve been trusted with this role before, and have done a great job!” You want this section to be a mix of:

  1. specific job title;
  2. specific company worked for;
  3. location and dates you worked there;
  4. quick overview of what you did – 2 lines
  5. more detailed list of job functions – 3 or 4 lines
  6. list of main projects worked on, your role, time period
  7. for each project you want to mention any special challenges
  8. you want a little “Notes” section – you’ll see why

Okay, point 1: your job title. Easy. “Electrician” right? But you do want to be careful. You want your job titles to be a close match to the job advert/s you’ll be applying for. The recruiters must see an immediate connection between your job titles and their needs. And some companies have really complicated job titles. Your job description / job title may have been “Electrical Installation & Maintenance Technician.” But for “Electrician” job adverts – rather just use “Electrician” – match their needs. Simplify. So that when they scan your CV, they see the thing they want.

Point 2: list the specific company name, eg “Transocean”. There’s no need to list the “plc” or “LLC” etc. details. I would only add that it was “Transocean Malaysia” for example, or “Transocean | Drill Ship Deep Water Frontier”.

Point 3: list the general location, eg, “Malaysia”. Easy. And the dates you worked there – Jan 2013 – Dec 2016 Not complicated! Let’s move on.

Point 4: you want to give a solid high level description of what you did, what platform you worked on (what ship, what rig, what sort of equipment). But also you want to give a good idea that you did it well! You provided benefits, you helped the business by doing your job in a great way. You helped make a profit.

Want an example? Here you go:

Led a team of 4 covering all electrical installations, maintenance and repairs on a 5th generation drill ship. Ensured 24/7 reliability of electrical systems, rapidly solved problems, maintained 100% safety record, met the highest quality standards.

Get the picture? And get some numbers in there. They catch attention.

Point 5: now you want to tick the boxes with technical terminology that closely matches the needs the reader has. Here’s a warning: you may tend to use jargon and terminology that was only used inside your previous company. As a result the reader may not quickly and easily understand what you’re saying. CVs, even your Oil & Gas CV get scanned, remember, not read. They are given maybe 3 seconds attention. A good recruiter will assess your suitability really fast. So give them what they need.

Okay, here’s a sample:

Key Responsibilities: Installation, maintenance and repair of all AC & DC Motors, Cabling, Wiring, Generators, UPS’s, Lighting, AVR’s, Switchboards, Relays & Contactors, Circuit Breakers, Variable Frequency Drives, PLC’s, SCR’s, Transformers, Thrusters, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, Hydraulic Systems, Pneumatic Systems.

Keep it brief. Touch on the main points. Don’t get buried in the minutae!

Point 6: key projects. So here you want to mention either the separate contracts you’ve worked on for the same company, OR, a number of projects you undertook while working on the 1 ship.

Just a quick note here. You may be facing the situation where for the last 5 years you’ve been in a series of contracts with different companies and ships or rigs. Perhaps each has lasted 6 months. That means you have perhaps 12 or more different jobs to list. That’s too much. It clutters your CV. And it’s repetitive. If all the jobs were similar though – ie. you were an “Electrician” in them, then here’s how to handle it. Label yourself as an Electrician. List your company as “various offshore companies” and list the time period – 2013 – present. Something like this:

Electrician
Various Offshore Companies, Africa / Middle East / Asia, 2013 – present

Led a team of up to 10 covering all electrical installations, maintenance and repairs on drill ships. Ensured 24/7 reliability of electrical systems, rapidly solved problems, maintained 100% safety record, met the highest quality standards.

Key Responsibilities: Installation, maintenance and repair of all AC & DC Motors, Cabling, Wiring, Generators, UPS’s, Lighting, AVR’s, Switchboards, Relays & Contactors, Circuit Breakers, Variable Frequency Drives, PLC’s, SCR’s, Transformers, Thrusters, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, Hydraulic Systems, Pneumatic Systems.

