How would you write Canada's job application for global energy leader? ​

Here’s a project for my energy and social media colleagues. Let’s collectively build what I describe below as a tool for Canadians to understand how important the oil and gas sector is to this country and will continue to be for decades to come. In particular, we will provide it to Canadian politicians who need a bit of Energy 101. Details on how to participate at the bottom of the piece.

The other day Canada was sent a job posting by a headhunter; it was seeking applicants for the world’s top oil and gas jurisdiction.

Sure sounds like an exciting role! The “world” is apparently looking for qualified candidates to take a next-generation leadership role; to ensure global petroleum players have the right stuff leader setting future tone, focus and direction.

Some highlights from the position profile lay the groundwork.

Must demonstrate a clear vision that includes:

  • An understanding that fossil fuels will continue to play an important role in future energy demand and economic sustainability, but will increasingly become part of a strategic energy system mix to ensure the environment’s welfare remains in sharp focus.
  • An understanding that fossil fuel producers must consistently push to lower-carbon production and contribute to this goal throughout the life cycle from “wells to wheels.”
  • An understanding of what constitutes operational excellence; a proficiency spectrum that ranges from technological innovation and ongoing investment to sustaining safety cultures and engaging indigenous workforces.
  • An understanding that “social licence,” while often an elusive concept, is increasingly an important proxy for effective community and stakeholder consultation and relationship nurturing.
  • Respect for the reality that regulatory policy will increasingly ensure that all energy producers work within socially mandated frameworks, with a focus on ensuring regulatory best practices guide energy producers to understand regulatory certainty.

If as a sector — operators, service providers, regulators, post-secondary institutions, governments et al — we had to collectively write this Canadian petro CV and cover letter to match the points above, what would we say — and how would we say it? Proudly? Self-deprecatingly?

If we decided to apply, how would we go about crafting a compelling resume to get us to the interview process; to make our envelope rise to the top of the proverbial pile?

Once there for the first-round interview, what would we say? How would we dress? What list of questions would we ask our interviewer? In other words, how would we prep for the grilling that would undoubtedly be necessary to whittle down a field of top candidates?

How would we frame our experiences and competencies? How would we speak to the softer but equally important traits like character and integrity? How would we articulate our leadership and team-player skills? How would we articulate our education as a sector? A technical undergrad degree of some sort? A graduate degree embedded in first-class applied and pure research?

Given all the advice available on how to build a winning resume, what strategies might we avail ourselves of to get to the next-stage shortlist?

Who would be our character references — those who can vouchsafe for our credentials and credibility?

In a typical winning CV, one objective is to demonstrate progress over time. How would we frame this? What experiences and projects with measurable outcomes could we point to?

And there is always this interview question: 'what would you do in your first 90 days?' How would we answer that? What moves would we make to let the world know in no uncertain terms, we’re the sector and country for the position?

Bar none.

Instructions: If you’re interested in helping craft this CV, here’s how to participate. Send me your thoughts — say in 100-word notes — by email to Over the next few weeks, I will build them into a cohesive document built on the concept of a resume and cover letter. Once that’s complete, as a community of practice, we will spread the word via this document.

Bill Whitelaw is Managing Director, Strategy & Business Development at geoLOGIC Systems Ltd. & JWN Energy. Bill is a director on many industry sector boards including the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources and the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame. He speaks frequently on the subjects of social licence, innovation and technology, and energy supply networks.

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