We were all taught to read by looking at a piece of paper, seeing the whole page, and then reading paragraphs and sentences to be able to read books to get through school. In today's world, most information, especially resumes, (CV's) are sent electronically.
Captains or owners looking for crew usually receive their information on smart phone, tablets or small computer screens. They are all small screens. When modern man looks at an electronic device, we have been trained by Google to search first for key words, and then read the additional information. Kind of like the list of ingredients for a recipe and then the instructions on how to cook it. If we don't find the ingredients we are looking for, we do not read further.
Resumes need to be designed to work on electronic devices to be selected for further review and also contain enough content to be selected to be called, once they are printed out. Resumes written in paragraph format tend not to be read as readily on electronic devices.
When the employer looks at the information you are presenting, they are only concerned if the information about yourself provides them enough information for them to know you have the skills to fix their immediate problem. If they receive 15 resumes they will sort them by 2/3rds. They will usually print those 4-5 in order to be able to compare their short list selections and spread them out to see them all at one time. Since almost all captains and owners were taught to read on paper it is easier for them to absorb the information presented that way.
The information to cover in the first 2/3rds of the page, or first 2 computer screens, needs to include the following details, and answer the following questions.
1. Personal – Who and where are you, and are you legal to hire?
Are your legal to hire for the flag (nationality) of the boat?
Do you have a passport to travel?
Do you have the correct Visas for multiple entry for the country you are in?
What is your name?
Head shot Photo? People are graphic, and remember faces before they remember names, so a face shot is recommended to go with the name so they will remember you and associate the information with your face. We have found that resumes without a face are not read.
Full date of birth = one part of identity theft.
If you list the year you are born, they know how old you are. If you give out the whole date – your run the risk of someone possibly setting up accounts on the internet in your name, or trying to get your personal documents.
Your current location?
Two ways to reach you ( phone and email)? You do not need to provide a mailing address. You will not be mailed a letter in today's world.
Smoking? - If you do not smoke, mention it, since if it is not listed, it is assumed that you do.
Tattoos? - If you have any? Are they visible? Describe them, so the imagination of the person reading does not win out.
2. Job – Which position are you are seeking?
You need to tell them what job you are looking for. Always state what you are looking for and then what you have to offer in skills. The objective needs to be specific enough to get the point across, but general enough to not put yourself in a box.
The objective sentence is the only sentence in the document the reader takes literally and does not interpret. No numbers or adverbs. If you say small, big, large, super or mega, it is always the other guy's boat you are looking to work on. No owner has a small yacht and their friends always have bigger boats. If you say 100 foot and the owner has a 98 foot yacht, he thinks you will not work for him. I have no explanation why this is true, but over the years we at Crewfinders have found it to be fact.
3. Marine Certificates – Do you have the required documents for them to hire you?
List them in the order of importance. STCW 95 is usually first, or if a captain, your license and tonnage, so the owner knows the insurance company will approve you.
ENG 1, diving certificates, sail, towing endorsements, ect. List as bullet points.
4. Boats – Have you ever been on a boat or had boating experience recreationally?
When you list boats, 4 key pieces of information must be included for the person hiring to make a decision.
Now all the other information needs to be included as well, the name and brand of the boats, where you cruised, duties performed with a brief description, but the 4 core details list above always have to be listed to be considered.
- How long at each job? List dates or years.
- What position held? Captain, Mate, Chef, Stew, Deckhand, etc.
- Size of the vessel? If listed in feet – keep all in feet – if in meters – keep all in meters.
- Type of yacht? Motor Yacht (M/Y), Sail (S/Y), Sport fish (S/F), Commercial.
5. If you decide to include reference information
Usually 2-3 references need to be included, since they are sometimes called before you are. The information you need to include follows:
The reason for both phone and email contact information:
- Their Name
- Who they are and where they fit in your resume (what job or boat).
- Phone Number
- Email address
By listing both phone and email, if they are busy, can't talk long, or can't answer the phone, the email is a softer request. But if only an email is sent and they don't answer, the other person gets the job, not you.
Resume Writing Tips Conclusion
We hope this helps in your job search. After 30 years of reviewing resumes, this is the basic formula that seems to have worked the most sucessfully for crew finding positions.
Written by Captain Linda C. Turner
Owner and crew placement officer since 1982
Crewfinders International Inc.
404 S.E. 17 Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316