The petroleum engineer career is not one of the most common yet it has its solid place in the job market. Even more than that, it has its place in the world in general.

With all the petroleum products needed to run the economies of the world, being a petroleum engineer makes you an important person.

Without you, we would not have the oil we need for cars, ships, factories, lighting, heating etc.

It’s also necessary to recognize your abilities in math and physics. These are areas of study which not many excel in, let alone enjoy.

And since you’ve come this far in your education and are now ready to utilize your knowledge and skills, what better way than to get a petroleum engineer job?

Like in any other career, getting that job is a process which starts with sending a resume. That resume is what will make room for you in the interview. It’s only after passing the interview that you can help efficiently extract oil from deep within the earth.

We have written this article to help you get past the resume stage.

We’ll tell you what you need to write in your resume and show you how to write it. And after that, we’ll give you two petroleum engineer resumes to use as a model.

If you’re in a hurry, you can pick one of our resume templates and quickly get your resume done. But if you can spare some minutes, then read on to be equipped with important knowledge which you can even share with friends.


Every job has something that makes it great or otherwise. For some, the salaries make it great but the work can make it a bit unattractive. We want to look at two such things which will give you some insight into what to expect as you apply for a petroleum engineer job.

We’ll look at the salary ranges for petroleum engineers as well as the projected growth rate of your occupation.

This information will help you keep an eye on the important things and know when to make career moves.

Let’s start with the most interesting and positive part—salaries. This information will even help you negotiate your salary.

Petroleum engineer salaries

Although you may have become a petroleum engineer for the love of it, you most likely also thought of the pay. In any case, don’t you need money to take care of life’s needs?

Being a highly technical job, the pay for petroleum engineers does not disappoint. The one thing you’ll however need to be content with is a slightly low pay if you’re just getting started.

At the very bottom, you may have a position that is meant to help you learn. The faster you learn and progress well, the higher you’ll go. One thing you can be sure of, is that there are many growth opportunities.

Using government-provided data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, petroleum engineers are paid pretty well. The lowest-earning 25% get an annual pay of $103,610 with the annual median pay being $137,170.

More work experience and a higher position comes with a higher pay. The data shows that the highest-earning 25% get an annual pay of $191,780.

Source: US News

Job growth

With those figures, you need to know what the future holds and for that we look at the projected job growth.

As you might know, there are many voices calling for the end of oil use. The environment definitely suffers from the negative effects of using fossil fuels.

We experience different climate change effects mainly from the use of fossil fuels. But despite the concerns, there are no signs that we’re about to stop using these sources of energy.

This is an ongoing debate but the economies running off oil are not ready to grind to a halt due to environmental concerns. But as it is, you at least have an ear for environmental concerns.

In any case, isn’t it part of your job to look for ways of extracting oil in a way that least affects the environment?

One important thing to keep in mind is the fact that the energy industry supports livelihoods in many ways. From the families of the workers benefiting from salaries to the global trade facilitated by transport, oil can be said to be running the world.

But what is the expected job growth for petroleum engineers?

This doesn’t look very good.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 3% growth from 2018 to 2028. This growth is slower than that of other occupations.

This doesn’t mean that your career is under threat. As mentioned, only the complete abandonment of oil use can bring your career to a halt. And as much as there’s so much talk about renewable energy, the shift may not happen as soon as anyone may want.

In fact, oil exploration and production is on the increase.

What’s the motivation?

Technology. More specifically, the use of Machine Learning.

Are you aware that big tech companies are now in the oil business?

So far, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are working with petroleum producing companies to utilize Machine Learning to more efficiently extract oil from under the ground and sea.

Using all the data and computer processing power they have, these companies are seeking to help the industry become more efficient. But the efficiency narrative aside, there’s obviously the money bit of it.

The oil business is definitely big. If that wasn’t the case, then the desert countries of Middle East wouldn’t be so rich.

Here is a video showing how big tech is moving into the oil business.


