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The Triton Survey on CVs

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Captains offered lots of tips on what to include — and what to keep off — yachting resumes in The Triton Survey on CVs. (Click to read full Triton Survey):

  • List all certificates and credentials, give a brief description of your strongest assets without exaggerations, and name the three most recent boats you were on and the duties you performed.
  • Obviously, longevity and consistency are great indicators. What a crew member does in their spare time or between jobs such as upgrades, recertifications (CPR), and other courses shows initiative and a willingness to grow and learn.
  • Never lie on references. It’s a small business, and we all have personal cell phone numbers of captains.
  • An objective that targets the position I am hiring for.
  • Organized, no errors, and putting more than just the “yachting requirements” to show they’re a better choice over someone else. I’m looking for that “what else do they bring to the table” element.
  • Content that shows a little of the character of the person. I want to hear them as I read about them.
  • If they have too many interests not related to life on the water, we’re not interested; too many distractions. Plus, extra studies and schooling in and out of the marine world show a dedication to further education.
  • I talk to the rest of the crew. Someone usually knows the candidate or knows someone who does.
  • Review the CV with the senior crew.
  • One of the things I look for are re-hires on the same boat, or by captains or owners that the candidate has worked with before. If they want them back, they are probably worth hiring.
  • Entry level: good, clean, professional picture; hospitality-related jobs.
  • Mid-level: longevity. Sometimes it’s worth sticking that whole year, even if it’s not the dream job. It’s a small industry, so most of us know the tough programs. You see long time on a tough program, then that person has something you need to look into further.
  • Upper level: if you see them leave one program to take a position higher, then there is good reason for change. But moving from one to another laterally raises questions.
  • The yachting community is still relatively small. I like to find a boat that I know on someone’s resume and call that captain directly.
  • Red flags would include talking negatively of former vessels and crew, being vague answering questions, questionable appearance and a general feeling that this is not the right person for this vessel.
  • Unprofessional pictures, changing jobs rapidly without reason, not having right qualifications for position.
  • Large gaps and non-continuity of employment, changes in positions or jobs done, or anything indicating instability.
  • Blank spots in the timeline. No real accomplishments, just a list of boats. Poor formatting and grammar. Limited references.
  • Lots of refit work. This can mean they cannot interact with guests or owners.
  • Too much information about menial tasks. I know that a fourth stew does laundry; no need to write it. And chamois is chamois, not shammy.
  • Lack of information, or reluctance from previous employer is a red flag. Captains need to be careful but also willing to share details of crew member performance and behavior.
  • I try very hard to give an honest assessment when I’m asked to give a reference; I only hope others will do the same. There are very few perfect crew, but if I hire someone, I at least like a heads up of a problem area that I can address up front to avoid future problems.
  • I find that if someone talks too much about themselves without being asked specific questions, they are most likely full of it.
  • In my opinion, there really are not any ways to spot red flags. You are going to get a listing of several boats and geographic locations and time served. Most of us just look at it and say, OK, they have been around, they should know what’s up, let’s go. The rest will fall in place, or not.
  • Captains also placed a lot of value on soft skills.
  • How they talk and carry themselves. Are they intelligent enough to hold a conversation?
  • Look them in the eye while asking questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer.
  • My feeling during the meeting is the most important, but I constantly listen to the good references and am constantly disappointed.
  • Phone. Do they answer simply by saying “hello” or do they introduce themselves? Are they in a social setting and answer the phone? If so, this shows me that they may not have the focus needed for the job.
  • I make a habit of calling candidates on evenings and weekends. If they are serious about getting a job, they will respond. If they are slackers, they don’t get back to you until midday during the week because partying are more important to them than getting a job. Remember, most captains are looking for someone to work with, not play with.
  • Usually, in the first 15 minutes of an interview with an owner or crew, I can tell if I can work for/with them.
  • Other people they have worked with. Do they get along well with others? Do they follow orders well? Can they work in emergencies well? What is their overall attitude to work?
  • Daywork without saying that it is a test for long-term hire. Several fail after a couple of days for using cell phones during work.
  • Ultimately, it’s a small business, and networking with crew and colleagues usually produces a connection.
  • I take them to lunch and observe their table etiquette.
  • Go for dinner and drinks with them. They relax and you get to see them in an informal setting. You also get to see table manners.
  • An interview is essential so I can ask direct questions regarding their character, experience, goals, and values. I usually have an experienced crew member show them around the boat, then I have a second gut instinct feedback after the interview.
  • If they are driving to the interview, I will walk them out to their car and sneak a look inside. If it is a disorganized mess, they are out. That’s how they live and that’s what they are bringing to the boat. My first owner once said “If you can’t keep your own stuff clean, how can I expect you to keep mine clean?”.
  • The interview is most important. Trust your instincts.
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Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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