Rachael McDermott, Career Services/Employer Relations Staff at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Career Services Office, offers some excellent advice to a veteran who asked for specific recommendations about finding a job in the oil and gas industry, but the advice is pertinent to nearly any job search.

Hi John, a few ideas come to mind:

-Are you currently in TX? Are you searching for oil/gas companies in TX? I noticed you’ve been in the Mass Guard so if your resume lists a Mass address, companies may be reluctant to consider you since you aren’t local. If you are focusing on Texas and are currently in Texas, make sure your resume states that.

-Have you gotten any calls for interviews? If not, it could be your resume. Please do check out my blog posting on online application systems as the articles I mention give insight into what you need to do to get your resume seen. It’s really important to target your resume to the job so you need to mirror the wording and keywords in job postings and address key duties they require with a bullet in your resume describing your work doing that.

Even if you are making a career change, can you focus on anything in your military experience that relates to safety? Obviously there’s physical security but did you also have to know about OSHA or other safety regulations? Anything along those lines?

Also, can you develop out further your certification program to highlight what you learned, any projects you did?

-Be open to taking a more entry level role to get into a company. Sometimes when making a career change, we need to start at a lower level and build our way up. I had to do that too. Companies need to trust in you. If you are a good employee and network within the organization with departments you want to work in, eventually you can transition around.

-Does the school you got your certifications at have any type of networking opportunities or connections with folks in the field? Can you leverage their resources?

-When making a career change, networking is important and sometimes that can enable one to be hired when they don’t have prior experience-it’s a way of getting around the online application system that may screen you out. You can use sites like LinkedIn to find recruiters at companies you are targeting and reach out to talk with them about where you might fit. I have a blog post about that too so do check that out on how to search LinkedIn. Look at sites like Military.com to see profiles of any oil/gas companies that have announced military hiring initiatives. Then reach out to them. Join LinkedIn groups in the oil and gas industry.

Also, use LinkedIn to seek out fellow veterans at these companies and contact them to ask for advice on how to break into this field, how they got a job, how you can position yourself, etc. Don’t ask for a job since they don’t know you. Instead approach them for advice – people are more open to giving advice and if you really connect with someone and keep in touch, letting them know your progress and if any ideas they had worked well, they may help your resume get seen. No guarantees but it is by slowly networking and building connections that opportunities start to open up. But it does take time.

Follow Rachel at http://civilianchick.tumblr.com

Go to www.TADPGS.com, click on the “Looking for People” tab, then view “Veterans Solutions” to see more for information on our Veterans Solutions for Employers. Please feel free to join our LinkedIn group, Veterans Hiring Solutions for Veterans and Companies at http://linkd.in/Sg346w. If you have specific questions about hiring veterans or the incentives for doing so, contact me at [email protected].