How to Find a Job As an Overseas Contractor
Times are hard and it is getting harder to find a good paying job. An area that many unemployed and underemployed persons don't consider is Overseas Contracting. In Overseas Contracting there are opportunities for older workers to start again, make enough to set them up for retirement, have an adventure and make good money. Most of these jobs require real life skills and are on a US Government Contracts. Some of these jobs require little experience only a willingness to work. Older healthy employees (over 40) make up the bulk of these employees, there are a lot of retired military veterans, there is no age or sex discrimination with these companies, in fact they like older employees for their maturity and stability.
First you need to do a self examination and determining your seriousness:
If you decide to pursue overseas employment, you must be ready to leave on short notice, and I mean today, no maybes, no being late, if they ask you to be in Houston in three days you need to be there. These companies want a commitment when they call. They have a tight schedule for hiring and filling contracts. They want people that are serious, and they do not have time to mess with people that have not committed to go. When you fill out and submit your application, or submit a resume, do not be surprised if the company wants you to go on short notice. Starting your processing can take days or weeks, but you must be ready to go on their schedule.
Most contracts are for six months, a year or a year renewable. Contracts are just that a contract for as long as there is work. Some jobs may last a short time others may last for years. Most overseas employment (except Department of Defense employees) work tax free up to $82,000.00 per year (the tax free amount goes up every year) with certain restrictions. Check with the IRS.
What to Expect:
Expect to work long hours (up to twelve hours a day, seven days a week) , harsh conditions (hot, cold, dirty, poor facilities, porta potties), family separations (vacations may every four or six months for two weeks), You may living in countries where goods and services are not up to US standards (bottled water, intermittent power, etc...).
Companies do usually have internet and/or telephone services to keep you in touch with your family. Most offer great medical for you and your family (check before you sign a contract). Most do not have retirement but may offer 401k to selected employees.
What to expect in Overseas Employment:
Contracts vary, some will be regular 40 hour weeks, and some are 84 hour weeks. Some are five days a week and some six, most of the really good paying positions make you work seven days a week. The contract should specify if it is salary or hourly wages as well as specifying your job description, what country(s) will you be working in. The contract should be specific about who pays for or provides your housing, medical, transportation and specify working conditions, vacation, vacation pay, any severance and the length of contract. Find out if you will live in a tent, a container trailer, hotel, or a house. Will you have your own room or share? Will you have to cook or will meals be provided. What are the security concerns? All these things should be asked about before you agree to a position.
I have worked on contracts where I was salaried and worked 48 hours a week in Saudi Arabia. Had a nice trailer, my own driver and houseboy, and worked in an office. Still it was unaccompanied (no family members), there was nothing to do in the off times and communications with my family was bad (no internet, expensive phone calls, three week mail).
Recently I worked in Kuwait, 84 hours weeks, 12 hours, 7 days a week, good money with great benefits for me and my family. All in country expenses paid, nice room, internet, bad company food. The same job was offered in Iraq with a tent, better food and about 35% more money, but people do get killed there. I was safe in Kuwait (did three years.)
I have also lived in a tent for three months with the same company, same long hours, same great pay, in Europe. Hardest part is being separated from your family. Always check on vacations, when, how long and who pays the travel.
I just came back from Taji, Iraq working a year for a great company. Housing was a container trailer, worked in a brand new facility, 10 hour day, six days a week, vacation every six months. Internet, military dining facility, great job, even better money! Should be going back to work for them soon.
Finding and Applying:
Finding the right companies to apply for is the difficult part for most people who have never worked overseas before. I have worked mostly for US Government Contracts in support of US Armed Forces. Apply to Expat jobs (expatriate) overseas companies: AECOM.Com (AECOM / GSS) this is the company I currently have been working for, ITT International, and Dyncorp, Raytheon.
Most have job listings on their web sites, but you will need a current resume. Be advised, that although you might get hired if you lie about a criminal past, or having back child support payments due, these companies do check, as they are required by the government to do. I have seen employees dragged from a work site in handcuffs by the Federal Marshals in several countries for wants and warrants in the US. So be straight with these guys.
What to Apply For:
Submit for the jobs you feel you "might" be qualified for. These companies get paid for filling "slots", often with the best candidates they can find not only the best "qualified". Obviously don't lie, but don't count yourself out for a job you can do, but have little experience. There is a lot of on the job training on a lot of these jobs. Most of these companies have positions in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, South East Asian and Australia. See There are many more, you just need to search the net and network. And don't count out employment in the US, many of these companies have contract on military bases. Not for the big bucks but they pay well non the less