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Crew Agents
John Doe
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 5:46 AM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 60


I am happily employed and have no immediate plans to move from my current position, but shouldn't the crew agents who criticize our appearances and grammar also have impeccable standing and a greater command of the english language? More and more I see advertisements with enough blatant error that I begin to question their abilities. Is it just me or has the technological age ruined our youth. But even more so, created a genre of laziness, where people don't even use the tools available to correct their compositions and allow the errors to stand. These two topics are related. I quite often nowadays find that the newer crew who enter this industry are almost as illiterate and the agents who find them.
junior
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 8:37 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Might as well throw in Charter Agents. I was just looking at a glossy charter brochure. It tempted with "Imagine beaches of fine sand beaches in turquoise blue bays " Hmmmm ? Oh Well......
MarineDex
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 11:38 AM
Joined: 22/04/2010
Posts: 45


I'm in a situation where I can empathize with both sides of the fence on this subject. I didn't become a captain and crew to travel the world because of my ability to translate what I can say into written text. Spelling and grammar errors have been my biggest issue my entire life because of my dyslexia and something I tried to ignore even to this day. However I was stupid enough to build my website MarineDex which now calls me to spend as many hours as i can in the day writing, re-writing text over and over again. Making small or large changers as the system grows, while ensuring I haven't made huge errors that people will notice. The issues facing businesses that I've noticed are; they have a number of places they are writing and rewriting similar text in

social media pages
websites
listings on directories
brochures
flyers
email newsletters
press releases
etc.

No text content can be the same due to the size limitation of the documents as well as issues relating to Google ranking etc. Mistakes happen just like driving your car down the same road everyday over and over again remembering what you did the past 100 times before and not focusing on what is going on now. They just try to limit it, but it is difficult if they are alone in the business or the only one doing the marketing.

Not to say crew agents and brokers don't get under my skin because they have next to ZERO experience on board or actually walking the docks looking for work. Then stand there on the high horse giving crap over spelling mistakes.



Anonymous
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 4:39 PM
John Doe, I counted five grammatical errors in your post. Nevertheless I agree with you.
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2011 10:04 AM
anonymous #1 I counted 7 errors, not 5 - and for once I am posting anonymously. For a Dyselexic guy MarineDex writes very well in my view but the errors he hes meyde I kannot be shore that the wasn't due to typping. speed or whetha he waz just rattling wun orf. Even I think I am so information overloaded now in lyfe with computing and social bull sh!t I honestly feel I am doing 15 things at once. I do make typping errers too. ( please note alot of this messij was writ with tongue in sheek)
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2011 11:58 AM
It is sad that our written word has become so  incorrect but so has the written word be come the same.  I come from a generation where the three "R's" were taught and parents reinforced the teachings.  We read more in books written by authors who had been schooled in the proper English.  Now we use spell check, grammar check and the like in Microsoft Word or other programs.  The changes that we make in our writings are made by the computer and not by our minds.  It is likened to a cheat sheet.  Something that we apply at the moment but whose rules are long forgotten.  Yes, I think that when you listed to many of the younger people, they strain at the language but then again, it is said that English is one of the more difficult languages to learn.  Just remember the three R's and think what that means, reading, riting and rithmatic.  LOL



MarineDex
Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2011 1:05 PM
Joined: 22/04/2010
Posts: 45


Thanks for the kind words that my spelling and grammar isn't too bad Anonymous. Seems the practise I’m getting might be paying off at long last, either that or the update of Microsoft word is working like a dream.

FiveStarCrew
Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2011 1:51 PM
Joined: 16/10/2010
Posts: 15


Wonderful topic!  Although I am not an English major (please don't bother counting my errors), I do have formal education and post jobs with countless errors, daily.  Much of my posting time is spent separating words, correcting spelling mistakes (that are blatantly underlined screaming, "there is a spelling mistake here") and rewriting text often coming from 'posters' with English as a second language... which is OK by me - they are trying.

The problem, in my opinion, is a general lack of education across the board.  Most crewing agents seem to have come from a Stewing background, but perhaps do not have much more than high school in their formal education background (and even so, some are still quite successful).  They want off the boat but want to stay in the industry.  They choose a career in a crewing agency. 

I call this a self-regulating industry.  If they're good, they survive.  The problem is the poor ones taint the crew agent industry and can leave Captains with a poor experience, hence their eventual failure.  This, in turn, gives the whole industry a poor name..

