Written and Edited by Debora Martogi
Two years ago, I walked up to one of the oil major companies’ booths at the career fair. I greeted one of the check-in recruiters, who then asked me to fill out my information on the tablet. As I was filling out my information, I chatted with the recruiter, and they asked me a question about why I was interested in the company. I then provided a general answer about what petroleum companies do without specifying specifics of what the company does. The company specializes in chemicals, and the recruiter noticed that my background is mainly geomechanics. Noticing I did not do my research, the recruiter politely explained to me about their work and how my background may not be a fit for what the company does. Feeling embarrassed, I thank the recruiter for their explanation and left the room regretting my decision of not researching the company firsthand.
This was a lesson learned from me, and I hope this would urge you to research before attending career fairs. By doing so, it will help you to navigate the conversations better with the recruiters and increase the likelihood for you to be remembered.
So, what are some ways to research companies:
- GOOGLE: Yes, Google got everything that’s public for you to find. See what the companies has been up to lately and take notes. You can even find any interviews of the presentation by the company leadership and employees as reference.
- Company website:
Check-out the company about us section (vision, mission, values), operations, news, and the career section. Under the about us section, the company usually layout what they do and who are in their leadership team. The operations section goes over, where do the company operates, and about the services they do. You should also check out the career section where some companies provide a thorough description of types of roles the company employs or even whom they hire based on disciplines. Lastly, this might be on the advance side, but try to check out the news and investor relations. This section encompasses company quarterly performance reports, finances, stock information, press releases, and new technology/ breakthroughs. Additional tips: follow them on LinkedIn to get latest update of their activities.
Some useful links to explore career paths: ExxonMobil Chevron TOTAL
- Informational Interviews
The aim of doing an informational interview is to learn more about another person’s career and get a glimpse of the company culture. This can be carried out online (email/ networking websites) or by phone (usually after you initiate the contact through email/ messages). Note: Not all of the people you reached out to will reply, but do not be discourage and keep reaching out to learn. Always keep in mind that your aim is to learn about the other person and not to ask for a job. You can do this carefully later on once you have built a good relationship with your contact.
Where to conduct informational interviews? LinkedIn (check out the TAMU alumni feature), Aggie Network (find those who donate and identify last active date on the left upper corner on their profile), HireAggies (Employers > Contact Directory), careershift (accessible through HireAggies – located on lower right), GOINGGLOBAL (accessible through HireAggies – located on lower right), SPE e-mentoring, senior colleagues, and speakers.
Career Center resources: Video Blog