Office Hours: The Suncor Energy Team Answered Your Career Questions

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Monday, May 12th was an egg-citing day at TalentEgg! We hosted Office Hours with Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest energy company. Office Hours is a live online chat event that lets you connect with industry eggs-perts and get career advice.

We welcomed four Suncor team members who worked together to answer your career questions live!

If you missed the live event, you can read the complete transcript below:

Elias (TalentEgg):

Welcome to Office Hours, TalentEgg-ers! My name is Elias and I’ll be moderating today’s chat.

Our egg-pert guests today from Suncor Energy are:

• Lauren Larose (Team Lead, Communications – Human Resources)
• Vivek Paul (Recruitment Marketing Coordinator)
• Clairise Farrell (Recruiter, Campus)
• Heather Allan (Co-op Student: Campus Administrator – Human Resources)

Over the next hour, you can share your questions about career opportunities at Suncor, learn about different student and grad roles and get tips for successfully hatching your career. You can start submitting your questions now!

The Suncor team will be working together to answer your questions, which will be posted by Clairise. Clairise, could you please tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do at Suncor?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Hi there, my name is Clairise Farrell and I am a Campus Recruiter at Suncor Energy based out of Calgary, Alberta. I have been with the Early Talent team for the last four years.

Elias (TalentEgg):

That’s great! Let’s get things started with an important question:

Some Office Hours participants have asked about the role of relevant workplace experience. What advice do you have for someone with limited experience who is eager to start working at Suncor? How can they position themselves for success?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

At Suncor many of our students come to us with very little experience. We are looking for well-rounded students who get involved with their community, their school and in leadership roles.

It’s not all about your GPA. We want to see on your resume why you are the best person for the job based on all your life experience.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Let’s discuss a question that was submitted in advance:

Anel, an Economics and Finance student from the University of Toronto, asks:

Can I work at an energy company if I’m studying Economics and Finance?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Absolutely!

We have co-op student and new grad opportunities available. Keep your eyes out for opportunities that you may be interested in.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Great! Here’s another question that was submitted in advance.

Joyce, an Industrial Engineering student at Concordia University, asks:

Which is more important for you, the applicant’s CV or cover letter?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

They are both important, but ultimately your resume is the document that is the best opportunity to showcase your overall strengths and experiences. If a job posting asks for a cover letter be sure to include one.

Keep it simple and outline what type of role you are looking for and why you would be a great fit.

Guest:

How do you describe Suncor’s workplace environment?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Suncor is Canada’s largest energy company and that gives us a unique culture because all of our business decisions are made here in Canada. Safety is our number one priority and we work to achieve triple bottom line sustainability, focused on not only economics but social and environmental achievements.

As an employee at Suncor I love working here and the team of awesome people I get to see every day. We work hard and play hard and it makes it a great place to be.

Alain:

Hi there! Is Supply Chain Management in high demand at Suncor? What roles are there?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

We have a variety of co-op opportunities within Supply Chain Management. Additionally we have a SCM New Grad program, which consists of a 3-year rotation. These positions are always in high demand for both Calgary and Fort McMurray locations.

Elizabeth:

Thank you Clairise and the rest of the Suncor team for having these Office Hours today.

I was wondering, is location taken into consideration when hiring?

For example, would someone already living in Alberta be preferred for a position in Alberta? And is there any assistance provided for those who will need to move for a position? (I am curious about the answer for both co-op positions and full-time positions).

Elias (TalentEgg):

To those of you just joining the chat: welcome! We’ve had a great discussion so far.

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Our student and new grad program is designed to attract the best students in Canada to work for Suncor. We consider all students from any recognized post-secondary institution in Canada for our opportunities. Even if we’re not at your school’s career fairs we will be more than happy to review your application if you think you’ve got what it takes.

We also provide relocation assistance for successful candidates and for jobs based in Fort McMurray we even provide accommodations!

Miguel:

What are some of the key roles an accounting intern would have?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

For accounting interns we provide opportunities in various business areas across our company including: performance analysis, corporate accounting, financial accounting, treasury banking, master data, credit risk, financial and accounting projects or tax.

