They want to know whether it was difficult and if there is any secret to securing such a position. The answer is not straightforward. When I was in the process of this career change I thought it was incredibly difficult and it cost me a lot of stress and anxiety. There were so many uncertainties and so many decisions to make that were not easy for someone who didn’t have any experience in this industry. It took a lot of courage and determination. There were so many moments on this journey when I was losing confidence in myself. So many times I was willing to give up before I even tried to look for a job thinking that I don’t stand a chance. And yet I persevered and I am so glad I did. Now, when I look at it from a time distance I can see that it was easy, because without realising I knew the secret that helped me get a job with the first CV that I handed out.
For many reasons that I will write about in other blog posts I chose Palma de Mallorca for my superyacht debut. I will also leave the story how I got there for another time as it is quite a story to tell. But because this is the question I get asked the most I would first like to focus on the day when I actually got the job and how it happened.
I arrived in Mallorca the day before equipped with all the necessary certificates and a couple that turned out to be completely unnecessary. Sofie, the lady that I rented out a room from turned out to be an ex chief stewardess and as an experienced yachtie explained the whole process in detail to me. I could not have wished for a better guide.
On the day of my arrival Sofie greeted me as if we were old friends even though we never saw each other before and so we became friends instantly. She was extremely helpful showing me around Palma and the yachting world and also offered to check my CV expressing her surprise at how well it was written. Nevertheless, she gave me a few suggestions on how to make it even better and off we went to print it and see the marinas.
That night Sofie also invited a couple of her yachting friends so I could meet them and start making contacts in the industry. One of the friends, the Italian girl, Barbara mentioned that they would need a stewardess on their yacht in three weeks time. I could not believe my luck, because I only had enough money to stay in Palma without a job for three weeks. Barbara then took a copy of my CV with her to show it to her captain. It made me hopeful that on the first night in Palma I was able to hand out my first CV without even leaving the house.
That was a great back up plan, but I wasn’t going to waste my time and wait for three weeks doing nothing. The next morning I set off to the marinas to start the dock-walking. I managed to talk to maybe five people when I received a phone-call. It was Barbara, the girl from the night before. She explained that she handed out my CV to her friend, who was a captain on another boat and was looking for a cook/stew and that I should expect a phone call from him.
It was even better than I thought, I loved to cook and was aiming for a position that offered that opportunity. A few minutes later I received a phone call from the captain. He said that he needed a crew member to start straightaway as there were guests on board and the cook/stew had to leave due to an emergency at home. The captain also said that he would prefer someone who had experience, but my CV looked good enough so he was willing to have a chat with me. We arranged the interview in one hour and I rushed home to freshen up and get ready. Everything was happening so fast that I didn’t even have time to think about it.
Turned out our interview was held in the bar and it was the most awkward conversation about a job I have ever had. The captain told me how horrible the job was and that the boss was a nightmare and that he really couldn’t think anyone could do it, and especially not a person without experience on superyachts. Now, I am not easily scared off, so I replied with a smile that after years in the corporate world in London nightmare bosses sort of became my specialty. I proved this with some good examples showing the challenges I had to face in my previous jobs and how I overcame them.
My arguments must have convinced him and a few minutes later I had a job. I could not believe it. I got my first job on the first day with the first CV that I handed out!
I rushed home to pack my stuff and said my thank yous and good byes to Sofie. She was amazed. She said in her whole career in yachting she never met anyone who would get their first position on the first day. I felt really lucky that day.
The real luck was that on that day I gained two great friends, Sofie and Barbara, and we’ve been friends ever since, meeting and supporting each other whenever we can.
As for the job, I agree that a part of it was pure luck. I was in the right place and at the right time. I met two incredible ladies, who were willing to help even though they didn’t know me at all. However, now, having all my experience in yachting I also know that a big part of my ‘luck’ was the fact that I was prepared. It was my CV that showed them I had what it takes to be a valuable crew member. They could recommend me not even knowing me, because my CV stated clearly that I was a good material for a yachtie.
I also know that it is practically impossible to get a job for a green person when there are guests on board a superyacht. With the level of service and high expectations of billionaire guests, no captain will want to risk employing someone inexperienced. Green crew are employed only when there is time to train them before the guests arrive. It is now clear to me that it was not only luck, but also the level of my presentation both on my CV and at the interview that convinced them that they can give me a chance. And I didn’t disappoint them.
I had many jobs in my career in yachting. I mostly did seasonal jobs, so there were numerous times when I had to look for a job. It never took more than two weeks to find a job, mostly because with time I also started being fussy and wasn’t accepting every position I was offered.
If you want to know the secret of my job winning CV follow me on https://www.facebook.com/jobonayacht/ to get the update on the next blog post in which I will tell you more.