Overseas Contract Jobs

Despite the danger there is still a lot of interest in overseas contract jobs. The opportunity to get out of debt and to make a small fortune is appealing. You can earn a minimum of $80.000 to $100.000 a year to start. I started at $160,000 and was making well over $200,000 when I finally stopped working overseas as a contractor in Iraq. You will have little to no expenses because housing and meals are free. Part of the contract usually requires that the military provide meals and housing.

The other big benefit is that if you stay out of the United States for more than 330 consecutive days then part of your income is excluded from federal income taxes. When I started working in Iraq in 2005 the exclusion was $80,000, but now it has increased to $91,400 for 2009, $91,500 for 2010, and $92,900 for 2011. To qualify for the federal tax exclusion you must be out of the United States for at least 330 full days during the 12-month period.

Welcome sign going in to Baghdad

Welcome sign going in to Baghdad

If you have an interest in Iraq jobs, Afghanistan jobs, or the other jobs available to civilian contractors then you need the following: a valid and current U.S. passport, a resume, and understand that any overseas contract jobs require a sign on for at least a year. If you have a current Security Clearance, Secret clearance or Top Secret Clearance, that may go a long way in getting you started as an overseas contractor and make you eligible for Security Clearance Jobs.

Riding the helicopter to Camp Sweeney

On the CH-46 to Camp Sweeney Afghanistan

Travel in Iraq and Afghanistan requires wearing kevlar helmet and vest. Travel can be physically demanding in 130 degree heat. In the winter, military air travel can be quite cold. Good idea to have insulated under clothes, jacket, and gloves.

Be prepared to endure poor living conditions. You could end up in a tent with a dozen other civilians, or you could live in a semi private room with a shared bath. The usual summer temperature is around 120F but it can go over 140F. Working overseas can be dangerous. Stray bullets fly, and rocket attacks are common place. The food can be excellent or very poor depending on where you are stationed. Some chow halls are very good, some are poor, it just depends on who runs them. You can expect to eat beans and bread at one end of the scale and steak and lobster the other end. The worst I had was at a small base near Pakistan where beans and Afghan bread was served daily. The work schedule is 12 hours a day 7 days a week with no time off. There will be times when you will work more than 12 hours a day. So just be prepared for whatever the mission requires. The mission always comes first.

This is the toilet at a remote camp in the mountains where we stayed

Living Conditions can be Rough, Toilet at Remote Location

Look online to find overseas contract opportunities. Search for Iraq jobs and for Afghanistan jobs. Getting your foot in the door finding that first overseas position can take time. Once you do get a job then you should start networking right away. Talk with every contractor you meet to exchange job information. Networking is the very best way to find the best jobs and improve your situation. Take a proactive approach and talk to everyone you meet to build a contacts list. That will improve your chances of finding future jobs. Starting at an $80,000 job will get you in the contractor information loop. KBR jobs pay much less than what other contractors pay but taking the job gets you started networking and it may pay dividends in the long run.

Check the Internet. There are many websites to look at but my favorite is Danger Zone Jobs. It is a pay sight but it is the one that got me started on my first overseas job and it is a great one stop website for finding a high paying jobenient location. It also has current information about contracts, companies, and lots of tips for overseas job seekers who are in the overseas information loop.

Approaching Sand Storm can last for hours or days

Approaching Sand Storm can last for hours or days

The opportunities available to earn high pay working in other countries are huge. The number of working government contracts that are in effect and the companies involved number in the thousands. Each of these contracts requires skilled labor, semi skilled labor, and field representatives to work them in various overseas locations. Don’t think that all the jobs are for Americans overseas. You will find all nationalities represented, all skill levels, and all pay scales. Some of the company names you will find working in the middle east and all over the world are Halliburton, KBR, and others such as Fluor, and Dyncorp.

Getting ready for bed Afghanistan

Getting ready for bed Afghanistan

I personally worked for Jacobs Engineering, Qualis Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation. There are many others and the job opportunities end and new ones start up. That is why it is a good idea to have a contact who is in the know and lists all the current contracts and provides news about new start up possibilities.

Of all the types of jobs that are available the logistics jobs are most in demand. Not one project can be run without parts, supplies, food, and fuel. That’s why logistics experience is as close to a job guarantee as you can get. Military logistics experience is a big plus and any supply, warehouse, and logistics experience you have will go far in securing an overseas contract job.

Other positions in demand are aircraft jobs. If you have prior military experience in the aviation field then you may be able to find helicopter jobs, and aircraft mechanic jobs. The aircraft operate in severe conditions and are also subjected to hostile fire from time to time.

Other jobs that are always in demand are IT jobs. Every location that uses computers and networks requires IT technicians, and IT administrators.

Safety professionnals provide safety inspections on completed work, working environment safety, and living conditions safety.

There are drivers needed for positions that may or may not require further training. Some of these truck driving jobs can be quite hazardous. Any convoy driving between bases is very dangerous.

Paramedics and EMT’s are always in demand and command high salaries.

A-Real-Civilian-Contractor-in-Afghanistan-That's-Me-Chuck-Burns

That’s Me Chuck Burns waiting for a CH46

How to get that first job is the hard part. I was lucky when I got my start. My resume was sent out just as a new contract was starting up. I was working in Iraq within a few weeks. Most jobs are found through word of mouth, by networking. That is why it is important to start networking as soon as you get that first job. But getting the first job may not be so easy. Get all the information you can. Check out Danger Zone Jobs to get started on your new career.

The availability of jobs for civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan varies. As I said, I was lucky because I happened to submit my resume just when a new project was starting. I was interviewed by phone just two weeks after I submitted the resume and 30 days later I had gone through two weeks of CRC at Ft. Benning, and I was in Iraq. Once you get that first job then begin your networking and make that a part of your everyday routine. Ask everyone you meet what they do, who they work for, and get a contact email, and phone number. You will be surprised at how fast your contact list grows and remember that networking is the absolute best way to improve your situation by moving into a higher paying job. Once you establish a contact then stay in touch on a regular schedule. Inform all your contacts about any jobs that come available in your area. Once you establish yourself as an information source then others will start to provide you with information.

Our ride home from mountains in Afghanistan

Our ride home from mountains in Afghanistan

Good luck in your job hunt, build your network, and stay safe.

Build your network! Build your network! Build your network!

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