The Dos and Don’ts of Job Searching

26 May 2016 By Hillary Hoffower

Whether you’re a seasoned crewmember trying to climb the ladder or a fresh greenie looking to get your foot in yachting’s door, a refresher on job dos and don’ts is always welcome. If you’re struggling to find your first yachting job wondering why you’re still stuck on the same boat after months of job searching, you might be making a few mistakes without even realizing it. Luckily, we talked to a few crew agents who divulged their best tips on handling the job hunt.

On Getting the Interview

Do base yourself in a yachting hub like Antibes or Palma to do some networking, day working, and ultimately increase your chances of getting a job. But before you go, make sure you do your research beforehand,warns Anne-Marie Zwart, general manager at Y.CREW, adding that you should talk to friends, read blogs, and ask questions.

“Take constructive advice from experienced crewmembers, but remember that it’s your career and you need to work on boats that best suit you and your skills,” adds Elaine FitzGerald of YPI Crew. “Keep in mind that joining a yacht with a good reputation and solid crew is more important than size and itinerary.”

But this isn’t your only means of landing a job. Don’t forget to register with reputable crew agencies — but keep it to a small number; two or three, advises Fitzgerald. “Form good working relationships with your contacts there and keep them updated on your availability.”

On Dockwalking

Once you’re in a yachting hub, do dockwalk. As Zwart puts it, “It’s a job to get a job.”

Don’t listen to other crew advising you not to dockwalk because you’re “too valuable,” advisesFitzGerald, who has heard this happening recently. “[That’s] rubbish! Dockwalking is just another form of networking; it’s the quickest and easiest way to get practical experience.”

On Presentation

Do dress appropriately for an interview, recommends Kendra Grey Kingi of KGHC YachtRecruitment. “Whether with crew agents or potential employers, always be well presented everywhere you go in public,” she says.

Beverly Grant of Crew Solutions is of a similar mindset, pointing out that crew should present themselves to crew agents as they would for a captains’ or owners’ interview.

Think khakis and a polo — look professional. And whatever you do, don’t show up in beachwear with sand everywhere, says Grant. “That’s my pet peeve with crew,” she adds.

On the CV

The CV is the gateway between you and a crew agent or your potential employer, so make sure it’s as great as it can be. Do treat it as a work in progress and aim for perfection, says Zwart.

Similarly, present yourself in the best possible light on your CV but don’t misrepresent yourself, adds FitzGerald. While you should highlight the key strengths, skills, and talents you can bring to the job, you shouldn't exaggerate your capabilities. “Be honest, open, and let your personality come through,” she says.

And don’t underestimate the power of a CV photo. “A professional-looking, up-to-date photo can be the difference between getting an interview and not,” says FitzGerald.

On the Bar Scene

Some of those who’ve been in the industry for a while could use a friendly reminder when it comes to “going out.”

Do keep your attendance at local or crew bars to a minimum, says Kingi. As tempting as it may be to knock back a few to relieve any job search stress, remember that your reputation is at stake — avoid making hitting the bars nightly a habit. “Keep yourself in check — don’t get intoxicated in public,” she adds.

On that note, if you did get friendly with the bartender, don’t get drunk and show up for your interview with a hangover, says Zwart. And no, having a cigarette before walking through the door to your interview isn’t any better.

On the MiscellaneousThings

Do have realistic salary expectations,” says FitzGerald.

This is especially true if you’re looking to make a leap into a higher position on another yacht or if you’re making a lateral move but the yacht you’re interviewing for is vastly different in size than the yacht you're currently on. And of course, this is important for the newbies who have no idea what they should be making in the industry. If you’re unsure what you should be making, check out Dockwalk’s Annual Salary Survey.

And for those crew attached to their phones, keep in mind that technology these days can be a deal-breaker when it comes to landing a job. “Don’t let your social media let you down!” maintains FitzGerald. “It’s hugely important that all of your social media pages are professional and set on private. Remove any photos or posts that could be taken out of context and/or deemed inappropriate.”

On the Process Itself

Do make an effort,” says Grant. Whether it’s tailoring your CV or presenting yourself for an interview, always put more than 100 percent into everything. Remember, hard work pays off.

But, don’t forget to have fun, reminds FitzGerald. “Stay professional, upbeat, and enthusiastic and you will find that perfect job in no time!”