How Your CV Can Land You The Top HSE Job!

Recent discussions with our senior network indicate that in 2024, there will be a rise in the number of HSE Leaders in the job market, leading to increased competition.

For seasoned health and safety executives, crafting or updating a CV can be a daunting task. To assist you, we aim to address the top enquiries we frequently receive about CV development:


1. What’s the ideal length?

The primary question on many minds! While there isn’t a strict rule, we recommend aiming for a concise 3 pages (4 at most if necessary). Remember, less is often more.


2. How far should I go back?

Focus on the last 10 years of your career with detail, however, beyond that avoid lengthy paragraphs that don’t align with your current career aspirations. We suggest summarising your earlier career history – if it is relevant (e.g. if you worked as a sales manager before you got into HSE, it’s probably not that relevant – but if you were a physiotherapist and moved into HSE, it is relevant).


3. How should I present my responsibilities and achievements?

Simplify by not directly copying role responsibilities from your Position Description. Instead, try to provide a summary and list 5-7 impactful achievements relevant to the desired role you’re applying for.

For instance:

General Manager, HSE
XYZ Company
Mar 2018 – Current
At Xyz Company we manufacture a variety of plastics and have 7 manufacturing sites across Australia and New Zealand. We employ 2,500 people and I report to the CEO. The HSE function I lead comprises 27 people. When I joined in March 2018, I was tasked with re-developing the HSE strategy, re-building the team and driving the implementation of the subsequent 5-year HSE plan.

Achievements include;

  • Resetting Board & Executive Leadership Team Charters to enhance safety performance and a focus on critical risk
  • Implementing an organisation-wide safety culture program and introducing ‘speak up’ behaviours
  • Restructuring the safety function to meet the needs of the business, including introducing site-based HSE Business Partners, with direct results in achieving a 78% reduction in LITs
  • Recommending self-insurance for Australian divisions, saving over $4 million in the first 12m
  • Launching an Environment & Sustainability Strategy, addressing waste and emissions which won an award from the regulator


I’ve heard of ATS, but what is it?

ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is software used by a great many recruiters to manage the candidate hiring process. An ATS system will categorise your suitability to the role you’ve applied for, based on matching keywords in your CV against the advertisement or Position Description. So, the more keywords you have in your CV that align with the job, the better the match!


What’s the preferred CV format these days?

While visually appealing graphics may be tempting, they can confuse ATS and complicate recruiters’ efforts to reformat into their templates (e.g. if we are representing you, we place your original CV into our branded template). Opt for a simple and clean format. SEEK offers free templates if you need assistance.

Additional reminders from our years of reading HSE CVs include;

  • Add in a personal summary on the front page – about you; your values, your experience, your goals and aspirations
  • Your qualifications (the relevant ones for the role) look great on the front page too
  • Proofread and be patient – it may take a few drafts to achieve perfection


Final Word

If you follow our tips, you will be well on your way, but if you require assistance with your CV, gaining your dream HSE job or any additional advice we’re here for you.

Other blogs to get you ready for your job search include;

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