Entry Level Positions
Usually the first question any personnel officer will ask you is "Do you have previous offshore experience?" This is the most vital bit of information you can provide. It takes anywhere from two to six months for a new hand to get even basically familiar with offshore procedures. After he's worn out his first pair of boots, he's pretty much a hand if he's got any merit about him at all. Previous offshore experience is not a requirement, but it is most helpful. All applicants are considered on an individual basis. Once you get some basic offshore experience, then you have the key which will open many doors for you. It's getting that initial bit of experience which sometimes presents the biggest problem. Again, let me say I wrote this book to show you how to get your first bit of experience.
If you are applying for a job with a drilling contractor or oil company, you want to apply either for a roustabout or cleaner/painter position. These are the entry level positions where most people start. If you have a marketable technical skill such as a heavy equipment operator, welder or mechanic, you apply directly for one of those positions.
A word of caution. Most companies have gotten to the point where they hire only basic entry level positions and then promote from within. This way, a person becomes familiar with offshore procedures before he is required to perform a more demanding and responsible job. Being an offshore crane operator, welder, electrician, or mechanic is quite different from its shore-based counterpart. You will be asked to do things which, because of your inexperience offshore, will seem to you dangerous, absurd, or just plain unbelievable. Don't worry. It's just everyday practice in the patch.
Even if you have marketable skills it would be to your benefit to start out with a basic position then work your way up by demonstrating your abilities. Believe me, you will get the opportunity. The reason I suggest this approach is that even if you are the world's greatest welder, mechanic, or whatever, you will not be familiar enough with offshore operations to perform the job without making some mistakes initially, and it would be better for you to learn as you go instead of being put into a position where you might fall flat on your face. I've seen it happen many times. You know you own capabilities better than anyone else, so make your own decision.
If you are applying for work in the marine services industry you want to apply for the position of ordinary seaman (deckhand), wiper, or oiler.
Entry level positions with an oil company or in the special services industry start as roustabout, riggger or cleaner painter
Entry level positions in the catering services will be that of galley hands or BR hands. If you have previous food service experience, you can apply for a cook's or steward's job.
If you really want to break into the offshore industry, you don't want to turn down any reasonable offer. Your goal should not only be to get a job but to get offshore experience, the key to your future.
For example: if the only thing you can find is a galley hand's job then take it. You will be working on a rig, you get to see the type of work being done, and you will get to talk to people who can give you some very valuable information. I've seen galley hands be hired on as roustabout after only a few months. The same holds true for deckhands, wipers, and food handlers. If you've worked on a land rig as a roughneck, driller, etc., you can apply for that job with a drilling contractor. Offshore jobs for these positions, while somewhat more complex than the land-based positions, are basically the same.