If you're a deckhand, chances are you are facing a lot of competition in your search for a job. As recruiters, we know that one of the best ways to get ahead of that competition is to polish up your deckhand CV.
Why is that so?
Well, first impressions are extremely important, and in yachting, first impressions come from your yachting CV. This is because, when looking for yacht deckhand job, your CV is the very first interaction people will have with you. It is the one document everybody, from recruiters, management companies, Captains, 1st Officers, etc., will look at to determine if you will be a good fit for that particular boat. They will see your CV before they even think about interviewing you. And if they don’t like what they see, chances are you will never get as far as meeting them in person.
This is why your deckhand CV should be the single most important document you work on and update over and over again.
To help you get the most out of your CV and improve your chances of standing out and getting your dream jobs as a deckhand, I made a selection of 5 things we recruiters pay special attention to. I also wrote my top advice on how to make each of them shine.
So, let’s begin…
1. Focus on the content of your deckhand CV rather than the graphics
As recruiters, we know how easy it is to get overzealous in using graphic elements and different colours in an attempt to make your deckhand CV stand out. But, we always tell our candidates to remember that the people who are reading their CV are industry professionals who go through dozens of resumes each day and have to be able to read them quickly and efficiently.
Remember, content is the most important part of your resume. People reading your deckhand CV are interested in finding out about you and your skills. So, colours can often be distracting and take attention away from the information you are trying to get across. What’s more, CVs are often printed and printing CVs with lots of colours is not only wasteful but sometimes results in letters not being able to be read.
Another tip we share with our candidates is to try to have the CV written in one column instead of using two, three or even four columns. Using just one column lets you have control over which information you want the recruiter to read first. It also lets recruiters and captains follow a certain flow of your CV with most important information listed at the top. Look at it as writing a very fact-based short story about yourself.
2. Your deckhand CV picture should be smiling and friendly
In my years working as a recruiter, I’ve seen thousands of CVs and one thing that everyone dreads and most often misses the mark on is their CV photo. This is understandable since a lot of people are camera shy and taking your photo might not be the most comfortable thing.
But I always say to my candidates that we are not in the business of looking for models. You don’t necessarily have to have a professional photo taken to make your deckhand CV stand out. All we are looking for is that you look presentable and friendly.
Put a smile on your face and show off those pearly whites. Trust me, even if your teeth are slightly crooked, smiling is still the way to go! It’s all about looking friendly, presentable, and polished. This will let people who are hiring you know that you are a professional. They will see that you are an approachable and friendly person and they will be more likely to want you to be a part of their team.
On the other hand, things to absolutely avoid when taking a CV photo would be wearing sunglasses, using a selfie as your CV photo or appearing messy.
3. Add your personal stamp to your ‘Profile’ section
For me, the best thing about recruiting is connecting people with their dream jobs. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a happy candidate after I’ve placed him on an ideal yacht for him. To be able to do that I need to find out who the candidate really is and the ‘Profile’ section really helps with that.
As I said before, content is the most important thing to focus on in your deckhand CV and the ‘Profile’ section is a great place to introduce yourself to the people who are hiring you. Use this space to tell us what you are looking for and what you have to offer.
Are you interested in work on sailing or motor yachts? Do you have any special skills that would make you stand out? Are you a certified diver? Do you know how to kite surf or have knowledge of drone photography? Do you have any courses planned in the near future?
Also, always try to put one interesting thing that is unique to you. Add your personal stamp by telling us about things like: “Growing up in Cornwall, sailing has always been an important part of my life…” or “Spending my holidays on the golden beaches of Australia made me fall in love with the sea…”.
These are all things that will help us get a better picture of you and will make it easier for us to pair you with a yacht that will be best suited for you.
4. Detail your previous job descriptions accurately
When presenting your previous experience, there is some information that is always important to include. To begin with, the most important things to list next to each work experience would be:
name of the boat
size of the boat
make/build of the boat
whether the boat is private or charter
After that, in the description, write about the itinerary of the boat. Was it Med based, cruising the Caribbean or dual season? How many people were in your team? What were your responsibilities? If you did tender runs, be sure to point that out along with mentioning what kind of tender it was. Another good thing to mention would be if there were any children on board that you took care of as this is something that often happens on boats so it’s a good skill to have.
5. Don’t neglect your ‘Hobbies’ section
It might not seem so important compared to other things in your deckhand CV but your hobbies and education actually say a lot about you. When we look at them, we get a better idea about your personality and things that make you happy.
Your education shows us what you did up until now and what your aspirations are. And your hobbies are a good way to get to know the person you are and get an idea of how you will get along with the crew.
So be sure to list your hobbies and interests that are specific to you and not just put whatever comes to your mind first.
These are my top 5 tips for a deckhand CV and if you are interested in finding a deckhand job onboard a yacht, make sure you register on our website and fill in your profile with up-to-date info. After you’ve made sure everything is correct and up-to-date, click on the ‘Check in’ option on your profile. Here you can send me a quick message so I can keep an eye on you and find you a job that will be the best for you.
Written by Fiona Murray