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Conversations with an Offshore Job Seeker

I recently had the following conversation with a job seeker through FaceBook, who is looking for an offshore oil job. I thought this conversation may be useful for other job seekers. The name of the person is changed for privacy. The content is edited for brevity, spelling and grammar.
offshore oil job seeker

offshore oil job seeker

Raj (Job Seeker): Hi!

Me: Hello Raj. How are you?

Raj: I am doing well, thank you.

Me: Welcome to the offshore job group on FaceBook.

Raj: I am looking to join offshore like oil rig or oilfield. I have CDC (Continuous Discharge Book) and done STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) courses.

I want to join offshore work in offshore vessels. I would like to join offshore as a Seaman or Roustabout or something like that.

Me: OK

Raj: Now I have a job.  But want to go offshore.

Me: What are you doing now?

Raj: I am in India, doing a sales job. Not related to ships or offshore. I am 32 years old.

Me: Why do you like to work offshore?

Raj: Well, I love to work on offshore. I can make good money. The best thing about the offshore work is that it is on a rotation basis so I like it.

Me: I am not a recruiter for offshore jobs. I have access to offshore job listings. So I post offshore job opportunities on my website as well as on this offshore job group to help others. You will need to apply to those jobs depending on the type of jobs you like. You can see new job openings every day at my website here: http://offshorejobguide.com/

Raj: OK, I will browse the website for job openings.

Me: Most people take the hard path (thinking that it is easy) to find an offshore oil job. In India and elsewhere the path they often take is, first they will pay some fly-by-night (non-reputed) company some money to get their safety training. Often these training will not have much value. Then they will go after some crooked agents and offer them money – thinking that the agent will give them a job quickly without they having to go through the job application process. Most often the agent will disappear with the money.

Raj: Yes I know. So what you suggest?

Me: The easiest and most assured way is as follows:

  1. Make sure you really want to work in an offshore job – be very very sure of your choice, because it is really hard work. Only if you love such kind of work and love the sea and the adventure, that you should apply for such jobs. You can make a lot of money but that should be the side benefit.
  2. Now, be prepared to work for that goal – day in and day out.

Gaining real-world experience:

Me: You indicated that you want to be a “Seaman or Roustabout or something like that”. Do you have any experience in any of these fields?

Raj: No. That is why it is hard for me to get a job.

Me: If you don’t have any real experience in offshore industry then try to gain some actual experience (not a two week’s certificate) in the same related field on-shore.
For example if you want to become a welder in an offshore rig, then try to get some real experience as a welder in an on-shore job. Some easy techniques you can use to gain real world experience are listed below:

  1. If you are located in a country like India and where there is heavy competition for jobs, and you are a young person without any real experience, then just walk into your local welding workshop and offer to work for free as a welder apprentice to gain some experience. If you currently have a day job and cannot work during day time, then offer to work evenings and weekend hours.

    No one will refuse an offer to work free. And once you get such an opportunity, be the best worker you can be. Go to work earlier than any employee of your shift and leave later than any employee.

    While you work, be willing to assist anyone that needs help. If you do these things right, in a few weeks they will start paying you. And in a couple of months, you will come out as an experienced welder ready for your offshore career.


  2. Think this way, suppose you are an employer trying to hire a truck driver to drive large trucks (imagine an 18 wheeler truck). As an employer, you are willing to train them to gain their 18 wheeler license. Now, when you interview someone, will you hire a person who has never driven a motor vehicle or will you prefer someone who has a driver’s license?.

    In nutshell if you don’t have offshore experience, it is very important to have some on-shore experience in a related field.

  3. Few additional examples are, if you want to get an offshore painter job, then gain experience as a painter in your local area, painting cars, boats or anything else. This will set you apart from many other entry level candidates.

    The same principle can be used for Cooks, Mechanics, Pipe Fitters, Crane Operators etc. If you are really inclined for an offshore job, gaining an on-shore experience in the same field will put you way ahead of the crowd. Even if you work for free for a month to gain this experience, it will be well worth it.


Contacts and Referrals:


Me: The best approach to get an offshore job is through contacts who are currently working in an offshore job.

Raj: I do have some contacts, but they work on ships, not on offshore rigs.

Raj: Can you suggest someone who is already on offshore?

Me: There are hundreds of people on FaceBook who currently work in the offshore industry. Even in the offshore job group (the group you are using to chat with me) has several current offshore workers.

Raj: Yes, I can see some on this group. But the question is how can I trust them or know if they are genuine?

Me: It is your task to establish contacts first. Don’t offer to pay any money or ask for a job. Discuss with them about their work. Understand what they do and where they work. Learn about their work. Once you figure out they are genuine then only see if they are hiring at this time.

Raj: OK, makes sense.

Me: This approach will be one hundred times better than paying an unknown agent and thinking that it is easy.

Raj: This is a great idea

Me: A couple of suggestions. Decide which areas outside India you like to work – Such as Gulf countries, Malaysia, Singapore etc. This way you can focus your effort to make the right contacts. Also, everyday make it a priority to find contacts through FaceBook with people who are currently working.

Once you made several contacts – do not go to them with the begging bowl – instead, focus on their job and ask them about the details of their work and the exciting things they do. Only those people who are excited about their job will be able to help you. The workers who are excited about their job will excel in their work – which means they can influence the decision makers.

Raj: That sounds really great.

Me: Once you have a strong contact – then share with them the skills you have and indicate the areas in which you can add value. Then ask for their guidance/advice in joining their company.

Raj: One thing more. Do you think my age can create problem, I am 32 now.

Me: Age is just a number. The key is can you add value? Do you have experience or skills that commensurate with your age?

Raj: Yes I do.

Me: Great. When you apply for a job or while you are working on your current job – always think like the employer. If you are an employer – do you care about someone’s age, or do you care about whether they can produce value?

The ability to think from the employer’s (your boss’s) perspective will take you a long way in your job and will set you apart from other employees.

Just by initiating contact with me, you proved that you are ahead of hundreds of others – So do the same thing every day with the right people. Focus on your goals. Everyday make sure you do at least one or two steps towards your goal. Soon, before even you realize you will reach your GOAL.

OK then. I need to go. Wish you all the best.

Raj: Thank you very much and it was wonderful talking to you. I will surely catch up with you sometime. It was very nice meeting you online.

Me: The same here. Best of luck on all you endeavors. Bye.

Raj: Bye