What do you want to be when you grow up?
Landing your dream job in 2017 requires a different approach than what worked in 2007 or
even 2012. Gone are the days when professionals could join a company and comfortably
expect that hard work would lead to steady advancement. Today’s successful professionals
proactively practice strategic career planning, carving out a path that can weather industry
volatility and keep pace with rapid technology advancements.
Companies preparing to hire, but struggling to source qualified talent.
The U.S. Oil and Gas industry will need to fill 1.9 million new jobs through 2035, predicts IHS Markit, but this qualified talent is in short supply. Extreme boom-bust cycles have pushed top talent away from E&P, service and manufacturing to other industries. The departure of Baby Boomers from the job force, known as the “Big Crew Change”, is also in full swing, further compounding the talent exodus. The Society of Petroleum Engineers estimates that half of the current skilled workforce could retire within the next five to seven years.
The recent industry downturns necessitated multiple rounds of layoffs and tight budgets, which left companies with little money to invest in technical skill development these last five years. Rather than grooming younger employees for top technical positions, companies were forced to slash training programs and cut payroll. Now, as Boomers retire, companies are finding that they have few – if any – mid-level employees who are adequately trained to take over more senior positions.
Capitalizing on new opportunities.
The Oil and Gas industry is at a crossroads: after years of market volatility, companies are ready to hire but are struggling to find the right specialized talent. As oil and gas continues to recover, job seekers who understand the new realities of talent recruitment will be best positioned to capitalize on new career opportunities.
From LinkedIn optimization to online job boards, technology has upended and accelerated the traditional search process. At the same time, the value of real, offline connections has never been more important.
While every career path will look slightly different, successful professionals have several things in common. They develop sought-after leadership skills, build strong networks, leverage recruiter relationships, and optimize their LinkedIn profile and resumes for maximum impact. No matter where you are in your career, this guide is designed to help you proactively take control of your professional trajectory and embrace future opportunities.
From executive recruiter search to informational interviews, LinkedIn is ground zero for finding your next job. A few tweaks to your LinkedIn profile will ensure you stand out in search results and build a strong professional brand.
Master keyword search.
Recruiters and hiring managers use Boolean search operators (AND, OR and NOT) to quickly scan thousands of LinkedIn profiles for keywords. Be sure the major industry keywords are present in your LinkedIn headline, job title and summary.
Show your career trajectory.
Don’t leave recruiters guessing about your job progression. Even if you’ve been with your current company for five, 10 or 15 years, you should still demonstrate growth. List 2-3 previous positions, responsibilities and key project outcomes. Highlight notable accomplishments: how quickly did you earn promotions or take on new responsibilities?
Benefit driven headlines.
Your LinkedIn headline is prime real estate– don’t waste this space by simply listing your job title. Take your LinkedIn headline from generic to memorable by succinctly communicating your unique value add for your future employer. Why should a company hire you? How will you make a difference for their business? For example, instead of listing “Vice President for Development”, describe the value you bring “I work with organizations that want their teams to be more strategic, productive and profitable” or “helping successful companies implement strategies to double their leads, cash flow and profits in 90 days.”
Do your research.
Join industry-specific LinkedIn groups to stay on top of the latest news; this way you will be able to ask intelligent questions during your interview and demonstrate your in-depth industry knowledge. LinkedIn is also useful for discovering interests or experiences you have in common with your interview team that might not be in their company bios; these tidbits are great for breaking the ice and making a more personal connection during your interview.
When you meet someone, get in the mindset of “How can I help this person?” rather than “How can this person help me?” Make sure that the
advice you give is unbiased and that you have their best interests at heart.
Build your favor bank.
Are you building your favor bank or do you approach every interaction as a transaction? In order to withdraw favors from the bank, you have
to put favors in. Even small favors help to build your balance sheet.
Share information freely.
Get into the mindset of cultivating empathy and always considering other people’s needs. You’ll find it easy to identify ways you can add value to every interaction. When your colleagues and friends think of you as a person who has improved their lives, then you’ll really start to see returns.
Give to get.
From vendors to recruiters, good referrals help you stand out to your network and industry. Today’s global marketplace is increasingly interconnected. Establishing a strong rapport with contacts can pay off for years to come as these contacts earn promotions, transfer jobs, or refer you to other colleagues.
In an industry where globalization and geopolitical risks are just as important as operational excellence and profitability, tomorrow’s technical leaders must be global leaders, too. Here’s how to prove you’re ready to take the next step.
Be your own advocate.
Proactively seek out opportunities to gain new skills and boost your decision-making confidence. Identify and propose process improvements in your own department.
Invest in skills development.
Further your knowledge and leadership skills at seminars, continuing education events, industry conferences, professional certification programs, and leadership programs. An openness to continued learning demonstrates that you’re proactive, passionate and driven: exactly the people companies seek to hire in this era of dynamic industry change.
Be a master communicator.
Tomorrow’s leaders must be adept at organizing people and processes and then communicating not only what needs to be done, but also why it needs to be done. The ability to explain your decision-making process and be open to adjusting this process based on team feedback is the hallmark of tomorrow’s global leader.
Think big picture.
Effective managers need a 360-degree view of their company and their industry. With the latest information, you’ll be able to identify opportunities for growth that proactively demonstrate your leadership potential.
When a football team wants to hire a star quarterback, they talk to his agent. This same approach is key to job negotiations. When a company wants to hire top talent, they talk to a recruiter. Do you have strategic recruiter partnerships in place?
Don’t throw a Hail Mary and hope someone reads your resume submission via an online job board. A recruiter can get you past these barriers, putting your resume in front of the hiring manager when he or she will be most receptive to your candidacy.
Define your value.
Rather than reactively responding to job openings, a recruiter evaluates your unique skill set and experience. They consider which companies would benefit most from your skills, and refine their search accordingly.
Create the position.
Recruiters don’t wait for a company to create a candidate’s dream job. In some cases, they’ll even help a company tailor a new position to fit a candidate’s specific skill set or leverage a new industry opportunity.
Be first to know.
Recruiters are on the pulse of the industry. They’re often the first to know about new positions, long before the job is every posted on LinkedIn– getting your resume to the right people first.