When looking for offshore drilling employment, and in fact any job that requires a written application, the cover letter is arguably the most important element. It is what gets your resume read… or not. If you flub it, you can kiss your chance of an interview goodbye. Before looking at the three advanced strategies, let’s look at three important basic principles of writing this document.
The first of these basic principles is to send more job applications out. It is common to send 5 job applications and get no response. But send out 100 competently written cover letters/resume and you should start to see some decent results. Prosecuting a successful job hunt is much the same as prosecuting a successful war. You need both quantity and quality.
The second basic principle is to make sure your letter looks neat and professional. Yes, this is important even for a job that requires physical labor like an offshore roustabout or roughneck. Besides looking neat, the spelling and grammar needs to be correct. However, you do not need to pay a professional writer to write your cover letter. Just run it through the spelling and grammar checker in MS-Word. You can also do the same thing using OpenOffice (a free clone of MS-Word).
The third basic principle is to make sure you include the job title in the subject heading of your letter. Use the same job title that is in the advertisement. Include any codes that are in the advertisement. This is important. If you do not tell the oil company why you are sending them your cover letter, they will trash it without reading it.
The three basic principles above seem laughably obvious. But too many job seekers are too rushed, or are too lazy or simply too careless to do things right. They basically shoot themselves in the foot. Now, let’s move on to the three advanced principles. Although the following strategies do not guarantee you an interview, they will definitely get you a foot up in the game.
The first advanced strategy is to tell the oil drilling company why they should hire you. The simplest way to do this is to copy each point of the job advertisement’s scope and responsibilities list, and then write down your prior experiences that demonstrate that skill or ability.
The second advanced strategy is to show the human resource staffer what makes you more special than your rivals. Again, here is a simple way to do this: just note down additional skills that are relevant to an offshore drilling job but not included in the advertisement. For example, related (or at least useful additional) skills for a roustabout job would include painting, scaffolding, crane operations, welding, firefighting (as a real fireman, not learned in a course), etc.
The third advanced strategy is to make an irresistible offer. This comes in two parts. The first is to show that you can start work immediately. This means you should not be working now or serving out your notice. It means you should also have all the relevant medical certifications, skills certifications (e.g. HUET for work on board an offshore oil rig), union memberships and licensing. Part two is to end your cover letter by asking them to call you for an interview. Successful salesmen know this last strategy very well (both parts of it). It is what makes them successful – daring to make an irresistible offer and daring to close the deal.
When you are looking for an offshore oil drilling job, your cover letter will make or break your job hunt. Violate the three basic principles above and you may as well just stick to flipping burgers for McDonalds. But the three advanced strategies are what will give you a leg up on 90% of your rivals.