By the time this article hits your desk we’ll be in the midst of the Association’s flagship event, the Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE), held this year in Denver.
As in past annual meetings, an outstanding technical program that represents the best and brightest developments in petroleum geoscience will be on offer.
However, while the poster and oral presenters will be introducing new techniques, methods and concepts to their colleagues, many ACE attendees also will be looking to introduce themselves to potential employers.
The 2015 downturn has taken a toll on all aspects of the industry, especially its work force. And for those left contemplating their next career move, the Denver meeting was an excellent opportunity to market their skills and experience, and utilize their personal connections.
A major benefit of AAPG membership is the networking opportunities.
Activities like the Young Professionals (YP) Meet & Greet, which has been a staple of AAPG meetings for years, afford students, new graduates and early-career geoscientists the chance to interact with seasoned professionals, many of whom represent major companies.
In this tenuous economic environment, these interactions are essential to individuals seeking employment. Who you know can be just as important as what you know.
And knowing that can make all the difference in the job hunt.
For example, the only reason one of us (Jonathan) landed an internship – which later translated into full-time employment – was because he was introduced to a team leader at the alumni networking event held at ACE, who asked him to send him his résumé. This took place during the brief downturn in 2008 and 2009.
There is a large percentage of professionals working in the oil and gas industry who can thank a member of their network for putting them in contact with a potential employer, sending in a good word or directly giving them an opportunity. It’s important to realize that these opportunities don’t just fall into your lap. You need to work for them.
Consulting geologist and AAPG member Kay Schrodt stresses how critically important networking is during the ups and downs of the oil industry and has a number of strategies to maximize the networking opportunities provided by AAPG. At an annual convention, you’ll find Kay keeping busy by attending the All-Convention Luncheon, participating in alumni and company-sponsored happy hours, going on field trips and judging oral and poster presentations. Each of these different settings gives you an opportunity to meet or re-connect with other industry professionals and you never know who might hand you their card.
Downturns can be extremely difficult and stressful times, especially for young professionals who may not have a wealth of experience propping up their résumé.
However, if that résumé makes it into a hiring manager’s hands by way of a friendly face, your chances of being considered for an interview have increased.
AAPG is responding to the current downturn by creating survival toolkits, compiling lists of the most trusted recruiters in the major industry centers, developing career-oriented newsletters and updating Visiting Geoscientist Program material. The concern this organization is showing toward our members who have been affected is truly admirable.
Our members look out for each other when times are tough. One of the most important things you can do to help your career is get to know them.