This is a question I get asked more than any other. "How do I get job on an oil rig". There is no easy answer. First, most rigs prefer that you have some drilling rig experience. Some will be willing to send you to a "Roughneck School" for a couple days which is basically just an orientation to what you will see on a drilling rig.
Even though drilling companies prefer experienced workers-when drilling is going strong and there are no experienced workers to fill the positions then- the drilling companies are quickly willing to "break out" new oil rig workers. To find these positions requires some footwork and traveling on your part. Some companies will hire you directly from an office visit, but if you go to the rigs and get a rig manager to call the office and say he wants you- then all you have to do is pass the background and physical tests and you're in. Your chances of being hired are much better by visiting the drilling rigs in person.
When making this contact with a oil rig manager you need to impress him with your desire to work. Tell him you are
a hard worker and a fast learner, that you are willing to scrub the rig and dig ditches 12 hours a day to get this job. Tell him you will work safe, take pride in your rig and follow all the safety rules.
TELL HIM YOU WILL SHOW UP EARLY AND LEAVE LATE EVERY DAY.
Dress like you want the job when applying to oil rigs-wear steel toe boots if you have them. Wear your hardhat when you get out of the vehicle-have a pair of cotton gloves stuffed in your pocket. Back in the day workers were hired directly on the oil rigs and went to work right then if hired. Now days you have to go through the office and applications and checks, but still any rig manager would respect a guy showing up ready to get dirty and make a hand right then in the old school way.
You need to impress this rig manager more than anyone else. If there are rigs in your area you need to show up to check them and recheck them every other day...keep doing this consistently over and over. Sometimes it's a game of attrition - you have to wear one of the rig managers down with your desire to get this job. That is the oilfield way!
What if you do not have oil rigs in your area?
This makes it more difficult because you are pretty much just presenting yourself on paper in the form of an application. It's much more difficult to impress anyone about your work ethic on paper. You really need to be able to look a man in the eye and say 'I want to work for you". There is a social networking site Drilling Ahead for oil rig workers all over the world. Membership there is free and the site emails members each time an oil rig job becomes available. You have to be a member to receive these emails so when you visit be sure to join. Rig managers often send a request to the site moderator with positions he needs to quickly fill then the moderator broadcasts a message to all site members with this information in real time. This is your greatest tool to getting your foot in the door on an oil rig job. There are specific groups on the site for posting concerning looking for work. Please do not spam the other topics on the site not pertaining to job hunting or you will quickly be banned. The same goes for posting inappropriate language or pictures. Be professional and this site is sure to be a great help to you in finding an oil rig job. Also at the bottom of each page of this site is an "Oilfield Information Bar" The bar has several tabs (shown below).
The 2 tabs you need to be most concerned with are the USA Rig Detail and the Canada Rig Detail. Click on these and you can locate any rig drilling in the United States or Canada. This is a great tool for finding all the oil rigs in your state or providence.
These oil rig jobs are high paying jobs that require hard work. Your starting wage will most likely be around $20 per hour with time and a half for overtime. You will have great health and retirement benefits on top of that. Expect to work seven 12 hour days-then you will have 7 days off. That is the usual "hitch" on land oil rigs. Usually if you are far away from home you will be provided a "bunkhouse" which is a mobile home near the rig where the workers eat,shower and sleep. This is also provided free of charge. Often you are provided "Per Diem" on each paycheck that pays for your food and away from home expenses.
Job Finding Services.
I have yet to see ANY job finding service that really worked. Most are scams trying to get what money you have in exchange for a promise of an oil rig job. As bad as you want to work, avoid these scams and save your money.
It takes perseverance to land a oil rig job without experience but it can be done. I did it myself years ago directly out of high school. I have worked for years on oil rigs so what I have shared with you comes from years of experience.
When you do land that job on an oil rig expect some of the hardest work you have ever endured. In time it will get much easier as you learn to use the tools and equipment but expect the first 6 months to be hell. Get your rest each night and show up rested and ready to work each day.
ALWAYS SHOW UP EARLY...Nothing will speak louder about your work ethic than this. Be prepared to get dirty. Don't ever complain. Never stand and watch others work...even if you do not know what you are doing, get in there and get your hands on something-don't stand by and watch. This is the number 1 "No-No" of a new hand. When we "break out" or train a new worker, it makes the job harder on everyone until he is trained and NOTHING gripes the driller and rig manager more than having to tell the new guys to get to work! It's important you remember that.
You will need to learn a whole new language about the oil rig-don't panic-everyone knows this takes time. Also oil rig life can be safe or it can be very dangerous. Safety depends on you and your crew members. You will need to learn many safety practices and follow them to the letter. There is no room for games and horseplay on oil rigs-follow all safety practices and you will be fine.
I hope this helps you with your search for an oil rig job. Please do not forget to join Drilling Ahead and use all the resources there.