Many job seekers always want to know the magical secret of how to write their cover letters and resume so that they can get an interview. They want to know the perfect sure-fire format, the correct words and silver bullet phrases, and just the right font type and font size to use when they apply for a job. They want to learn the secret to beating out the cover letters and resume of of all the other job seekers competing with them for that job. It does not matter whether it is a normal job or whether it is an offshore oil rig roustabout job, every job seeker is the same.
So, what is the secret to applying for an oil rig job vacancy? Well, the simple answer is – “There is no such thing.” There is no magic formula to writing a roustabout resume and cover letter. But do not despair. Do you know that there are some situations where your resume and cover letter do not even matter at all? That is not to say that you do not need to write a resume. However, there are some situations when what you put inside your resume/cover letter does not matter at all.
There are some caveats. Firstly, this applies only to entry level oil rig jobs, for example oil rig roustabouts and stewards working on offshore oil platforms. So what are these special situations where the contents of a roustabout cover letter and resume do not matter?
1. When you know the right person inside the oil drilling rig company. This would normally be the hiring manager. You just need to show him that you have the right attitude to work for him on the oil rig and he will hire you. You will still need to write a resume as a formality, but you can get away with just half-a-page of (12 points in size with double spacing) text.
2. The next situation is when the price of oil is high and oil service contractors are desperately looking for oil rig workers. The Human Resource departments will be desperately trying to make their quotas and they will often close one eye the less important requirements of the roustabout or other oil drilling rig job. In such an environment, all that they care about is that you pass the physical fitness requirements and the drug test. Little details like having to graduating high school are glossed over. No oil rig job experience, in fact no job experience at all? No problem – on the job training will be provided. As a concrete example of this case, the Canadian oil boom a few years ago saw many students leaving high school without graduating in order to work in the oil fields.
3. The third situation is during a recession when the price of oil is seriously depressed. If you do not have a great deal of relevant experience (e.g. a decade of working as a roustabout), it does not matter how well your (roustabout) resume and cover letter is written, you will not get a job interview. In such a situation, the best thing for you to do is to gain some relevant experience. But if you cannot get a job on an oil rig, what kind of job experience can you gain?
That is simple. Let us say that you are aiming for an offshore oil rig roustabout job. Relevant experience would include heavy labor and experience working on the high seas. Apart from offshore oil platforms, where else can you gain this kind of experience? Who else has this kind of experience? Think about it – sailors! Whether it is on a merchant ship, a Coast Guard cutter or a Navy frigate, a sailor has to work in bad weather doing a lot of heavy physical labor. Jobs on fishing trawlers also offer a similar kind of experience, and so do dockhand jobs at a busy port that handles cargo for shipping.
Other jobs which offer you an advantage when you look for an entry level roustabout job include the armed forces, especially the Army Engineering Corp. Working as a laborer in a construction yard or other major infrastructural project (e.g. building roads and bridges) also offer some relevant experience for the oil drilling platform that helps you to stand out from all the other job seekers who are fresh out of school. Even better, you get paid a salary while gaining experience with which to pad out your oil rig job resume.
Now, let us say that the economy has recovered and the price of oil is back to normal. Oil drilling companies are hiring again. You are applying for entry level roustabout vacancies. You actually have some relevant experience to put on your roustabout resume and cover letter. How should you write it?
Here are the steps you need to do:
1. Take out a dozen sheets of paper and jot down any experience you can think of that is even remotely relevant to working on an offshore oil rig. This is not limited to just job experience. It should include your experience in school clubs like football and even what you did on vacation like sailing a boat across the Pacific Ocean.
2. Take a short break – at least 30 minutes long – then come back and look at the results of your brainstorming. Copy down the points that make sense onto another sheet of paper.
3. Organize your experiences from Step #2 – the most relevant experience for a roustabout job on top, the least relevant and least recent at the bottom.
4. Turn on your PC and open a new Microsoft Word document. If you do not have Microsoft Word, download a free copy of OpenOffice. Just google for “OpenOffice” and you can find it. It is an open source word processing program that is free and nearly as powerful as MS-Word.
5. Try writing the first draft of your cover letter for the roustabout job. It must feature your most relevant experience and answer this question – why should the oil drilling company hire you?
6. Now you can write the first draft of your roustabout resume based on what you shortlisted in Step #3.
7. Do the first edit of the roustabout resume and cover letter you wrote in Step #5 and Step #6.
8. Fix your spelling mistakes. Even though you are applying for an entry level roustabout job, show that you do not care. You do not want to make a bad impression on the HR staff. MS-Word is very helpful here – it shows you the words that have the wrong spelling by drawing squiggly little red lines under these mis-spelled words.
9. Fix your grammar mistakes. Once again, your word processor is very helpful – it will draw squiggly little green lines under the sentences which it thinks have grammatical errors. For grammar errors, use your own judgement. You do not need to fix them all. Sometimes, you need to sacrifice grammar to make your cover letter and resume more readable.
10. Print them out and proofread both your roustabout resume and cover letter again. Make sure the font is easy to read. Normally, the default settings on the word processor work out just fine (this is normally Verdana, Helvetica or Times New Roman in 12 points).
11. If you are applying for the oil rig job through the regular mail, you are done. If you need to paste your cover letter and resume into an online job site or application form, you need to do one more step. Go on to Step #12.
12. Open Notepad in your PC. Go to Start –> Accessories –> Notepad, then copy and paste what you have typed into it. Make sure there are no weird characters showing up. If everything is fine, you can now copy and paste your roustabout resume and cover letter into the online form.
When you need to write a roustabout resume and cover letter on your own, these are the steps that you need to do. After this, the rest is up to luck, prayer and the hard work of finding and applying for more roustabout job vacancies. And don’t forget that sending off your CV is just the first step. You still need to get through the interview. Read How To Become An Offshore Oil Rig Insider – 7 Tips For New Starts To Get Hired Fast for more details.
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