Tips and Tricks on how to write a superyacht crew CV. Also feel free to download and use the CV templates at the bottom of the artical.
Note: We use the term CV throughout to refer to what some people call a resume.
Tip 1, Not only must you be the best candidate for the position, but your CV must advertise this fact to the captain.
Looking at hiring from the captain’s point of view.
Yachting has one of the highest rates of personnel turnover of any industry. This means that captains have to look at a lot of CVs. So your objective is to make your CV stand out on the captain’s very crowded desktop.
Captain’s want crew who are not only competent and well-presented, but who also “shine” – crew that have something special. Your CV needs to shine for you.
Here’s what a couple of captains had to say about CVs.
“I thin out the number of CVs by scanning the first pages and binning the ones I don’t like the look of.”
“If I have a bunch of CVs all with equal qualifications. The first ones to go are the ones without a photo.”
What should a CV do?
A good CV should convey the type of person you are and sell your abilities and your personality to a potential employer. It is not just a list of qualifications and life experiences presented in chronological order.
To achieve this you must stop thinking of your CV as a textbook and start thinking of it as a broachure.
Your CV must:
• State points that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
• Present these relevant points in a way that grabs the employer’s attention and highlights your personal style.
Tip 2, Formating: Place important content in a prominent location.
The format of your CV is incredibly important because before the captain even reads your name at the top of the first page he has already made assumptions about the type of candidate you are, simply by noticing how you have presented the information on the page.
The psychology of layout
How to grab the readers attention and ensure you key content is seen and read.
• Before people start to read a page, they scan it.
• People scan pages diagonally not linearly.
• You have between 3–6 seconds to give the reader their “First Impression” of you.
• A person reading a list of bullet points will stop reading by point three if you haven’t grabbed their attention.
Ways of grabbing your reader’s attention.
• Include images.
• Change font, font size or colour.
• Making text bold or underlined.
• Use background shading.
• Change the page format.
Some rules about text.
• Do not use more than two fonts.
• Do not keep on changing font size.
• Do not use more than two colours.
• DO NOT WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS!
Tip 3, Content is king. Make sure your Content is spell checked and proof read.
• Always use MS Word or similar editing software.
• Always use a spell checker.
• Always be accurate.
• Always be concise.
How many pages should your CV be?
“Your CV should not be more than two pages”. Now, there are some exceptions. Chefs should include example menus. Covering letters are not part of the CV but a seperate document.
What should and should not be in a yachting CV.
Primary YES points:
• Your name,
• A photo (more about this later)
• Visa’s Green Card (current),
• Smoking habits,
• Current phone number,
• E-mail address,
• Relevant yachting qualifications,
• Sea mileage or days at sea,
• Positions held, writen in reverse order, stating dates, name of vessel and position, with a critique of the boat’s travels and working life.
• Profile (more about this later)
• References with current contact details.
Additional YES points
• Objective (more about this later)
• Additional qualifications, e.g. full driving license, helicopter license or Degree in Marine Law.
• Additional relevant work, e.g. 3 years in the British Navy, worked for 2 years as a rigger or worked at the Ivy Restaurant in London as a silver service waiter.
• Present Location (not necessarily full address),
• Hobbies. Keep the list short, sweet and honest.
What should not be in a Yachting CV?
Well this should be self-explanatory – basically, everything that is not in the lists above, including:
• The words “Curriculum Vitae” at the top of the page.
• Your normal residential address.
• Irrelevant land-based jobs.
• Your general education. Note: Although this is a key point in normal land-based CVs, it is a waste of prime space in a yachting CV. However, if you have achieved a high level of education you may want to include this in your “Profile” section. Some captains and owners like to show off how intelligent and qualified their crew are.
How do I write a profile for my CV?
When writing any profile for your CV, you need to present your information in a direct and concise way – do not waffle. Start by writing down a list of points that need to be in the profile, for example.
• Work well in a team
• I like a job done well
• Keen on sailing
• Good personal skills
• Good at handling stress
• Sense of humour
• You are trying to sell yourself – do not write about what you hope to see or do, rather focus on what you have to offer.
• Be honest.
• Be direct – do not overemphasize or exaggerate.
• Keep your profile short – no more than 6 lines.
Key Point: You are trying to sell yourself – do not write about what you hope to see or do, rather focus on what you have to offer.
“I have been keen on sailing ever since I was a child. Over the last three years, whilst working on various yachts, I have learnt to be a team player. I am an efficient worker who likes to see a job done well. I get on well with people, and I handle stressful situations with a calm, positive, attitude.”
You should adopt the same approach when writing about your objective, but obviously you are writing to achieve a different result.
• Further my career
• Running a large classic yacht
• An objective should be a concise sentence of one or two lines.
• The sentence can be separate or you can make it the last sentence in your profile
• Your objective should be realistic – something you can achieve in the next few years. For example, if you are just starting out, a good objective would be to complete the STCW course.
• Make the objective something that would also benefit the yacht, such as obtaining qualifications or learning new skills.
“My long-term objective is to advance my career towards running a large classic yacht.”
Of course, you would not write this if you were applying for a job on a 23 metre plastic motor yacht.
All paragraphs written in your CV should be approached in this way.
Another way of presenting information is as a series of bullet points – useful for lists of qualifications, responsibilities, etc.
Tip 4, A covering letter won’t do you any harm and may do you a lot of good.
Some captains consider covering letters to be extremely important, others never read them. In my opinion, a well written covering letter will never do you any harm and may do you a lot of good, so always write one – but make sure you do it well.
Use your covering letter to explain why you are the perfect applicant for the job. Be positive and confident but without sounding big headed. You want to come across as a pleasant person to be around. Remember no one wants to be stuck on a boat all season with a grumpy deckhand or stewardess.
I am a deckhand with three years’ experience on vessels ranging from 30 to 75 metres. I am now looking to move up the ranks to become bosun on similar sized vessels.
I left my last vessel (vessel name) in Antibes, where I am presently studying for my OOW ticket with Blue Water. The course finishes on 12 September and I shall be available for work from 15 September.
My strengths include an ability to work well under pressure and to make guests feel comfortable. In addition, I have extensive knowledge of the Algrip paint system, thanks to two years working in a shipyard.
I am a good sailor and have an understanding of both general navigation and tender driving, having passed my RYA powerboat level two.
Tip 5: A good photograph is vital. However, it is better to have no photo rather than a bad one.
A good photograph is an essential part of your CV. The old saying that an image is worth a thousand words is very true. But remember, it must be a good photograph. A bad photo will reflect very badly on you, and could easily lose you the job.
• A current black and white or colour head shot of good quality and size.
• Look smart – wear a nice shirt or the uniform from the boat you are presently on.
• Be conservative in your appearance – no outrageous hairstyles.
• Have a photograph especially taken – do not have other people, pets or anything else in the frame.
• The background of the photograph should be a nice neutral colour
• If you are physically attaching a photograph to your CV, make sure you write your name and phone number on the back of it.
• If you are attaching your photograph to your CV electronically, you will need to reduce the file size of the image to no more than 100kb (see link below for some free software that can do this for you).
• Most importantly, don’t forget to smile.