Chevron recruiter shares thoughts on how to evaluate internships

Paige Samuels is a graduate of the University of Tulsa and has been an employee of Chevron for the last six years. She is currently a Petroleum Engineer and serves as Chevron’s recruiting team lead for the University of Tulsa. Over the past few years, Paige has been focused on improving the overall recruiting process. Below she shares her experience and answers questions pertinent to both students and businesses interested internship programs.

The University of Tulsa’s Career services department was instrumental when I decided to pursue internship opportunities. Career Services was my first stop and I developed a close relationship with the Career Services personnel on campus. There, I learned the importance of an updated resume, gained a better understanding of valuable information to highlight on my resume, and polished my interview skills. I made it a habit to schedule an appointment with career services after every internship or leadership opportunity.  The meeting with career services served as a time for me to update my resume with newly acquired skills, and to practice effectively communicating my experiences for future interviews. Building and maintaining relationships with career services personnel was crucial to developing my confidence when seeking internship and leadership opportunities.

The next step of my process included searching Golden Opportunities and applying for different internships opportunities. I also reached out to local contacts I had met through community service or department functions. Local companies in Tulsa seek out interns via the department.

Reviewing Internships

When it came time to review companies for internships, these were the three main things I looked for.

One: Location

For me, it was important to find something local. I wasn’t as adventurous with my mobility then, and narrowed it down to companies located in the Tulsa area or, at the very least, in Oklahoma. I wanted something that would allow me to make income during the school year and live on campus. A goal of mine was to gain experience while attending school and focus on developing my network locally.

Two: Field Experience

Field experience was something I really wanted. During my first internship, I worked on an operations team in which I was exposed to production and facilities engineering, which was great. Normally, cross-functional roles come later in your career at major oil and gas companies. However, the company I was interning for at the time was a smaller company and they utilized my skills on cross-functional engineering field projects.

Three: Company Culture

The biggest thing for me, both for interning and a full-time career, is company culture. I’m a strong believer in community involvement. Investing in the communities you live in and work in is critical to who I am. A company that is committed to social investment, which includes recruiting initiatives, is huge in my mind. Whatever company I work for, right now or in the future, must have attributes that align with my personal values and morals.

From Interview to First Day

It’s normal to be nervous during an interview. The first piece of interviewing advice I would like to impart to students is to remember that the person across the table was once in your shoes. All interviewers have experienced what students experience when interviewing. Interviewers understand how stressful an interview can be for students.
The second piece of advice is to ask questions during the interview. Just as much as company representatives want to get to know you, you should want to get to know them.

Ask them:

  • Aspects of the company that peak your interest.
  • About their experiences such as their current job assignment.

On the first day of the internship, I would have told my younger self: don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, you’re not supposed to know everything and your employer doesn’t expect you to know everything. Companies know that students are interning to learn and develop their skill sets. The expectation is for you to work hard and build your knowledge. It might sound cliché, but a closed mouth really doesn’t get fed.
And the last thing is, seek out mentors and build your network within that industry.

Choosing Chevron

I knew going into my senior year, after my last internship, I wanted to work for a global oil and gas company. I was ready to be more adventurous, which allowed me to broaden my job search. I met with Career Services, went to Golden Opportunities, and applied for eleven companies. I received invitations to interview with nine companies and Chevron kept popping up.

The Chevron Way

When I researched Chevron, I came across “The Chevron Way” which explains who Chevron is, what Chevron believes, and how Chevron achieves its goals and the long-term strategy for the company. The vision of the Chevron Way is to be the global energy company most admired for its people, partnership, and performance. Chevron believes in enabling human progress through high performance, partnership, diversity and inclusion, integrity and trust, and protecting people and the environment.
The Chevron Way has always aligned with my personal values, morals, and beliefs. Chevron believes in developing energy that improves lives and powers the world forward. The core of Chevron’s long-term strategy is people. As I mentioned before, company culture was a key factor in deciding where I wanted to begin my petroleum engineering career.
Another aspect that attracted me to Chevron was their Horizons program. The Horizons program is a five-year training program designed to develop participants’ skills through challenging assignments in various locations, mentoring and formal classroom instruction. I learned more about the Horizons program by talking to my friends who had accepted full-time offers with Chevron. The Horizons program offered structure for new hires and I was interested in working for a company with a structured development program.

Improving the Internship Application Process

As a Chevron recruiter, one of the biggest things I focus on is communicating and having a direct line to the students. The recruiting team leverages engineering department heads, Career Services, and the office of the president to connect us with students.
For example, this year we sent out emails to engineering department heads prior to the fall engineering recruiting fair. We worked closely with Career Services and made sure that the students knew Chevron was on campus. Our team made the application process flexible and gave students a few more days to apply via GoldenOpportunities. Our team was intentional in our on-campus marketing strategy and wanted to ensure that students understood the goal of our recruiting trip: Chevron is here and we’re looking for interns. We’re looking to hire candidates on campus. Please stop by, apply, and reach out to us!

Setting Up an Internship Program

As a business, if you have any doubts about creating an internship program, eliminate your doubts. Internship programs are valuable for any size corporation. Internships work as an extended interview. A company will have to ability to observe a student’s work ethic, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Internship programs are value-adding for companies.  Chevron’s internship program is used as a talent pipeline for full-time hires. Our interns work on real projects, real problems, and contribute to the bottom line just like full time employee.

Advice for Students Looking for Internships

My advice for students looking for internships is to never give up and keep in contact with the people you’ve met on campus. you never know when a door or window will open. You may not think an internship or a full-time offer is available, but in an instant, things can change.