Don’t get lost in the shuffle! Here’s how to make sure your resume stands out.
You want to find that next opportunity with the right boat, right owners, right program, right crew, and right money. For the past 8 years, we have been preparing CVs to help yacht crew find and get the jobs they want by using the following strategies.
Where to begin?
Get a clear idea of your goals. Knowing exactly what position, location, itinerary, salary, etc. that you want enables you to be more targeted on your CV. Once you have clarified your goals, you can tailor your content to meet your objectives. But keep in mind that less can be better than more.
Most of us have a problem knowing what to include under each of our jobs. Include some descriptions of your roles, responsibilities, and tasks to demonstrate you have the experience and skill sets to do the job. Next, include information on the number of guests and trips, tight schedules, events, yard periods, and large projects to show how busy you were and the demands of the job.
The most important information you should include is the specific ways you made a specific difference in or contribution to the job. For example, did you create, implement, or improve any system, process, procedure, or protocol that resulted in better operations or guest experience? For example: “Increased charter revenues by 35%, reduced expenses through new efficiencies, planned and coordinated 100-person event on board, created new inventory spreadsheets for better tracking and restocking.”
For unrelated land-based positions, focus on the “type” of employee you have been: achiever, solutions-oriented, good in teams. Were you promoted or given additional responsibilities in a relatively short period of time? Were you regularly part of teams assigned to solve a problem or reach a goal? Did you meet or exceed goals given to you? Did you help solve any problems or find better ways of doing things that resulted in better operations or outcomes?
Keep content professional
Your content should be substantive and not filled with fluff, such as “always had a positive attitude on the job.” Employers kind of hope that is a given. Instead, focus on specific things you did. List key contributions, achievements, and ways you made a difference in the job.
Use a professional tone in your job descriptions. Avoid the words “I, we, me.” For example, drop the “I” so that “I was able to lower costs by 50% through new efficiencies.” becomes “Lowered costs by 50% through new efficiencies.”
Highlight with a ‘Professional Profile’
If you have several years of yacht experience, we recommend highlighting some of your key accomplishments under a “Professional Profile” or “Professional Summary” section on the first page. Not all of a candidate’s experience gets read on the first skim, but a professional profile/summary almost always does. It can effectively draw prospective employers to your strengths as a candidate and make your achievements stand out among other candidates.
Should I include every job I have had?
The general rule is not to include more than 10 jobs or jobs older than 10 years. Most employers are going to focus on the jobs in the last 5-7 years. Maybe make an exception if you have experience with a well-known vessel, company, or individual.
The one page vs. two pages debate
The only time you should use one page is if you have had no more than four jobs. There is no penalty in the yacht industry for a two-page CV. It is a standard. So there is no need to cram all your info into one page — unless you’re just a fan of small tight spaces. Putting two pages of content into one page is hard to read and off-putting.
You may have heard that you should include a minimal amount on your CV to keep it to one page, then share the details in the interview. One problem: You will never get to the interview. Your CV was the first interview. The candidate who shares more key details on experience, job contributions, and achievements will always be contacted first.
Work description formats: Bullet points
We always recommend bullet points over narrative style. Bullet points are much easier to read and get the information the reader is seeking quickly. Long paragraphs under each job are like speed bumps in your CV that derail the reader.
You should have at least three references. Make sure all of your references know they are references for you, and that they will be good references. You would be surprised how many people leave this to chance, only to find out later one of their references has been telling everyone they would be crazy to hire you.
CV layout and design
The main goal of CV layout and design is to attract attention and keep prospective employers reading. We introduced the formatted yacht CV with color eight years ago. Formatted CVs with color did much better than traditional black-and-white CVs; now, formatted CVs are an industry standard. Using color, shading, and section boxes helps your CV stand out and get noticed, organizes your CV content, makes information easier to find, and helps drive the focus to content that strengthens you as a candidate.
We have tested and used a lot of CV layout designs — some with a lot of color, some with a little color, and some without any color. The ones without any color never did as well as those with at least some color. And if you look at CVs and resumes outside the yacht industry, the vast majority employ color, shading, and section boxes.
Is all your information up-to-date and correct? Is your layout eye-catching? Is your photo not just flattering, but appropriate? If English isn’t your strong suit, has someone else checked your spelling, grammar, and punctuation?
For more information on yacht CVs, recommendations, free guides, and a discount for Triton readers, click here.
Gavin McMichael, a 15-year chef in the yacht industry, is the founder of Super Yacht Resume, providing CV and career services at superyachtresume.com.
Click here for more information on RYA’s crash courses and here to learn about negotiating your pay. Read how Chief Officer Wesley Walton broke into the industry here and learn about creating relationships with crew agents here.