What is Diplocon?

Diplocon was founded to provide resources for people seeking jobs providing construction services to the Diplomatic Community. While continuing to do so, it has also evolved into a nexus for employment professionals and consultants, job seekers interested in employment OCONUS (Outside CONtinental United States) in any field, and people already OCONUS whether working in the diplomatic realm, construction, maintenance, and support of diplomatic facilities, or in other professions and roles.

Archive for How can I begin working in the Wider World?

Aug
19

State Department Jobs – IT Specialists

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The State Department is advertising Information Technology Specialists positions. These can be very good positions in US Diplomatic Missions worldwide. IT professionals – you really should apply if you are serious (or even curious) about working in the Wider World OCONUS. If you are not yet in the IT profession, the announcement (the link below) will specify qualifications so you can tailor your training to match – give you something to focus on and work toward.

http://careers.state.gov/specialist/vacancy-announcements/ims

May
06

Watch Laos

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Watch Laos

“Long one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, Laos has moved in recent years to capitalize on the region’s robust economic growth* and increased integration by recasting itself as a “corridor country” able to facilitate cross-border trade across its land-locked territory. This plan is highly dependent on the cooperation of and interaction with neighboring countries that have traditionally treated Laos as a strategic buffer or quasi-colony, contributing to its isolation and underdevelopment, and until recently showed little sign of changing their approach.

However, competition in Southeast Asia among China, the United States, India and Japan has led these countries and others to increase their interest in Laos. Vientiane senses an opportunity** to mitigate the country’s primary geographic limitation – – its lack of a coastline — by courting outside investment in rail and road infrastructure through regional economic forums.” – stratfor.com

*East Asia in general is becoming the World’s economic powerhouse and should be a focal point for Diplocon clients and readers.

**Diplocon consultants sense opportunities too, and so should our clients and readers.

Both the US and the European Union are becoming more active in Laos (Vientiane Times News). This could help it emerge as a vibrant market, which could provide jobs for North Americans either in their current field*** or, as Diplocon continues to assert about Asia in general, in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

***As emerging nations develop; infrastructure, new commercial venues, hotels, etc. all need to be built and operated. Of course, most mid and lower level administrative, service, and shovel jobs are performed by local hires, but; American and European companies that invest and locate there hire American and European professionals for important positions in administration, engineering, construction supervision, etc. They all need TESL services for their local hire staff as well.

Oct
23

Teaching English Overseas

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As the “Western World” continues to struggle with poor economies, the eastern Pacific Rim is doing quite well. Even though there are still good jobs in the countries with tough economies, for those of  you trying to break into overseas work to gain experience and build your overseas resume, teaching English as a second language may be a good option. There are generally plenty of openings in the TESL
(Teaching English as a Second Language) field in East Asia.

Go to Google or any other search engine, enter TESL, and follow the links to resources for acquiring TESL skills (does not require a teaching degree and can be completed in months not years) and agencies that hire teachers.

Good Luck

May
22

Ten tips for seeking overseas jobs.

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Ten tips for seeking overseas jobs.

1. Keep your nose clean – and don’t put any controlled substances in it!

Some of the best jobs require security clearance. A police record can cause delays in your clearance being approved. Delinquent taxes and child support payments can cause delays and must be resolved before a clearance will be approved.

2. Major in one trade, skill, or profession, and minor in another.

Having a second set of skills may mean the difference between you and the other candidates. This may contradict convention for domestic work where specialization is the current buzzword, but companies operating overseas are more likely to need you to wear more than one hat.

3. Don’t pay a lot up for any job search services.

Some years ago, when trying to break into the overseas job market, Diplocon consultant Greg paid a resume “blasting” service $750 to send his resume to what they claimed were hundreds of overseas employers. All he received in response was other job seekers replying. Somehow the blasting service just spammed hundreds of job seekers emails. A total waste (except the lesson learned).

