Offshore oil rig jobs are all the rage right now, due in part to oil prices skyrocketing from $80 a barrel to $100 to $130 and up. All Tom, Dick and Harry apply for offshore oil rig jobs and compete with you for an oil rig job. To beat them, you must do everything they do and more. Here are just 3 tips for you to do, beyond what everyone else commonly does.

1) Look for openings where most of your rivals can’t see. This is what most job seekers do: they look at the websites of major oil companies, search online job boards like Monster, and look at ads in national and local newspapers. However, an increasing number of job seekers are also looking for work on the Internet. They are patiently searching Google, Yahoo, and MSN, using phrases like “oil rig jobs” and “oil drilling companies.” These crafty job seekers are looking for job openings that have not yet been publicly announced. Jobs that have just become available but are still slowly making their way in a maze through the depths of HR. However, the Internet is not the only place where you can find information about oil companies. Why not look at the stock market? The Wilshire Index lists the 5,000 largest American companies. Some of them are certainly oil companies.

2) Do some detective work: find another way to get past HR. Do not blindly submit your job application immediately. Do what the best salespeople and stockbrokers do to find their best deals: find the address of the oil company and keep an eye on it. Where do your employees eat? Befriend them. Find out what things are really like in the company. Who are the decision makers? As they are? You don’t need to stalk the head of the company, but you might be able to make some useful contacts who are willing to recommend you, allowing you to bypass some of the bureaucratic bullshit. They do you a favor, you do them a favor. After all, it is common practice for many companies in popular sectors to give their employees headhunting bonuses to find new employees.

3) Do all your procedures in advance. Offshore oil rigs are covered by maritime law. Make sure you have a basic understanding of how this affects you. Additionally, a number of certifications are often required before you are allowed to work. Depending on where the platform is, you may need some specialized first aid certifications (for example, Canada has state-specific first aid licenses that you have to pass). Some jobs also require you to have a High Seas Survival Certificate and probably a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) Certificate along with it. And don’t forget your vaccinations. Some sites make this a requirement. Basically, find out if you need to meet all of these additional requirements. Try to achieve them before you submit your job application. Or at the very least, start with the required courses and mention it clearly on your job application (as well as on your cover letter and resume).

Getting hired for offshore oil rig jobs is all about speed. How quickly can you disrupt the regular job search and hiring process? That’s how fast you’ll get on board an oil rig.