3 ways energy and petroleum pros can pivot to new industries

Oil and natural gas exploration -- geology and geophysics
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3 ways energy and petroleum pros can pivot to new industries

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With 23 oil and gas companies filing for bankruptcy so far in 2020, including giants like Chesapeake Energy, Ultra Petroleum, Unit Corporation, and Whiting Petroleum, many Houston-based industry professionals are stuck in downturn-induced career stagnation.

Although energy prices have bounced back from the negatives to roughly $40, Haynes and Boone predict additional bankruptcies in the coming months as the pandemic continues to impact economic stability in both the U.S. and abroad.

Rather than decoding cyclical boom-bust swings, many E&P professionals are currently seeking opportunities outside of the industry. However, pivoting to new sectors comes at a price. Many job seekers from E&P backgrounds are regularly dismissed by employers in alternative industries as either too pigeonholed in their roles or as unreliable prospects who will transition back to oil and gas the moment market prices bounce back.

While these realities pose challenges to those seeking employment outside of energy-related fields, careful planning and strategy are all it takes to make the transition. Here are three actionable ways E&P job seekers can successfully pivot to new industries:

Research, reach out and repeat: Networking is important for finding a new job, but it is especially vital for industry switching. Carve out 30 minutes a day to spend on LinkedIn reaching out and connecting with professionals who currently occupy desired positions in new industries. Use the filtered search function to narrow results to specific industries and titles, then add an additional item that will increase the chance of creating meaningful connections, such as a shared university affiliation.

Highlight transferrable skills: When applying for positions in a new industry, both soft and hard skills come into play. Treat each job application like a manual by scanning for key words and phrases that match current skillsets and add those selectively into job application documents like a resume and cover letter. One best practice also includes selecting a job title and industry that align with secondary duties from previous positions. For instance, a reservoir engineer might consider a career in finance due to their competency in risk assessment.

Scrub industry-specific terms: Shifting industries means that decision makers in the new sector may not be aware of commonly-used E&P acronyms and phrases. Even locations like Permian Basin will be largely unknown to professionals outside of oil and gas, so pay careful attention to these terms in job application documents and even LinkedIn profile content. A great example of this might be a drilling engineer shifting “drilling rig” to “work site” so the term is easily understandable and applicable to the new industry.

With more than 500 oil and gas exploration and production firms currently located in Houston, the downturn will likely lift swiftly once the city adapts to pandemic-related challenges. One thing is certain: energy and petroleum professionals have plenty to offer whether they choose to ride out the downturn or shift to alternative industries.

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/new ... tries.html
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