Hello from the beautiful Caribbean. Day 2 onboard and I am still jetlag and trying to adjust. Is a nice feeling to be back on a ship where you already know most of the people and you get to see their faces again smiling at you and welcoming you back. It feels literally like my second family and I am so blessed to have such good people around me.
But enough about the emotional stuff. Today I actually want to talk about a serious subject. The maritime job hunt and what NOT to do when you are looking to start a career at sea.
The reason behind this subject is that I always receive a lot (and I mean it when I say a lot) of messages on Instagram asking for help to either get hired or become certified for either deck or engine jobs. I try to answer to some but there is really not much one can do. As you know, I am not a recruiter nor do I have any influence on any recruitment agency. My job onboard is to be an Environmental Officer and while I can advise someone on how to pursue this career, there is nothing more I can do for the rest of the maritime jobs than what you already find online.
The online is a vast source of information and opportunities. You only need to sit down and look for them.
I remember the days after my graduation when I was also looking also for a job. I got turned down or ignored so many times. I went to interviews for one position only to find out they were looking to hire for lower positions than what I wanted. I went through so many interviews that at one point I started thinking I would never get hired and that is something really wrong with me.
Funny thing is that all these were a learning process. After a failed interview, I would start reading articles on how to improve my resume, how to prepare better, how to approach a recruiter and how can I improve my studies/experience to jump the line.
The secret is in the details. Every word on your resume, regardless if you apply for a cadet or a captain, every word matters. Being professional with your resume and your e-mails makes such a big difference. You might be the most experienced but if you do a sloppy job with a sloppy resume that nobody will understand, then nobody will actually try to read it.
Prepare yourself before. There are so many articles out there with all the possible questions and answers you might get during an interview. There are also tons or articles on where to look for jobs and what are the best sites and so on. I have added some at the end of this post too. Learn about the job you are applying and about the company who is recruiting. Information is power.
As I said earlier, you need to sit down and browse the internet. Look for recruiting companies close to your city, look up the company you want to work for and if they have a career section on their website where you can contact them (and please make sure you send them a neat professional CV), read forums on what studies and certificates you will need etc etc
Use Instagram or Facebook only to ask for opinions “hey I saw you work on this specific company, is it worth it? Are you happy with your job?”. Most of the times people will give you a positive answer but besides that they can also tell you other useful information “the ships are great, the promotions are fast, food is not so great, prepare to eat a lot of plain rice” and so on. Do not send your resume in a message, find out the e-mail address and do it properly.
Last thing I want to add is that if you are not 100% sure about a job you are applying for, it is better not to apply. Recruiters seek enthusiastic candidates not someone who will be bored during the interview and wants to know only how much is the salary. After all my failed interviews when I actually had one for a job I was really crazy about, I gave it my best and guess what, I got the job! Because I wanted it really bad and the recruiter saw that.
So, be honest with yourself and go for something you would love to do every day for months in a row, without any days off or holidays.
Here are some interesting articles that you might find helpful but again, all you have to do is sit down, open Google and start searching. The below articles also touch a very good point on all the scams and fake job posts you might find out there. Be careful and remember, if it is too good to be true, then you are probably right.
Good luck and if you have any other tips on getting a job onboard please share it in the comment section.