Building a rapport with your crew agent is an important part of being crew. Whether you are just starting out, or an experienced crew member, you will find that building a great relationship with key crew agencies will ensure you achieve the longevity and success you desire in your yachting career. Furthermore, by maintaining a positive relationship will put you in a lucrative position should you decide to move up the ranks and are in the position of hiring crew yourself.
Never underestimate the power of crew agency connections and make sure you are not making the following common mistakes:
1.Unprofessional CV Photograph
A picture tells a thousand words. Your CV is like your personal advertisement, with your photo illustrating the product (you), polished and professional. Ideally, you should be wearing a collared shirt/polo (uniform or something similar). It should be in a solid colour, clean and ironed. No sunglasses or bare shoulders showing, hair very tidy, and clean shaven (guys!). Ensure your backdrop is plain or has a marina in the background and the photo is cropped to head and shoulders.
2.Not following registration instructions properly
One of the first tests you will undergo in the industry is your ability to follow agency registration procedures. Don’t fall at the first hurdle: take their requests seriously, carefully read what they want you to do and precisely follow their instructions, even though this may be time consuming and differ for every agency.
3.Not respecting their visiting hours
Most agencies prefer to register new crew in the morning and work on filling vacancies or liaising with yachts in the afternoon. Make sure you check their specifications and don’t bother them by coming in at the wrong times or expecting them to make an exception ‘just for you’.
4.Not checking in regularly in the preferred manner
Each agency has a different preference for checking in – whether it’s popping in to see them, emailing, calling, signing a form at reception, or an online update. Make sure you find out what they prefer and respect their system – this will leave a favorable impression and is likely to increase the chance of them keeping you in mind when positions come available.
5.Not dressing appropriately
Although you are in a holiday destination, this does not mean you can visit agencies in casual wear. Crew who come in wearing beach clothes, singlets, flip flops do not project a professional image or give the impression they are serious about finding work. Remember first impressions count – you are there on business, so look professional every time you visit them.
6.Not listening / taking advice
Many agents are ex-crew themselves, with a great deal of industry experience. Their advice and insights should be appreciated and not taken lightly. Be humble and always be open and willing to learn from other professionals. At the same token, if you hear advice that doesn’t sit well with you, then query it with other crew or other agencies. These are character traits that make you an attractive candidate for agencies to represent.
7.Not giving interview feedback
Contact your agency as soon as possible after any interviews they have arranged for you. It is important to maintain regular contact and to let them know how it went from your perspective and whether you are interested in the position should it be offered to you. This can really assist with their ability to promote you when they follow up with the captain or person who interviewed you and shows you are enthusiastic, a key attribute in a good crew member.
8.Not thanking them for their help
If you have built up a relationship with an agency and they have given you their time, help and advice, make sure you thank them – especially when you do get a job (even if it’s not through them). A thoughtful email, card, or even a small gift will be much appreciated and long remembered. Your thoughtfulness will really help you stand out from the crowd.
9.Not updating them with your availability
Many crew simply disappear off the face of the earth once they get a job and the agencies are left wondering what happened to them. Make sure you notify every agency you are registered with of your new position and whether it is temporary, permanent or seasonal. This way you not only leave a good impression but they then have an idea of when you might be back on their available list.
10.Letting them down
Many agencies guarantee their crew placements – meaning if the person doesn’t measure up or leaves during their trial the agent will replace them for free. If you jump ship or get fired for bad behavior within the guarantee period, you are not only disappointing the agent who placed you, you are damaging your reputation. (Be aware news travels fast in this industry) Demonstrate integrity, be professional and honor your commitments wherever possible: your behavior and reputation affects many others, not just you.
11.Waiting for them to find you a job
Agencies are paid by their clients (the yachts) to find suitable candidates – they are not paid by the candidates to find jobs. Therefore, if you are not suitable for the vacancies they have, don’t get annoyed with them – they can’t do anything about it and won’t appreciate your attitude. While they do their best to place you, it is 100% up to you to be professional at all times. The best strategy is to work with them, follow their advice and help them to help you, with respect and gratitude.
If you would like help with your CV, feel free to check out our CV services online here