25 Tips In Writing A Winning Resume For Seafarers

Writing a resume can be intimidating. Yes, you may have gained various skills and experiences but how will you be able to justify all these things in a single sheet of white paper and expect to get yourself an interview within the next few days or so. You may be wondering why they can’t just interview, let you take some tests to see if you’re actually fit for a job.

Although it’s quite overwhelming and can be pressuring to write an impressive resume because of the tremendous amount of details it needs which encompasses the experiences and skills you’ve gained all throughout your working years, the resume that we present to various firms creates our first impression to our possible employers and we definitely would want to look impressive and prove to them that the skills we have would suffice to the qualifications they are looking for.

Here are some of tips in having a winning resume any employer would find hard to say no.

1. ALWAYS THINK OF YOUR RESUME AS YOUR BRANDING

If there’s a saying that you are what you eat and tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are, this also applies for the resume you’re going to create. You are creating your brand and it’s not just your resume- it’s your advertisement that needs to be compelling and impressive enough that any employer would think that they will be missing out something if they are not going to hire you.  

2. KISS

Keep it short and simple by having a straightforward set of details laid out on your resume. Utilizing action words, bullets and short sentences instead of paragraphs makes your resume readable, easier to absorb and professional.

3. PICK THE RIGHT FORMAT

Look for the proper layout or format of your resume that suits best your personality and the position you desire. There are three commonly formats you may choose from:

  • Chronological Resume – focuses on the experiences an applicant have had on previous jobs. Commonly used in law and academic related job positions, the goal of this resume is to emphasize that you’re likely to stay in the same job but in a different company.
  • Functional Resume – focuses on your major skills and accomplishments in your career. This can be used for those who are keen to have a career change for it accentuates mainly on your versatility in different kinds of work environment.
  • Combined Resume – a combination of both aforementioned type of resume which is highly adapted nowadays for the advantages it can bring to you and your resume.
4. STICK TO A PAGE

Keep your resume to one page only- a concise and brief one. But if you really have these experiences, trainings, and accomplishments you think is important and would take to at least a couple of pages, then you may give it a shot.

5. DEFINE YOUR JOB OBJECTIVE

Have straightforward job objective that defines the job you are looking for. This can turn out to be your resume profile or brief summary of your skills and the job vacancy you’re looking which can help in creating a sense of purpose and specification on your resume.

7. SELL YOUR STRENGTHS

Make sure that you have a presentable and readable resume, you’ve used specific terms (e.g. Strong Operational and Navigational Skills) that match the job position qualities they are looking for and you have pointed out your strong points that you think you can utilize and be beneficial for their firm.

8. LIST YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

Employers are also looking for the accomplishments you did in your previous jobs. They’re also keen if you’re a goal setter and if you’re an eager individual who do not only work just because you’re told to do so, but you work with the will of living the company’s vision and mission.

9. KEEP IT OPULENT WITH KEYWORDS

Some companies use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which provide an almost accurate filtering and searching of applications based on the resumes sent by the applicants. Therefore, your application will have a high probability of matching to the company’s job vacancy if you’re also using the keywords they are looking for (e.g. 2/O, Second Officer, Navigational Officer).

10. TECHNICAL AND LANGUAGE SKILL IS A PLUS

Your technical and other useful skills only go to show your flexibility and how adaptive you are in embracing new things and experiences. If an Employer will see your impressive skills in speaking 3 or more languages, this only goes to show your intelligence and ability to learn things fast.

11. OLD EXPERIENCES SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED

Employers only considers experiences from 10-15 years of range and the rest is just irrelevant. Companies are not interested in what jobs have you had 15 years ago, they are interested in what you’ve done in the recent years.

12. AVOID THE PERSONAL PRONOUNS

Refrain from using too much of ‘I’, ‘Me’, and ‘Myself’ for the resume itself is about your professional background and simply putting such pronoun can be repetitious and improper.

13. DON’T LIE ON YOUR RESUME

Do not pretend to have these set of skills or be someone you are not because this could be a downfall to your reputation with the company. You may be eager to work for this dream company, but not to the extent that you’ll be hired for the skills you don’t actually have.

14. DON’T FORGET YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION

For ease of access to the employers, include all contact information available such as address, phone number(s), email address and even social media accounts like LinkedIn Profile and blog website.

15. DON’T TRY TO ADD YOUR FACEBOOK/TWITTER/INSTAGRAM LINKS

Adding LinkedIn account is relevant because of its platform but adding your social media accounts is meant for socializing and networking and will never work in a resume you’re going to create.

