How to get on the short list for a mining job

How do you get yourself onto the short list for the next mining job you apply for? Here are some tips to help you.

A chewed pencil on a notepad. How to get onto a mining jobs short list.

Look at the social media pages of any recruitment company and you’ll see lots of comments from job seekers saying they feel they are being overlooked for mining jobs.

Do these comments sound familiar to you?

  • My residential location is too far from the FIFO hub the company is flying from
  • My lack of recent experience in the mining industry is an issue
  • My lack of experience for the role I am applying for is an issue
  • I am over-qualified
  • I am under-qualified
  • My resume doesn’t match the keyword criteria
  • The recruiter or hiring manager simply does not have a clue.


In some cases, these comments may be justified; in others, perhaps not so much. Either way, these candidates are missing out on jobs.


So, if that’s you, how do you get yourself onto the short list for the next mining job you go for? Here are some tips to help you.

Firstly, let’s consider the background

During the ‘boom’, companies employed greater flexibility in their hiring approaches. Some of these included:


  • Employing teams from other states or countries
  • Offering higher salaries or better conditions
  • Offering traineeships to entry-level personnel
  • Upskilling trades to suit equipment or machinery on site
  • Promoting employees
  • Improving retention strategies.

These were all great initiatives, but they led many people to think the job market would remain buoyant.


Then the boom ended.


We then went through a five- to eight-year period where mining companies enjoyed a candidate-rich market, receiving large numbers of applications for vacant positions, with most applicants meeting all the mining companies’ requirements because of all that boom-time experience.

 An arrow showing the market going up.

But that’s not where mining is at right now


That phase has also now ended, with candidate shortages starting to occur across many positions in the mining industry.


However, for some companies, the idea they might not be able to source a perfect fit from their job ads is something they are still finding hard to accept. In some instances they are holding out for the perfect applicant, and they’re not always “reading between the lines” of a resume to find someone who would be great.


So, what can you do to ensure you get noticed?

READ MORE: 6 myths about resumes most people still believe


Here’s how to get on the short list for your next mining job


  • Focus on your transferable skills from your most recent work experience. Even if they’re not mining-related, you will still have maintained, developed and learnt new skills you can take to your next role
  • Highlight your employment record in the industry. You may have been out of the industry for a few years but still have 10 years’ relevant experience. Show this —don’t assume a recruiter is going to add up your total years of experience
  • Provide evidence of where you have commuted from your current location
  • Ensure your resume has keywords that will be picked up by computerised “applicant tracking systems”, which automatically filter through resumes. Focus on your skills and attributes, ensuring you use similar terminology to the words in the advertisement, and insert a brief chronology of your work history
  • Don’t try to hide gaps in your resume (read more about that here!)
  • Clean up your social media (yes, sometimes these are reviewed as part of a hiring program)
  • Apply for positions that are perhaps “a level” down, but no more than that. If you have been in a senior role for five or more years, “dumbing down” your experience simply won’t work. But a “sideways step” to a larger operation could be possible. (For example, if you were a superintendent at a small site, could you move to a supervisor role at a new site?)
  • Don’t apply for roles that you know are not a match for your experience. We estimate approximately 30 per cent of applications we received for positions during the boom were from people looking for a start in the resources sector.
  • Keep your application simple! Remember, computers won’t care about colour, fancy fonts, graphics or text boxes. In fact, often these aren’t “read” by the computer programs scanning resumes at all, so important information may be missed
  • Do some research on the recruiter. As in any industry, there are good and bad, average and exceptional recruiters. Find one you like, who understands you and the industry.  

Don’t blame someone else; take action to improve your chances


While it may be easier to assume someone else is the reason you are being overlooked for mining jobs, often there are several contributing factors — and there are things you can do to give yourself a better chance of making the short list.


Assessing your situation is not always easy. However, if you are keen to move jobs or return to the mining industry, it may be time to critique your approach.


We’ve been in operation for 24 years, and many of our consultants are ex-mine-site personnel. We understand your industry.


Our mining careers consultant has more than 30 years’ experience in resources. If you want an honest appraisal of your approach, why not book a careers session now?