When is it time to give up job hunting?

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Q: Fiona, 24, Stewardess:

“I’ve been in Antibes actively looking for stew work since April, and apart from four interviews and just over a week of daywork in May, I’ve not had much luck at all. I did have one offer for a small sailing yacht in the early days, but I turned it down as I’ve got no interest in sailing so I don’t think it was the right fit. I’ve seen so many people come and go in the crew house that it’s really getting me down, and my funds will only last about a month longer. I know prime job hunting season has passed now, and considering I’ve had so little luck, do you think I should just cut my losses and go home? I’ve tried to stay positive through this experience, but now I just don’t know if I’m wasting my time staying.”

A: The Crew Coach:

I know it seems like you’re the only one going through this, but I promise, there are hundreds of job-hunters feeling like this every single year at this time. All feeling a bit dejected and considering giving up. And this is what I tell them…

It’s not too late.

There are still jobs to be found in July, so don’t give up when you’ve tried so hard and invested so much already. It’s often just as we think about giving up that things happen- and when others start to give up, that’s an opportunity for those who can afford to stay a little longer. Remember that yachts don’t only hire at the beginning and end of the season. Jobs come up on yachts year round- and if you’re there dockwalking in July, you’ll really stand out as a person who is a) available and b) damn determined.

But it’s DEFINITELY time to lower your standards.

Ah, the amount of new yacht crew who shoot their career in the foot by saying no to a job offer because they have their heart set on something different. Let’s get one thing straight. You actually don’t know anything about yachting yet, not really—and you can’t possibly know what you’ll actually like until you get onboard. There are advantages to every type of yacht- and sailing yachts can be pretty fantastic and turn you into a very competent all-rounder with impressive deck skills. I started out on sailing yachts and moved very easily to motor yachts once I had experience.

Unfortunately you just can’t be choosy when your dream career is hanging in the balance. At this stage you should be looking for villa jobs, local bar jobs: anything you can do to keep you in the hunt longer. Still not skipping with happiness at the idea of accepting something other than ‘the dream’? Think about this: how will you feel when you get on that bus to Nice airport and fly away, looking down on all the yachts you wanted to work on criss-crossing the blue sea below you?

Do not let negativity win the war.

You’re sounding a bit deflated. I get that. But if you’re sitting in the Blue Lady nursing the cheapest glass of rose you can find and feeling sorry for yourself or complaining about how hard it is, then you’ll be giving off negative vibes as much as if you were wailing into a loud hailer! How do I know you’re probably falling into this trap? Because I think every single job-hunter has done it at some stage when times were tough. You’re not unique in this struggle, not by a long shot! BUT — you don’t know if today’s the day that everything turns around, so keep your chin up and present a positive attitude to everyone you meet. Even more importantly, quit moping about (if you are!) and get back out on those docks!! It’s all about being in the right place at the right time and only you can control that.

Think about what you’ve learnt.

Over a week of daywork? That’s experience on yachts. (You’re no longer a radioactive shade of green, rather just a slight blush of green. This is huge progress!) The fact you have even been getting interviews means your CV has promise, and in a market so crowded with candidates, the crew agents won’t bother to forward any candidates they don’t see as a real prospect. The fact you’re getting interviews is a great sign. However….

Something may be going wrong in the interview.

If you’ve had several interviews with no success, there are three possibilities, and you need to consider each carefully.

The winning candidate has better skills or experience than you. Get friendly with your crew agent and ask if there was any obvious ways that your skills didn’t match the successful candidate. If you’re a member of our Facebook group Ultimate Crew, our CV experts can take a quick look at your CV for you.
The Captain just had a better rapport with one of the other candidates. This happens— it’s just part of the experience. They’re not only hiring you for a job, but also to live with you, so personality will always be a huge factor in yachting hiring. One day a Captain will have a better rapport with you, so just concentrate on being your best self and that’s all you can do.
Your interview style needs work. Perhaps it’s nerves, perhaps you don’t seem positive and happy, perhaps you give off the vibe of thinking some jobs or tasks aren’t right for you, or you’re a bit picky. Maybe you’re just shy. I’ve written a whole bunch on building your interview skills, so go back through my old blogs and practice.

If you do go home…

Remember, you can always come back in a few months when yachts crew up for the Caribbean winter season. Use your time at home wisely to gain high-end hospitality experience (consider housekeeping in a 5 star hotel if you’ve already got waitressing), and also perhaps take a yachting related course or two to make your CV shine. When you sign up for Ultimate Crew you can access our free online course Yachting 101 which recommends which courses you should do, depending on your chosen role.

Don’t give up on the dream just because you haven’t got a job straight away. Yacht crew are made of tougher stuff than that, and this is really just a test of your character and resolve. If you really want it you will get it – just stick in there and keep showing people how keen you are to work!

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Alison Rentoul

Alison Rentoul

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