Consider your yachting CV the best tool you have to sell yourself as a professional and qualified candidate for the position you will be applying for.
When you are in direct competition for the jobs with so many other hopeful newcomers to the industry, it is vital that your CV and your cover letter has all the necessary information included, has no spelling mistakes and a great photo. Keep your CV to 2 pages max (prints should be printed on either side of one high quality sheet of paper).
All information needs to be up to date, accurate and TRUE. Believe it or not, but some people include incorrect information thinking it will get them a job sooner, where as being dishonest in fact will burn bridges. The industry is small enough for the word to get around when someone lie on their CV. Honesty will always get you further. Of all people in the world, sailors know bullshit when they see it… Keep it in mind!
Some crew agencies prefer Word files while others prefer PDFs, so save your CV in both formats. Avoid funky or even smart looking fonts. Using Arial or Times New Roman 12 with a simple layout is fine.
The option to use a professional CV-writing service has increased in popularity in recent years. If you are not comfortable with composing your first yachting CV yourself, you can have a professional CV writer assist you, although it is not strictly necessary. Many captains and agencies actually prefer to see crew doing their own work rather than paying others to do it for them.
You will do just fine using that BUT do make sure to turn on your spell checker!! CVs full of spelling mistakes are not the best way to start.
When you forward your yachting CV to a potential employer, it is really important to include a cover letter in which you explain why the job is of interest to you and why you believe you are the perfect candidate for the position.
A cover letter is your one-shot at getting noticed beyond your CV, so put a good effort into it and sell yourself. If you are not 100% certain about what to say or if you should add or remove parts, have somebody with a little more experience read through it, possibly a crew agent, a captain or a senior crew member – and remember to use the spell checker! People are generally happy to help.
By including a custom written cover letter you will appear professional and will definitely stand out from the majority of most other candidates for the job. Forwarding a CV without as much as a few lines explaining why you are interested in the job, and why you believe you are a great candidate for the job, will not do you any favours. Believe it or not, but that is what many do! In fact, your CV is likely to be ignored or at least catch less attention without a cover letter.
The same goes for “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom this may concern”, both considered to be impersonal greetings. A captain doesn’t mind a “Hello Captain X (insert his name)” or if you will be writing to a senior crew member, you can simply use their first name as in “Hello Jane”. Instantly, the employer gets the feeling of you being someone, who has taken your time to read the job advert and who is easy to communicate with. Google the yacht if you have the name to familiarise yourself even further with the vessel. It doesn’t take much to get started with a good first impression!
Like so many other things in life, taking the time to present yourself well, you will inevitably be generating calls from employers. Spending time and effort on a well-composed and well-written CV and cover letter will get your CV closer to the top of the pile and eventually also land you a job.
Good luck with the job hunting!!
Check your spelling, then when you’re finished. Check. Your. Spelling!