Contracts:

Transocean Malaysia, Deepwater Freeworld Drill Ship, Jan – June 2016. Chief Electrician – updated and maintained all electrical schematic drawings on AutoCAD for the rig – resulting directly in quicker, easier repairs. Also wrote up a “Procedures for Working on Dangerous Electrical Equipment” manual to guide operations.

Transocean Malaysia, Deepwater Frontier, June – Dec 2015. Chief Electrician …

So you list duties as before. But then list each job as a kind of project. Get it? Okay, now we’re back on track. Let’s explain about projects now.

[NOTE: sometimes there are all kinds of obstacles you face in writing your CV – for eg, that time you started your own ice-cream vending / party-clown / massage / window-fitting business for 2 years and it didn’t work out. So you went back to the oil fields. Now, what do you put in that 2 year gap? Or you struggle with writing, or formatting, or keeping it brief. Anyway, whatever the challenge, if you need my personal help, get in touch, I’ll handle it all for you. I’m on gerard-oilgas@wowcv.net, I have a done-for-you service to help you. I have a process to collect information from you and then to just get it done.]

This is the formula for the projects section of your Oil & Gas CV.

  1. Name of the hiring company
  2. Name of the project / ship / rig and location
  3. Date you worked on the project
  4. Your job title / role on the project
  5. Quick overview – including some specifics such as how many people you managed on your team, what your budget was, what the technology was you worked with and what the challenge was and that it was successfully completed.

(If all for one company, for the company you listed under Point #2, then leave this out.)

Here’s an example:

Project: Transocean Malaysia, Deepwater Freeworld Drill Ship , Jan – June 2016. Chief Electrician updated and maintained all electrical schematic drawings on AutoCAD for the rig – resulting directly in quicker, easier repairs. Also wrote up a “Procedures for Working on Dangerous Electrical Equipment” manual to guide operations.

Whether you undertook a number of projects for one single company, over a few years, or whether you worked on a number of separate contracts or projects doing it this way, provides good, solid information to the recruiter, giving them a good idea of your skills, experience and value.

Now to Point #8 – a “Notes” section. What is that!?

Point #8 – next, many people would have an “Achievements” section. I recommend a “notes” section rather. Everyone is tired of “achievements”. Recruiters secretly think: “okay, this is where the “BS” begins, where they applicant is going to try to impress me. Let me just ignore this.” Yes. Seriously. “Notes” is more intriguing. What do you list under your notes section in your Oil & Gas resume? Things like these:

  1. Your performance rating
  2. How you maintained a 100% safety record
  3. How you built a reputation for on-time completion
  4. How you trained up local workers
  5. How you added 3 new certifications
  6. How you were awarded “employee of the month” 3x

Get the picture? It’s really your “achievements”. But more flexible. Be sure to…

  • show how you made the project, department, organisation or project better
  • show that you’re a great person to have on the team, that you make things happen
  • you get the right things done. You get them done right first time
  • prove your value through the use of specific statistics, names if possible.

You have to repeat the above – for all jobs you’ve had in the last 10 years. For earlier positions, just summarise – perhaps like this:

Electrical Engineering Supervisor
Irvin & Johnson (I&J) Trawling (Cape Town), 1996 – 1998
Directed Electrical projects and teams on Fishing Trawlers (40m and larger) in an environment where all work took place in short intense time frames, while ships was in port discharging the ‘catch’.

The older the work gets the less space you should give it. I would say that anything 15 years or older should get just one line. Something like this:

Refrigeration Electrician | Hall Thermotank (Cape Town), 1993 – 1996

Putting it all together:

CV writing for the oil and gas industry - work experience

On to Section #4 of your new CV.

Section 4: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – Education & Certifications

First of all, you need to prioritise. Ask yourself: “what are the qualifications, certifications, degrees, diplomas or training hat the new employer is specifically asking for? What are the ones most relevant to their needs!?” They need to see these. Front and centre. Go back real quick to the opening section and check that that requirement for “Certified Industrial Electrician” is covered there (not ALL your qualifications, just the most important one or two.)

