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CV Writing Guide

Despite a perceived skills shortage in the oil and gas industry, the market for contractors and consultants is still highly competitive.  When appointing a consultant, our clients are looking for individuals who have a proven track record in performing certain tasks in a safe and competent manner.  It is important to remember that when you apply for a position, your potential employer will make their initial judgement on your CV without having the benefit of being able to speak to you directly.  Your CV is your one opportunity to sell yourself and your experience, and needs to be comprehensive, detailed and, most importantly, well written.

Leaving out details about a job you have worked on, or experience you have gained, no matter how small you think they may be, could result in someone else being chosen for the position instead of you.  If you worked on a well that was HPHT, high H2S, deepwater or horizontal etc., then make sure these details are listed in your CV.
Through our extensive experience of working with clients in the oilfield industries we realise that there is a standard preferred format for CVs.  This layout makes it easier for the client to identify your key abilities and experience at a glance and allows you to demonstrate quickly and clearly why you are more suitable for this vacancy over the other candidates who have applied.
Download this guide as a PDF or download our free CV writing template.
Suggested layout and content for your oil and gas industry CV

Section One:  Personal Details

Make sure you include the following information;
  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Contact telephone numbers (home and mobile)
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Country of residence
  • Home airport
  • Job role desired
Section Two:  Personal Statement
Your statement is a great opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer.  Use it to sum up your career and experience to date but keep it concise, a maximum of 3 -4 short paragraphs.  Make sure anything you mention in your statement is fully explained in the relevant job description, for example, if you mention you have experience with IRDV in your statement you should also include a job description that explains exactly what the task involved later in your CV.
Here is an example of a good statement:
"I am a post-graduate Petroleum Engineer with significant oil and gas experience. I have been involved in all aspects of well testing and operation including well planning and technical studies, and have significant amount of onshore and offshore supervision experience, working with operators, service companies, and engineering consultancy companies. Experienced in exploration, completion and workover wells, high temperature and high pressure, heavy oil, foamy oil, deep water (drilling ships, semi-subs), jack-up, land jobs, including DST, slick line, surface testing , downhole gauges, surface read out, TCP, gravel pack, setting packers, data acquisition, subsea, acid stimulations, sand fracs, thermal fracs, coiled tubing, wire line, snubbing. Experienced in using all surface well test equipment."
Section Three:  Career History
Your career history should be broken down into individual jobs and should list the most recent first, going backwards in time so that your first position is listed last in the segment.
Make sure that each job description include the following;
  • Start date
  • End date
  • Company worked for
  • Job title
If your responsibilities changed within a company, e.g. if you began work with a company as a Well Testing Senior Operator but after two years became a Well Testing Supervisor, list this new position as a separate job above the position originally employed for.  
From To Company Job Title
May 2008 July 2009 Expro Well Test Supervisor
Description of tasks performed and experience gained.


From To Company Job Title
August 2006 May 2008 Expro Well Test Senior Operator
Description of tasks performed and experience gained.


For roles outside of the oil and gas industry give minimal details unless they will enhance your application, e.g. management experience, supervisory details, etc.
Put the most detail into your most recent positions.  If you can, list all your jobs for the past 20 years.  Don’t worry if you can’t remember all the equipment you used when you first started in the industry, just make sure your descriptions of work performed in at least the last ten years are full of details.
Each job description should start with a summary of the main duties and responsibilities.  Remember to refer back to your personal statement and expand on any experience you have mentioned there.  Details of technical information to support each job description could include;
  • Rig type
  • Rig name
  • Location
  • Oil field name
  • Water depth
  • Well depth
  • Well temperatures and pressures
  • Rates of oil or gas flow
  • Mud types and systems (Drilling Fluids)
  • Specific problems encountered and how they were resolved
  • Equipment of oil field specific software used
A good job description could look like this
From To Company Job Title
May 2008 July 2009 Expro Well Test Supervisor
Duties/Responsibilities: As Well Test Supervisor my responsibility was supervising the day to day well test operation on the rig including but not limited to: following the well test program, modifying it as and if required, ensuring efficient personnel performance, assessing and finding appropriate solutions for any problems during operation, providing regular reports, interacting with any other services on the rig for more productive and efficient and desirable outcome During this time I worked on the following rigs:
  • Angola: semi-submersible Scarabeo 6, heavy oil/foam - deepwater
  • BP: Drill ships Jack Ryan, water depth 1300m, type of well heavy foamy oil
  • Total: Drill ship Pride Africa, water depth 1100m, type of well oil. HPHT conditions.
  • Total: Drill ship Saipan, water depth 1100m, type of well - oil.
  • Tunisia, land rig, heavy oil. 12% H2S

