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“Being able to do the job well will not necessarily get you hired. The person who gets hired is often the one who knows the most about how to get hired.”
Steps to securing a position in the oil & gas industry
There are 5 main steps in securing the best position for yourself in this, and indeed any other, competitive industry:
z z z z
Step 1: Self Assessment: identifying the job you are best suited for. Step 2: Preparing a CV. Step 3: Writing a cover letter. Step 4: Preparing for and completing interview. Step 5: Job offer and negotiation
Step 1: Self Assessment
Essential that you understand your strengths and weaknesses before trying to sell yourself. Honesty is the key: focusing on your strengths and weaknesses will provide vital information to help you find the right job. Put yourself in an employer’s shoes:
What would they want to know about you? What will differentiate you from other applicants?
you may wish to divide your skills into the following areas: .Self Assessment: Skill Evaluation z z z z What do I have to offer? What am I selling? By examining your skills and abilities you can determine your relevant strengths which will help you in determining what you have to offer. For oil and gas positions. Define your main skill sets as a useful way to start the evaluation process.
computational etc. financial. Analytical – problem solving or decision-making abilities. Commercial – transferable skills. Reservoir Simulation etc. Nigeria. Deepwater Exploration.g. IT/Technical – software applications. languages. Structural Geology. operating systems. Caspian.Licensing. CIS. project and manpower management skills. Seismic Depth Processing. Regional – geographical areas worked/ studied e. accounting.Self Assessment: Skill Evaluation z z z z z z z Technical Knowledge – specialist and particular disciplines e. North Sea. . Industry Knowledge .. budgeting.g. etc. databases. hardware. Managerial – business development.
could I retrain? z . what do I do best? z What are my main weaknesses? What skills do I lack. give them a score from 1 to 10 and ask yourself these questions: What are my main strengths.Self Assessment: Skill Evaluation z Once you have established your skills set. evaluate each skill individually.
Managed. Designed. z Leadership Words: z z Responsibility Words: z z Interaction Words: z z Investigative Words: z . Revised. Initiated. Engineered. Planning Words: z z Created. Devised. Authorised. Reviewed. Administered. Appraised. Coordinated. Audited.Self Assessment: Keywords z Try and determine the “Action words” that illustrate and support your skills and experiences. Supervised. Investigated. Assembled. Negotiated. Computed. Controlled. Maintained. Coordinated. Performed. Trained. Recommended. Researched. Estimated. Delegated. Mentored. Justified. Counselled. Coordinated. Developed. Handled. Mentored. Specified. Scheduled. You will find this evaluation very useful when writing your CV. Developed. Conferred. Innovated. Guided. Implemented. Evaluated. Assessed. Organised. Operated. Directed. Clarified. Established. Conferred. Inspired. Resolved. Planned. Correlated. Verified. Tailored. Authorised. Formed. Analysed. Evaluated. Observed.
start to think about what you would like to do in the future and how you will achieve your goal. money. z The following occupational questions might help you picture what you want to do and where you want to be. z z z z z z z z z z What is preventing me from getting where I want to go? What do/did I enjoy most in my current/previous position and why? What do/did I least enjoy in my current/previous position and why? Do I want more or less responsibility? Where do I want to be in 2 or 5 years time? What is my ultimate career goal? Can I relocate.Self Assessment: What drives you? Now that you have defined your skills and strengths. power? . family. would I like to travel? Do I want to spend less time commuting? What is important to me – recognition.
z When constructing your CV bear in mind that potential employers will only spend a mere 30 . Think of it as a personal marketing platform to sell/promote yourself to a prospective employer. z z z The idea of a CV is to get you an interview and your foot in the door. not to get you the job.60 seconds reading your life history. .Step 2: Creating an effective CV z In simple terms. Your CV should reflect your occupational and educational life and be relevant to the position you are applying for. a CV is a personal statement outlining your life from an educational and professional view.
