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Tools for the Search: Expanding and Transferring Skills from Oil & Gas to New Opportunities

Last Wednesday, I participated in a webinar on Energy Resilience hosted by CU Denver's Global Energy Management Program. As the energy sector undergoes a convergence, many individuals are looking to expand and transfer their skills to new opportunities across the industry. There were some great questions on the webinar, so I wanted to share some helpful links and tools as a follow-up.

If you weren't able to catch the webinar, you can find a full recording of it here.

What soft skills are employers looking for these days?

In the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of employers we work with requesting that we search for individuals with "soft skills" such as empathy, compassion, creativity, interpersonal communication, resiliency, and grit. As the pool of available talent that is strongly qualified from a technical skills standpoint increases, employers find themselves being more inclined to hire individuals that will work with the company culture, structure, and team dynamics.

We have found that many individuals on the job search tend to place more import on their technical skills which creates a notable disconnect between the expectations and desires of hiring managers and applicants. To help bridge that gap, we recommend that folks who are either actively or passively seeking new job opportunities begin by taking stock of their own soft skills in order to identify areas which, if improved upon, could make them more attractive as candidates. A great jumping off point for this type of work is understanding the concept of emotional intelligence as it has been a hot trend in hiring for the past couple of years. Psychology Today has compiled a great list of books on the topic that could serve as a good place to begin.

What are some of the biggest trends in hiring right now?

The energy sector tends to be a little slower to adapt to changing technologies when it comes to hiring. However, we are seeing an uptick in some new approaches. As mentioned above, employers looking for emotional intelligence information on candidates has led to some companies rolling out behavioral-based screening questions to gauge the self-awareness and responsibility of applicants in relation to work-related situations. If you are curious about the method behind the behavioral approach, this guide from the SHRM Foundation can provide some insight into what hiring managers and HR departments are thinking.

Additionally, we are seeing some companies switch to recorded video screening processes prior to phone and in-person interviews. While these are often awkward at best, if it is a requirement of the hiring process for a given company, it is best to buckle down and get it done rather than fighting with HR to get an exemption.

What are some common mistakes that people make with their resumes and LinkedIn profiles?

By far the biggest issue we see with resumes today is simply formatting. A vast majority of companies use software solutions called applicant tracking systems (ATS) to keep track of their talent pipeline. Resumes with images, a wide variety of text, icons, tables, and other such "pretty" factors tend to confuse these systems, making it likely that you will be overlooked. That said, a simple resume with just text is the best choice. If you are looking for a template to use, we have put one on our website here for you. Additionally, if you have more than a couple of years of experience, do not feel like you have to squeeze everything into a single page (one of the greatest myths of job hunting). Do, however, use your best judgment and don't make it too detailed. To learn more about getting your resume in shape, you can check out an article I wrote in 2019 that has more detailed tips and tricks here.

As far as LinkedIn goes, we find that many candidates create a profile and nothing more. While it does help to be out there digitally, the real value of LinkedIn for those looking for new roles lies in the networking aspect. Typically, when people think of networking, they envision booze-fueled events full of awkward small talk. We suggest that individuals looking for new career opportunities reconsider their approach to networking (and LinkedIn) to better utilize them as tools for their search. I wrote an article last year that outlines what I mean by this as well as some useful tactics that can be employed which can be found here.

What are some organizations that can help with networking in my job search?

We cannot sing the praises of networking enough. In fact, we are big believers that this is one of the best ways to get a job as recent surveys estimate that between 70 and 85 percent of jobs are filled by networking. With that being said, here are some of the organizations in Colorado that might serve a great starting point for such networking in the state.

Is there anything else I can do that can help in my job search?

We know that searching for a new job can be intimidating, tedious, and generally a painstaking process. While we don't represent/market individual candidates at Iridium, we do offer one-on-one career coaching that can have huge benefits. Career paths often have twists, turns, and speed bumps that can be difficult to navigate in your search for a new job. We have been there too. Experience is only as valuable as your ability to explain it, networking is only useful if you know how best to do it, interviewing is really about having meaningful conversations. At the end of the day, everything in hiring and job hunting comes down to one thing, communication. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of professionals in the energy sector talk through difficult departures, tough cultures, job-hopping, life-changing events, and just about anything else you can imagine.

We developed our career coaching service and workshops to help you put your best foot forward. This is our way of supporting energy professionals through the challenges they encounter while looking for a promotion, job change, or even a transition to a different part of the energy sector. The concept is simple: we are here to help you do the self-work to succeed at your work. 

If you'd like to learn more about our coaching or schedule your session today, you can do so here.