4. Be willing to start at the bottom.

Get your foot in the door then make yourself indispensible – the big money will follow.

5. Know your target.

Know the company you send your resume to. View their website. Know their corporate culture. Mention a key aspect in your cover letter.

6. Update your skills.

Keep up with developments in your field and be ready to respond intelligently to questions about it.

7. Remember that your resume is a sales letter – not an autobiography.

The hiring manager is not looking for nice people or those with interesting hobbies. They are looking to add the company’s profit. If the job is in a less than desirable area, it may be good to mention that you can entertain yourself  by reading or some other activity to indicate that you are capable of maintaining your own morale. Don’t go overboard telling them you love to travel – they will be sending you to work, not to be a tourist.

8. Find forums to watch for activity in many areas both geographic and industry.

Do a web search for groups and forums related to your work, and the parts of the world you would like to work in. You are encouraged to go to http://diplocon.com and begin a forum of your own, and tell your friends and colleagues about it so they will participate. Networking can be a big part of finding the good jobs out there.

9. If no marketable skill now, think again.

There are overseas jobs available in many skill areas and professions. If you are competent with the English language, you can find jobs teaching. Some training is required but can be done while you are working your full time job. Perform a web search for “teaching English as a second language”, or TESL.

10. Don’t give up.

You may have to work at finding an overseas job, but it will be worth it. You may double or triple your income very quickly.

Apr
04

Sprinkler fitters

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Sprinkler fitters overseas

What do sprinkler fitters do overseas that they don’t so much in the USA? In general, not a lot. Sprinkler fitters on an overseas jobsite are likely to do about the same things they do in the US, but may face greater challenges. They’re likely to face shortages of materials and supplies. If the project is in a phase in which there is not a lot of need for sprinkler fitters, they can fill in as helpers to the carpenters, electricians, etc. instead of being temporarily laid off. However, their wage will normally not fall to that of a helper.

Most journeyman level sprinkler fitters will have all the background required to earn top pay overseas, but may be required to adapt their skills to existing conditions. In some parts of the world, code compliant materials, familiar tools, and supplies are weeks away so the ability to look ahead and plan the work is a critical asset.

How can you acquire or polish sprinkler fitter skills for assignments overseas?

If you have no professional experience as a sprinkler fitter, you can start by going to a community college or trade school near your home. If that is not an option, you can take an online course (do a web search for online technical training – you may need to search for plumbing and welding courses). Even experienced sprinkler fitters that have learned on the job can benefit from such courses. Hiring Managers for overseas jobs or projects like to see some documentation of training. Hiring for overseas work is an intensive effort on the employer’s part because they will be investing thousands of dollars in you before you earn a penny for them.

You can also work your way up through union apprenticeship programs or on the job as an apprentice if there are no union facilities near you.

Whether you are an experienced sprinkler fitter or are in training, you should focus on being proficient and quality oriented in at least the following:

  • Layout and installation risers, main, and branch lines
  • Installing arm-overs and heads in very crowded spaces
  • Installation of correct rated heads
  • Local and national code compliance
  • Focus on commercial and institutional systems
  • Maintenance and trouble shooting

For more information or guidance email info@diplocon.com and/or sign up to join our email community and we will be glad to help.

Mar
30

Plumbers

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Plumbers overseas 

What do plumbers do overseas that they don’t so much in the USA? In general, not a lot. plumbers on an overseas jobsite are likely to do about the same things they do in the US, but may face greater challenges. They’re likely to face shortages of materials and supplies. If the project is in a phase in which there is not a lot of need for plumbers, they can fill in as helpers to the carpenters, electricians, etc. instead of being temporarily laid off. However, their wage will normally not fall to that of a helper.

Most journeyman level plumbers will have all the background required to earn top pay overseas, but may be required to adapt their skills to existing conditions. In some parts of the world, code compliant materials, familiar tools, and supplies are weeks away so the ability to look ahead and plan the work is a critical asset.