CV: Structure & Format Keeping your CV concise and to the point is a difficult task. the example layout following is typical for the European/ African Market. z There are many layouts to choose from. Selecting a comprehensive structure and format will help you to achieve this. z . and they vary from country to country.
email and mobile. precise and no more than three. it is a key selling point. home phone. are you a team player or an individual? Society Memberships . thesis.list all geoscience and general software applications used. As well as writing a brief overview of your job. Include details on your final year project. Ensure at least one is an existing or previous manger – provide details on company name. Publications – be careful not to list too many. Analytical. Additional Skills – Industry Knowledge.e.CV: Basic Structure z z z z z z z z z z z Name/Contact Details . (Note: if a graduate remember to give a permanent address of a family member and your term time address) Personal Details . dissertation.keep this limited but consider what it says about you… eg. Managerial. . E.include your Date of Birth. i. For each one you might want to list your level of proficiency. List any other major projects. hardware. Graduates should list at least one academic referee. (Can be placed at the beginning or end of the document. try and incorporate your responsibilities and achievements. Nationality and Marital status.List the most relevant. Commercial. Technical. etc.g. ‘A Senior Interpretation Geophysicist with 10 years E&P experience. Referees . field studies. Languages. you may appear to be too academic. Ideally this should be punchy. Personal Interests .display a permanent address. job title/position and company name.’ Academic Qualifications . Work Experience – List in reverse chronological order. job title and telephone/email/contact details. 15-word sentences. databases. use 3 maximum.recommend you list higher education only if already working. operating systems. You may want to combine topics and list the topic and number of papers written/presented.highly recommended to grab the reader’s attention.optional but recommended.) Personal Profile . Include dates. training courses etc. Computing Skills .
achievements and responsibilities rather than listing your work history. periods of unemployment. z Functional z z Targeted z . the most common are listed below. It shows no gaps or changes in your career and is useful to display a continuous work history that is related to your next job opportunity. Highlights certain skills.CV: Basic Format z There are several different formats. this type can be used for specialised positions. Choose one that is suitable for your own career history or the job that you are applying for. It is ideal for career changing. It concentrates on your potential and what you are capable of. redundancy or illness. Also useful if you have repetitious job titles. A one off CV targeted for a specific job or vacancy. Unlike chronological and functional formats which focus on past work history. Chronological z z Details your work history in reverse chronological order.
. There is no exact format for compiling a CV.CV: Presentation z z z The quality and presentation of your CV is vital when selling yourself. The appearance of your CV is an indication to a prospective employer of the type of person that may be working in their environment. but the following guideline is a good method to avoid yours being rejected.
Use bulleted lists z z short and concise points are clean and informative. (If you have an extensive work history. z Clearly states who you are. where you have been and what you have got to offer.it may be circulated around several departments. z z Looks attractive z z z z z Has a Personal Profile to grab the reader’s attention. make sure its written in reverse chronological order Has all relevant work experience listed . use no more than a maximum of 4 pages. is well laid out.) Don’t hide your name with your personal information. Try to print on good quality paper . put it in bold at the top of your CV and in a minimum of 12-14pt. structured and easy to read. Also remember to print on one side of the paper only.CV: The Good CV z Is no more than 2 pages max z long CV’s are regarded as time wasting.
z z Don’t draw attention to any negative descriptions z z Try not to highlight gaps in your work history Avoid listing too many interests and personal information z z . might cause the reader to have doubts/questions about you. think about what it is relaying to the reader.” z Check for common spelling. grammatical and punctuation errors.CV: The Bad CV Avoid excessive references to “I. It is easier to discuss these details face to face at an interview. spouses and colleagues know your strengths and weakness and are often more than willing to criticise. the idea of a CV is to sell yourself.. he or she”: Alternatively write “Employed as a Seismic Interpreter with 6 months practical experience in …. z z Have someone read your CV.
large fonts . colours. rigid formatting Embedding photos .NOT VERY USER FRIENDLY Don’t write long sentences. less text is easier to read Make sure it’s not disorganised and unstructured don’t make the reader switch back and forth between pages Avoid too many graphics.CV: The Ugly CV z z z z z Avoid excessive use of CAPITALS. underlining.different software might distort your appearance – so be careful . paragraphs or ramble aim for concise information. bold and italics.
your CV should be a dynamic report continually modified to reflect your latest skills and achievements.CV: Keeping it current The cyclical nature of the Oil and Gas Industry means that it is unlikely you will have the same job for life. enabling you to secure your ‘perfect job’! z . z It needs to be immediately at hand for any new opportunities. z Therefore.
