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Get A Boot In The Door

Angela Bradby, managing director of Link Resources, shares some fundamental strategies for getting where you want to be in the resource sector.


In the past gaining employment in the resources sector was attainable for many people without previous experience in the industry. More recently, given present market conditions, gaining employment in mining or oil and gas is increasingly challenging. There are many experienced personnel seeking employment, so being a green hand and trying to get into the industry is no easy feat.



The short-term forecast for the resource sector is somewhat uncertain given the lower commodity prices, however the long-term outlook is good with increasing global demand for energy sources.

Some resource companies are currently employing green hands in various roles and this is likely to increase in the future as companies gear up and seek new talent.

To best position yourself for a start with a mining or oil and gas company there are some things you can proactively do to stand out from the large number of candidates you are up against.

“The more people you connect and build relationships with the more you will find out about the industry and more opportunities will present themselves to you.”

Have you ever heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it is who you know?”. This rings true in many cases. The more people you connect and build relationships with the more you will find out about the industry and more opportunities will present themselves to you. Reach out to your existing network, talk with friends, neighbors, instructors, trainers, use social media sites, join trade or professional organisations, attend industry functions/events and use social media to tell people what you are seeking. Many positions aren’t widely posted or advertised.


Ensure your resume is well-written and professionally presented. There are a number of companies that provide resume-writing services for a reasonable fee. Your resume should be thorough but succinct and focus on the qualifications, experience and skills you have relating to the role and sector you are seeking employment in. Your resume is often your only contact with the employer when they are deciding who they will shortlist and/or interview, it is critical that your resume stands out.


If at all possible provide references that are known to the company you are seeking employment with or well-connected in the resources sector. Ensure your references know what positions you are applying for so they can give the most relevant reference when they are contacted. References can make all the difference when applying for a role, particularly in a sector you have not previously been employed in.


Determine which inductions, technical courses and safety courses are essential in the positions and sectors you wish to gain employment in. Research the courses and invest in gaining some of the competencies required through reputable providers. Use your attendance at these courses to further network and make connections with people in the industry or companies servicing the industry.


When you get to the interview stage of the recruitment process it is critical that you interview well. Draw parallels to your previous experience and how it is transferable to the role you are applying for. Many employers seek personnel with strong problem-solving skills, a good work ethic and the ability to work in less than ideal conditions. Giving examples to your interview panel of how you have demonstrated these skills in previous roles will certainly highlight these attributes at an interview.


With a general shift away from the significant portion of workers being fly in, fly out (FIFO) many mines and oil and gas companies are looking to employ locals. Relocating to a mining town or an oil and gas hub is certainly advantageous in making you stand out from the other people applying for roles.



Once you have gained employment in the mining or oil and gas sectors, the focus will move to progressing through the ranks and “moving up”. The resources sector provides a very successful career for many Australians. Career prospects in the industry are varied with many opportunities in technical areas for those whom committed to personal development and committing to the industry for the long-term.


Obviously there is no substitute for hard work and exceeding performance expectations. Ensure you meet all your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and don’t be afraid to put your hand up for more projects and/or responsibilities if you are managing your workload and have some remaining time. Consistent high performance is the key to moving up in your career within the resource sector.


Understand that everyone on a mine site is working long hours and/or has spent significant time away from their families and loved ones. At times, emotions can run high. Embrace the common goal of getting the job done and be flexible in your approach when dealing with others.


Performance appraisals are a great opportunity to discuss your career goals and aspirations with your manager. Having the support and guidance of your manager will ensure that if an opportunity for advancement comes up the decision-makers know you are keen. If you are a valued employee with potential, a good manager will take the time to advise and mentor you to further increase the likelihood of your promotion/advancement within the organization and/or industry.


The pressure of working rosters and being away from home for extended periods can take it’s toll on families and relationships. It is important that the whole family is on board with your career in the resources sector particularly your partner, who is constantly transitioning from solo parenting to co-parenting. Some tips to ensure the FIFO lifestyle is sustainable includes providing your family with as much information about your role as possible, rosters, emergency contacts, times you will be available to speak on the phone/Skype. Ensure your time at home is used to reconnect with your family and friends whilst still ensuring you get adequate rest. Having a supportive partner, family and friends will make you a happy, productive employee, which means your likelihood of advancing within the sector is high.


Long working days can prove difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Enquire about local or camp gym facilities and make a conscious effort to eat regular nutritious meals. Drink plenty of water, avoid excess alcohol and get a good night’s sleep. Staying in optimum health will ensure you are performing at your peak.


University and technical course graduates in professional and technical positions usually earn the most in the mining and oil & gas industries. Investing in your education is one of the best ways to ensure a long successful career in the resource sector. More specifically a bachelor of science or engineering or more specific graduate degree opens the door to even higher-level positions. Engineering talent continues to be in high demand and is very well compensated in the oil and gas industry. A degree in petroleum, civil, mechanical, electrical or chemical engineering or in geology or geophysics would really pay off in the long run.


Safety is absolutely paramount to all roles in the resources sector. Displaying a good attitude towards safety and having a high level of knowledge about safety in the resource sector will be imperative to your career advancement in the mining or oil and gas industry. A genuine commitment to safety will be most advantageous in advancing along your chosen career path.

“You may receive knockbacks, but being professionally persistent will pay off in the long term.”

The resource sector provides a lucrative and rewarding career for many thousands of Australians. While it is challenging to secure a position in the industry at the moment, it is a great time to start building your network and formulating a plan of those companies you would like to approach for employment. You may receive knockbacks, but being professionally persistent will pay off in the long term.


For those already in the industry who wish to advance within the sector, now is the time to start selling yourself whilst devising and implementing a clear strategy to get from your current position to where you want to be. Great leaders at all levels standout during challenging times.

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  • Finished mining engineering program in late 2014 beginning 2015. I do have software engineering masters and development experience back from 2005. Have far above average computer literacy and general engineering knowledge. Applied for all junior engineer and other suitable openings worldwide with no results. It is virtually impossible to get foot in the door, unless you are daddy’s son of one of industry bosses. Just get bitter and disappointed with this state things. It is pity because miners hire people with a level intelligence of janitor, just your loss.