No doubt there’ll be some older courses that you completed that are really no longer of much interest – perhaps technologies that are now outdated. Just leave these out. Try not to include an exhaustive list of technical / product courses. Usually there will be many manufacturer courses – whether its in the use of a certain welding rod, or variable speed drive, or safety courses related to your job as a Crane Operator (or whatever!) Select the most important and most recent ones. Usually the foundation of your training – like an apprenticeship, or a base degree or diploma is important to list even though undertaken a long time ago. Perhaps like this:

Technical Training:
High Voltage, Middlesborough (UK)
Equipment in Hazardous Areas, Houston (USA)
GE Variable Frequency Drives, Virginia (USA)
Varco Top Drive (TDS-8S), Houston (USA)
Siemens Step 7 I & II, Atlanta (USA)
ABB Variable Frequency Drives, Vaassa (Finland)

National Technical Certificate III, Electrician Apprenticeship
National Technical Certificate III, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Systems

Also add your survival type courses, perhaps under the “Survival & First Aid Courses:”

Survival & First Aid Courses:
Sea Survival, First Aid, Fire Fighting & Huet
etc.

Section 5: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – Professional Memberships

Pretty self-explanatory, this section. Some of the memberships will be important, others not. But you want to include these because it kinda shows that you’re serious. Usually members are held to some kind of professional standard. It costs something to belong, which shows you’re serious. And usually membership keeps you in touch with new developments in your field of work via newsletters, professional development articles and courses.

Section 6: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – Personal Details

In this section you want to just end off with common details such as your nationality, languages you speak, perhaps your passport number, medical details and so on. It’s important for HR!

Section 7: CV Writing for the Oil and Gas Industry – End with a Bang!

And finally, something special to end off with. Your CV is there to:

  1. communicate your basic qualifiers for the job, to show that you have experience and skills, that you’ve ‘done the job’ before. But also it’s to
  2. create a sense of trust – that you can not only do the job, but you can do it well. That you’re great to work with. That you’re reliable, can problem solve and get the job done.

So here’s something to end your CV with a bang. Add some testimonials! In the final section, perhaps titled “Reference Extracts” or “Endorsements” add some carefully selected endorsements from your references. Select comments that closely match the job ad you’re applying for. Your entire Oil and Gas CV should be targeted or tailored to match the requirements in the ad – your CV writing for the Oil and Gas industry, should be from the employer’s point of view – giving them what they want to see on your oil field resume. Your endorsements / reference extracts could be something like this:

“high quality electrical professional”
“Joe is a great team member. He is unafraid of even the most hostile conditions. He works safely. He has outstanding people skills and is a high quality electrical professional. I’d hire him anytime again.”
-Former Technical Manager, Transocean

“he motivated us to achieve”
“I worked with Joe for 1 year. He treated the team well and motivated us to achieve all the targets set before us.” -Former Electrician, Team Member, Transocean

Okay, it’s been a long helicopter ride from shore to ship. Let’s land. Let’s see how we put all of this together in an actual oil rig CV, CV for the oil & gas industry, in a CV for oil field jobs.

Get the Oil and Gas Industry CV Template Here

So, when you’re CV writing for the Oil & Gas CV, perhaps this Oil & Gas CV Template will come in useful. I’ve included the  here in Google Docs (you’ll need a Google account for this – but you have one right?). You can go into the document, see it, “Make a Copy” and then do your cv writing for the oil and gas industry for yourself. Here’s the link to the finished Oil & Gas CV.

[NOTE: if you need help, if you just want this taken care of, done! then contact me on gerard-oilgas@wowcv.net, I have a done-for-you service to help you. I have a process to collect information from you and then to just get it done.]

Other Related Articles:

Who Am I to Write An Oil & Gas CV?

New: the “R-i-G” Oil & Gas CV / Resume