It is typically the first introduction and therefore it is essential to make a good impression. Sending a well written cover letter with a supportive CV will greatly enhance your application and make a winning impression.Step 4: Writing an effective cover letter z z z z A Cover Letter is a medium through which you will establish a personal connection with a potential employer. There is no standard format but the following 4 Point Strategy has proven to be successful: .
the date of publication.e. job reference number and job title and your purpose in writing . z Many companies have similar jobs and the reference number can be very important to avoid confusion. that you would like to apply for the position. State where you saw the advert. z .Writing an effective cover letter: Stage 1: Opening paragraph z outline the purpose of the letter.i.
then ensure that you briefly outline your relevant experience in this area. Example. you do not need to list all your skills that match the requirements in your letter but focus on the essential skills required to do the job. Review the candidate requirements of the job description.Writing an effective cover letter: Stage 2: Current position z z z z Outline your current status and what skills you have that are relevant to the job. if the job spec requires: "Geophysical Processing" experience. . Highlight what you achieved in your previous position that would bring value to the role.
z . skills and experience relevant to the job. z Specify your interest in the Position/ Company and highlight your career aspirations in relation to the job.Writing an effective cover letter: Stage 3: Your suitability Focus on your qualifications.
30am.Writing an effective cover letter: Stage 4: Closing paragraph z z Often the job details will provide a contact person for “informal discussion of the position”. .30am. to discuss this position further” “I will call you on Friday between 9-9. to discuss potential opportunities with your organisation” z This informs the recipient that you plan to call and they be more inclined to review your CV. Initiate action z z “I will call you on Friday between 9-9. Use this.
Make sure you send it to the right place. z z Research the company . This shows initiative. Only highlight key skills relevant to the position.it will give you an insight into their business and may be helpful when composing your letter.1 page max preferably typed. brief and focused. find out who they are and address it to them. .Writing an effective cover letter: tips z z z Create a good impression. z If it says send to the HR manager. Don’t list anything negative.
but you should consider asking yourself questions so that you will be fully prepared during the interview. The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer . so it is important to anticipate and practice the answers.Step 4: Preparing for Interview z z z z There are no guaranteed interview questions. Focus on your strengths and what skills you can bring to a position. You know best your own shortcomings and where you might fall below the expected standard.
You should prepare for questions about your background. your personality and your interests. the potential employer and the position. Note that the style and types of questions do vary from one country to another. your aspirations. .Preparing for Interview: Questions z z z The questions most typically asked at interviews have been grouped into set topic areas (but are seldom as structured during the interview process). This list is not exhaustive but should provide food for thought.
Preparing for Interview : Questions z Potential Employer Why did you apply to us? z Where did you hear about the position? What do you know about our organisation? z Do you know anyone who works for us? z What interests you about the position? z What do you think we have to offer you as a company? z .
Preparing for Interview : Questions z Career Ambitions What are your long/short term goals? z Tell me about your career aspirations. z . z What are you looking for in a career? z Do you have plans to gain further qualifications? z Where do you see yourself in 2/5 years time? z Describe your ideal employer.
Leading a group. What have you got to offer the company? .What skills will you bring? How do you work best? . in a team or alone? Are you prepared to travel? Are you looking for a position with training? What has been your main career achievement to date? What was the most difficult problem in your current/previous position .how did you find the solution? You say you have xxx skills…how did you demonstrate these in your previous position? .Preparing for Interview : Questions z Skills and Requirements z z z z z z z z Why should we hire you? .Give me three reasons.
strengths/weaknesses? z Remember: weaknesses First. How would your friends describe you? z What motivates you? z What are your strengths/weaknesses? z How do you spend your spare time? z .Preparing for Interview: Questions z Personality z Describe yourself . then Strengths: end every interaction with a positive note.