Should we try to regulate the crew agency industry?  Standardize it in some way?  Create a course to take to become a crew agent?  I've had this discussion, have pondered the various outcomes and wondered who would want the daunting task of trying to regulate this.. in the end, it's like any other industry.  Buyer beware.  Check references first and be sure you know who you're dealing with.. if they crew agent is wearing flip flops, you can too, in my opinion.  If they can't spell, well, you probably shouldn't be dealing with them as they're likely to fail eventually anyhow. 

Just my two cents.. and for the record - my background is in business and executive coaching.  Who knew customer service could mean so much?

Karen Murray
Facebook: Five Star Crew

JMcC
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 12:40 PM
Joined: 31/10/2011
Posts: 7


@FiveStarCrew “..The problem, in my opinion, is a general lack of education across the board...” True, but currently I am just entering the world of yachting. I have followed the conventional route, UK Senior School 9 GCSEs A*-B, 3 A-Levels (Maths, Physics and Chemistry) , now I am at university reading for a masters in mechanical engineering. My real struggle is that employers seem to value experience more and more, this I think often gives young people the impression they have to make a choice between taking the academic route or the practical (experience based) route. It is difficult to fit in enough relevant experience between studies, especially if you wish to “have a life”.  What is the impression from the other side, are my assumptions even close?

 

P.S. I am also dyslexic, badly enough they did the test when I was 9yrs old, so please don’t embarrass me with the number of errors in my text!

 

James


FiveStarCrew
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:15 PM
Joined: 16/10/2010
Posts: 15


@JMcC - yes, there seems to be that decision between the academic and the practical route... for some reason, people are coming out of high school with less and less 'academic' skills it seems - I might think even those entering the industry with high school education would have a certain reading and writing skill level, but not necessarily so.  I did business in school - no formal English training - I think I just had the good fortune of parents who corrected my grammar and spelling while growing up making me more conscious of my efforts.

Pertaining to yachting - it is not the academically educated who necessarily excel.  Not by a long shot.  There are numerous excellent engineers, for example (I pick on them because they need a high level of education in this industry and the training is mostly practical.)  I think the real issue is laziness.  There.  Said.

Working in Corporate Finance and then yachting for years, I learned to reread everything (OK not here) twice, to triple-check digits when copying, to ensure there isn't one possible visible spot on stainless, etc.  Basically, I learned to be anal.  But this isn't so with a lot of the younger generation it seems (of course not everyone.)  I still have people not even reading my FB page before posting up a crew biography.  I encourage everyone to participate, but part of the reason I separate the pages for Five Star Crew, II and III is to accommodate different audiences.  If you are crew, you don't want to be wading through a bunch of other crew biographies.  Would you read through a FB page first to get a feel for it before posting up your email address and phone number?  Most of you would say, 'of course,' but you would be surprised. 

How do I hold people accountable?  And I believe that's what's missing - some way to hold people accountable for their laziness.  I simply reroute them to the correct page.  If I said nothing, they would never notice.  I'm just hoping this helps people stop and read before they accidentally post their bios in a strange location and get spammed as a result.  It also tells me they aren't, perhaps, paying attention to their duties while on the job... if I can stretch it that far.  After a lot of time learning to be anal, I hope everyone would double-check everything they do.  And that everything they do gives them a sense of pride when they take the time to do it properly.

OK 'nuff said.  101 mistakes, I know.. thanks for reading

Karen Murray
Facebook: Five Star Crew

JMcC
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 9:14 AM
Joined: 31/10/2011
Posts: 7


@FiveStarCrew, Hi Karen. I had a similar experience growing up with my parents being strict with me in terms off grammar and spelling (futile though their attempts may have been). What you said about the most educated being not necessarily making the best employees, and if I may take it to an extreme, I regularly see people here in Oxford getting a masters in degree “x” and being completely unemployable as all they know is academics, hence they tend to enter the field of research and stay on to do a PhD.

 

It is interesting what you are saying about laziness, I am currently on placement working for Nissan Research and Development, naturally being a Japanese company the work ethic is an issue that is very keenly addressed and partially due to the competitiveness of the jobs market there is only a small amount of laziness seen at work. I think one of the main driving forces behind this is the team atmosphere and working towards common goals; correct me if I am wrong (as I have no real experience in the yachting industry) but I would have thought the “team” that is the crew on a yacht would often have common goals and a pride in the job they do, and again be willing to put in the effort due to the competitiveness of the market. Sorry that was slightly off topic.

 

Back to the issue, having done a lot of job hunting in the past in very small competitive markets and applying by means of a “cold call” covering letter and a CV, many of these employers have many hundreds of these a month landing on their desk. How to create an impression in a maximum of 3 short paragraphs? The first piece of advice I was given was, “don’t spell anything wrong and don’t make any grammatical errors” as the immediate thought is “if the applicant can’t make sure something small and simple their letter and CV is spotless, then what will their approach to the job be?”. Again I would imagine this is incredibly important in the yacht industry as the nature of the job is to provide a perfect (error free if you will) experience for owners and guests? Sorry for the essay, just a topic that has been very current to me over the past few years.

