HR Discussion

Job Search: Takeaways From 2017 OTC Networking Events

I love learning, genuinely. I love learning so much in fact that sometimes it is tough to turn all of the learning into action. In the business development world, we call it “analysis–paralysis” because we like to rhyme. In academia, it represents the gap between theory and practice, which in theory should not exist but in practice always does. So, to help you take all of the learning, analysis, and theory from the recently held 2017 Offshore Technology Conference Networking Events, I put together the following takeaways to answer some common questions and help you take action in your job search efforts.

Question No. 1: Which jobs should I apply to when I have so many interests? Or, I have a diverse background of experience and I can help in so many ways—where should I focus my search?

Here's what to do:

Take a page out of the Gary Vaynerchuk book of hustle. Figure out what you are best at and put ALL your chips in and bet on yourself. In today's ridiculously competitive job marketplace we have to focus on what we are best at and outsource the rest. If you are not sure what you are best at, ask friends, family, and ex-coworkers (and don't lead their answers). Be open-minded and adapt your approach to your strengths.

Question No. 2: How do I find companies that value me the most?

Here's what to do:

Google is your friend but you are using it wrong. Instead of searching for “engineering jobs Houston,” I recommend searching “related:companyname.com” to locate the companies that directly compete with your previous employer. You are always most valuable to your previous employer's competition. (Note that this “related” function can be a little unpredictable so try a few different companies.)

Question No. 3: I have located the top 10 companies I would like to work for but I don't see any positions that fit my background.

I don't care if there is a job posted or not (I mean that in the nicest way possible). Eighty percent of the job market is hidden, and hiring managers are always interested in adding value to their team. So then, it is up to you to articulate why exactly they should hire you (and how you can add value, specifically.)

Question No. 4: Okay, I no longer care—so whom do I call?

Here's how to find the hiring manager: The company website may list divisional leaders, so check there first. If not, LinkedIn search is your friend. If you are new to LinkedIn, or if they are restricting your visibility, try recruitin.net . If those fail, try this very simple Boolean string:

site:webaddress.com “location” AND “title” AND “company” AND “product”

site:linkedin.com "houston, texas area" AND "engineering manager" AND "halliburton" AND "drill bit"

Again, this will take some time to master but it will get you much closer. (Note the spaces and case-sensitivity.)

Question No. 5: Now that I have my focus, the companies I would like to work for, and the names of the managers to call—what do I say?

Of the five questions, this is the most challenging because most people are either too scared to make the call or they overdo it with confidence. Let's quell some of your fears. No hiring manager will ever say “How dare you do your research and express interest in working for me and my company!” Worst case, s/he says “Thank you, but we aren't hiring right now,” which is not all that scary because you already don't work there—you have lost nothing.

So then, for the call: First, be respectful, introduce yourself, and ask if it is the best time to speak. Second, be brief. “I've worked in this capacity for the last 7 years and based on my research and your company's reputation I can add value here (be specific).” Third, ask if s/he has time to speak now about a potential job opportunity and if not do your best to set a follow-up, in-person interview.

One last thing about what to say: It is important that you practice. The best writers and speakers of all time joke about how it takes 2 weeks to write a good impromptu speech. Please don't assume you can just “wing it.”

Good luck and as always, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. 

Anthony Caridi is a member of the 2017 OTC Committee for Networking Events. This article is TWA’s initiative to share the takeaways of the 2017 OTC Networking Events for the benefit of the readers who were not able to attend them. To read a prequel to this article by Caridi, click The 80/20 Rule for Job Search. To follow the author’s LinkedIn page, click here.


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