What Have You Done This Month to Better Yourself? A Challenge.

Over the last few months I’ve gotten so many phone calls and emails from great people in the land business who are looking for work.  One of the first things I always ask them is “What have you done lately?”  The answer I usually get is some variation of “well I was working for so and so and doing this and that and then the plug got pulled on the project.”  Then I have to re-phrase my question, and ask them what they’ve done for their own professional development lately.  More often than not I get a bit of silence on the line, followed up with a explanation of how busy they have been with work.  Professional development is just like networking, you can’t wait until you need it to start doing it.

I understand that many people intend to take care of professional development, but then get bogged down with the minutia of life.  Sometimes they simply don’t know where to start.  I thought I would put together a list of options for those in the land business that give online, in person, and self-study options.  So I’m going to issue everyone a challenge:


Pick a challenge from the list below and make a commitment to complete it, give yourself a deadline.  Tell us in the comments below what your commitment and deadline is, and then update us when you complete

  • Attend an AAPL Education Event:  Check out the AAPL Education Calendar and pick an event.  Depending on your location you might find a JOA Seminar, WI & NRI Calculation Class, Field Landman Seminar, or an event designed to learn more about due diligence or pooling.
  • Join a local association AND commit to attending a minimum of at least one function every 3 months.  After all, local associations don’t help you unless you involve yourself.
  • Participate in the AAPL Landman 411 Onsite/Webinar series.  They have a class every month through the end of the year, and you can participate in the classes from anywhere since they are online (or go to the classes at the AAPL headquarters in Fort Worth!).  You can find the dates for Landman 411 in the AAPL Education Calendar.
  • Apply and sign up to test for a certification!  If you don’t have any certifications it is easy to start with the Registered Landman (RL) Certification.  The only sponsor requirement for this designation is an RPL/CPL sponsor (1 only).  It is an ‘open book’ test that they mail out to you with a study guide.  For more info read my article on AAPL certifications.
  • Learn how to use a new software product.  There are so many useful tools for landmen — flow charting programs, deed plotting programs, the DrillingInfo platform, Adobe Acrobat Pro and of course the MS Office suite of applications.
  • If you already have an RL/RPL/CPL certification, you probably know that you can always use extra CE credits.  You might consider completing one or more of the AAPL Home Study Courses.  You can learn something new (or brush up your knowledge) and knock out some credit requirements on your certification.

Finally, I know that many of you are thinking “I don’t have a job and I can’t afford to take any classes or go to any events right now.”  What some of you might not know is the AAPL has a “Tuition Assistance” program for members who can’t afford to pay for classes due to unemployment or under-employment.  The biggest requirement is that you have been an AAPL member for at least two years.  The program is confidential, and the money has already been set aside for the program — so if you quality you should avail yourself of it.

As I said earlier, leave a comment with what you are planning to do in order to develop yourself professionally.  Set a deadline and report back to us that you’ve completed it!

Randy Young

Randy Young

Randy is a land consultant with experience in field and in-house land work, land administration, and software consulting with systems used in the land management business. He is an active member of the AAPL, HAPL, and NHAPL and is a regular attendee of industry functions. Randy's latest projects have included land data systems integrations, with a focus on Quorum Land System.

  • Chase says:

    For those unable/unwilling to accept the above challenges, I suggest learning the ‘in and outs’ of a new state. For example, after submitting a resume for work on a Texas project several years ago, I visited the Texas Railroad Commission and learned how to navigate the site. I, then, read as much as I could find regarding drilling and unitization in Texas (including pooling, unleased vs. leased, surface considerations, etc.). I was able to then research specific tracts and perform mock research projects. This was before I even had an interview. I felt that I had an edge that I didn’t have previously. You can do the same for BLM/Federal Lands or learn which states recognize Duhig. Are you familiar with Louisiana’s unique mineral code? There are way too many resources available online (free) for landmen not continue learning. You know what they say about those who are good at making excuses……

  • Randy Young Randy Young says:

    I guess I’ll start:
    I am going to go (for the first time) the AAPL Annual Convention in June. I think it will be a great way to meet people who are also ‘serious’ about being in the land business.

    If anyone is going to be there I’d love to hear from you and meet up.

  • Rob says:

    I”m taking Russian language courses in German.

  • Lou Grubbs says:

    I thought that after I had 20+ years in the business I did not need anything else except work experience and recommendations from crew chief’s and project managers. I have now rethought that and I am studying for my RPL. I have been suprised about how much I “didn’t” know. Curt Horne is the lecturer and is really great. Even if you have years of experience anything you can do to better prepare yourself is the best thing you can do. I believe this one thing will be of invaluable help. If you do not belong to the AAPL or you are not a RL, RPL or CPL take it on and do it. I believe not only are brokers wanting a 4 year degree I think they will want landmen to be a member of the AAPL with some kind of certifiation, RL, RPL OR CPL.

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      Thanks for sharing Lou. If there is just a 20% higher chance of getting hired if you are an AAPL member with a certification it is worth it. I mean, really, getting an RPL cost me 2 days off work and a few hundred dollars. That investment in my career, comparative to my annual income is next to nothing. I think that’s the right way to look at it.

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