 

Thanks,

James


FiveStarCrew
Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:45 AM
Joined: 16/10/2010
Posts: 15


@JMmC - I agree with you.. as for the Japanese - you said it.  The population is so large, they have to compete just to keep their jobs (I'm sure.)  I've seen first-hand Asian work ethic having lived in Vancouver (dubbed Hongcouver) and I believe their work ethic will take over corporate America if nothing changes...

As for making a stand-out resume, you have (have HAVE) to go industry-standard.  Yaching resumes (not the same thing as a CV, but these terms are used loosely in this industry) are much different than other resumes.  I offer services, but I'm not selling them here - my suggestion is to check out the industry-standard resume template I did up (yes it has a few errors but many Captains and some Crew Agents have approved it) here: www.fivestarcrew.ca.  Obviously the site isn't up yet, but the template is going strong.  Make the resume industry-standard and you already surpass half the resumes that land on Captain's chart tables... if I were selling my resume services, I'd tell you to email me at karen@fivestarcrew.ca (!)

All that said, yes.  If you can't put the time and effort in to making your resume PERFECT, I also continue to ask - what does that say about your work ethic?  I encourage everyone to take the time to make your first impression perfect.  Your perfection may not stand out, but it might against someone elses' imperfections.  Let your experience speak for itself.  If you don't have experience you're not likely to get hired if you simply send off a resume to a random job-poster.  Get out there, get known, be the first person in mind when someone is looking.  This is why dockwalking is so hugely important.. this industry, as are so many others, is about who you know.  Being in the right place at the right time.  Leave your comfort zone and move to that place where yachts gather so you can knock on their galley doors...

Back to the main point - if a crew agent is illiterate, turn around and walk out the door.  Find the good crew agents.  I can't stress networking enough - if you're not an outgoing person, learn to at least say hello and to tell people you're looking for work.  You got to where you are by being a little bit outgoing - keep going! 

Karen Murray
Five Star Crew

Chef Peter
Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 10:32 PM
Joined: 05/05/2008
Posts: 20


Hello I am not happily employed...I am happily unempoyed at the moment and would love to be happily employed. So....if you want to have a fun, energetic, knowledgeable, creative, interesting, skillful and more, chef....contact me at opistolpete@yahoo.com, Looking for charter yacht or private with great captain and crew. I am a hard worker and am willing to help anywhere. I can work on deck, engine room (some), fueling, cooking, cleaning, flower arranging, diving, skydiving, change bolts on a rusty davit, etc. I am ready to work today!!!! Please contact if you are serious about a super awesome charter season. Willing to go anywhere in the world. Excellent provisioning skills no matter where, you just have to be on top of your game! 561-635-2342- based in West Palm Beach, FL.... btw= nobody cares about grammar when you are being helped into a life raft...get it?
FiveStarCrew
Posted: Sunday, November 13, 2011 2:01 PM
Joined: 16/10/2010
Posts: 15


@ Chef Peter -
What you say is true, when worse comes to worst, no one cares who you are let alone if you can spell properly, when you are in trouble on a boat.  I'm merely stressing the tricky part is, especially in this economy, getting on a boat in the first place.  I guess my point is there are boats that take this stuff in to consideration when hiring and my goal is to help you get on one. Why limit your chances?  Here is a direct quote I ripped from J4Crew's website (Joe Wizzwazz - he deals mainly with engineers):

I won't comment on whether or not the chief will be interested in taking A on, but if it were down to me I wouldn't give him a second look. Over ten years ago I sent you my CV when I wanted to break into the industry and I spent a great deal of time making sure it looked good and read well. When I receive a CV from an engineer who has failed to spell alternator, safety and college correctly it doesn't shout out to me the signs of someone who takes pride in their work. Perhaps I am being overly critical but I'd like to think that when a word is underlined in red on a word document the author of that document would take notice. Would he be as carefree in his response to a low water level in a boiler, or the ringing of an alarm perhaps? A isn't the first and he won't be the last person to send us a CV riddled with spelling mistakes and errors.

Karen Murray
Facebook: Five Star Crew

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:54 PM
90% of the crew agencies in Antibes hire agents on appearance alone. I doubt whether these girls have much, if any experience in recruitment. They are just told what to look for and expect to be charmed off their feet by desperate deckies who don't have a clue.
 
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