For those interested in careers in oil and gas, there are a few things to keep in mind when looking for roles, applying for roles and attending those vital interviews. The sector is different from some other construction and engineering sectors, so it’s worth keeping abreast of the elements of the industry that set it apart.

Engineering employees offer transferable skills

The industry is very wide and diverse, with varied construction and engineering roles; for example, Production Surveyors monitor and control oil and gas production and systems, whilst Mechanical Engineers might be involved in the actual design and development of machinery and Crane Operators work both onshore and offshore on rigs and in yards or marine bases. Many construction and engineering employees will have transferable skills relevant for oil and gas roles, though all employees will need to undertake relevant health and safety training; offshore roles will all require a standard Offshore Safety qualification.

Contrary to received wisdom, most careers in the oil and gas industry are actually based onshore rather than on sea based rigs (offshore). Most roles are centred around the main energy producing centres in Scotland and the East of England, though there are opportunities in London and other areas of the UK as well as overseas. Entry levels vary, but most engineering roles will require basic, relevant qualifications, such as a recognised apprenticeship, or relevant NVQs. Practical knowledge relevant to the role is always valuable, for example a good understanding of the health and safety rules applicable to the specific job. Many big firms also operate internships for graduates, with technical positions requiring a first degree and sometimes a relevant masters.

Think about career prospects as well as the company's future

Before making applications, consider the state of the market. Look around and judge whether the time of year is important; some companies may look to take on more staff as they embark on big projects at certain points in the calendar.

Typical interview questions for a role within the oil and gas sectors might include quizzing you on how you think your existing experience will stand you in good stead in a high pressure sector such as oil production, as well as drilling down to establish your understanding of the basic safety rules of oil and gas work - especially if you are going for an offshore role. Prospective employees should be prepared to demonstrate teamwork and attention to detail within their existing training or employment, be able to justify why they want a role in the oil and gas industries, and indicate their willingness to undertake further role-related training.

It’s good to have a few questions of your own to ask prospective employers at interview. For example, asking about typical career progression suggests that you are looking at the role as a long term position and are ambitious, whilst asking specifics about the company such as what are the company’s five year goals suggests a wider interest in the brand beyond the specific role applied for. By showing the interviewer that your skills are relevant and you have a genuine interest in the company as well as a willingness to learn, you will maximise your chances of landing that coveted oil or gas industry career.

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