Please note:  Whilst we require specific job details on a consultant’s CV, we understand the need to respect client confidentiality, particularly where there may be issues of a commercially sensitive nature.  Consultants should make a judgement as to the information they provide, especially regarding detailed technical information which might be regarded as sensitive or confidential.

Section Four:  Training and Certification
List any training and courses you have attended (including toolbox talks and in-house training) to further demonstrate your skills.  Make sure you can back up any training listed with the appropriate certificates if requested.  For example;
Professional Training
  • Well Test 1, 2 and 3 Geoservices, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2000
  • Slick Line 1, Geoservices, Paris, France, 2003
  • SenTREE 3 systems, Subsea Test Tree Schlumberger 1998
Safety Training
  • H2S Aware, 2007
  • BOSIET, Aberdeen 2010
  • OGUK Medical, Aberdeen 2011
  • MIST 2008
Also include information about offshore survival training and Vantage Cards etc. if you intend to work offshore.

Section Five:  Education

Some positions may require you that have certain educational achievements of qualifications.  If you have them, the following are useful to mention;
  • Degree - title, dates and institute
  • Apprenticeships
  • NVQs
  • BTECs
Remember to be able to back up any details listed in this section with the appropriate certificates of completion.
Section Six:  Languages
Whilst English is accepted as the standard language in the oilfield, with the majority of clients requiring a good level of understanding of written and spoken English, other languages are sometimes required.  To help enhance your CV it is always worth including a list of languages you have experience of and your competence in each.  It may also be worth to segment your languages into your spoken, reading, writing and listening capabilities in your CV, for example;
Language General Level Speaking Listening Writing Reading
English Native Speaker Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
French Fluent Excellent Good Good Good Excellent
Spanish Fluent Good Good Good Good Good
Arabic Working Knowledge Good Good Good Good
Hindi Basic Knowledge Basic Basic Basic Basic


Section Seven:  Additional Information

At the end of the CV you can include information about other activities or experience that will help you stand out from the crowd.  For example, you can describe any achievements that demonstrate teamwork or determination, or fitness activities you regularly participate in.  If you have climbed a mountain as part of a team, this is the place to mention it.  However, make sure anything you add in this section is true.  It will be pretty obvious that you don’t run regular marathons if you become out of breath when climbing stairs on the rigs and this can lead employers to question how much the rest of your CV is truthful.
Style Tips
Finally, there are a couple of tips we have learnt through our dealing with some of the oil and gas industry’s major employers that can help to enhance your CV.
  • Provide your CV in an electronic format.  Microsoft Word is now the globally accepted package for documents so if you cannot access MS Word make sure you present your CV in a package that can be converted.
  • Please spell check you CV carefully before submission, preferably in English.  If you are using MS Word you can change the proofing language quite simply.  Make sure you change it to English UK rather than English US or any other version as there are some differences between them.
  • When checking your CV pay particular attention to proper and trade names of rigs, equipment, oil fields and companies etc.
  • Please do not present your CV entirely in capital letters.  Such presentation makes your CV very hard to read and is considered ‘shouting’ by many readers.  Make sure you use the appropriate capitalisation and grammar structures.
  • Don’t worry if your CV is longer than two sides.  A lot of generic CV writing guides recommend keeping your details within this guideline length but in the for work in the oil and gas sector CVs are typically longer due to the amount of jobs undertaken in contract and consultancy work, and also because of the technical information you are required to include.  From our experience, a consultant working in the oil industry for about 10 years will have a CV that is approximately 5 pages long.


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