:: Fasten Your Training Tool Belt: Advice for the Industry’s Young Professionals

By Castlen Moore, Director of Young Professionals in Energy (YPE)

Young Professionals It wasn’t long ago that the buzz in energy circles was the coming ‘shift change’ in the workforce, and efforts were made to excite and recruit young talent to the industry. Young entrants to energy had their pick of great jobs and benefits as companies competed with each other to win over the best talent. Interest in the industry and the excitement it promised climbed with the price of crude, and membership in groups such as Young Professionals in Energy (YPE) was growing exponentially. As we approach mid-2009, the realities of today’s oil and gas industry have changed with the drop in commodity prices and the overall economic slowdown. It looks as if the industry’s newest members are getting their first taste of the oil and gas industry’s cyclical nature.

This cyclical nature should be no surprise to management, which is accustomed to the inevitable economic cycles. Companies are working to restructure, streamline, and enhance in an effort to ride out the storm and be well positioned for when the economy makes a comeback. Some companies have announced project delays and some have even trimmed staff. Yet, a recent article in the Houston Chronicle reported that ExxonMobil and Chevron plan to keep project spending on track. Given the uncertainty, what should a young professional in the industry expect?

Young professionals, and the highly experienced alike, should take this opportunity to focus on how to best position themselves by strengthening their resume and skill sets. The seasoned generation, having weathered the swings of the industry, exemplify the importance of training with numerous certifications, degrees, and experience in their respective fields. They are an indispensable resource for the industry’s incoming professionals.

Now is the time to strap on your training tool belt and invest in additional training. The adage, ‘luck is when preparation meets opportunity’, holds a great deal of truth in times like these. With recent technological advances, there are numerous training options including instructor-led classes, e-learning, correspondence courses, and supplemental materials to expand one’s knowledge. Organizations such as PETEX offer classes on a variety of topics from introductory petroleum courses to specific technical certifications. Efforts will not only add value to a resume but cause management to take notice of an employee’s initiative. Employers might even be willing to cover some of these costs.

In addition to self-education, it is also a great time to plug into industry conferences and seminars. Some groups are beginning to offer reduced rates for young professionals. The exposure is beneficial and provides a valuable networking opportunity, which leads to my next tip, and perhaps the most fun—to network.

A well-developed professional network can be a valuable asset. The great news is groups like YPE have chapters in almost every major energy city, so almost everyone can find a group of peers nearby. In addition, many networking groups like YPE offer educational and community outreach opportunities in addition to the networking events.

Check out the YPE website at www.ypenergy.org for info and upcoming events.

Castlen Moore Castlen Moore, Director of Young Professionals in Energy (YPE), is a manager for governmental affairs with Apache Corporation in Houston. She holds a BBA degree in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and is currently working on a Dual Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and Energy & Earth Resources.

PETEX Newsletter Spring 2009

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