Mahnoor M.:

How can a potential candidate stand out in a career fair, when there are many other students listening/engaging?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

If you’re coming to a career fair and are really interested in making an impression on a particular company (like Suncor), show us you’ve done your homework.

Come ready with questions about the company, our operations, current events etc. Check out job postings prior to coming so you’re ready to discuss specific opportunities. Don’t bring your resume, since we only accept applications online.

Linda Wieland:

I just recently completed a certification as a Human Resources Assistant and Payroll Practitioner, was wondering if there are any opportunities in this field available within Suncor?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

We don’t have new grad roles for HR professionals. We have HR co-op roles available every cycle, but only for students who are returning to school full-time after completing their co-op term.

If you’re looking for full-time HR opportunities keep an eye on Suncor.com/careers for positions that come available. Check back often because we’re posting new jobs every day!

We don’t always know what level the opportunities will be, so stay proactive in your career search to find the jobs that you’re interested in and qualified for. We’re not always hiring people with 10+ years of experience.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Egg-cellent question! If you want to learn more about Suncor’s co-op opportunities, get started with this article: http://bit.ly/1ldoWeJ

It features current Suncor co-op students in accounting, engineering and communications.

Rares Finatan:

I’m a student nearing completion of a marketing/consumer behaviour degree, and I’m curious as to how communications opportunities in the energy industry function. How do you expect the approach to corporate communications in the energy field to change in the upcoming years?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Corporate communications in the energy industry is a rapidly evolving and very interesting field. Like many other industries, with the increase in transparency and social media it’s pushed corporate communications to think differently.

You might be interested in checking out Suncor’s most recent campaign www.whatyescando.com – this should give you some insight into how communications in the energy industry is evolving.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Great! Here’s another question that was submitted in advance:

Siraj, an Oil and Gas Engineering student at the University of Calgary, asks:

How is job performance evaluated (for internships), and how often does it occur?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

We have a standardized performance review document that all leaders and students receive at the beginning of a student’s work term. The leader will sit down with you to go over the document and set some goals to work towards during your term.

Mid-way through your work term you should sit down with your leader to discuss performance and at the end of your term you will have a complete performance evaluation done.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Great discussion, everyone! Be sure to check out this video, which features new grads who have hatched careers at Suncor: http://bit.ly/1lp0J8d

Alan:

In Alberta, what are the current major projects that Suncor is involved with?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

At Suncor we deem any project over $100 million to be a ‘major project’. We currently have two of these projects underway, with Fort Hills being the largest. Sanctioned in the Fall of 2013 as a joint venture between Suncor, Teck Cominco and Total, the project is currently in the construction phase and we expect first oil in 2017.

The project is planned to mine and process 110 million tonnes of oil sand per year in Northern Alberta, yielding an average of 180,000 barrels of bitumen per day at full production. The mine life for recoverable resources is expected to be in excess of 50 years.

Elias (TalentEgg):

I think this is a great time for our poll!

What are you hoping to learn during today’s Office Hours with Suncor Energy?

– How to stand out during the application process ( 53% )

– Which skills & experience enable success at Suncor ( 27% )

– How Suncor supports student and new grad hires ( 14% )

– Where my Suncor career can lead in the long term ( 6% )

Elias (TalentEgg):

Mousumi is completing a MSc. in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Alberta, and asks:

What opportunities are available for Masters and PhD students if they want to work at Suncor?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Co-op roles are designed for students coming to Suncor with very little or no work experience. The goal of the co-op program is to ensure that the student can Contribute, Grow and Succeed while at Suncor.

Often we find that Masters & PhD students come to us with strong experience and when they get into a co-op role they are not being as challenged as an undergraduate student. We encourage all students to apply for our roles but want to ensure we are creating a positive and meaningful experience for students that are offered roles at Suncor.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Fantastic! Let’s hear from another student who submitted a question in advance:

George, a Mechanical Engineering student at Carleton University, asks:

How can I be a part of Suncor’s graduate development program?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

I assume you are referring to Suncor’s EIT rotation program. All EITs who join us as new grads are automatically a part of this program.

