This can be applied to many things in life, but it is especially true with future employment. Your resume is your first impression; it’s the first thing your potential employer will see. It reflects who you are, your work ethic and your presentation. Is there any excuse to have a weak or, worse still, bad resume? The answer is no, especially with today’s online tools and programs. We estimate that less than five percent of our crew database (of tens of thousands) has appealing resumes that are well written and free of spelling and grammatical mistakes. Most yacht owners and senior crew looking to hire will automatically dismiss resumes with any errors. Below are our top 10 basic tips on creating a resume that will work for you and will lead to better work opportunities.
For those of you who would like professional help and guidance not only for resumes, but also for careers, we would strongly recommend Alison Rentoul and her team at The Crew Coach. We have spoken with many captains and senior crew who have used her services and have been delighted not only by the final product, but also by the follow-up communication. Here is a link to the website.
1. Keep the same font throughout your resume; avoid boxes or anything that may not open successfully. Keep in mind there are a variety of computers and programs used. Your resume ideally should be between 500KB and 1MB; yachts often have to download resumes in remote locations.
2. Be sure your contact info is accurate and includes your email, mobile (local numbers are better) and Skype — all are commonplace, as well as your current location.
3. Include a clear, professional head-and-shoulder picture (not a selfie). Ideally in JPEG form, it should be between 500KB and 1MG. Wear a smart top, either a polo or shirt/blouse.
4. Your objective should state in a concise manner what type of position/program you’re looking for. Don’t be too specific (e.g. a 50-meter-plus yacht if you will work on a 48-meter yacht). It should be one and two sentences only and give the reader a strong idea of your aspirations.
5. State your experience in most-recent-to-earliest order and include time frames in terms of month, year (e.g. Nov 2013-Feb 2015). Content should be limited to most relevant and ideally should be in bullet form or short paragraphs. Long paragraphs rarely will be read by the potential employer. Make sure the dates make sense. Write more content on positions of greater relevance or those in which you had the most longevity
6. Place your education and qualifications in order of importance and relevance. Having a PhD in astrophysics is less important than an STCW course in yachting. List only your highest qualifications. If you have Master 3000, you don’t need to list for RYA Sail and 50-ton Intercostal.
7. It is ideal to have only three to five referees on your resume. Be sure to include respective names, contact info and the boat and/or position to which they are linked. Be sure you first have their permission and their correct contact information. Do not use your current employer if you are discreetly looking for work.
8. Be sure to do a thorough spelling and grammar check and make sure your resume is saved in Word English (USA or UK). Your resume should have no errors. Many owners and captains will not consider applicants if they see mistakes.
9. Re-read your resume, two and three times. If you feel like it needs another pair of eyes, ask a friend to review it. Your resume is the single most important tool you have for landing that dream job; this is closely followed by your interviewing skills, but you won’t get to demonstrate those unless your resume gets you in the door.
10. Ask for feedback on your resume from industry professionals, former employers, crew agents and spend time correcting and improving it.
Be sure to remember to log on to Northrop & Johnson’s crew services site to update your profile, get in touch with our crew professionals and check out our latest job listings.