How To Start A Career In The Oil And Gas Industry: What Employers Say

jennifer Bjorkman | April-11-11

How to Start a Career in the Oil & Gas Industry

By Cassandra Jowett, Talentegg

Last week, Talentegg explored the Canadian oil and gas industry from a student and new grad perspective during the Focus on Petroleum. Hopefully you learned a lot and you’re now considering this fast-growing industry to start your career! Recruiters and human resources professionals from many of the petroleum employers on TalentEgg gave us a lot of advice for students and recent grads from many different educational backgrounds.

But we know it’s a lot of information to process, so we chose the most actionable recommendations from those employers to help you start your career in the oil and gas industry. Don’t forget to visit TalentEgg’s Focus on Petroleum to check out the employer profiles and career opportunities – although our articles will remain online forever, the job postings will only be available for a limited time!

How to start your career, step by step
(Katie Weir, Talent Acquisition Specialist - Campus, Talisman Energy)

Fix up your resume – take it to your career centre at your university and they’ll help you.

Write a compelling cover letter that speaks to your best qualities – save the pretentious language for your English papers.

Join a professional association and attend their events – if you feel uncomfortable attending alone, try volunteering at them. By having a job to do, it gives you an excuse to interact with the attendees, and an easy way to start up a conversation the next time you see them.

Do your research – I can’t stress this enough. I want students to apply to Talisman, not because we have open jobs, but because they actually have an interest in what we’re doing, and want to be a part of it.

Be confident, but stay humble – it’s important to communicate your abilities effectively, but it’s also important to be conscious of the phrase: “sense of entitlement.” This generation entering the workforce has already been branded with the word “entitlement,” so students will need to fight against this bias from the very beginning of any relationship with people in the industry – be aware that you will need to roll up your sleeves and work hard for the first couple years, and you will be rewarded in the end.


Understand the industry and what role you can play
(Rick Davidson, Lead Recruitment, Cenovus Energy)

The best advice would be to research the industry and different companies to understand what is new and changing. This will help you understand what role you can play. Not everyone has previous industry experience, but if you can demonstrate a keen interest, passion and a great attitude in getting involved, this will assist you in getting a future position that meets both yours and a company’s needs.


Network with professionals in the oil and gas industry
(Camille Nieva, Field Recruiter, Savanna Energy Services Corporation)

Attend networking events. There are many different organizations that put together networking events where students can meet professionals from different industries. That’s a good way to start getting contacts to see where you’d like to apply. Students can probably find upcoming events near them through their career centres.

The oil and gas industry also offers opportunities for current students to work through their vacation as floorhands to fund their studies. This is another good way to get exposure and experience in this industry.


Have an open mind and be willing to learn
(Heather Swenson, Human Resources Representative, National Oilwell Varco)

Have an open mind, and be willing to learn.  A new grad who starts with us, works hard, and takes every opportunity to learn will be exposed to a multitude of different product lines and functionalities within our company.  The industry is so diverse that no matter what specific degree or background, there is the chance for everyone to discover what they are passionate about.


Originally posted on Talentegg on November 29, 2010


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