Through this program you will get exposure to two different roles in 4 years.

Andy Zhou:

I am a student nearing completion of an accounting/economics degree at UBC in Vancouver. I am interested in the Accounting & Finance New Graduate Program. However, I could only find limited information about this program. Can you provide me with more information such as application dates and number of openings?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Postings for finance and accounting new grad positions will go up in September, 2014.

In September we will be recruiting for positions that start in January and May 2015.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Great questions, TalentEgg-ers! We’re going to do our best to answer as many as possible during the chat.

Chirag:

What tips can you give to recent graduates applying for engineering positions who have co-op experience?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Be sure to emphasize your co-op experience in your resume and cover letter. When applying to a job at Suncor it’s your responsibility to tell us why you’re the BEST person for the role!

Relate your co-op experience directly to the job posting you’re applying for – don’t make the recruiter (me) dig for the information.

Haroon:

Hello everyone. I completed my Bachelor degree in Environmental Sciences recently. I was wondering if there are any sustainability-related co-ops that Suncor offers.

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Yes, Suncor does offer co-op jobs for environmental sciences students. However, if you’ve recently graduated you’re no longer eligible for a co-op role with Suncor. Co-op jobs at Suncor are for students currently enrolled in school who will be returning to school full-time after completing their work-term.

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

You would be looking for entry level opportunities that are relevant to your degree. Keep checking often because we’re posting new jobs every day.

Rishabh:

Somewhere above you mentioned: “Relate your co-op experience directly to the job posting you’re applying for.” I want to work as a mechanical/process engineering student. However, the past two co-ops I’ve had have been more in the vicinity of industrial engineering. Now as a Mechanical Engineering student, how can I “start” my career with Suncor without little (or no) prior experience?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

At Suncor we’re looking for well-rounded applicants, the fact that you have two different co-op work terms to draw on your experiences from is great! We don’t expect you to start as a new grad with five years of experience, but the fact that you’ve completed two co-ops is an asset.

Show us on your resume and cover letter how your co-ops have prepared you to start your career at Suncor.

Elias (TalentEgg):

That’s all the time Suncor’s team has for questions today. Thanks for participating in Office Hours! And of course, a big thank-you to the team from Suncor for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions.

Clairise, do you have any final comments?

Clairise Farrell (Suncor Recruiter):

Thank you so much for having us!

Elias (TalentEgg):

Egg-cellent!

To learn more about Suncor, check out their profile (http://talentegg.ca/employer/suncor-energy-/company-profile/) and be sure to follow them on Twitter (@SuncorCareers) for insider info.

Thanks again for joining us today, TalentEgg-ers! Keep your eyes on our Twitter (@TalentEgg) and Facebook (facebook.com/TalentEgg) for upcoming Office Hours events!

Guest:

Great opportunity!

Tanzila:

Thanks for organizing the session.

Guest:

Great!

Guest:

Thank you to Suncor’s team for your time and valuable advice. Have a great rest of the day!

Bilal Ahmad:

Thank you.

Rares Finatan:

Thanks!

Warsame:

This was very helpful.

Jay:

Thanks for organizing this event!

Daniel Chau:

Thank you.

Julia:

Thank you: this was very informative!

Fabrice:

Thank you so much.

Marlene:

To the Suncor team: many thanks for your time and valuable advice.

Angela:

Many thanks for this live chat session. Informative and a neat experience.

Okechukwu Alozie:

Thank you to the Suncor team.

Brad Erikson:

Thank you to each of you for organizing and presenting this event. Looking forward to future opportunities.

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About the author

Elias Da Silva-Powell is a Content, Marketing and Community Specialist at TalentEgg, as well as a two-time graduate of Queen's University. An avid bow-titan, he has been trying to bring whimsical neck wear back into the mainstream since 2008. He's around on Twitter: @EDSPowell and you can check out his profile on LinkedIn, and even G+.