After Checking More Than 1000 Safety Manager’s Resumes, Here are 5 Tips to Create the Best One

As a past hiring manager, I’ve read and filtered over 1000 resumes. Some resumes I’ve received are even for people who will replace me or become my boss. A little weird choosing my own boss, but it did happen.

Also, with how tight the competition is when applying for a new job, you’ll need to have that edge over the others. And your resume is the key to all that. Your resume needs to stand out in order to get a job in safety management.

Anyway, after all that, I realized that you need to remember these 5 things that make an effective resume.

Hit Those Keywords and Key phrases

Due to the own job postings of the company, you’re applying for, competition will be tight. Especially, if there are a lot of third-party job-hunting websites or apps that will advertise them. So, imagine the number of resumes that flood in.

Due to this, companies use different methods to filter out all the resumes so they will only interview a manageable number of applicants. 

There are still companies that use manual methods where a selected person will check each one and select which are qualified for an interview.

However, most companies now use automated filtering systems using AI. And the way that AI processes a submitted resume is by analyzing the keywords and key phrases in the resume. That is why it is very crucial to check the keywords and key phrases in your resume. It should match the requirements that the company posted. Because if not, the AI will pass you off as an unqualified applicant.

Don’t Exceed 2 Pages

Your resume needs to be short and concise because the managers, that will filter it out, have limited time to check each and every resume that they receive. Remember, if it’s too long, it will not be read. If you want to show your portfolio, containing all the details of what you’ve accomplished, then show it during your interview.

Use Plain Text and Font

Using fancy text make it hard for the manager, that will read your resume, to understand the content. As a manager myself, if I find it hard to read and understand a resume, then I’ll usually just skip it and move on to the next applicant’s resume.

Also, you will be at a disadvantage to companies that use AI for filtering. If the text is very fancy, it will be very hard for the computer program the read its content and detect the keywords that you’ve placed.

List Out in Detail Your Skills

Don’t expect that the managers will read between the line of the resume you’ve submitted. For example, if you’ve put a project that you’ve accomplished in your resume, don’t expect that they will know the skills and knowledge that you need to put into practice for it. Instead, break down into a list of all the skills that you’ve used to accomplish it. It’s also beneficial if you’ll break down all the certificates for the skills that you currently have.

Once you’ve created that list of skills that you have, place it at the best location in your resume. The first half of the first page. This way, your potential employers will immediately see it.

Open With the Things You Can Do for the Company

What you say in the opening words of your resume is very significant because it says a lot about your character and mindset.

For example, if you’ve placed in your opening remarks all your accomplishments and braggable results, it will reflect that you’re really centered around yourself. However, if your opening words state what you can do for the company, and what they can expect from you, then it shows that you are a team player and that you’re willing to cooperate with the company.

Take Action

So, those are the tips that can help you improve your resume. Tips that will get your foot in the door and land a safety manager job. So, hopefully, you’ll put it into practice. Do keep in mind that your resume is just the first step, and that you’ll still need to follow through during the formal job interview.

5 Key Elements To A Great Safety Manager Resume

Safety Brye: [00:00:00] I have looked at hundreds, maybe even thousands by now, of resumes for safety managers, and I have learned a thing or two. So today, let's talk about some must-haves on your resume to make it past that very first step, which is a person gets it and reads it, and does it go in the interested or the not interested pile.

Let's get to it.

Hey there, safety friends. Welcome to the Safety Geek Podcast. I'm Brye Sargent CSP and 20 year Safety Professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation and creating safety programs from the ground up over and over again, I am now sharing my processes and strategies with you.

At the Safety Geek, you will learn how to manage an effective safety program that increases your management support, and employee

[00:01:00] engagement, all the while helping you elevate your position and move up in your career. If you're ready to step into the role of a safety influencer and leader, you're in the right place.

Let's get to it.

Hello. Hello. Hello, my safety friend. How are you doing today? We are continuing our series on career advancement and safety, or career advice. I don't know what I'm calling this series, but it's all about your career and safety. And today we're talking resumes and what I'll tell you is that when I gave my notice, at two different companies, , they asked me to vet my replacement and sitting back today, I really think that's weird.

I really, really do. Like even at one company when they were replacing my boss, they had me do the first round of interviews and I'm like, you're having me pick my own boss. That's really weird. In fact, at one company I work for, I actually hired my replacement.

[00:02:00] So they didn't just have me pick them or vet them ahead of time. They actually had me hire my replacement. So when I moved into a regional role, it was actually one of my duties. I was overseeing 39 locations and anytime a new safety manager had to be hired, I was responsible for the first and sometimes second round of vetting for the applicants. So I would do interviews and all of that good stuff.

And then when I started training safety managers, I was always given their resume before. This is not Safety Management Academy. This one I was doing at a corporate level. I was always given their resume before the onboarding started. So, needless to say, I have seen too many safety manager resumes that I can count, and I can tell you that there are some things that hiring managers look for to help weed them out. Because what you have to realize is that when you're

[00:03:00] applying for a new role, if that job posting was public, right, like they put it on their website or something like that, or they put it on one job board or LinkedIn or something like that, there are websites out there like Indeed and ZipRecruiter and others that actually scour the web and curate job postings for their app, I guess it is, right?

