If you Google “oil and gas careers,” be prepared for over 42 million results. Finding a new, or a first, job in any industry is no easy matter, especially in a sometimes-volatile industry like petroleum.

This post compiles a few job finding tips and insights focused on LinkedIn to help get you focused, give you actionable steps, and help you weed through all those results and work toward finding the job of your dreams.

First off: Setting up your online professional profile.
LinkedIn is probably the best place out there to show off your stuff, while also being able to make and keep connections, learn more about the industry from insiders…and find a job. Here are a few tips to get the most out of LinkedIn, but be sure to keep in mind that there are also industry specific sites such as Rigzone out there. And, once you have one profile set up, you can easily share it out over other social sites.

So, are you up to date on your profile? Get on it! Here are a few steps to get your profile in great shape:

  • Lookin’ good: Make sure you have a photo! People could stumble across your profile based on a skills search and nothing looks worse than a blank photo spot. Wait, something could be worse…what if someone you met at an alumni event wants to connect with you, and 10 other people have your name and background. Your photo could make all the difference.
  • Don’t be shy about your accomplishments!
    • List each and every position you’ve held (LinkedIn is a great place to keep this record, since your resume will be significantly shorter over time).
    • Highlight all your projects, what you learned during them, any public presentations you created, etc.
    • Keep your skills up to date (software, people skills, trainings, conferences…include it all!
  • Personalize your headline and bio. This is your chance to make an AMAZING first impression. What are you passionate about? What lead you to this industry? What are you great at? Seriously, this is your first impression. Make it count.
  • Connect! Connect! Connect! Do you know that 85% jobs are filled via networking? Look up old professors, friends, co-workers and learn to use your network. Check out who, if anyone, you and your contacts have in common at companies you’re applying to – and ask for an intro! Even if they aren’t in a related department, they might be happy to recommend you because of your skills, education, and friend (as well as a referral bonus possibility).

Now, stay BUSY!
If your current role isn’t challenging you enough and you’re seeking new opportunities or if you’re just entering the market – job hunting can be a full time job. That full time job, however, should include ongoing education, conferences, professional society participation, volunteering, writing…and lots and lots of networking across it all. Check out our blog post from Dr. Eve Sprunt: The best jobs are never advertised: The power of professional societies.

Don’t just look for jobs, look for guidance
Don’t just look for jobs, look for guidance through coffee and informational interviews. While you’re busy with all that networking and staying busy, remember that others understand where you are and what you’re going through. The job hunt is grueling, and many people currently employed in a position you aspire to understand that.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask to have coffee with someone to see if they have any advice for you. This isn’t your chance to push for a job with them, it's your chance to learn what they did to land their position and what you might be able to add to your job hunt.

Not only should you seek out career guidance in-person, but blogs like those in our Career Insights series, can really help you contextualize where you are in your career and prioritize where you’re going.

Survey the scene
Check out the jobs (using key search terms) that you are most interested in on LinkedIn or through industry-specific sites. But, don’t just check the jobs:

  • Read through the job descriptions and see what keywords you can add to your profile.
  • Check out the hiring managers and see if you can contact them directly to ask about the role
  • Look for other people that work at the company to learn about who you might work with and see if the culture seems like a good fit
  • Seek out some of the people that hold the job you’re applying to and see if your skills match up

Throughout your exploring, ask if your profile reflects the tasks you most want to do in your next job. Are there skills you could be building that would help you be more competitive? Do they match up? Get out there to make your background the best possible for your dream job!