Dear Resume: You’re Not Fooling Anybody

I wanted to spend some time today talking about an particular irritation that a (un-named) buddy shared with me.  After he mentioned it I realized that I also see it all the time, and those that do it probably think that it is helping them out.  I think they do it because they realize the number of years of experience they have is so important in the business of being a landman.

6a00e5509ea6a18834015438b4daf9970c-800wiAt first I thought that it was a very simple thing, and maybe not worthy of a blog post all its own, but on some reflection I think it’s an important conversation to have.  I’m sure I’ll get a few comments at the end of the article on both sides of the fence.

 

 

 

 

A few examples of things I’ve seen on resumes, cover letters  and postings from people looking for work:

  • I have ten years of experience in leasing and management.
  • I have seven years of title research experience.
  • I have been in the oil & gas industry for over 20 years.

Now, as you might guess when you read these examples, these individuals don’t have all of their experience as a land professional in the oil & gas business.  The first one was a manufacturing manager, the second did title searches for a mortgage company, and the third was on pipeline construction crews.  While all of these things may have helped the person develop applicable skills, I feel they are (at a minimum) misrepresenting their level of experience.  I’m sure that a few of you are saying “Now Randy, it’s not that big of a deal, the experience section of the resume should tell the whole story.”  Many times it does.  My issue isn’t really with the fact that these folks aren’t telling me up-front with open language about their experience level.

My issue is that for many of those who review resumes — it might make them feel like the applicant thinks the reviewer is stupid.  Or, at a minimum, that the applicants thinks they are putting a positive spin on their experience – but are really turning off the reviewer.  When you use these tools in your resume it can backfire on you, like when you go to a website and it immediately starts talking to you or playing music (90% of people will immediately hit the ‘back’ button on their browser).  That isn’t to say that there isn’t a way to spin that experience, so I’ll offer some suggestions as to how I might handle it:

  • For the previous 2 years I have been leasing minerals in Ohio,  I leased over 6,000 acres.  Prior to that I managed a production facility with 45 employees.  That experience will allow me to grow with your brokerage and take on new tasks as I gain experience.
  • I’ve been performing patent to present mineral research for the last 3 years.  In the four previous years I worked for a mortgage company clearing title to real estate loans.  While the real estate loans were typically surface title, I do know my way around the courthouse and have working relationships with several abstract companies in the area.
  • I’ve been purchasing rights-of-way for the past 18 months, and for the rest of the last twenty years I’ve worked right of way construction projects performing a variety of tasks.  I’ve found landowners appreciate the fact that I can talk with them about what to expect on their property from a realistic perspective.

Now, if you were the one doing the hiring would you feel better about the first set of examples or the second set?  Obviously I’d pick the second because I wrote them.  What is the take away?  Be honest, be truthful, be direct.  Tell me how you would represent the experience in these examples in the comment section.

Randy Young

Randy Young

Randy is a land consultant with experience in field and in-house land work, land administration, and software consulting with systems used in the land management business. He is an active member of the AAPL, HAPL, and NHAPL and is a regular attendee of industry functions. Randy's latest projects have included land data systems integrations, with a focus on Quorum Land System.

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Rob - February 13, 2013 Reply

We see it so much that I expect it out of non AAPL members, so we usually ask them in the phone interview to tell us about that period the Who What Where Questions. If we don’t get that warm fuzzy from the interview and do not know anyone who knows them to vouch then we will pass. Those who do come onboard are highly encouraged to join the AAPL as an affirmation to the code of ethics.

Rob
Love Land LLC

    Randy Young
    Randy Young - February 13, 2013 Reply

    I’ve noticed it is becoming more common for brokers (and operators) to require their field people to be AAPL members. I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    I’ve heard it is not as common up north in places like Ohio, but I suppose that is a function of time.

    Thanks for the input!

Rob - February 13, 2013 Reply

I believe that to be correct as well, for the people we have hired in Ohio many of them coming in were not members however they had verifiable work experience in the area. After coming on board they joined the AAPL.

Rob

Jeannette - February 13, 2013 Reply

Joining the AAPL doesn’t automatically give someone ethics. Agreeing to abide by their professional code of ethics as per membership doesn’t mean that they will. If they falsify/mislead in a resume, how much will the code mean to them.

