How To Start A Career In The Oil And Gas Industry: What Employers Say


Recruiters and human resources professionals from many of the petroleum employers on TalentEgg, past and present, have given us a lot of advice for students and recent grads from many different educational backgrounds interested in entering the oil and gas industry.

We know it’s a lot of information to process, so we chose the most actionable recommendations from those employers to help you start your career in the oil and gas industry.

Don’t forget to visit TalentEgg’s Petroleum Career Guide to check out the employer profiles and career opportunities – although our articles will remain online forever, the job postings will only be available for a limited time!

How to start your career, step by step

Fix up your resumé – take it to your career centre at your university and they’ll help you.

Write a compelling cover letter that speaks to your best qualities – save the pretentious language for your English papers.

Join a professional association and attend their events – if you feel uncomfortable attending alone, try volunteering at them. By having a job to do, it gives you an excuse to interact with the attendees, and an easy way to start up a conversation the next time you see them.

Do your research – I can’t stress this enough. I want students to apply to Talisman, not because we have open jobs, but because they actually have an interest in what we’re doing, and want to be a part of it.

Be confident, but stay humble – it’s important to communicate your abilities effectively, but it’s also important to be conscious of the phrase: “sense of entitlement.” This generation entering the workforce has already been branded with the word “entitlement,” so students will need to fight against this bias from the very beginning of any relationship with people in the industry – be aware that you will need to roll up your sleeves and work hard for the first couple years, and you will be rewarded in the end.

Katie Weir
Talent Acquisition Specialist, Campus
Talisman Energy


Understand the industry and what role you can play

The best advice would be to research the industry and different companies to understand what is new and changing. This will help you understand what role you can play. Not everyone has previous industry experience, but if you can demonstrate a keen interest, passion and a great attitude in getting involved, this will assist you in getting a future position that meets both yours and a company’s needs.

Rick Davidson
Lead Recruitment
Cenovus Energy


Network with professionals in the oil and gas industry

Attend networking events. There are many different organizations that put together networking events where students can meet professionals from different industries. That’s a good way to start getting contacts to see where you’d like to apply. Students can probably find upcoming events near them through their career centres.

The oil and gas industry also offers opportunities for current students to work through their vacation as floorhands to fund their studies. This is another good way to get exposure and experience in this industry.

Camille Nieva
Field Recruiter
Savanna Energy Services Corporation


Have an open mind and be willing to learn

Have an open mind, and be willing to learn.  A new grad who starts with us, works hard, and takes every opportunity to learn will be exposed to a multitude of different product lines and functionalities within our company.  The industry is so diverse that no matter what specific degree or background, there is the chance for everyone to discover what they are passionate about.

Heather Swenson
Human Resources Representative
National Oilwell Varco

Everything you need to know about hatching a career in oil and gas


TalentEgg’s Petroleum Career Guide and this editorial feature were produced in partnership with the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform. For more information about starting your career in the oil and gas industry, please visit

About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.