Thursday, March 27, 2008

Job-hunting suggestions

A couple soon-to-be geology graduates commented on my last post, saying that they hadn't seen any job openings for anyone with less than a year of experience. I'm going to list some things that I would do, if I were looking for a geology job. Warning: I've never had a job outside academia, and we've got alums in the mining and oil & gas industry visiting campus and recruiting - I don't know if any of these types of searches would actually work.

1) Use google to find some companies. I would try search terms like "mudlogging" (which turned up at least one company looking for workers on its first page), or "copper exploration." (Try lots of different metals, too. Look at the financial pages of your local newspaper - what metals are selling at high prices right now? Gold, copper, molybdenum, uranium...?)

2) If you find news about companies, google the company's name and see if they have any ads online. (I know Newmont and Barrick Gold are hiring, and I've heard that there are positions for molybdenum exploration - maybe with Climax? - in Colorado.)

3) Even if they don't have ads, send a resume looking for an entry-level geologist position.

4) Look in phone books for "environmental" or "geology" to find local consulting firms that may be hiring. Towns with significant resource industries (like my across-the-border neighbor: Farmington, New Mexico) are more likely to have jobs - look for places that are geology boomtowns. You won't find jobs everywhere - but you don't find gold or oil everywhere, either.

5) Tailor your resume to the company you are applying to. Don't tell mining companies that you want to work in the petroleum industry, or oil companies that you want to clean up groundwater. If you're open to lots of different industries, have lots of different resumes.

6) Keep trying, if your first few attempts don't land you a job.

7) Be flexible. You might find a job that isn't in your dream town. It might not even be on your dream continent. But if you work there for a little while, you might get valuable experience that will let you get another job, or will ground you in reality as you work through grad school. (Or you might learn that you want to go to law school. And that's a good thing to know.)

Good luck!

(And for the rest of the geology bloggers, especially those of you in industry... what would you do, if you had a B.S. or B.A. in geology, and didn't have industry connections, and wanted a job?)


BrianR said...

I don't know about mining industry, but one typically needs a master's degree to land a geologist job in the oil industry in the United States. Apparently, Canada is hiring those with BS/BA for jobs, but I'm not sure of the numbers.

I worked for some companies right out of undergrad (before going back for grad school) as a tech, essentially. You could certainly work your way up to geologist (i.e., the one actually making the interpretation of the geology) but I'm not sure how often that happens.

Most the major companies in the U.S. won't look at you unless you have a master's

coconino said...

I would suggest also looking on Monster and other job-search forums. Also, look at up all the engineering firms in the locale in which you are interested. If their website mentions geotech, they'll usually have an employment link on their website that you can check into. Geotech and environmental firms are always looking for entry level geology-related folks. You'd best be willing to work very long days, starting early in the morning and not in the best of conditions. For instance, if you were working in SoCal, you would likely need to be leaving your house between 4 and 5 am to be on site at 7 am to start drilling.

Another suggestion is to contact geology departments in your locale of interest, and see if there are any firms that have contacted those departments for recruits.

Finally, contact local, state, and federal agency personnel departments in the area. They are always looking for summer hires/interns which may then be converted into full-time positions.

Good luck. Keep trying and you will find worthy employment. It is out there.

Kim said...

Brian - Yeah, that's why I listed "mud-logging" as a potential search term. We've got recent graduates who are mud-logging, and at least one who has moved into a geology position, I think. (He's working for a small company, not a major one, though. But for a recent grad who's trying to decide whether he/she wants to work in petroleum, a small job, or a tech job, could be worth taking.)

We've also got one recent alum working at a nearby coal mine.

Mining, on the other hand, is very much interested in hiring BS/BA people. (They're looking for mid-level people with graduate degrees, too - I've been head-hunted, and I've never worked in industry.)

Silver Fox said...

I belong to the Geological Society of Nevada (main location in Reno, and subsections and meetings also in Elko, Winnemucca, and Las Vegas), and they are always sending me information about jobs by email. Only recently have I seen many requests for entry-level geologists, and yes those usually do ask for 1-3 yrs experience - if you don't have a master's degree. A master's degree is considered to be equal to 1 or 2 years of experience, especially if you teach labs. I would recommend to anyone interested in mining jobs to join GSN and get the emails. It doesn't cost much to join. Most of the GSN-emailed jobs are in mining, a few in hydrology or environmental, probably none in petroleum -that's a different network.

Apply for jobs wanting more experience, anyway.

Also, it would be worth checking into outfits like GeoTemps in Reno (and offices elsewhere), also catering to the mining industry, which has entry-level jobs, some of which can turn into permanent-type jobs. They don't just hire geologists, they have opening for geotechs at many mines. Many geotechs don't have geology degrees, but geotech positions used to be for entry-level geologists, so it might be possible to do core splitting and sample handling as a geotech to get started.

Summer job experience prior to graduation would be a real plus, and it would be worth looking into whether any mines have internship programs. I don't know very much about those or how to get into them, but can look into it.

It's helpful to be willing to relocate - that's always been the case. Mining and petroleum tend to have certain hubs. Reno and Elko in Nevada and probably Tucson in Arizona for mining.

Environmental geology is probably an option for geologists without much experience, but I'm not really sure about that. Environmental outfits are located in many major cities.

It's not just starting positions that have long hours. In the field, 10-hour days are standard, sometimes it's longer. At mines, days can be 12 hours long, though not always for geologists.

I wouldn't rule out the USGS for starting positions, even if they are temporary. My first geology job was w/ the USGS; it lasted about 6 months, long enough to get me to grad school.

I'd recommend grad school to anyone who can possibly do it. And I wholeheartedly wish everyone the best of luck.

Geology Happens said...

I took a few temporary/summer geology positions until the Reagan years started and then they all but ended. I then went back to school and became a high school teacher. Earth scientists are uniquely qualified to teach any science at the secondary level as we routinely use all scientific disciplines in our geology work. Don't discount public school teaching. I had my own lab for 20 years and we did some fun science. Of course all of my lab assistants were 16 years old.