Knowing what lies ahead, let’s see how you can increase your chances of being hired. This is primarily by writing your resume in a way that makes it stand out from the rest.

Writing your resume is not a difficult thing to do. You only need to be aware of some basic principles as well as some Dos and Don’ts.

We’ll cover these as we look at the different sections of your resume.

There are typically five sections i.e. personal information, professional summary, work experience, education and skills. These are the main ones which must be present in your resume.

The professional summary can at times be replaced by the career objective statement. We’ll discuss this in detail in the summary section.

Let’s go over the sections one by one.

Personal information

This is the introduction section. Here, you provide information about yourself to the hiring manager.

The information required in this section includes your name, physical and email addresses, mobile phone number and probably your LinkedIn address.

The rules governing this section are simple:

Dos and Don’ts for the personal information section

  • Write your official name in full
  • Write the correct address of where you live. Also ensure your email address and mobile number are correct in case you’re contacted for the interview
  • Use a professional email address e.g. and not
  • Don’t write any nicknames

Summary vs Objective

Following after your introduction, you’ll write your summary or objective statement. This is supposed to be a highlight of your best achievements picked from the work experience.

Your skills can also be subtly mentioned here, especially if you lack a petroleum engineer’s work experience. If that’s your situation, then you’ll be going with the career objective.

Although many in the recruitment field argue that career objectives no longer have a place in a resume, they do. But their place is very specific to those who lack work experience.

In a career objective, you don’t have the many petroleum engineer achievements to show off in your resume. It is for that reason that career objectives are used. But writing them wrongly will make any hiring manager frown at you.

Do not do what job candidates used to do with a career objective. They would say something like, “Looking to grow my career working at…” That only means that you’re seeking to benefit from the employer without seeking to add value to his business.

Since you’re smarter than that, make yours sound better and give your resume an opportunity to excel. Here is how to write the career objective like a pro.

Borrow from the experience you have from other jobs including your internship and volunteer work.

Ineffective career objective

To get employed by a leading petroleum exploration company and learn the skills required to grow my career.

Effective career objective

Seeking to help improve operations and efficiency in oil exploration and extraction at Manhattan Oil Company. Skilled in math and data analysis with internship experience of helping reduce well performance analysis by 50%.


If you have worked as a petroleum engineer, then you should pick the best of your career achievements and mention them here.

List them starting with the ones which are likely to make the biggest impact when read. Also remember to mention the number of years you’ve worked.

Pro Tip
Pro tip:

Always write your summary or objective last. This is to help you go through your work experience, education and skills sections to pick the best of what you have and highlight it in this section.

Work experience

Your work experience is a very important part of your resume as a petroleum engineer. This could even be the part which determines how far you go in the recruitment process.

The reason is that it shows the hiring manager the kind of accomplishments you’ve brought about in your past or current job. Note that this is not about the kind of responsibilities you had but what you managed to achieve.

Talking about accomplishments and not responsibilities makes things a bit difficult for many petroleum engineers. This is part of the reason why writing resumes is such a challenge.

But since we’re giving you some example resumes, you’ll see how this is done and learn how to write this section.

It’s important to note that it’s recommended to always have something to write in your work experience section. The times we live in demand that you have some work experience.

We know that this can be a tough thing to have especially if you’ve just graduated and are looking for your first job. But if you look at it more keenly, you’ll realize that you don’t need to have a formal employment in your field in order to have work experience.

Have you worked in any organization as a volunteer? Did you do an internship?

These are great areas from where to acquire work-related skills and expertise. Whatever you learned in those organizations, mention it here. The person reading your resume will see that you just graduated but have some skills you picked from working somewhere else.

And the good thing is that this doesn’t have to be in a petroleum engineering field.

Just write what you learned and show how you made a difference. If you have a record of bringing about positive change, then you can be easily considered even when you have no petroleum engineer experience.

Here is how to write this section to show what you learned and achieved.

The work experience mentioned here isn’t directly connected to petroleum engineer. However, the way it’s been written makes it clear that the candidate has some skills in creativity, design and critical thinking.

