Bright Network member and Cambridge graduate Richard shares his experience of landing a role at Exxon Mobil as a contact engineer.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
ExxonMobil offer really excellent training for engineers in the Oil & Gas industry; their 2-year rotations aim to give graduates experience in many areas quickly. But I was particularly drawn to them because they aim to employ engineers for their whole careers, and I love the idea of never applying for another job. When the HR person phoned me, she didn't offer me a job, she offered me a career!
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
I was assessed for this role during an internship. At the end of the placement, my partner and I gave a presentation to senior refinery management about what we'd been doing. The toughest part was answering probing questions into our work, on the spot, in front of a large audience of managers!
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
Whilst on the 8-week internship, I worked very closely with a project partner (also an intern). In the end, how we had built and managed our working relationship was really important to our success. Some of the interns had partners who were very difficult to work with. I was surprised by how important was my ability to work well with someone who wasn't even a full employee, and also that luck in getting a good partner seemed to give such an advantage (or at least, made the internship so much less stressful).
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?
Tip 1: Think twice before choosing to abandon your degree topic! I really enjoyed using my subject during my internship.
Tip 2: When preparing for interviews, I make sure to convince myself of the value of my own experiences. If I don't believe my experiences are valuable, it'll be much harder to convince an interviewer. Take the time to figure out what you learned and how you were challenged in your experiences to date.
Tip 3: Avoid applying for companies you're not excited about working for. Preparing for and attending interviews is much easier if you're really keen on the firm!
What's your lucky charm or pre-interview ritual?
Find out if it's appropriate to take notes into an interview, and if you can't find out, take them anyway. I've really benefited from having some brief notes to remind me of my competencies and experiences in the heat of an interview.