Unfortunately the easiest way to get an offshore job is to have had a previous offshore job. It is an industry where references and previous experience play a vital role in securing a position so if you have never served on an oil rig in some capacity; it’s an uphill task. The good news is that there are alternative approaches and here are some suggestions:
Use your Contacts
The most successful approach is to use your connections to anyone who has oil rig experience to secure a job. Oil companies prefer recruiting people they know as it protects them against the risks of an unknown resource. This is particularly true when the industry is going through a slack period and is wary about who they recruit. Secondly using internal referrals are a cheaper recruitment alternative as compared to headhunters and online job portals. Finally it is a motivational tool for existing staff as they get a chance to work with people they know.
Start at the Bottom and Work your Way Up
A number of offshore workers began their careers at the entry-level position and worked their way up. They started as roustabouts who are essentially the offshore version of laborer onshore. However roustabouts usually have relevant and fairly technical skills like slinging, which can be learnt on the job but also in schools focusing on this area. Most companies welcome new entrants as green hands or maintenance roustabouts. This is a good start if you are ready to start on the lowest rung of the ladder.
Using your Trade
If you have a specific trade, which you believe is relevant to the industry like an electrician, you can use this to get in. However it is not very common to get a job entirely relying on this experience. In most cases you would still need to be backed up by strong references or have previous experience on a rig. It is far more convenient for an oil rig company to employ an electrician with past experience on a rig than someone who has never done this kind of work before.
Use a Supporting Role to Get a Foot in
Another option is to get a job in a supporting role totally unrelated to the actual drilling process such as a catering assistant or housekeeping staff. This way you get to build your contacts within a specific rig or ship and use this later to try to get the job of your choice. You will still have to start at the entry level but you would now carry a couple of references as well as show that you are accustomed to life offshore and are committed to the career choice.
Obtain a Relevant Certification
Your chances of getting an offshore job improve exponentially if you obtain some sort of certification like the Basic Offshore Survival & Firefighting course, which is essential for jobs based out of certain countries like the UK. Also if you are a graduate, employers are friendlier. You would probably have to also produce a medical fitness certificate and a clean drug test, both at your own cost.