For their job boards. And this is why there are so many jobs on there. So a lot of times what you'll find is that it's not like company A when they need to hire a safety manager. They're posting it on LinkedIn, they're posting on Indeed, they're posting it on Monster. They're posting it on ZipRecruiter. No, they're posting it in one place, and those other places are just curating it from them.

That is a possibility. There is a possibility. They're posting it everywhere. You can usually tell if you're not actually applying within the app, if it just automatically takes you to their job posting on their website just means that it was curated from that, and there's nothing wrong with that. But what ends up happening

[00:04:00] is the job pool ends up vast because it's posted in so many places, which is great for the organization. Right? But when you're submitting your resume, I means there's a lot of competition out there. You know, you might think, oh, there's not that many safety managers around here. I'll be great. Like I live in a small town, there's probably only 10 or 20 businesses that would have a dedicated safety manager in them.

So you would think when one comes available, there's not that many of us in this small town that I live in, there wouldn't be that much competition. But there is. Because you're not just competing with the people in your town. You're competing with the people in the surrounding neighborhoods, people that are willing to relocate for the job, all of those things.

So it's very common to have hundreds of applicants for one role. So what those employers need to do is then weed through them as much as possible. Now, some of them actually have the capability of using computer AI to weed through them, and we'll talk about how you can get around that

[00:05:00] right now. Others, they just glance at them quickly and literally are doing the like accepted, not accepted, accepted, not accepted to try to at least do a first round to get it weeded down cuz they can't interview a hundred people.

They wanna get it down to where they're interviewing a reasonable amount of people. And this is why sometimes you'll do that first telephone interview where they're just gonna ask you the same five questions they ask everybody to kind of weed them out even further. So it ends up being a process, right?

So making your resume stand out is vital to getting your foot in the door. So I have five tips for you that you can do right now and refresh your resume. So are you ready for them? All right. Number one is keywords and key phrases. So when your resume needs to be packed full of keywords that that computer AI is looking for. And you might be saying, I don't know what the

[00:06:00] computer wants to see in my resume. So go to the job posting, and likely you will see things in that job posting, which are key words or key phrases that they are looking for. It could be experience, it could be skills, it could be job tasks. You want your resume to match

that job posting as much as possible. So that way you get through those little AI computers, things that will rate your resume and possibly weed you out. And you might be thinking, but I have one resume. How can I make sure it matches every job posting? And that's something I disagree with. I think you should have a starter resume, but then you create a very specific resume for that specific job to make sure that you're hitting those key phrases.

If you find key phrases or key words that you're seeing in a lot of job postings, then you can add that to your generic to give you a good starting point. So make sure that they are just filtered throughout. It's not like you're just gonna have a list of key

[00:07:00] phrases, although I will tell you a way to do that in just a second. But it has to be a natural language. It has to easily be read within there. So it might be like, yes, when I worked at a ABC company, I managed the lockout tagout program, the machine guarding program. I did safety and center programs. I managed a safety committee. You know, all of those things, which are key phrases that they might be looking for.

So that is tip number one, is make sure that your resume is full of keywords and key phrases. Tip number two, two pages max. No more than two pages. And the meat of it needs to be on that first page, and the meat of it needs to be on the first half of the first page. There is no benefit to you whatsoever to be sending in a portfolio of stuff to them right now. I do have some ways around that on creating portfolios that I'll probably share in the future, but

[00:08:00] if your resume is too long, they're not gonna read it. We are in a society right now of everybody having tweet size information, okay? You want it to be short, sweet, to the point. You can put some meat into your cover letter and flourish all of that, but your resume itself should be no more than two pages, and that includes everything that you need to put on there, your skills, your education, any speaking or writing engagements that you've done, your referrals, your certificate.

Anything that you wanna put on there needs to fit within those two pages. Okay. Number three, plain text. Don't do any fancy formatting. Don't even put page breaks in there because a lot of times you're submitting this resume online into a computer system that can only read plain text. So the minute you put fancy stuff in there, what spits out is this very ugly resume.

[00:09:00] And then have you ever seen when you submit a resume where it actually fills in most of the fields on their online application for you? It's because the computer can read that off of your resume for the moment that you start putting in fancy columns and page breaks and tabs, dividers and all of that, the computer has trouble reading it.

And then from a hiring manager standpoint, I don't get the fancy word document that you uploaded. I get a computer printout in an email that looks like a jumbled mess, so that immediately will make me go, Nope, no thank you. I'm not gonna try to figure reading that out. Yes, a lot of times that hiring manager can go and get the word document that you uploaded, but that's extra work cuz what comes to them first is this email with the resume in this form.

Hopefully it's better now, has been a couple of years since I hired a safety manager, but it might be a little better, but from

[00:10:00] what I heard, it really isn't. So keep it two pages, keep it plain text, make it very easy on the computer overlords to read your stuff and get it to the right people. Tip number four, list out your skills.