Such work experience should be listed after the internship experience which will show what you learned before graduating as a petroleum engineer. You will see an example of how these two work together in one of the petroleum engineer resumes at the bottom of this article.

Ineffective work experience

Web developer
Digital Designs Inc., Seattle, WA
2013 – 2017

  • Designed graphics for clients
  • Created front-end apps for website engagement
  • Participated in large projects of government agencies

Effective work experience

Web developer
Digital Designs Inc., College Station, Texas
2013 – 2017

  • Used listening skills to understand client requirements and improve website design to increase website response by 30%
  • Created front-end apps which increased customer engagement by 40%
  • Collaborated with other teams in developing online systems for 3 government agencies


Of course, if you’ve done some petroleum engineering work, then you’ll have an easier time in this section. Still, note that the example above of a well-written work experience for the fresh graduate has something unique.

That is the measure of change the applicant brought about. You should apply the same tactic in your work experience.

In short, as you talk of accomplishments, make use of numbers as they perfectly show the amount of change involved in your achievement.

For example, you could find out how things used to be done before you came in. With this information, you could measure the effect of the change you brought about.


Your education level is an easy one to talk about. In most cases, you only need to mention the university you attended, the years of study and what you studied.

If you have more than one university degree, list them starting with the most recent degree followed by the previous ones. The last one should be the one done first.

There is however one thing you could do a bit differently in this section—especially if you haven’t done any petroleum engineer work yet. This will go a long way in showing that despite not having the specific work experience, you’re still academically qualified.

The first thing you do is go through the job description in the job post. Pick all the keywords you can get from there and check the list against the coursework you did. Any coursework that is related to the keywords you have should be part of the education you write about.

Here is how that could look like.

Ineffective education section

Bachelor of Science, Petroleum Engineering
University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota
2009 – 2012

Effective education section

Bachelor of Science, Petroleum Engineering
University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota
2009 – 2012
Relevant Coursework

  • Geosystems Engineering Design and Analysis
  • Reservoir Geomechanics
  • Thermodynamics and Phase Behavior
  • Formulation and Solution of Geosystems Engineering Problems



Finally, the skills section.

This is used to show the unique skills you possess. Hopefully, these will make you stand out and guarantee receiving an invitation to the interview.

In line with being unique, it’s important that you understand that this is the message you should be sending through your resume. Everything on your resume should say that you are a uniquely-qualified petroleum engineer.

In the skills section, that means avoiding the usual skills mentioned by all petroleum engineers.

As good and useful as communication skills, problem solving, teamwork and other similarly-common skills are, these are not what you should list. At least they shouldn’t be the main skills you write.

Look for skills which are absolutely specific to petroleum engineers and list them for maximum impact. This list should make any senior petroleum engineer on the hiring team cast a vote in your favor.

The first place to get these skills is actually the job post. Read that job description carefully and you’ll see what the company expects of the new hire. Note that and tailor your skills list accordingly.

Here is a list of skills specific to petroleum engineers. You can pick some of those you have and include them in your list.

  • Mathematics
  • MS Excel Macros/VBA scripts
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Data analysis
  • Failure analysis
  • Communication
  • Stress tolerance
  • Flexibility
  • Operations research
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Project management
  • Teamwork
  • Time management


Now that you’ve read all that, here are two resume samples just as we promised.

The first one is for the petroleum engineer who is looking for his first job. Take note of the use of a career objective and not the summary. Also, check out how his work experience and education has been written.

The second resume is for the experienced petroleum engineer.

Use these two resumes to guide you on how your resume should look like once completed. Remember to save yourself some resume design time by using one of our resume templates.

Entry-level petroleum engineer resume sample


Experienced petroleum engineer resume sample



If you had written your petroleum engineer resume differently from these, now you know what you need to do.

Spice up your resume with some numbers and petroleum engineer-specific achievements and expect your resume to gather the right kind of attention.

Petroleum Engineer Resume: Examples, Template, and Resume Tips

Comments are closed.