Are you an industry veteran with decades of experience who’s looking for work? Are you finding it harder to get noticed by recruiters who perhaps weren’t born when you took home your first paycheck?
Although Millennials now comprise the largest single group in the U.S. labor force, mature candidates can improve their chances of getting recognized by making several tweaks to their job search strategy, according to Katie Harrington, an Ireland-based content creator for international public relations firms who also maintains a PR blog called “Wilde Words.” A recent blog post targeted toward seasoned PR professionals caught my attention, and I was curious to see how relevant the points made by the author – a member of Generation Y – were to job seekers in downstream oil and gas.
To better grasp the blog list’s relevance to downstream oil and gas, I turned to Carol Wenom, a prominent recruitment executive with the firmWhitaker Technical who has helped place candidates in midstream and downstream roles for more than three decades. Below is a list of the main points (quoted in bold) Harrington originally made, along with Wenom’s insights regarding their applicability to seasoned downstream pros as well as some additional context from the blogger.
1. “Don’t apologize for your experience – highlight it”
Acknowledging that there are plenty of “young people” in public relations, Wilde notes that seasoned “mentors and managers” are needed to guide them when crises occur. As a result, it’s smart to highlight one’s years of experience in a job search, she points out.
Wenom strongly agrees with the importance of highlighting one’s experience, explaining that recruiters can easily spot gaps in one’s employment history. “I can get on a big soapbox about people who are counseled to only put the last 10 years of experience on the resume,” she told me.
“It’s critically important that you include ALL of your experience on the resume and account for all of your years of experience from education forward,” she continued. “I tell candidates that if a hiring manager knows that you’ve left out THIS piece of information, it’s only logical to think ‘what else is he not telling me.'”
2. “Use your contacts”
A public relations job seeker who’s been in the industry considerably longer than younger candidates will likely know more people affiliated with the industry such as former clients, trade journalists and others. If you’ve maintained a good relationship with these contacts, don’t be afraid to catch up with them and ask for help in landing interviews or identifying new opportunities, Wilde says. In addition, she encourages candidates to take advantage of industry networking events as well as online networking via social media channels.
Wenom agrees with Wilde on this point as well. “The ‘who you know’ network is vitally important,” she said. “Having someone vouch for you and talk about your ability to be hands-on, have relevant knowledge and skills and have a ‘mentor’ personality is invaluable.”
Although she encourages people to “network everywhere,” Wenom added a caveat. “It’s important not to randomly send resumes without someone who can help make an introduction on your behalf and help ‘package’ your skills based on what is called for in the position description,” she explained. “This is where having a relationship with a professional recruiter can make all the difference.”