Crafting a resume can be a headache—especially if you’re looking for a job in the safety industry. It can be challenging to sort out what to include on a job application that will make you stand out from the crowd. This is equally true if you’re looking to upgrade your skills and qualifications in the hopes of getting a new EHS job or developing a long career in safety. Whether you’re applying for your first safety-related job or are plotting the next move in your health and safety career, the following four areas are places that can make or break your prospects of landing the gig you want.
It should go without saying that your EHS resume should include all experience that directly relates to safety. But you should take it a step further and tailor your experience to the specific job you’re applying for. This practice helps focus your resume and weeds out irrelevant details. Read and re-read the job posting until you know it inside and out and recognize the skills, experience, keywords and certifications the potential employer is expecting. (If the posting is skimpy on relevant details, consider searching for older or similar job postings from the same employer that may include more information.)
Once you have a firm understanding of what they’re looking for, adjust your resume with the appropriate details and consider omitting information that is not pertinent. Use the same words that the posting uses—even small details can make a big difference. For example, if the posting uses the phrase “tailgate meeting” then use that in place of “toolbox talk” on your resume, as this can show that you already share a common language and, on a quick scan of your resume, will help you look like a better fit for the position. Go through your resume line by line and tweak any listed skills or descriptions of experience to increase relevancy.
The odds are good that you won’t have every certification or diploma they list in the job description and that’s alright, include any experience or credential that comes close and do your best to show how they are complementary to what the safety job posting asks for.
Previous work experience is often the deciding factor in the hiring process because it’s a tangible, non-fungible variable used to effectively compare candidates with each other. Writing the description of your work history is therefore a crucial element of your job application. Avoid simply listing off the expected duties and responsibilities of your past roles, as this does nothing to separate you from other candidates. Concentrate on finding examples of quantifiable or measurable results achieved during your career, as these are the best indicators of success and are specific to you, and thus will help to distinguish you from the herd. For example, instead of ”performed EHS audit of the workplace,” include something along the lines of “reduced OSHA incident rate from 4.5 to 3.3 within the first twelve months.” Take your time to find examples from your experience that demonstrate your personal abilities and show how you can meet the performance expectations outlined in the job brief you are applying to.
Safety certifications are valuable in their ability to showcase a breadth of knowledge and areas of strength. EHS resumes can be studded with them. Make sure to highlight or reference in your cover letter any certifications that are detailed in the job description and take particular care to review any OSHA and EPA federal, state, local and corporate EHS requirements listed, as these may be required to qualify as a potential candidate. Don’t be afraid to show employers your full breadth of knowledge, by including any training courses you have completed that aren’t specified in the job posting, as long as they’re broadly relevant to the job in question.
If you already have experience in the safety industry, you can also include vendor-specific processes and training. So if you’ve received supervisory leadership training at your old job, for example, or have implemented or undergone personal awareness training, then be sure to highlight that on your resume.
Human factors knowledge
Once you’ve documented your direct experience and credentials, the final touches on your resume should include advanced knowledge or skills that will help demonstrate how well-rounded you are for the position. This is another opportunity to make your application distinctive and signal your priorities as an EHS professional.
Two important and transferable items of note to include on an EHS resume are human factors knowledge and communication skills. Having knowledge of human factors shows that a job candidate is willing to go beyond the bare minimum of compliance and is able to read and react to real-time cues, like frustration or fatigue bubbling up through a work shift. Any job candidate who shows they are adept with human factors is liable to be seen as more qualified. If you haven’t received training on human factors, you can still demonstrate familiarity with some of the core concepts by showing that you’ve read white papers and watched webinars on the subject.
With a resume and cover letter that follow the recommendations above, you’ll be in good shape to submit your EHS job application with confidence. While adhering to this advice may mean it takes longer to apply for each job posting, it should also maximize your chances of getting noticed by the person in charge of hiring and, hopefully, of landing your dream job in safety.