Both your cover letter and your resume are important when looking for offshore drilling employment. You need to get HR to read both, otherwise it’s all for nothing. First, you need to attract their attention. This is easy – your email (cover letter) subject just needs to state the job title (and code, if any) in the advertisement. Then your cover letter must make them read your resume. Finally, getting you the interview is the job of your resume. For your cover letter, here are three elements necessary to make it powerful…
1. Do You Have Any Relevant Job Experience?
If you had one working week to select 20 candidates out of 500 for interviews, and all you had to go on was their cover letters and resumes, how would you do it? Whether you start from the earliest job applications, or the latest, or randomly open the emails, you would not read every cover letter and resume in detail. When you open the email (cover letter), you’ll only have time to look at the first half-page. It must give you a reason to read on and open the candidate’s resume, otherwise you’ll just move the job application to your trash folder.
So what makes the HR staff decide whether or not to read the rest of your cover letter and resume? The most important factor is relevant job experience. Unless you are going in through the back door, or the company is desperate for workers, your previous job experience is critical to selection. That means you must quickly and concisely state the most relevant points in your job history and tie it to the scope and requirements stated in the job advertisement.
But what if you have never worked in the oil industry before? During the oil boom, experience didn’t matter. But that is not the case during a recession. However, there is still a chance if you can get some relevant training under your belt. Oil is of strategic importance to many nations, and governments have training programs in place to provide workers for the oil industry. While the actual training may take place in technical or community colleges, the syllabus is designed by the oil industry.
Training can be expensive, but the oil industry still pays very well, so it is worth it. Before you pay for your own training, though, you should check if qualify for any form of subsidy. For example, disadvantaged youths in the US may qualify for the JobCorps program, while ex-servicemen in Britain have special training programs to prepare them for offshore oil rig jobs.
2. Do You Have Any Outstanding Skills?
Besides meeting the scope and requirements of the advertised oil rig jobs, is there any other thing that might make you special? Do you exceed the requirements in any way? For example, if the advertised roustabout jobs say they need people with 2 years of working experience, do you have 5 years? If you can add this kind of depth, and successfully make your case in the cover letter, you’ll have a better chance of getting hired.
However, depth is not the only way. How about breadth? Do you have any extra skills? Let’s take that same roustabout job. Perhaps you have scaffolding experience? Then say so. Companies always want people with some extra skills, as long as they don’t have to pay for it. Every boss wants his workers to be able to back each other up. He cannot afford to have critical jobs left undone just because the only guy who can do it broke a leg or something like that.
3. Can You Start Work Immediately?
Being able to start work immediately is always a strong point in your favor. If you can start work immediately, you can sometimes trump a rival with better experience. However, this does not just mean not having a job right now. You need to clear a lot of red tape before you can work on an offshore oil rig. If you have already dealt with the necessary paperwork, this saves the human resource staff a lot of trouble and they will be more willing to call you up.
While they aren’t supposed to behave this way, they are also human. In any case, this is a list of government paperwork you often have to deal with:
First aid certificate
Helicopter underwater escape training certificate
Offshore survival certificate
Relevant local union membership(s)
There is no fixed format for a cover letter. Neither is there such a thing as a perfect cover letter for offshore drilling employment. However, one thing is clear – your cover letter must have the above three important elements to persuade HR to read your resume.