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John, 56, is an engineer who has been working in the mining industry for over 13 years, both as an independent consultant and in corporate roles for companies. He feels that his most recent role, as a digital product manager for a mining equipment manufacturer, isn’t challenging him enough. “I am overqualified and underutilized,” John writes. “It feels like ‘boreout’ as opposed to ‘burnout’. This job would be great if I was in semi-retirement mode but I am not.” John plans to continue working until he’s 70. But he doesn’t see much room for growth at his current company.

For his next role, John would like to hold a leadership position in operational excellence. “I want to be part of driving a mine to new levels of productivity and safety,” he explains. He hopes that his next company is a financially sound organization of over 100 people. He’d like to work for a mining company as opposed to a supplier or service company. Meanwhile, John has been taking an online mining engineering degree online at Queen’s University to keep his “problem solving and learning skills sharp.” He hopes the program might lead to better job opportunities.

John has been looking for a new job since January, 2020, and has applied for 20-odd positions since then. While he has reached the interview stage twice, he has yet to land a position. So we reached out to career coach Peter Caven of Launched Careers and Lorrie Breau, human resources project facilitator for Agnico Eagle Mines, to review John’s resume and offer their advice.

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The resume

What the career coach says

Mr. Caven likes John’s inclusion of a short profile but says that his “could be tightened up and made more compelling.” He encourages John to think of a profile as a ‘personal value proposition’. “What business problems can you solve for an organization?” Mr. Caven asks. He thinks it’s unnecessary to start his profile with the phrase “I am.” Instead, John can go straight into his proven abilities, the industries he has served, along with the level of role (such as director), function and sector he is targeting.

When it comes to his job descriptions, John should bold his titles and leave company names unbolded. “Give a one- or two-sentence description of the company’s business and scope of operations,” explains Mr. Caven. For John, that might include listing the number of employees at the company, who he reported to, who reported to him, his clients, responsibilities and accountabilities. “Highlight your accomplishments in bullets below and start each with an action verb in the past tense,” Mr. Caven says. He also discourages the use of jargon. “You need to ensure that non-mining industry clients know what you did,” he explains. Mr. Caven also has a few formatting and design suggestions for John’s resume. At the moment, it is “visually dense” and could benefit from having more white space to improve readability. Mr. Caven also recommends left-justifying the headings of his resume, along with bolding and underlining them to help further differentiate.

John is currently targeting large, established mining companies. But Mr. Caven encourages him to consider smaller, growing companies instead. “Targeting underperforming companies relative to the competition would make his skills and expertise even more valuable,” says Mr. Caven. He might also consider working for a consulting firm that focuses on process improvement in the mining industry.

What the industry expert says

Ms. Breau says that John’s resume is well-structured and displays his skills and experience in a clear way. But she warns John of using “boastful” language in his resume. “You do not want to come off as arrogant or overly self-promoting, but rather confident and humble,” Ms. Breau explains. To achieve this, John should remove the use of personal pronouns, as Mr. Caven has recommended. She also warns against using too many adjectives to describe his skills. “This can also appear to be rather boastful,” says Ms. Breau.

While Ms. Breau says that John meets industry requirements for a role at Agnico Eagle. But since his experience as a consultant and in a corporate role has limited exposure to operations, this could make his target job in operational excellence leadership a challenge. Furthermore, John’s target role is not very common, making it even more competitive. “Agnico Eagle prefers to promote internally whenever possible because employees know and understand the current and future business needs of their organization,” Ms. Breau explains. John might consider targeting a role in strategic optimization at his desired company, then working up to a leadership role in operational excellence.

During the pandemic, Ms. Breau says that she has noticed an increasing pool of candidates for jobs at Agnico Eagle, especially for remote positions. “My best advice for all candidates looking to get into, or back into, the industry is to be persistent and to stay positive,” she says. “Those qualities fit well into Agnico Eagle’s culture of hard work, perseverance and enjoying what you do.”

The new resume

John has trimmed his resume from two pages down to one by removing older, irrelevant job descriptions. He has also adopted a new layout with left-justified headings, as Mr. Caven recommended. John’s profile has been tightened, with the first-person perspective removed to help lessen a sense of boastfulness in the paragraph as suggested by Ms. Breau. He has also added details like his reporting manager, clients and responsibilities under each job description. He has unbolded company names while keeping job titles bolded to make them stand out

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Interested in having your resume reviewed?

E-mail us with your resume at globecareers@globeandmail.com with ‘Resume Review’ in the subject line and we’ll ask a career coach and an expert in your field to provide their feedback. Emails without the correct subject line may not be answered. Names and some details are changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled. If you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us. You can find all our resume reviews here.

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