How can you acquire or polish plumber skills for assignments overseas?

If you have no professional experience as a plumber, you can start by going to a community college or trade school near your home. If that is not an option, you can take an online course (do a web search for online technical training). Even experienced plumbers that have learned on the job can benefit from such courses. Hiring Managers for overseas jobs or projects like to see some documentation of training. Hiring for overseas work is an intensive effort on the employer’s part because they will be investing thousands of dollars in you before you earn a penny for them.

You can also work your way up through union apprenticeship programs or on the job as an apprentice if there are no union facilities near you.

Whether you are an experienced plumber or are in training, you should focus on being proficient and quality oriented in at least the following:

  • Layout and installation of supply, waste, and vent lines
  • Installation of fixtures
  • Local and national code compliance
  • Focus on commercial and institutional systems
  • Maintenance and trouble shooting 

For more information or guidance email info@diplocon.com and/or sign up to join our email community and we will be glad to help.

Mar
21

Electrician Skills

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Ok, what do electricians do overseas that they don’t so much in the USA? In general, not a lot. Electricians on an overseas jobsite are likely to do about then same things they do in the US, but may face greater challenges. They’re likely to face shortages of materials and supplies. If the project is in a phase in which there is not a lot of need for electricians, they can fill in as helpers to the carpenters, plumbers, etc. instead of being temporarily laid off. However, their wage will normally not fall to that of a helper.

Most journeyman level electricians will have all the background required to earn top pay overseas, but may be required to adapt their skills to existing conditions. In some parts of the world, code compliant materials, familiar tools, and supplies are weeks away so the ability to look ahead and plan the work is a critical asset.

How can you acquire or polish electrician skills for assignments overseas?

If you have no professional experience as an electrician, you can start by going to a community college or trade school near your home. If that is not an option, you can take an online course (do a web search for online technical training). Even experienced electricians that have learned on the job can benefit from such courses. Hiring Managers for overseas jobs or projects like to see some documentation of training. Hiring for overseas work is an intensive effort on the employer’s part because they will be investing thousands of dollars in you before you earn a penny for them.

You can also work your way up through union apprenticeship programs or on the job as an apprentice if there are no union facilities near you.

Whether you are an experienced electrician or are in training, you should focus on being proficient and quality oriented in at least the following:

  • Layout and installation of conduit runs in commercial applications (accurate bending is critical as it can be difficult to acquire conduit and bodies to make up for mistakes).
  • Installation and wiring of distribution panels
  • Underground supply systems
  • High voltage systems
  • Low voltage systems
  • Back-up generator systems
  • Logic systems
  • Lightning arresting systems
  • Motor wiring
  • HVAC systems supply wiring
  • Local and national code compliance

 For more information or guidance email info@diplocon.com and/or sign up to join our email community and we will be glad to help.

Mar
05

Carpenters Skills

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I will begin with carpenters since I began my career overseas as a carpenter.

Ok, what do they do overseas that they don’t so much in the USA? In general, a lot. Carpenters on an overseas jobsite are likely to wear several different hats over course of a project. They’re likely to be the first trade called in and the last to leave. That is not much different from the USA but their roles can be – it is better to be a generalist than to be overly specialized. Often, if the project is in a phase in which there is not a lot of need for carpenters, they will fill in as helpers to the electricians, plumbers, etc. instead of being temporarily laid off. However, their wage will normally not fall to that of a helper.

Some journeyman level carpenters will have all the background required to earn top carpenter pay overseas, but may be required to adapt their skills to existing conditions. I was a finishes supervisor on a project in West Africa, and worked with a pair of highly trained brothers that would consistently tell me that it was impossible to do the work required with the tools and materials available. I could tell they were probably excellent craftsmen when given everything they requested to work with, but in that part of the world, familiar materials, tools, and supplies are weeks away or simply not going to be available so less experienced , but adaptable carpenters would have been a more valuable asset. If you have basic skills, know the importance of basics like line, level, plumb, and square, and, can remain flexible there may overseas jobs in your future if you desire.

