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Hiring managers/employers. I have a professionally written resume and cover letter, college education with multiple continuing education course. I’ve applied for over 60 jobs in all types of industries, however I feel like my resume sees the bottom of a trash can as fast as I submit it granted I’ve worked in the oil and gas sector for the past 5 years.(Pretty much entire adult life.) I do not intend on returning to that sector but I can only assume potential employers think I’m not committed and will jump ship. If my suspicions are correct, how would you suggest I address this if at all?

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53 Responses

  1. Rye Weskey Rye Weskey says:

    My brother went through the same thing, hundreds of resumes, no bites, he’s taking more courses and has been certified with other things such as with a forklift to try and get warehouse work, he’s basically spending money on himself and trying to change his trade or get into others since he can’t get any work here as a red seal pipefitter/steamfitter, hall’s dry. I’ve wondered the same things as you, there’s a lot of smug people out there who seem to enjoy how the oil sector is falling apart, sorry to hear.

  2. Write a cover letter and explain that you are looking for a different career

  3. if you are applying online, a lot of companies use programs to screen applicants. Pay attention to the wording of the job posting and use the same words as they have used. This will ensure your resume gets past the programs. Also, when applying, call ahead to get a name to use in your cover letter. Employers appreciate it when they can see that you have looked into their company and can provide a couple of examples as to why you are interested in working for them.

  4. Maybe go to Alberta works to have someone look & help you with your resume & cover letter.

  5. Include it in your cover letter

  6. I’ve been working in the oil industry for 9 years and I can tell you there’s almost no way of getting out once you’ve spent a considerable amount of time out there. Employers just don’t look at you. I’ve been so unhappy and trying to get out of the oil sands to start a life in the city and it’s impossible.

  7. Your cover letter is likely what is holding you back. Cover letters need to be tailored to each job, since they’re going to be the hook that lands the fish, so make sure your letter sells you impressively, and isn’t just formatted from something you copied from the internet.

    • Rye Weskey Rye Weskey says:

      Exactly, I was once managing a business and some guy dropped off a resume and his cover letter stated he could be a very good shoe shiner, unfortunately I wasn’t in the business of shoe shining so…. I did notice he eventually managed to setup a shoe shine booth at the edmonton international airport, so I guess it kinda worked out for him.

  8. Kate Ward Kate Ward says:

    I would hope that since minimum wage is $15/hr someone isn’t paying $10

  9. Are you personalizing your cover letter for each job? It makes a big impact. I helped to screen for my replacement and there were plenty of people who applied that didn’t have direct experience, but did have relevant skills, and me/my employer couldn’t figure out why they wanted to make a switch or what at all appealed to them about the position, so in the bin they went. The people we interviewed had clearly taken the time to research a bit about the company and had highlighted how their skills would translate into success in my position.

  10. It’s a sign of the times. It’s a lot harder to find a good job than it used to be.

  11. Jules Maria Jules Maria says:

    Also remember, a lot of the time they post the job just to say they looked for another person and hire within. Sorry, it sucks, but it’s true.

  12. Kim Barrett Kim Barrett says:

    Gloria Barrios Verdugo

  13. Make sure you are addressing your cover letter to someone. Go to the job posting and highlight the qualifications you have that match what they are looking for. Do this for each position you apply for. You need to sell yourself. What makes you stand out over the rest of the applicants.

  14. Maybe revise the format of the resume. Focus on transferable skills and abilities rather than where you worked.
    Cover letter should be directed to that particular position and be clear of your intentions.
    Be sure to be pro active. Keep a journal of where you applied and make your calls to the hiring manager(s) to show intuitive and responsibility. Good luck out there.

  15. Most are done online and use an algorithm. When I was looking for work I made every resume specific to what the needs were of that company.
    Doing so I had a huge response and found a great job with ease in a short amount of time.
    I used indeed and Albertajobcentre.ca.

    I don’t quite remember what the equation is but you should be applying to 30 jobs/ day.
    Good luck!

  16. Kelsey Janko Kelsey Janko says:

    Regardless of qualifications, as soon as some employers see oilfield on a resume it goes to the bottom of the pile. Whether it be their personal opinions toward oil and gas or the fact they think you’ll go back up when the patch picks up, it’s an unfortunate situation.

  17. Volunteer in the area you want to go into to show your interest and commitment and get some experience on your resume

  18. It’s tough out there. 60 resumes isnt a lot. If you had sent out 600 then it might be you. But really it’s just hard for everyone.

  19. And sometimes it’s not you, it’s the situation EVERYONE is going through. A lot of people are applying for work right now so it’s a fight to find something.

    I know, been looking forever and now just taking what I can get to pay the bills an survive…

  20. Lexci Krahn Lexci Krahn says:

    Find out the hiring manager’s name and everything you can about the position

    Then submit a resume with a relevant cover letter addressed to that person by name and specifically relevant to the position you’re applying for.

    I don’t accept resumes without a relevant cover letter

  21. I have been in the position where I am in charge of hiring many times, and honestly yes that may be part of your problem, especially if you are applying for jobs that are “lower” or “less senior” or with significantly lesser pay that what your previous roles would be associated with.
    I have had people apply for jobs that have tons of education and a great resume, but the job itself was quite entry level (in whatever industry) and yes, the applicant may be looking to switch industries and willing to start from the bottom but as a hiring manager its super scary because most of the time, they are flight risks.