I have worked very diligently to have my years of experience, one week at a time. (Almost 20) and when joining a new broker, they phone interview me. It only takes a few minutes of conversation to know that I am for real. You can’t fake that! So the faked resume only works when brokers are in a hiring frenzy and desperate.

I agree that those faked resumes fool NO ONE.

    Randy Young
    Randy Young - February 13, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the comment Jenn. I think that folks with many years of experience really aren’t the focus of these “AAPL Membership Required” efforts. It’s for the newer folks that might not really understand what is appropriate to do or not do. In addition, it’s good for public relations for an operator to have their field personnel be a member of a professional organization.

Hypatia G. LaCour - February 13, 2013 Reply

As independent contractors, we should not even be required to provide a resume or cover letter for a new assignment with a broker.

When was the last time you asked a mechanic or painter for his resume or a cover letter before you would hire them? Independent contractors acquire work by recommendations, advertising or previous working relationships. Comments like “I’ve found landowners appreciate the fact that I can talk with them about what to expect on their property from a realistic perspective” should not be of interest for a contractual relationship between a broker and sub-broker (contracted Landman). It should be about “if” the Independent Contractor can explain what is about happen to the landowners property and how the Landman is going to go about explaining the procedure.

AAPL membership on the other hand should be considered! Using the example above, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable if your mechanic an independent contractor was a member of the Automotive Service Association or your painter was a member of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America or at the very least certified (RL, RPL, CPL)?

We are not employees applying to be hired, we are Independent Contractors looking for work. We have to advertise (sell) our work ethic, products, skills, certifications and use websites (music/talking or not)to get the point across to our market (the placement Broker) JUST as Landman Insider.com and the Brokerage Companies have done in their market.

Just an opinion!

    Randy Young
    Randy Young - February 13, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to respond Hypatia. The only thing I wouldn’t be in agreement with is your example about contractors not providing resumes. Car mechanics, for instance, typically provide a warranty. That doesn’t really exist in the field landman world, most field landmen don’t carry their own E&O insurance.

    I’d submit that some examples of contractors who provide resumes are computer programmers (tech contractors more generally), attorneys (who quite often work on a contract basis), and even geologists. If you have enough experience to make phone calls to movers and shakers and get hired via an informal process you probably don’t need a resume. However, most field landmen don’t have those types of connections and have to rely on some amount of canvassing. That means using a resume as part of a larger ‘marketing’ system.

    Again, thanks for the comment! It let’s me know people are reading, and that’s why I write. If everyone agrees with me then it means I’m being too ‘safe’.

Kay Whittington - February 16, 2013 Reply

Hey Randy, I liked this. It actually helped me.

I have sent out quite a few resumes and I, for the most part never even get a reply via email, which is puzzling to me as if they are reading the email why not take the time to at least say, “we do not have a spot right now, we will let you know, even tell me you are not interested”

Anyway, that said I see I have been sending the wrong, for the most part, cover letter. I have done this for almost 17 years and I have not worked for a lot of different brokers as when one job ended I just got sent somewhere else, or my husband would make a couple of calls and off we would go.

We are not working the same job now because of the if the job ends in one place, the other will have a job.

Anyway, after all that rambling, this helped. Is the above what people want to read in a cover letter? Or if not I wish someone would post one that they want to see because as I said, I have never had to send resumes, I just went from job to job.

Thanks
Kay

    Randy Young
    Randy Young - February 16, 2013 Reply

    I will put an article on cover letters on my list of aeticles to write. In the meantime, email me a copy of your resume and cover and I will give you a review of it.

Kay Whittington - February 16, 2013 Reply

PS: I also agree,I think all landmen should belong to AAPL.

Joan D - February 16, 2013 Reply

Randy,

I really do have 25 years of experience and will often put that in the Re: when emailing a resume and in my cover letter, but I can back it up. Yet I still can’t seem to get an interview. Any suggestions?

    Randy Young
    Randy Young - February 17, 2013 Reply

    Do you specify a dayrate in your initial cover letter/resume? Does your resume accurately specify your experience (i.e. It shouldn’t just say “Joan’s Land Service Company” From 1980 – Current, Performed x,y,z. That isn’t verifiable, or informative information.)?

