If you’re a new graduate, a skilled technician, or a professional looking to break into the oil and gas industry, you’re in luck. Getting a job in this industry is not as impossible as many think. Oil and gas companies still recruit on a regular basis and the mix of activities in its operations ensure that engineers, marketing managers, and even medical personnel are regularly engaged in meaningful work and well paid.
But as in every other sector, you’ll need to possess the needed skills, the appropriate qualifications, and the right persona to get your big break.
This is because most employers only look to hire workers that they can trust and invest in the long term. If you can tick all these three boxes – skills, qualifications, and an attractive personality – then you will get your break.
BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY CONNECTIONS.
It can’t be denied: those who know powerful people will always get a head start in any job search. It is difficult for the average person to compete with this rule.
But there are two implications to this:
Implication 1: You can win without networking.
This option is harder but it can be done. The caveat is that you must be brilliant, be able to wow interviewers and have an almost magnetic personality.
Scaling through the tough interview process for most oil and gas job openings without any internal or powerful reference means that you must be impressive.
If your academic background and interviewing abilities are top-notch, this could work in your favor.
Implication 2: You can win by networking better.
What this means: if a competing job applicant gets a referral from a Junior Manager, you should get yours from a Senior Manager.
Sadly, many people think of networking as cheating. It’s not. Assuming you’re a skilled and qualified job seeker who is willing to learn and doesn’t pay – in kind or with cash – for the position that you want, it’s simply smart networking.
Here’s why networking is important:
- Not all jobs in the oil and gas sector get advertised. If you know a worker in the industry, he might inform you of an opening. Naturally, these kinds of jobs attract lower competition.
- You can get relevant references from successful professionals in the industry when applying for a job. This will ultimately help your resume stand out.
- The people in your network can serve as mentors.
The first step to effective networking is getting your mindset right. Accept that it takes time to build a reliable network of willing, helpful professionals. You may not see results in three or six months. But this is normal.
If you stick at it long enough, your network will be useful to you throughout your career.
How to Network Properly
You can follow these practical steps to networking as outlined by Lisa Tynan of TopResume.com:
- Identify the networking style that suits your personality. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- Be professional. Don’t ask for a job or an interview at the first contact. Be genuinely concerned about their work. Show enthusiasm and an obsessive willingness to learn.
- Use social media and the internet wisely. Follow pages, threads, and groups in the industry. Be active. Let your connections know that you’re searching for employment in the oil and gas sector but don’t shove it down their throats.
- Be helpful to your growing network. Do small things that show you care. Join non-profits targeted at the Nigerian oil and gas industry and tell your network about it.
- Be consistent and patient. Most of the people you are trying to reach will be busy. Those who appreciate your efforts may not be in the best position, physically or emotionally, to reply quickly.
And finally, when building your contact list, try to be realistic. While it’s possible, don’t bother reaching out to the CEO of a multinational oil and gas firm yet if you’re looking for an internship spot. Connect, instead, to entry-level staff members or to interns in other companies. If you want to get an internship, network with other interns.
BUT I DON’T HAVE THE SKILLS/ I DID NOT STUDY ENGINEERING OR ANY OTHER RELATED COURSE IN THE UNIVERSITY.
You don’t need an engineering degree, or a science-related degree, in fact, to work in the sector. Workers in oil and gas are drawn from a wide range of disciplines – law, accounting, communications, geology, engineering, medicine, etc.
This is possible for three reasons:
- Diversity of roles.
- Different requirements for different jobs.
- Oil and Gas Courses by Training Providers.
Diverse professions are needed.
Typical offshore projects, for example, need workers from other disciplines, not just engineering and geology, to be efficient. Administrative roles may be filled by graduates from the sciences and arts. Also, kitchen staff and medical personnel are employed to cater for the feeding and health needs of workers on the rig.
And that’s just a snapshot of the diverse opportunities in the offshore segment.
Every stage in the oil and gas supply chain – upstream, midstream and downstream – is populated with professionals from different disciplines too.
You don’t even need to be a University graduate.
The public perception is that oil and gas jobs are notoriously hard to get into in Nigeria. But not every role in the industry needs to be filled by a Straight-A student from a reputable university. There are jobs with lower entry requirements.
Reasonably, these jobs don’t come with fat checks. But after getting enough work experience, and studying purposefully, those who fill these brown collar jobs can become well-paid professionals too.
For example, a high performing roustabout with years of experience can rise to become a Foreman and ultimately earn a bigger paycheck.
You can take good Oil and Gas Training Programs.
Training programs are a great route to get into the industry and we at Globat highly recommend it.
A good training program will expose you to the realities of the oil and gas work environment, help you gain the required skills from experienced oil and gas professionals who might even double as mentors.
But how do you find the best training programs in Nigeria?
The best training programs usually have these features:
- Highly qualified trainers with diverse experience from the world’s leading exploration and production companies.
- Certification from the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
- A flexible program syllabus tailored to your special needs.
- Rigorous hands-on training sessions.
- Proximity to major oil and gas companies in Nigeria.
- State-of-the-art audio/visual equipment to facilitate interactive training sessions.
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO START.
If you’re stuck about how to start your job hunt in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, then you can consider the following tips below as a starting point:
- Join a good oil and gas training program. Ask your trainers to share their job hunting success tips with you and follow their advice. You can also ask them to refer you to professionals within the industry.
- Network with workers in the industry and discover what worked for them. Be passionate, enthusiastic and persistent in your interactions with them.
- Write your cv properly without any typos.
- Get an internship with a company if you’re a recent graduate or if you’re about to participate in the National Youth Service Corps Program.
- Combine your sources of information for job openings: use online job boards, your network, newspapers, trade journals, and even social media.
- Hire the services of a reputable oil and gas recruitment agency.
- And finally, you should get a temporary job while trying to get into the sector to foot your current expenses.