Top 5 job hunting tips from our Crew Division
Camper & Nicholsons' Crew Division have put together their top five pieces of advice on how to get the most out of your time job hunting in Antibes.
1. LOVE A CREW AGENT (or 2).
You probably spent the first couple of days after you arrived in Antibes getting settled in, learning your way around, and signing up with all the crew agencies. We know this can be a long, frustrating, and often repetitive process, but it is an important first step to get your yachting career moving. Here at Camper & Nicholsons, we ask that you register and load up your documents (CV, Medical, and STCW95) before you come in to see us. This saves time for everyone and ensures that you won’t be waiting in line just to be turned away. Once your file is complete, don’t stop there! We like to meet ALL new crew face to face for an interview. This is your chance to set yourself apart from all the other newbies running around and gives us a chance to get to know you a little bit. However, staying on top of all the different agencies’ check-in policies can be a full time job. We recommend that you select a few agents who you connected with and focus on developing a good relationship with them. Stay in touch, keep your file immaculately up to date, stop by and say hello…continue to make a great impression throughout this job hunting season. Let’s be honest, you don’t have the time to woo every agent in Antibes. So just choose a few and do it well.
2. SPREAD OUT (physically and geographically).
Dockwalking, dockwalking! Hopefully you are doing it. It can be disheartening, discouraging, embarrassing, and you might feel that it is pointless sometimes. But believe us when we say that it really does work. Most yachts don’t need to use crew agencies to fill the few junior roles that they have going because there are hundreds of you combing the quay every morning. What you have to do is make it worthwhile. Don’t simply hang around Antibes. Make a plan, check the train schedules, and go to a different port every day, not forgetting the ship yards and the smaller ports where there will be smaller boats and less foot traffic. And another piece of advice you might not want to hear: don’t go dockwalking with your best friend who is looking for the same job as you. If you have been to hear our Free Crew Talk, you have heard the Crew Coach tell you just how fierce the competition is. Be brave and go alone! You will probably find that you will be more efficient and people will take you more seriously. And one more thing – keep track of where you go and which boats you visit. You will be surprised at how quickly ports and passerelles start to blend together. Keep a list of any yacht that takes your CV and the name of a contact if you speak to someone. This will help you follow up later, or at least not make a fool of yourself by ringing their buzzer again and again.
3. DON’T BLEND (only with green).
Putting some distance between you and your other green bunk mates is important even after dockwalking is over for the day. We aren’t saying you can’t be friends, but do keep in mind that you are not on holiday here, and the idea is to make your time in Antibes as short as possible. If you only hang out with other newbies, you are not doing anything to expand your network. And in fact, your reputation is liable to be lumped in with the others in your clan who did a few too many shots last night. You are trying to create your own brand here, and that is one of a motivated, professional new crew member. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the pub. In fact, you should. It’s one of the best places to network, but look outside your own group. Speak to people who already have jobs in the industry and listen to what they have to say. They may not have a job for you today, but tomorrow their friend just might…and guess who made a good impression and stood out from the crowd?
4. DON’T BE PICKY (yet).
When you come into see us we will usually ask you if you have any preferences about what kind of boat you would like to work on. This isn’t a trick question because it is good for us to know what your ideal situation would be. It helps us get an idea of what kind of person you are and therefore which yachts would suit you best. Maybe you are a sailor at heart, or maybe you have a background as a butler. For us, these are two very different crew members. However, though everyone has a perfect scenario, it is extremely important that you keep your options wide open. What we want to hear ultimately is that you are open to anything for your first season. You are trying to get your foot in the door, and at this stage any experience is good experience. Your friend’s cousin told you that 50 meters+ and charter is the way to go, but we advise you not to turn down a seasonal gig on that private 24 meter. This is your time to learn, and the goal is to get a job - any job - so that next season you can afford to be (a teeny tiny bit) picky.
5. SOCIAL NETWORK (with caution).
Social media has no doubt changed the way everyone looks for work. It allows you, as crew, to get your name out there like never before, submit your CV to jobs within minutes, and keep up to date on new positions all over the world. It is crucial for you to be tuned into all the yachting and crew pages on Facebook and other sites - use them for all that they are worth – but just remember that this door swings both ways. A Captain can Google you (and will) just as easily as you Googled that boat where you had an interview last week. Keep your profile clean and your pictures somewhat sober because you can be sure that that is the first thing they will check before they offer you a job.