Knowing you need a great seafarer resume to stand out from the crowd when you're looking for jobs at sea is one thing, but knowing how to achieve that can be quite another. So in a crowded marketplace such as the maritime industry, how do you make sure you rise head and shoulders above your fellow seafarers and get the hot vacancies for seamen that you really want?
Is your seafarer resume good enough to win the best jobs at sea?
Whether you’re sending your resume to a shipping company or to a marine recruitment agency, one thing is certain: that the person dealing with hiring crew for vessels is busy and sees dozens, if not hundreds, of applications a day. So how do you make sure yours is one of the resumes that makes the “potential pile” and not the “only call as a last resort” folder?
Represent yourself in the best light possible
And while no one is expecting your resume to be a literary masterpiece given that you’re applying for jobs at sea and not jobs in journalism or publishing, making sure you’re representing yourself in the best light possible is still important.
Read more: This is where to find the best seafarer jobs
Add to that the fact that most of us these days suffer from short attention spans (we can thank hectic schedules, social media, smartphones and the fact we’re always online for that!) and you need to work extra hard to catch the recruiter’s eye.
In fact, research has shown that recruitment agencies, HR personnel or the managers in charge of hiring new people only give a resume somewhere between five and thirty seconds of their attention. That means you’re looking at an average of around 15 seconds of time to impress someone and make them want to contact you with a view to interviewing you!
How to make your maritime resume stand out when applying for jobs at sea
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few sure fire ways you can grab that busy marine recruitment officer’s attention!
First impressions count
Your seafarer resume is the first contact a potential employer has with you. Send in a careless, mistake-strewn or scruffy looking resume and chances are you’re not going to get a call or email back. In the maritime industry, attention to detail is everything, so what does it say about you if you don’t even bother to make sure your first introduction to a company shows that same due care and attention?
You’re not applying for a job in web or fashion design so keep it clean and simple. It doesn’t matter whether you’re applying for maritime jobs in seaports or for a crewing position on a container ship, check that the font type and its size is consistent throughout the document and steer clear of fancy formatting or words all in capital letters.
Make sure your dates match up and that spelling mistakes are non-existent. Think about whether or not you’d want to read your resume for a seafarer if it landed in your email inbox. If it looks like it’s too much hard work, then a potential employer will no doubt be thinking the same thing.
It’s a resume, not a book
You might be pretty proud of your list of achievements but remember that five to thirty second time limit we spoke of earlier. To put it brutally, busy marine recruitment agencies and shipping companies who are hiring new crew don’t have the time or inclination to read pages of text.
Having said that, you need to add enough detail to make sure you’re sparking enough interest to give the person reading your resume a reason to get in touch with you: a list of job titles and no information about your achievements isn’t going to cut it either. The ideal length for a seafarer resume? Make it concise yet informative and keep it to two sides of A4 paper.
Give the cliches a miss
We’ve no doubt that you’re hard-working and a team player. We’re sure you can work just as well on your own as you do with co-workers and that you’re a dynamic go-getter. The problem is, so is everybody else. Let’s face it, no one is going to put that they like taking it easy on their maritime resume or that they can’t stand working with other people. You need to find a way to stand out.
Open your resume with a snappy summary of who you are and what you’ve achieved. Stick to the facts and resist the temptation to use words like ambitious and hard worker etc. Then, when it comes to listing your work experience, go into a little more detail and tell the reader what you did, how you did it and why you’re great at it! Who knows, you might even land one of those coveted top paying maritime jobs!
Don’t be modest...or at least too modest
No one likes a big head but the point of your maritime resume is to sell yourself. Most of us find it hard to write about ourselves, but unfortunately writing a resume for a seafarer is one of those times that you’re just going to have to suck it up and get on with it!
If you’ve achieved something, tell your potential employer about it. They’re not a mind reader and being able to demonstrate why you’re the ideal candidate for that dream job at sea could mean the difference between landing the position or being completely overlooked. Keep it factual and, most importantly, be able to back up your claims!
Don’t be a stranger!
You’ve put all that hard work into writing a seafarer resume that perfectly sums up your experience in the maritime industry, or the qualifications you gained at marine academy. You’re expecting a call or an email...but, disappointingly, you hear nothing back. You’d be surprised at the amount of job applicants who go the extra mile to create an outstanding resume then neglect to include their contact details.
We can’t say this clearly enough: make sure the shipping company or recruiter knows how to get in touch with you. That means including a telephone number and email address, and your Skype or Zoom ID too if you have one as they might want to arrange a Skype or Zoom interview with you.
Employers in the maritime industry understand that you might not be able to get to the phone right there and then, or that you’re at sea and likely to be in a different time zone. But make sure you state that in your cover letter.
After all, even the most determined of marine recruitment agencies, shipowners or ship managers is going to give up and move on to the next suitable candidate if they can’t get hold of you for no apparent reason.
Martide make it easy to find contracts and jobs at sea
At Martide we make it really easy to find and apply for jobs with just a few clicks of your mouse. Seen a job you like the look of? Create an account with Martide first and then hit the Apply button and your application will be sent.
You can even apply for jobs at sea through Martide when you’re on the go thanks to our handy app which we’ve developed especially for seafarers.
Android users can download the app through Google Play here and those with iPhones can get it from the Apple App Store here. Now go ahead and shine and win those contracts for hot vacancies for seamen you know you deserve!