How to Get a Job As a Roustabout

Written by andrew morris
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How to Get a Job As a Roustabout
Roughnecks are responsible for making sure an oil rig runs smoothly. (oil rig at sunset image by Alan James from

Roustabouts, also known as roughnecks, are people who do heavy manual labour, usually on offshore rigs. The terms roughneck and roustabout are sometimes used for different jobs, but the words are interchangeable. Being a roustabout is dangerous; accidents on oil rigs can lead to serious injury or death. The work is also physically and psychologically draining, with 12-hour shifts daily for periods of up to three weeks being the norm. However, the pay can be good, as offshore roustabouts can earn starting salaries of £39,000 to £45,500 a year, according to the Roughneck Jobs Offshore website.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Resume
  • Cover letter

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  1. 1

    Write a resume. This resume should highlight your experience of working as part of a team, as well as any machine work experience you have had. It should also show that you are capable of following orders quickly and accurately, as these are essential skills on an oil rig.

  2. 2

    Write a cover letter. This is a letter explaining who you are, and is generally more personal than a resume, which merely documents the facts of your work experience. A cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself as a person to the reader. Explain why you want this job, and why you think you would be good at it. A good cover letter can save your resume from an early trip to the dustbin.

  3. 3

    Look on line. There are websites advertising for roughneck jobs on gas and oil platforms. Applying though these websites is quick, but applying through these can be more competitive than looking through alternate means.

  4. 4

    Ask anyone you know. You may be surprised by how many people know someone who knows someone who is working in the oil and gas industry. They may be able to help you get your foot in the door and make sure that your resume goes to the right people. They will also be able to offer advice on how to write your resume and cover letter.

  5. 5

    Get your resume and cover letter to the right people. This is the hardest part of the job hunting process, as a lot of resumes have to be sent before you get a job offer. Having said that, there are ways to make this easier.

    One of the most popular ways to do this is through a recruiting service. The recruiting company "Rigworker" sends resumes and covering letters to the biggest hirers on your behalf, saving you a great deal of time that would have been spent researching. This service is not free, but the amount you make in your first roughneck job should make up for it.

Tips and warnings

  • Be flexible. There are roughneck jobs available all over the world. Use this as an opportunity to travel, and your chances of finding work will improve.
  • Roughneck work is dangerous and demanding, and not for the weak bodied or faint of heart. Think long and hard before you sign up.

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