G. Smith - February 18, 2013 Reply

Good article and fresh perspective, Randy. Ms. LaCour invoked some provocative points to the discussion. I believe in professional affiliations, for reasons obvious to me. However, I understand the thinking of the very independent and to their lack of my goals within the industry. Too, I’ve even heard that affiliating with an organization, like AAPL, leans towards joining a union; that thought alone within the O&G Industry can be a ‘spark’.

Micael White - February 18, 2013 Reply

Thank you for the advice on job descriptions with a CV

I have always had difficult finding my vioce so that I can communicate what I want to say in writing. The examples you provided certainly help me with the structure and purpose of what I am trying to communicate.

MKW

Kelli Brennan - February 18, 2013 Reply

Randy,

This is very helpful and I would greatly appreciate a review of my resume. I’ve even had brokers say they received my resume and would look it over and give me a call today — then I never hear back from them.

    Hypatia G. LaCour - February 18, 2013 Reply

    I believe that it is all about your résumé being on the right desk/inbox at the right time.

    Timing is very important in this industry!

Kay Whittington - February 19, 2013 Reply

Should the cover letter say what our day rate is?

    Randy Young
    Randy Young - February 19, 2013 Reply

    I think that is a very fact-specific question and could go either way. It is really your call. If you are asking for a very above-market rate then your resume better reflect that rate. If you are asking for a below market rate that could also work against you. If you are right in the ‘market rate’ area, it might be unnecessary to even mention it. Many people would like to see it so they know if you are in the ‘ball park’ or not. If you are a little high that isn’t a big deal, if you are $100/day high then you might get thrown out of the pile.

Lisa Ramsey - February 25, 2013 Reply

Yes Randy, everyone appreciates all your articles and they are good. I have 2 points on this one I agree with. 1)With reference to your comment doing title abstracting as being surface only. That is totally untrue. If you sought to purchase a tract of land, a home or a business, would you feel you had the right to know both the surface and subsurface estate of the property? Yes, everything that has to do with that piece of property has to be reported. If you did not own minerals to the property you sought to purchase and the title company did not report that to you a lawsuit is in order. 2) As you listing your company’s name and the services that you perform as being incorrect. I disagree. One of the first reasons of “why” you want to do that is you are an independent landman…you own your own business. That is how a business resume is set up. Continually setting up instruments such as a resume like an employee where it lists dates with names of who you did work for only further gives rise the IRS’ possibility of deeming you an employee. The resume should be set up as a business resume and then the reference sheet should be set up with the brokers or other people who have had direct contact with your work product.

    Randy Young
    Randy Young - February 25, 2013 Reply

    Hi Lisa, thanks for the comment. Of course you can’t address every single situation in a ‘generic’ article. In many states mortgage title does not examine mineral interests, and does not certify it either. I know in Louisiana and Texas this is ‘typically’ correct, but other states may have different practices.

    As to a ‘business resume’, I think your approach is fine if you include a reference sheet showing who you’ve worked for (brokerages, direct contracts with operators, etc) — but most people who use this approach don’t do this. They just say that Jane Doe worked for JD Research LLC for 12 years. Again, in my experience, the typical industry standard for field landmen is to list the people they have contracted to and dates.

Anonymous - February 25, 2013 Reply

Hi Randy, I have to beg to differ again as to what a title researcher would be required to obtain in a title search. While emphasis is on the surface estate, in Texas all minerals are considered a part of the real property and, therefore, must be reported. While it is true that it is usually shown as an exception to title on Schedule B to a title policy, it is searched and reported and listed therein. Title researchers in their career would also be subjected to many commercial searches which are normally not only full abstracts of title but also include environmental searches on the property as well. The only thing that a title researcher would not encounter in that a landman would do is actually calculate the interest of the mineral owner and prepare the Mineral Owner Report. Here is an article by an attorney where it is not only important to report it on the title report, but in the contract of sale as well. Also in recent years, with the mortgage companies having mortgages that require royalties to paid over to the mortgage company to reduce the loan amount, it would be imperative for them to have the knowledge of whether or not the mortgagor has mineral rights or not.
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