So I had intended to write you great long screeds about my dockwalking experiences in Antibes. I was going to chronicle the weeks of daywork and rejection I encountered while I tried to shimmy my way into my first yachting job. I would regale you with my misfortunes and mishaps…But as it turns out I can’t tell you the first thing about it because I got my job directly via a phone interview after I put my CV up on a crew site.
I didn’t even make it to Antibes, instead I ended up on a super early flight from Luton to Amsterdam, crossing my fingers that I wasn’t about to be sold into slavery and that there would be a real boat at the end of it.
I had been psyching myself into spending all my hard earned savings supporting myself in France and then I didn’t have to. I have more money in the bank now than at any point in the last four years and damn it feels good. I find financial security incredibly stressful and now a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
So anyway, CV chat time. I worked in a recruitment agency for a while in London and it was my job to screen and re-format every CV that came into the building. We were placing high level financial professionals on £100K + salaries and in no way did that guarantee that they could write a half-way decent CV.
I’ve seen listed under Interests: Dessert (sic) Safari’s and the Karma Sutra, one was 10 pages long and listed jobs dating back to 1984, one was even formatted in Comic Sans for gods sake (won’t anybody think of the children!). So in this time I got to know what a terrible CV looks like and how to write a decent one. I think this has been key in helping me secure employment over the last 4 years so I would like to share my wisdom with you. Whether it’s pertinent to yachting or not I don’t know but it seems to have worked for me.
So here are some key things to remember when writing your cv:
- This is just your initial calling card. You need to keep it short and sweet and easy to digest so that the person looking is interested enough to want to meet you, then you can sell yourself in the interview.
- You don’t need to list every job you have ever had in chronological order. Think more about highlighting your relevant experience right up the top.
- You need to be objective about what is and isn’t relevant. Just because I’m a passionate scuba diver and most proud of those accomplishments doesn’t mean I put that on top of my CV when applying for Project Management jobs. However, when I’m applying for a yachting job it’s highly relevant so it’s up front and centre. It can be hard to cut things that you loved or projects you are close to.
- Write it how your best friend would speak about you, especially in your personal statement. Don’t use personal pronouns. Instead of ‘I’m a hard worker and enjoy working both alone and in a team’ (SNORE) just cut out the I’s and roll with ‘Diligent and professional, enjoys working autonomously and as part of a team’. It’s way snappier.
- It’s really hard to be subjective and to write about why you think you’re the cat’s pyjamas. Cut the humility bull crap and think about why you’re the best person for the job and what you bring to it that makes you special. It’s not blowing your own horn if you can back it up with the skills to pay the bills. We should all be better at embracing and celebrating what we love about ourselves anyway.
Here is the CV I uploaded to all the job sites for you to take a squiz at. I created it in Keynote because I don’t have a decent design program on my laptop and I’m not that flash with them anyway. If you have a Mac then you can download a blank version and use it for your own CV if you would like.
Some job sites to look into are:
So get your CV out there and hopefully you will be as lucky as I was. If you’re really having trouble writing nice things about yourself then you can always send me yours for a quick check up.
If you’re also thinking about your STCW then check out my other post about the Fire Fighting and Prevention module.