If you are looking for offshore drilling employment, you need HR to read both your cover letter as well as your resume. First, you need to attract their attention. Then you need make them interested enough to read your cover letter. Your cover letter must make them desire to read your resume, and finally, your resume must get them to shortlist you for an interview.
Forget the perfect cover letter. There is no such thing. What turns on a particular HR officer will just bore a different officer. What formats they like best largely depends on which university they got their degree from. However, what can be definitely said is that the first half-page of your cover letter is the most important. It must contain at least one of these three powerful elements.
1. What Is Your Most Relevant Job Experience?
This is one of the major criterion HR uses to decide whether or not to trash your job application. When competition for an oil rig job is stiff, you need to immediately show that you are qualified for the vacancy. You have to put forward your most relevant prior job experiences and tie them to the job scope and qualifications listed in the job advertisement. Keep it clear, short and simple, and direct HR to your resume for more details.
Nothing beats qualified practical on-the-job experience, but if you don’t even have any relevant training then your chances are practically nil. The oil industry is of strategic importance to most industrialized nations, so there are often relevant courses offered by technical colleges. In the US, the Department of Labor’s JobCorps program offers some form of subsidy for disadvantaged youths. Some local state governments may also offer further subsidies. The UK is no different. In addition, ex-servicement also receive subsidies to train for the oil industry.
Training doesn’t come cheap, but it beats submitting a blank resume with no experience. When you go through regular channels, you won’t beat rivals who have relevant real job experience. On the other hand, every chance you grab to put Lady Luck on your side is a step closer to getting offshore drilling employment.
2. What Are Your Outstanding Points
Now that you have persuaded the HR personnel that you are qualified for the job, you need to tell them what makes you special and why they should open your resume. To do this, you need to show either more breadth in your experience, or more depth.
An example of showing more depth is having more years of experience than everyone else. For example, an offshore roustabout position may specify 2 years of relevant experience. If you have 5 years of experience, you’ll clearly beat out quite a lot of your rivals for the vacancy.
Another example would be rig welding jobs. Do you have a “6 GR” certification from CITB (UK) or certification from AWS (US)? Can you provide examples of welding particularly tricky joints that can be found on an oil platform?
How about more breadth? Let’s say you are looking for work in the motor room. Do you also have some experience or training in electrical work? Can you offer a two-in-one deal to HR? If the company hires you to be a mechanic, can you sometimes help out the oil rig electrician?
3. Start Work Immediately
No company likes to wait for a job candidate to become available. Just like you want a job now, they want a worker now! That means if you can start work immediately, you can sometimes trump a rival with better experience.
This isn’t the only point. Working of an offshore oil rig involves a lot of red tape. If you can show HR that you’ve already cleared all the red tape needed to hire you, they are more likely to put your resume in the “Call For Interview” pile. After all, it means you are saving them a lot of work.
So what kind of red tape do you need to wade through? That depends on where you are going to work and who you are going to work for, but here is a sample:
Helicopter underwater escape training
Relevant local union membership
You’ll note that some of these hurdles don’t make sense. That’s fine – government rules don’t always make sense, and things only get more complicated when you mix in the unions and trade associations.
Cover letters for offshore drilling employment must highlight your most important points and persuade HR to read your resume. Unless you are getting a job through the back door, your cover letter together with your resume can make or break your job application.