Wacky Self-Promotions

25 February 2010 By Louisa Beckett

Years ago, a young man looking for a job in New York City put a note on the windshield of every car in a certain Connecticut commuter rail train station parking lot that read: “Martini Stand – 25 Cents a Glass”. He returned to the lot that evening with a pitcher of martinis and a stack of résumés. Not only did he get a position at a desirable firm, but he also started a tradition: The annual Martini Stand Party is now in its third decade (although the price per glass has seen some inflation).

In the current economy, with yachting jobs not exactly hanging from trees, enterprising crew also have been looking for wacky ways to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Few job-hunting captains, mates, deckhands and stews have the wherewithal to host an industry party or charter a plane and tow a banner with their cell phone number above the Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show. But a number of them have found other ways to grandstand on a smaller scale.

Take, for example, the deckie spotted at a recent Dockwalk party in Antigua. His self-promotion pulled double duty as a jobs posting and lonely hearts ad. He wore a T-shirt that read, “Deckhand by Day” then below “Ladies, Captain by Night.”

Yachties Graeme and Lynley Robertson, a married couple from New Zealand, have taken a multi-tiered approach to job-hunting. They managed to snag the Website and posted their photos and CVs on it beneath a banner reading, “SuperYacht Crew Available.”

After the Robertsons finished working the 2009 summer season as team aboard a 60-foot motor yacht based in Sardinia, they went to Monaco looking for new opportunities.

“We spent four days at the Monaco Yacht Show wearing T-shirts that said, ‘NZL Crew Available’ [with ] ‘Captain/First Mate… Just Ask Me!’ for Graeme, and ‘Stewardess/Deck…Just Ask Me!’ for Lynley,” they reported. “We got lots of positive comments about our T-shirts, especially from other out-of-work Kiwis. We also made over 40 contacts (mainly agents and brokers) who were keen to pass on our CVs to others.”

But did this wacky self-promotion help the Robertsons find a job?

“We did not gain employment directly from this promotion,” they admitted. “A month later, Lynley found work by dock-walking as a stewardess/cook on a 30-meter yacht based in Mallorca. Graeme is now also based in Mallorca and continues to look for permanent work.”

Still, wacky self-promotions do help to get crew get noticed, and hopefully remembered by industry professionals who can help them at a later date.

“I’ve seen crew that made up T-shirts saying ‘Deckhand for Hire’, and we get chefs that bring things in all the time,” said Robert Faust, crew consultant at The Crew Network in Fort Lauderdale. “Definitely, little things make them stand out in our minds – like bringing pies and cookies.”

But Faust adds this caveat: “They don’t want to do anything too wacky, because we’ll remember them, and not in a good way.”