how long do you expect to stay with our organisation? z Can we contact your current employer for references? z . z Given your career plans.Preparing for Interview : Questions z Problem/Sticky Questions What salary or benefits are you looking for z Why are you changing your career? z Explain the gap in your work history.
responsibilities) is there within this position? What is the company’s managerial style/culture? .Preparing for Interview : Questions z Questions to ask the Interviewer z z z z z z Why is the position available? What skills are needed to succeed? What are the initial priorities of the position? How does the position fit into the organisational structure? How much scope (autonomy. flexibility. career growth.
what else do you feel you gained from college/university? Were you active in any societies? What positions of responsibility do you hold/have you held? . z z z z z z z z z z z z z z Why did you chose your particular degree/discipline? Why did you chose your college/university? What did you most/least like about your course? What was your strongest/weakest subject? Tell me about your project work? How are your studies related to this position/vacancy? Tell me about your career aspirations? Describe your ideal employer? Do you plan to gain further qualifications? How do you spend you spare time? How would your tutor describe you? Besides your degree.Preparing for Interview : Questions z Questions typically asked of Graduates.
have money.Who are you meeting? their titles. . relationship to job. Thoroughly read the job specification. Identify .Company brochures or website.Get a location map. Most companies today have a Web Site and they expect you to have researched their company.Find out what the job entails.Preparing for Interview : Prior to the Interview z z z z z Prepare . Make sure you have researched all the information. contact telephone numbers.Prepare for Interview Questions. allow yourself a good 30-60 minutes of additional time to arrive. have a few to ask the interviewer. Check Out . dress well. Research . mobile phone if possible. etc. Plan Ahead .
Preparing for Interview : During the Interview z z z z z z Smile and make eye contact. Think about your body language. REMEMBER z z z 7-10% is what you say 20-30% is how you say it 60-80% is your image. . Relax and be friendly. Don’t discuss salary until you’re offered the job. Be positive and enthusiastic. your body language and the overall impression you create.
you should never introduce the subject. Health. Dental. It's never easy when you come to negotiating a salary with a future employer. However. think carefully about what you want from the position in terms of: z z z z z Starting Salary Relocation Allowances Holiday Entitlement Benefits Package . Before accepting a job offer. References. In most cases.Medical. Exams. . in many cases there is room for negotiation. Bonus. It should not be an issue until the employer is ready to make you an offer. Share Options. Eligibility for Employment .Pension.Step 5: Job offer & Negotiation z z z Salary negotiation is one of the last steps in the job search process.
Remember: most companies have a set graduate entry level salary so there may be little room for negotiation at this stage.Job offer & negotiation: Salary Negotiation z z z z After being offered the job. Evaluate the offer in terms of your priorities. You need time to collect your thoughts/ clarify the details of the offer. . negotiate if you feel it is not market value. you may be ecstatic. Most employers will give you 1-3 weeks to accept. but don't rush to accept the offer and don't feel pressurised to accept immediately.
your expectations should be a range you think is acceptable or “A salary that’s competitive with the current market”.Job offer & negotiation: Salary Negotiation z Do z z z z z z Research the salary you expect for the job. If asked. Delay salary negotiation until you fully understand the position and its requirements. . Discuss salary if the offer made is inadequate. Let the employer make the first salary offer. Be aware of your strengths and achievements demonstrate their value.
.get it in writing before committing: this gives you time to review the contract. Become rigid/aggressive in negotiating the salary you want. Accept a verbal offer .Job offer & negotiation: Salary Negotiation z Don’t z z z z z z z Discuss the salary before the employer does. Feel pressurised to accept the position immediately.consider the overall package. Play off one company against another. Price yourself out of the job. Focus on Base Salary .
highlighting where they thought you were less suitable: z you will be surprised how many will do this and if a job in the same company comes up. You may now win first time: remember. practice makes perfect. Treat every application as an opportunity to perfect your sales technique. It is the absolute minimum that you need to be doing before stepping into an interview if you really want to succeed. ask the interviewer to provide you with some tips. . z z z z This is not an exhaustive set of guidelines. how often they will remember your thoroughness.. If you are unsuccessful.And finally.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?