The oil and gas industry is one of the few bright spots in today's job market, as hiring in this sector is projected to rise by 8% annually through 2020. But even if companies are begging for your skills, you still need to know how to market yourself effectively to land one of these coveted jobs.
By incorporating the strategies below into your job search, you can increase your chances of finding a job in the energy sector and landing the one you want.
First, you need to figure out three things:
- What type of job you want
- What are you qualified to do, and
- Do these jobs exist?
If there is disconnect between these three aspects, then you need to realize that your chances of landing job will become much harder. Here’s what you can do:
- Review companies in the energy sector that are hiring to determine the types of jobs that they need to fill and if they match your current qualifications. Do these fit in with what you want? If not, then:
- You may need to take some courses to earn the qualifications you need to be part of the competition, or perhaps move to a location where you have a better chance. But if all three match, then consider the next aspect below. You need to figure out how you want to market yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will you respond only to job ads?
- Will you send your resume to the businesses where you want to work in the hopes of getting your foot in the door?
- Are you willing to start at the bottom and work your way up to your dream job?
The strategy you intend to use to market yourself will determine how you structure your resume and cover letter, the types of questions you will be asked and the duration of your job search, among other aspects.
After your plan is in place, you then need to work on the first impression that hiring managers will see: your resume and cover letter. These will set the tone for organizations and recruiters to understand what you are looking for, why you are looking for it, and what you have done to make yourself stand out. One generic resume for multiple job openings is unimaginative and forgettable, so take your time to develop customized resumes that touch on specified experiences, commensurate with the skills each organization is seeking.
Are they looking for engineers for pipeline work, expertise in regulations and safety, consulting, drilling or excavation? Are they looking for specialized software knowledge such as SmartPlant or general knowledge such as Microsoft? These requirements differ vastly, so make certain you are qualified and highlighting those qualifications prominently.
Next, read your resume and cover letter objectively and ask yourself:
- Is it boring?
- It is difficult to read?
- Is it attractive?
- Is it concise, too concise, or too wordy?
- Are your details all relevant, energetic and believable?
- Are your words, phrases, grammar, punctuation and spacing all correct and consistent?
- Does it prominently feature your applicable experience?
- Is it tailored to the proper field of the industry?
These may seem like little differences, but the old adage is true – people will judge a book by its cover, and with the amount of other candidates competing for the same jobs, you need to be perfect. One last word about your resume: make sure it is all true – it will be easier to come across as sincere and confident in your interviews, and employers will check.
Then: you get the interview. Regardless of industry, the advice is the same:
- Practice possible questions and answers
- Make sure you know how to talk about your resume
- Do your research about the position, organization and company
- Be professional, polite and pleasant, but not over-the-top.
After each interview, send a thank you letter. Email is fine, but written is better – it shows more thought and effort. Make it short and sweet. Too long and it becomes desperate, but too short feels impersonal. With a written letter, you'll stand out from the other candidates for energy sector jobs.