Don't rely on them reading your experience to understand what your skills are. Break them out into categories. Do you have OSHA skills? Do you have DOT skills? Do you have office skills, communication skills? And list them out. And this is a great way to pump up your resume with keywords. So look at the skills that they're looking for and then list them out.

I like to put my skills at the very top right after the next thing, my opening section, which I'm gonna tell you about in a sec, might like to put it right at the top, that these are all of my skills. You know, I have computer skills. I might have like training skills.

[00:11:00] I might have OSHA, you know, safety skills, like, hey, I'm OSHA certified. I have my OSHA 501, I have my OSHA 30 hour card, my forklift certification. I'm a certified first aid trainer. I've taught Smith system, you know, whatever it needs to be, you just list it out in skills and then you don't have to list it down at the bottom, right? So list out your skills, and that is a great way to pump up some keywords.

And I like to see skills right at the top, the first half of the resume. So is grabbing attention. Okay? Tip a number five. Have an opening paragraph in your resume. So think about the top of your resume. You have like your name, your contact information, hopefully your LinkedIn link, maybe a link to your portfolio, right?

And then you have a little paragraph. And a lot of people, what they put in that paragraph is what they want. This is what I'm searching for. And then they match that paragraph to be the

[00:12:00] job title. What I want you to put there is to focus on what you can do for them. I am looking for a job as a regional safety manager so that I can help the company do this and achieve this.

Providing the company with this, they wanna know what you're gonna give them. It's all about them. All about them, not about you. So that will definitely make you stand out because you're already showing that you are a team player. You're all about the company. You want the company to succeed. You understand that there is a compromise between company and safety.

It isn't all about safety. It's all about what can we do together to make sure that we are providing profits for the company effectively, efficiently, and safely. Have an opening section for that and try to whittle it down into two to three sentences at the max and don't make them run on sentences. It's really

[00:13:00] annoying. So those are my five tips for you, which is pump it full of keywords and key phrases that are listed in the job posting. No more than two pages. Use plain text, so have a starter resume and then pump it up and change it as needed. List out your skills at the very top and have an opening section that highlights what you can do for them when you are in this particular role.

Now, I do have a bonus tip for you, and that is what I see a lot when I'm looking through hundreds of resumes is a lot of the common things that everybody has tends to blend together. And depending upon what that is, it could be like the college that you went to, it could be a certain employer. Like if you are in a small town like mine and you only had like one or two employers to work for, you know, it could be that type of thing. It could be certain

[00:14:00] certifications. Now I'm really big about putting my CSP at the end of my name, so what you'll see is it'll be Brye Sargent comma CSP. But anything else, any certifications I list down at the end of my resume. So anything that's very common, you don't want that to be at the top. You don't want that wasting that precious real estate at the top of your resume.

You do wanna list it, but then just list it down at the bottom. But let's say that you have a, like a very unique college degree. Let's say you have a doctorate in safety, right? Not many people have that who are going for some of these roles. Maybe that's unique list that at the top. But if you're just the normal, like I have a bachelor's in safety from such and such college, you know, then put that down at the bottom.

It's not that you're not listing it at all. It's just don't waste the real. Because they may be looking through the stack and what is most unique about you or the things that are your specialty. You wanna have those at the top

[00:15:00] because that's where they're gonna start reading. And if they start getting bored, you know, they may never get to the good stuff.

So you always wanna put the good stuff at the top, cuz the goal is to keep them reading. So the order of the items on your resume. That is what does that, that's what keeps them reading. So really kind of look at what order am I putting things in. That's why I like to start with the opening that talks about them, right?

And then my next thing might be like, what's unique about me? And then keep it going from there. And you know, where you put the skills, where you put your job history, where you put your education, it can all play a part. There is no right or wrong order of items for your resume. In fact, the more unique you can make your resume, the more you can stand out.

Just make sure it's still easy to read. Alrighty, my safety friends. That is it. My resume tips that I will share today. We do have one

[00:16:00] more episode in our little career planning series, so be sure that you subscribe to the podcast so that you don't miss it. I will chat with you later and you have an amazing and safe day.

Bye for now.

Hey, if you're just getting started in safety or you've been at this for a while and are hitting a roadblock, then I wanna invite you to check out Safety Management Academy. This is my in-depth online course that not only teaches you the processes and strategies of an effective safety management program, but how to entwine management, support and employee participation

throughout your processes, are you ready to finally understand exactly what you should be doing and ditch that safety police hat forever? Then you have got to join me and your fellow safety scholars over at Safety Management Academy. Just go to

[00:17:00] to learn more and to get started.

That's, and I will see you in our next students only live session. Bye for now.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Career Planning Using Your Safety Manager Resume
  • How Your Resume Can Stand Out To Land A Job In Safety
  • 5 Essential Things To Consider That Make An Effective Resume
  • What Things To Highlight On Your Resume

Links Mentioned:


Hey safety friends, we have one more episode in our Career planning series.

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Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)!  I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience.  Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world.   I would love to help you too.

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