Except for the fast food service the industry like MacDonalds, new starts often have the toughest time getting hired. That is because most managers do not like to hire inexperienced staff. Especially in a tight economy, it is difficult to justify the time needed to train new hires. There is no way you can fake the experience. However, you can show that you have made an effort to learn. This is part of showing a good attitude. If you sound completely clueless, there is no way you are going to get hired.
To become an oil industry insider, the first step is to talk to people who are already in the oil and gas industry, preferably someone who is actually working on an offshore oil rig. Hopefully, you know a college senior or have a relative or old family friend who is already in this industry. Don’t be shy. Open your mouth and ask them questions. What is it like in their job? What is their company like? How are their colleagues? What is life like on the inside? And so on, and so forth.
After that, you need to do some reading. Go to the library and look at the books and magazines which are related to the oil and gas industry. Don’t forget the business magazines. Why? Because they sometimes talk about the state of the oil and gas industry. Is it up, or down? What kinds of government regulations are causing problems? What kind of competition is it facing now? This extra information helps to place things in context. As an example, recently one of the big oil firms actually laid off the staff in their entire Scottish branch. You will definitely want to avoid applying for jobs in Scotland – the competition from these hundreds of experienced laid-off staff would be too fierce for a new start.
While I don’t recommend spending half-a-year in research, you should spend a few days skimming through the related books and magazines in your library. Pick out a few of the more informative books, and actually spend a few weeks reading them. Try to immerse yourself in the kind of issues which matter to the oil and gas industry. Take notes. Find out who are the major players and bit players in this industry. What do they do? How do they fit together?
The next leg of your research is to spend some time on the internet. Do some web-surfing on web-sites related to the oil industry. Use all of the three major search engines to do your research: google.com, yahoo.com and msn.com, in order of importance. Type in keywords like “oil industry”, “oil rig” and “offshore job”. Again, take notes. Who are the major players and bit players? How do they work together? Whom should you avoid like the plague? Don’t forget forums like Yahoo Answers. You can do a search there. Once you have some results, come up with some questions and post them. You’ll be surprised at the things you can learn.
Join some of the free job engines like Monster. Look at the typical job postings and what kind of skills and experience is in demand. Don’t just look at the current openings. Look at the old job postings as well. Not all online job engines let you look at closed postings. Don’t worry. This is where your library has an advantage. Go look up the last two years newspaper archives. What are the oil industry job postings? Which companies were hiring? Who were they hiring? Were any recruitment agents involved for your area?
Now you can start drafting out your cover letter and resume. Remember these points:
1) Your cover letter is half-a-page to one page long. It is the first thing the recruiter/HR staff sees.
2) Remember to put the post you are applying for in the subject line.
a) Correct: “Re: Ref. No: XXX – Electrician On Offshore Oil Rig”
b) Wrong: “LOOKING FOR A JOB”
3) What is in it for your future boss? Why is it good for him to hire you? Write this in both your cover letter and your resume.
4) You can pick up the other details at the job sites. The good ones usually have an extensive section to show you how to write your cover letter and resume. All I did above was point out the 3 most important points.
Before you post your cover letter and resume, look for a recruitment agent who does hiring for the oil industry. You are not looking for a job as a clerk or waiter. Remember that working on an offshore oil rig is a tough job. Show some guts. Find the recruiter, buy him lunch or dinner if you have to. Ask him for advise. Show him the drafts of your cover letter and resume. Thank him for his time. An experienced recruiter may be able to keep you from making major mistakes. Most companies keep old job applications, cover letters and resumes for several years. If your resume is stamped “Rejected!” today, you won’t have a chance at that company for at least one or two years.
Following these 7 tips will give new starts a better chance of being hired to work on an offshore oil rig or some other oil industry job. At the very least, it will prevent the HR managers’ flunkies from immediately tossing your resume into the rubbish bin.
RigWorker.com has been helping people get oil rig jobs since 1998.
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