Getting in and staying in the marine (yachting) industry requires you continually build a positive network of supporting people, businesses, vendors, adversaries, friends, Romans and countrymen. Point is don't burn bridges and piss people off along the way....easier said than done. In life not everyone is going to like you or what you do or who you are and there will be many that love you just the way you are and if you are lucky enough you can sort out real friends from the fugazys if you know what I mean. If you manage to have one true friend that sticks by you through thick and thin and will be there for you no matter what you have done well in life. In the marine industry many of us think of yachting as positons to attain to get aboard the vessels, but what about what is going to happen to you after yachting? This is where your networking becomes invaluable, by calling upon your resources you have acquired throughout your career and beyond, this is where real connections are the most important. Making the right choices is not always easy, being true to yourself and standing up for what you believe in and not let people walk all over you is important too.
There are many people out there that are into a quid pro quo approach to this industry, we at many times are guilty of this, however, it is not a crime it is a business. Remember not to give away your services for free just to get on boats, yachts, etc. This will undermine the bottom lines of us all. Pushing down the day rates and making it unbearable for some. I have run accross cvs that have false information on them, particularly claiming that one has a license or document that is valid and yet they are either expired or never in clutch at all. This is a temporary fix for some, but if caught the embarassment may be too much to bear for some. Make sure all your reference letters and documents are updated and true.
With thousands of newbies and wanna bees, and posers entering the industry year after year the market is flooding with the feux yachtie, the quick fix yachtie, the yachtie just trying to make a few bucks to see the world yachtie, which in essence hurts us all. If you are one of these people and you know who you are step aside and let the career minded yachtie have his or her days in the sun. Some people will submit pictures that are years old and bolster tell tales of experiences that never really happened to them. This again is not the proper way to positively network. Some agencies ask for passport photos for the cv's, personally I feel they are stiff, show no smiles mostly and frankly send the wrong message to the potential employer once again undermining your efforts. I tell my clients to have a picture that is outside, front lit, smiling, in uniform or something similar for newbies, with boats/water in the background and have a head and shoulders shot and a full length shot, no sunglasses, accessive jewelry, tatoos or hats and with the camera angle from 15 degrees up to down upon you to capture a more sliming and inviting angle of us all.
The real world of the marine industry often chooses looks over qualifications based on the owner's preferences, this makes for a very unsafe and unsavory environment. Also, many still use discrimination practices, although, they think they are hiding them, it is not overly regulated so for the most part they can get away with it. I see on job sites, must be a certain nationality, a certain sex due to cabin arrangements (you ever here of coed dorms and hostels-a no brainer here), and certain sizes or haircolors etc etc etc. Once again the industry becomes a reality on how you can network successfully being a certiain way or having a certain look, in the real world of this industry that is.
I have people asking me all the time am I too old for yachting or too old to start this or that position, however, I must tell you I wrote a cv for a young lady, 60 years young and because of her qualifications and her persistance of getting in and staying in the industry, yes a chef peeps, a chef mind you! I am so proud of her. Every boat has a right fit, so remember when you are networking to remember that you are interviewing the boat as much as they are interviewing you. Ask the captain about his qualifications and his background too, do you feel safe with them? I have on many occasion in my career come across some that I just do not have the right gut feeling and trusting the gut is real.
Having a well written, spelling error free, grammar without quotations error free and short, streamlined powerful cv is one of your best tools, amongst up to date clear documentation of your qualifications and your references with correct emails, phone numbers, locations updated and support roles too on the boats and land, not just the guy at the top always are great to acquire too. Get business cards printed up and change them yearly and keep reinventing yourself and keep up the positive practices of networking and you are sure to succeed!
Just remember that networking in the real world of the marine industry has hidden gems awaiting to be discovered and experiences waiting to become parts of your lives, and ingredients that shape your character into who you were meant to be!