Birds of a feather flock together and wisely so because networking, and sharing knowledge and experience amongst peers makes professionals smarter, more grounded, better connected and aware of the challenges, changes and trends of their industry.
The Oil and Gas industry is one that is full of events and challenges. The industry has for the first time taken a shift towards technological innovations. Staying abreast in the current industry scenario is no less than a herculean job, and that’s where professional networking comes to the rescue.
Professionals network to develop relationships with others in their own fields or related, which in turn amplifies ones effectiveness in a company or industry.
We take a look at a few ways in which professional networking benefits us as Oil and Gas professionals.
Needless to say, the market conditions have thrown off the lives of millions of professionals as steep job cuts and cost cutting became the norm. Following the OPEC deal, hundreds of rigs in US came back to life and hiring followed. However, since the oil prices hovered only around a sustainable range, companies were well aware of the dire need to hold back on expenditures. So, rather than exhibiting extravagant recruitment drives, first preference was giving to recruiting through internal positions or through existing employee referrals. In general, in companies spanning in other parts of the world, the vacant positions are comparatively much fewer in number and they are mostly filled through internal hiring or referrals. This is where a well networked professional has better chances of being hired.
A study by Jobvite revealed that the employees are hired 50% times faster than other sources. Moreover, even when you are a passive jobseeker, your peer network will provide you a first-hand insight into the various career opportunities.
Apart from career opportunities, a strong peer network also opens the doors for hobbies, volunteer projects.
Through interactions, discussions and knowledge sharing - let your skills and expertise be known to your peers, such that the career opportunities remain open for you. Moreover, show zeal and diligence in your communications to be known as a pleasant person who takes challenges and projects seriously. Returning emails, messages and calls is the fore step in doing so.
2. Suggestions and Guidance
Whether you are a veteran having served the industry for years or a newbie who has just joined- you will need guidance and suggestions at one point or the other.
Taking a departure from being a conventional play, the oilfields are speedily steering towards becoming technological platforms. This calls for the existing workforce to adapt and continuously learn more about the state of the art technology that is increasingly being used in oilfields around the globe. The industry cannot successfully move towards the advanced modern technologies, unless there is an exchange of experience and skills between the veterans and the new age techies. As an individual, whether you are a new science graduate equipped with the know-how of the latest advances in modern science or an oil field professional who has spend years in the industry employed in traditional methodologies, the current trend needs you to seek help from your counterparts at the other side of the road.
The requirement for guidance in a career extends well beyond just technical aspects. A professional may need guidance when he is considering a potential promotion or a career shift. Apart from the conventional mentor-mentee relationships, suggestions can be sought by interacting with people in industry events and outings.
You can leverage a plethora of nuggets from your peer network. It can play the role of a resource centre where each of your connections is equivalent to a library of experiences. A strong network is a treasure trove of information and solutions to help you overcome the challenges in your career.
3. Industry best practices and new business trends
With new found advancements and developments the industry is at a historic phase of rapid change. New trends are increasingly emerging and the best practices are also experiencing advancements and alterations.
Interacting with your comrades from across the globe will keep you atop the latest best practices, trends and insights in the industry. The more the number of people in your network the more exposure you have to all the practices and advancements in the industry. Learning from the actions and experiences of others is a time tested strategy that survives all odds.
4. Business Leads
While you know and interact with someone, they in turn also have their own sphere of contacts that they communicate with. This makes networking a chained process, and thus opens doors for new marketing or business leads and opportunities. Meeting new people and establishing new relationships with them is much more than just exchanging business cards. Initiating or taking part in conversations, being polite and extending favors play a very important role therein.
5. Personal Support and OpportunitiesIn the course of our professional careers we are prone to face a variety of challenges and trials. Your peers can be your guiding star as you call them in times of need and discuss the issues with them to receive the enlightenment and encouragement. Learning about the experiences of your peers who have been in the same shoes as yourself is always inspiring, helpful and rewarding.
Making new friends and interacting with more people to help them let you know more is a key aspect of networking. If people know how you think and what your skills are it paves way for a host of opportunities at every step.
When you are confused about the brand of safety shoes you should buy or back at home you are unsure about where to plan your next trip to- your connections are your easy access guide to the answers. Professionals can learn from each other how to deal with issues in life in a practical manner, like that home sickness that you feel on your hitch or when you have to spend the holidays away from your family.
6. Status and Growth
In the corporate world, especially in an industry like ours, power is tantamount to who you know and interact with. Maintaining professional relationships that are strong and lasting contribute to developing your status in the industry and contribute in strengthening your personal brand.
On the other hand, when you have a strong peer network that open the window to career and personal opportunities, industry best practices, suggestions and business leads - growth is bound to follow. Your connections may help you in reaching new peaks, sometimes by pushing you to apply for a position that you were reluctant towards or taking up those challenges that you thought were out of your realm, or simply by motivating you to work harder.