Career prospects in Africa’s mining industry are improving as the sector continues to recover from its fallout in 2020 brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. With the introduction of vaccines for mine workers in some countries, and social distancing and hygiene rules in place, many mines around the continent have managed to resume operations, and new mining projects have kicked off in numerous nations this year.

If you’re ready to join the dynamic African industry of mining and enjoy an interesting and potentially lucrative career filled with employee benefits, before you start applying, making sure your resume is up to scratch and grabs hirers’ attention is your top priority. Make your mining resume stand out and avoid common mistakes by knowing what NOT to put on your resume.

Here are five mistakes to avoid on your resume – and things you should do instead:

1. Typos and grammatical errors

As obvious as this may seem, many people submit their resumes without proofreading them first and find later they’ve left a glaring mistake. This looks unprofessional and doesn’t make a great impression on recruiters and hiring managers.

What to do instead: Always read through your resume to check for any mistakes, and ideally, get someone else to read through it as well, before sending it anywhere.

2. Skills or work experience with no connection or relevance to the job role

If it doesn’t relate to the skills and experience involved in the job you’re applying for, it’s irrelevant information and won’t add any value to your resume, so it’s best to not include it.

What to do instead: Include all skills, qualifications, and previous work experience that links to the position you’re applying for. As well as this, when writing your job history, make sure you include any achievements you accomplished in your previous jobs to highlight your strengths and capabilities.

3. Sending your resume in a different format than the one requested on the job ad

There are reasons that hiring recruiters request that you send your resume in a specific format such as PDF or Word. One reason may be the software they may be using to view resumes is only compatible with one type of document format. Sending your resume in a different format may mess up the whole layout of the document.

Most importantly, never scan your resume and send the scanned photo document of it to recruiters. Doing this means software can’t read your resume and recruiters will not be able to pick it up when doing keyword searches, so your CV will not get noticed.

What to do instead: Send your resume in a Word document if requested, or a PDF if requested – but never as a scanned document. Before sending off your resume, check the formatting and layout of your document to ensure your paragraphs are lined up, the text is the right size and font, and so on.

4. Using personal pronouns – leave out the “I”

Incorporating personal pronouns into your resume is generally not advised, as it gives your language an informal tone that can come off as less professional to recruiters.

What to do instead: Write your resume from a third-person point of view when speaking about yourself and your experience, and leave out first-person pronouns “I”, “my”, and “me” – this is more professional. Instead of saying, for example, “I developed and directed the exploration project”, which sounds more casual, remove the “I” and your language will take on a more formal tone.

5. Large chunks of text and hard-to-read text

Long paragraphs or sentences make it harder for recruiters to read and skim through your mining resume, and you’re less likely to receive an interview invite. The same applies to using a bright colour for the document font, particularly yellow font which has low contrast against a white document and is harder to see (and looks less professional.)

What to do instead: Break up the text into bullet points, short paragraphs, and sections. For example, ‘Work Experience’ should be one headlined section, and the ‘Education’ section should be a separate one. Another thing to avoid is putting the text on your resume in bright colours – in general, it is good to stick to black, which always looks professional and is easier to read due to the higher contrast between the text and the page. However, some resumes do include coloured backgrounds and text, and this is fine, as long as it doesn’t make it hard to read or look too bright and colourful.