How can you acquire or polish carpentry skills for assignments overseas?

If you have no professional carpentry experience you can start by going to a community college or trade school near your home. If that is not an option, you can take an online course (do a web search for online technical training). Even experienced carpenters that have learned on the job can benefit from such courses. Hiring Managers for overseas jobs or projects like to see some documentation of training. Hiring for overseas work is an intensive effort on the employer’s part because they will be investing thousands of dollars in you before you earn a penny for them.

You can also work your way up through union apprenticeship programs or on the job training.

Whether you are an experienced carpenter or are in training, you should focus on being proficient and quality oriented in at least the following:

Accurate layout and construction of interior partitions (mostly metal frame with gypsum board) including accurate hollow metal door and window frame installation.

Installation of suspended ceiling systems (be knowledgeable and adaptable in creative ways to suspend ceilings very crowded/limited space between the grid and the structure/attachment points above)

Accurate door hanging and adjusting

Accurate cabinet installation

Gypsum board finishing

Installation of sheet flooring such as resilient vinyl, etc.

Vinyl Composite Tile installation

Ceramic Tile installation

Rolled Carpet installation

Carpet Tile installation

Painting (including preparation)

Assorted hardware and lock installation


For more information or guidance email info@diplocon.com and/or sign up to join our email community and we will be glad to help.


Greg



Feb
28

Working outside of the USA

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Although I enjoy traveling and living in cultures outside the USA, there are times when I get that “There’s no place like home” feeling and think I would like to find a job in the States. When I look in local job listings or even the big nationwide sites and see the wages or salaries being advertised as “good pay” or “high wages” I am quickly reminded that I would have to take a huge pay cut, and lose some of my excellent benefits, just to take a chance on a job that may be only temporary. I quickly come back to reality and appreciate the opportunities that are presented to me working outside the USA.

When you see an Internet “news” article touting some position that pays “as much as” $40,000 per year, think double that amount overseas. There are also opportunities that may not pay double your current wage or salary, but compensate by providing storybook surroundings and cultures to explore and experience. There are even plenty of locations that can offer the best of both situations

To say there are high paying, steady, overseas jobs for us regular folks is no exaggeration. I should know. I’m pretty much an average guy, and, do not have a college degree; but I’ve been working steady for over ten years – and except for one year on a small Pacific island with tropical weather, jungle, and warm clear ocean – have earned at least double what I would have paid at home.

There are plenty of empty positions to be filled (not to mention a lot of “dead wood” that needs to be removed and replaced by motivated folks like you.) It may be that all you would need to do to get there is tweak your skills a bit and know how to look for the jobs.

During the Spring of 2011this blog will focus on ideas for tradespeople, supervisors, managers, and even those with little experience in the work force to date, to turn their current skill set into a marketable package that could help them double their income overnight by working overseas.

Over a few weeks we will examine the skills below. You may find that you (or someone you know) might qualify to, or be close to qualified to, fill a position in:

Construction trades

Engineering disciplines

Construction managers

Administrative and clerical

Construction Security

Telecom Technicians

Locksmiths

Technical Security Technicians

8a small or disadvantaged business contracting

Teaching

Mechanics and equipment maintenance technicians

Airframe and power plant techs

Information Technology Technicians

Computer Programmers

It may be your time to make your way in the wider world of overseas jobs. Even if you don’t see an obvious reference to your line of work in the list above, email us at info@diplocon.com and suggest your current skills as a topic for discussion on this blog, or, in private if you choose.



Jan
25

Start your own thread

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Start your own thread here. Be creative or keep it simple – it is your medium for expressing your views and opinions, or seeking answers to your questions. Please just bear in mind that we strive to maintain an environment of good taste and diplomacy.