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.
At 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.