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Busting yachting CV myths

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Editor’s note: Gavin McMichael of SuperyachtResume.com offered these CV tips to yacht crew during a seminar at a previous Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. 

Common myths about yachting resumes:

  1. Myth: Your CV should be 1 page. That’s just wrong. The industry accepts two pages. And you should use them. Do not sell yourself short.
  2. Myth: Don’t include non-yachting-related jobs. Having no gaps in your work history is more important. You can make anything relate to yachting. Did you get promoted? Did you have responsibility? Were you in a team and met your goals? I don’t care what business it is, if you put that on your CV, that’s something they can build on. They’re looking for a type.
  3. Myth: Talk about yourself in the objective. It’s your job objective, not your bio. Casting a big net in the objective is fine, but specific is better. Captains often avoid the big net because they figure you’ll come onboard, take my training, and decide it’s not what you want and leave.
  4. Myth: Wear a white shirt in your headshot. A light-colored solid polo gives the best contrast and pop. Twenty years ago, yachting was all khaki and white. Now, there are lots of fun colors and uniforms.
  5. Myth: Stews should pull their hair back and tie it tight. We recommend wearing your hair in the photo as you would for a nice dinner. Tied back tight looks severe.
  6. Myth: Only use blue on your CV. Lots of color schemes work as long as they are clean and easy to read.

Other tips:

  1. Don’t put your full home address, passport number or visa number on your CV
  2. Put your work history in order from newest to oldest
  3. Don’t use “I” in your work history. Third-person is more professional, more punchy
  4. Use bullet points vs. narrative. It’s easier to read and understand.
  5. If you list all your daywork or freelance work, you are going to run out of real estate real fast. Group this by month or season.
  6. Couples should do two CVs, not one. Make reference to each other in the objectives and profiles.
  7. When you are new, you’ll be taught everything. Captains are looking for base skills. Half the decision is the roommate factor. Leverage the roommate factor for new crew in the About Me section. What are you passionate about? Downhill skiing, powerboat racing? Did you take six months off to surf big waves? Do you have a fear of heights but bungee jumped anyway?
  8. Use a professional-looking headshot. It makes a huge difference. You can take it yourself. Go outside early or late in the day for the best light. Portraits taken on your phone work great. Take the photo from waist up to allow room for edits and cropping. Any background should be 10-30m behind you with a little color. Green bushes bring out the red in your face. A plain background is boring. No sunglasses or hat, no big jewelry. Dress like a crew member. Be clean shaven.
  9. Large photo files make your CV file huge and slow to open. Keep your CV document under 500KB. Save and send as a PDF so it looks like you want. A PDF also keeps agents from changing anything on it.
  10. Any time at all is worth a reference, including even one day of daywork. Send three or four references when you send your email.

Gavin McMichael was a yacht chef for 10 years before starting SuperyachtResume.com. Comments are welcome below.

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