What to do FIRST when looking for work

Changing your career industry can be a daunting task, especially if you are unemployed while you are attempting it.  Yet today, many people looking for work are forced to look outside of their comfort zone and into another industry.  You only have to look as far as Clear Lake to see this happening on a daily basis.  Many professionals have lost their job in the aerospace industry and are now turning to the oil and gas industry to find work.
If you find yourself in this situation, what would you do to find work in a brand new industry you know nothing or little about?  Your first step should be to figure out what type of job title you would like to target.
In some instances, this may be a simple task.  For example, if you are an Accountant working in the Financial Services industry, then most likely you will continue to be an Accountant in whatever industry you choose.  There are some instances where your current job responsibilities may not easily translate into a new industry.  An example may be a bank teller.  Transitioning into a new industry will prove to be more difficult but certainly not impossible.  Finally, you may be in a situation where your skills may be easily transferrable but you no longer wish to follow your current career path.
The first step in any job search is to quantify what type of position you want to target.
This may be one of the most difficult tasks to complete in your job search but it is clearly the most important.  Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  This is true in your job search.  If you don’t know what type of position you are looking for, then you may spend the majority of your search wandering aimlessly.  Even worse, you may end up in a job you don’t enjoy.
In his book, “48 Days to the Work You Love”, Dan Miller writes:
“The most effective job-hunting method is this:  know your skills, research the potential companies that use those skills, arrange to see the person who has the power to hire you, and request the interview.”
Know Your Skills
This is by far the most important step and yet this is the step that is most often ignored.  Every day, I take calls from people who want to get into the oil and gas industry.  When I ask them why they want to transition into oil and gas, I usually get one of the following responses:
  • You can earn good money.
  • I hear there are a lot of jobs.
  • I want to work in a more stable industry.
These may be true and valid reasons (I could argue that oil and gas is not a more stable industry) but when I ask them what they want to do in the oil and gas industry, usually I hear silence on the other end of the phone.
Start by knowing your skills.  Get alone where there will be absolutely no distractions.  Write down on a piece of paper what business or technical skills you bring to the table.  These are those skills that you would normally list on your resume.
Research and Network
Next, start researching career opportunities in your target industry and talk to people you know who work in the industry about what types of jobs they would recommend.  LinkedIn groups is a great way to network with other professionals with similar interests.  There are thousands of job specific groups for the oil and gas industry.  LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups.  Select those groups with large number of members in them.  Once you are a group member, you can post questions for discussion and ask questions of individual members in the group.
Now that you have an idea of the type of job within the industry you would like to target, you are ready for the next step which I will discuss in my next article.
PathFinder Staffing is an oil and gas recruiting agency located in Houston, Texas.  To learn more about oil and gas jobs in Houston, visit our web site at
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  • 30 Oct, 2011
  • NewPFS

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