    Just look at the comments so far “take what you can get for now and look for your preferred job after” – that is EXACTLY what we all think you’re doing because apparently people think this way.
    Nobody considers the time, money and energy that is put into new employees when they “take any job” and then leave when something better comes along.

    If I were you, I would communicate your concerns in your cover letter. I would let them know that while you have spent the past x years in oil and gas, but due to the landscape of the industry and your personal happiness in your career, you wish to switch gears and try to make your mark, learn and grow within a new industry. Let them know that despite your education and previous experience that may lead to the conclusion that you are over qualified or a flight risk, that you are dedicated to making a change and are willing to work hard to master new fields just like you did in Oil and gas.

    A little honesty and transparency goes a long way.

    • Shauna yes absolutely this. Whenever I received a overqualified candidate applying for an entry-level position my first thought is how long till they leave. In my industry it takes a significant amount of time money and resources to train a new hire. Just to have them leave?
      These are the ones I often do not start the interview process for.

    • Amber Houssian Yep. But people don’t think about this when they suggest to friends and strangers to “just go find a job for now”.

      Nothing like spending a few weeks training someone to have them take off with no warning for a better job as soon as they are ready to go.

    • Shauna right?
      In The optical industry it is estimated that the cost to the employer to train a new hire is between 20 and $25,000. That’s a pretty big investment for my business to hire someone who’s going to just walk away.

    • I understand where you’re coming from. But if you have bills to pay sometimes you have to settle for a job you don’t really want until you can find something better suited to your desires. I’m certain that people aren’t applying for jobs they’re overqualified for with the intention to leave when they find something better out of malice, theu just need the money and don’t want to be unhappy in a job long term.

    • Lauryn Bassingthwaighte I get it, I do. However it’s not the hiring manager’s, or the companies problem. Their problem is finding an employee that will be a part of the company, grow, learn and stay.
      It sounds harsh, but if I had two candidates for one job, and one needed a job to pay for his lifestyle as it was dictated by his previous career, and one was just starting out and looking for a chance to grow and lived in his moms basement?
      Id take the second person EVERY time.

    • Shauna Chambers a perfectly reasonable stance and smart. But I’d argue that if you’re willing to pay the thousands to train a new person you should also be willing to part with another 10-15% to keep them and then they wouldn’t have to look for better, they’d already have it.

    • Corry Borowic
      So, you’re saying that if I have two candidates and one is a flight risk and one isn’t, I should be willing to pay more to keep the person who probably didn’t want that job to begin with?
      lol ok

      I’ll be sure to recommend that to company owners when we need a good giggle at a meeting one day

    • Not at all. I’m saying that training people is expensive. And if the only thing making them a flight risk is a few more dollars then it’s actually more cost efficient to pay more. Getting the best employees should be the goal. And if they’re not happy then make them happy

  22. address it in your cover letter ….

  23. I have the same issue. As an electrician with O&G experience no residential company will even consider me, even ones that said I could come back any time…..and I have to have connections or an in to be considered in commercial.

    It’s really shitty for employers to ignore candidates because of this….really shitty

  24. It’s an unfortunate job market right now. I can relate. It’s also really hard as a more rookie candidate with education to get a good start. I feel your pain. One thing I haven’t done a lot is networking at job fairs however, it’s a chance. Sometimes connecting on linkedin and messaging them is also a way. I have someone in my field that talks to me and is very supportive.

  25. Tim Jacklin Tim Jacklin says:

    Write a cover letter with each job applying for in mind. Sure it’s a hassle , but it is your “job” to get a job , not merely send out resumes , even with just a generic letter.

  26. Lisa Rayman Lisa Rayman says:

    Your cover letter should be specific to each position you are applying for. So don’t send the same one over and over.

    Remember….every single encounter you have with anyone has potential to change your future. Lots of work is found by word of mouth.

    Finding a full time job is a full time job.

    Good Luck. Stay strong.

    • Randi Adams Randi Adams says:

      Lisa Rayman

      ^^^^^^^^
      This. It was a full time job for me. I had been looking since December. It takes time, just be patient. Do what the folks above suggested. There are A LOT of people looking for work right now. I can finally say, I found a job in my field, but it took work.

      Good luck.

  27. I can tell you from personal experience-going through resumes to hire for commercial construction-that I definitely thought that if I saw patch workers’ resumes coming through.

    • Anjie Robinson as a former industrial worker just trying to find steady work not chasing money I say that sucks

    • It does suck, I agree. But it’s true. Unfortunately, being from AB and knowing how things work here, I’d say it’s way more common than not-the whole “run back to the patch” as soon as work fires up mentality. Also, we all know that in-town work can’t compete when it comes to wages so it’s a legit concern.

  28. Les Ley Les Ley says:

    Try to articulate well in your cover letter that you’re intending to move away from the sector.?!

  29. What jobs are you applying for? Education doesn’t mean you don’t have to start at the bottom. Take what you can get for now and look for your preferred job after

  30. Pat Bennett Pat Bennett says:

    Go to a temp agency and some of those jobs could lead to full time

  31. Xavier Paddy Xavier Paddy says:

    Edmonton is being hit the hardest right now in this economic crisis. You’re not alone in being unemployed.

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