So how DO you get a job offshore? It’s all in the contacts.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked how to get a job offshore.  Once some people learn that you work in the offshore oil and gas industry two questions tend to come:

“Is it well paid?” and, “how do I get a job offshore?”

The answers are best levelled back at them as “Sometimes”, and “It’s complicated!”

And that’s all true.  It can be difficult to get a job offshore, but it’s far from impossible.  If you read on long enough you’ll get to a list of links that I’ve conveniently put together for you.  How did I get all these links to oil companies and oil service companies?  I got them through spending many dozens of hours researching the offshore industry and constantly applying for positions until somebody finally gave me a chance.  That somebody will remain anonymous, as my employer may take exception to me blogging about their company and more so about promoting rival companies.  But I’m not here to do either of those trivial pursuits, I’m writing this list simply to make your life that little bit easier.  Plus I need karma points.

What job should you apply for?

Don’t just blindy apply for anything in the hope that somebody will take a gamble on you.  If you have a technical trade then aim for that trade specifically, or at worst a position that has directly transferrable skills.   If you are degree qualified don’t apply for an entry level roustabout position, because you’re over qualified and won’t get it anyway.  For a more comprehensive breakdown of offshore roles visit this post from Offshore Insider, which explains the difference in offshore vacancies likely to be available across a few different type of offshore platforms and rigs.

Should I drop CV’s off at oil company offices?

Probably not.  While it sounds like a good idea to make sure you know your CV got there, the reality of the situation is that most will end up on an office junior’s desk before being ‘filed’ via the shredder.  It won’t do you any harm I would suppose, but it’ll cost you lots of time and effort that could best be put to use preparing the perfect CV and submitting it through their preferred online portals.

If I have no offshore experience, how can I write the perfect CV?

Believe it or not, there are plenty of very rational managers out there who appreciate how difficult it can be to get that initial start offshore, and I’d wager that most of them came from outside the oil industry.  Like any other industry, offshore managers look for people with a core knowledge of a skill and a propensity for learning.  So if you have continued to educate and train throughout your working life and have a skill such as trades, logistics, or health and safety, then lean heavily on that.  You see, some jobs in the oil service sector are so highly specialised that oil companies can’t just put out an advert in the local newspaper and get 100 qualified applicants.  Instead, they’ll seek pro-active people with core trade skIlls and education and train them in their specialist areas.

What oil and gas jobs are there offshore?

The list is truly endless, and the structure is complex, so I’ll attempt to break it down for you and keep it light rather than fogging the issue.


  • Electrical technician – platforms
  • Mechanical technician – platforms
  • Instrumentation technician – platforms
  • Rig mechanic – drilling rigs
  • Rig electrician – drilling rigs
  • Crane operator / deck foreman – drilling and platforms

Entry level

  • Roustabout – drilling
  • Deck crew – drilling and platforms
  • Trainee Field Engineer / specialist (completions / interventions) – oil service companies
  • Trainee well interventions (slickline, E-Line, Coiled Tubing) – oil service companies
  • Trade apprenticeship – platforms mostly


  • Driller – drilling – experience required
  • Roughneck – drilling – roustabout experience required
  • Derrickman – drilling – experience required

Management / logistics

  • HSE advisors – drilling and platforms
  • Helicopter administration – drilling and platforms
  • Medic – drilling and platforms
  • Catering crews – drilling and platforms
  • Offshore management – don’t bother.  You need experience.

And there are many more.  But my advice to you, if you have a determination to work offshore and have no experience at all, is to contact the oil service companies first.  As I said, their work is so specialist that they cannot simply recruit for an engineer with experience of running a piece of equipment that only they own and market.  The likelihood of landing a comfortable rotation with an oil service company is slim, though.  The work schedule is likely to be irregular and international in nature, but they’ll probably pay for your offshore certification, so every cloud has a silver lining.

Links to offshore vacancies

Anyway… to the links.  I’ve broken them down into oil companies (mostly operating offshore platforms on a steady rotation), drilling companies (operating land and offshore rigs with a steady rotation), and oil service companies (more often than not on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis).  If you actually did read this article in it’s entirety, then you might’ve figured out what is best for you.  For an overview of the basics of the industry, visit HERE.

To read my book in what I experienced when I went offshore, visit HERE.

Jobs on platforms

Jobs with oil service companies

Jobs with drilling companies


CV services

I wouldn’t normally write CV’s for strangers because a good oil and gas offshore focused CV requires a bit of work and conversation between the writer and the person wanting the CV, but if you really want help then I’d do it for a small fee.  Submit any requests through the contacts menu and I’ll see if I can fit you in to my ad-hoc offshore schedule.  I’m told I’m rather good at it, and I did get a job eventually after all.

Suggested posts:

Oil in the UK Atlantic frontier? Of course there is.

Offshore oil and gas installations: an introduction.

Should Saudi Arabia privatise Aramco? Look to history.


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