16. BE KEEN TO DETAILS

See to it that you have run through your resume and all necessary errors such as grammatical mistakes have been corrected. You don’t want your desired employer to edit your resume for you, do you?

17. KEEP THE CONSISTENCY

Always make sure that the font size, alignment and spacing of the content of your resume are all the same. Use either Verdana, Arial, or Helvetica as your font style with a font size of 11 for your resume.

18. KEEP IT UPDATED

If you’re also using job portals when you’re looking for a job, it’s ideal to update your resume every now and then. Employer also takes notice when was the last time you have updated your resume.

19. STEER CLEAR FROM USING EMPTY WORDS

Planning to use detail-oriented, good communication skills, team player in your resume. These are just empty and vague description that employers have seen millions of times. Always be specific.

20. THEY DON’T NEED THE DATES

Employers don’t need exact dates when you have graduates, they’ll need to know if you have graduated and what degree(s) have you taken.

21. UNRELATED INFORMATION IS A WASTE OF SPACE

Your sexual preference nor religion will not help you to land a job. If before these are the things needed in our resume, companies have grown to be objective and will focus more on what you can bring to the company.

22. AVOID USING SLANG AND JARGONS

Avoid sending a resume with a handful of slang words for you’re a professional sending in an information about your skills and experience. But don’t go overboard with jargons for mostly likely someone from the HR Department isn’t familiar with your expertise.

23. DON’T GO ALL OUT WITH DESIGN

If you think that a fancy background or fonts would attract employers reading your resume- it might turn out the other way around. Keep it simple yet classy. There is some website like Canva who has resume templates you may edit and customize for yourself.

24. SALARY SHOULDN’T BE INCLUDED IN YOUR RESUME

A lot of people still commit this mistake. Yes, your resume is your branding but putting your desired salary bluntly can be a turn down to some employers.

25. LET OTHER CRITIQUE YOUR RESUME

Having a friend, a colleague or even someone you know familiar in the department read and review your resume give constructive criticism is a good thing. Any opinion and suggestions you may get from can help you to improve your resume for they are looking at this objectively and out of your shoes.

There will never be a shortcut on writing a comprehensive resume, it is not an easy as one would say. Putting effort and time on this craft is significant because it shows your enthusiasm, professionalism, and impression how you actually do your work.

You may have this thought that why make an effort into these things if they’re into just after the skills? Yes, they are into your skills and experiences, but who would want to hire someone who has this thought that ‘I’m just here to do my craft, that’s it.’ It’s quite hard to find group of talented individuals who doesn’t only have a good set of skills to provide for the company, but has also a good heart and passion to strive more not only for career growth, but for the company’s welfare as well.   

13 Best Things To Do In Preparing For A Shipping Position Job Interview

The shipping industry is central to the world economy carrying 90 percent of the world trade. Land and air transportation industries are also available. But, the classic way of transporting goods such as oil and gas, food, and other manufactured products for import and export are still done via maritime transport.

The numbers may convince you that the demand for seafarers is constantly high. But, crewing is actually one of the biggest business issues in the industry as companies take time in carefully selecting their workers.

When you’re invited for a job interview, take this as an opportunity to stand out from all the other candidates.  But before hopping into the conversation, be sure you’re well prepared.

To help you jump straight to a shipping company’s top list, here we’ve come up with the 13 essential things that you should do when preparing for that job interview:

1. KNOW THE COMPANY

You may know all the skills a company is looking for in a seafarer. But do you also understand what the business is?Make Google your friend in finding the latest details about the company. Go to the company website and read their “About Us”, “Team”, and “Products and Services” pages. Review their press releases.

Visit also their social media pages such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Also, learn some information about the company’s competitors.

In short, it’s time to stalk on the company so you won’t get empty handed when the interviewer asks a question.

2. KNOW THE INTERVIEWER

It’s like going on a first date. List down the names of your interviewers and look for their online pages.  What are their backgrounds and interests?

Looking for them through LinkedIn can be helpful too as the website can show you common connections.

3. PREPARE THE BEST ANSWERS FOR THE MOST GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

You won’t probably miss those general interview questions that you’ll receive at the beginning of an interview. Never underestimate these simple questions as the first few seconds of the interview can already make or break the good impression you’re building.

Here are the most common interview questions you’ll receive:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why did you left your previous employer?
  • Why are you interested in working for the company?
  • Why do you think you are right for the role?
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • What do you consider as your most significant accomplishment?

Also, take note of the common questions that’ll test your knowledge about the job:

  • What are the objectives of ISM Code?
  • What would you do if you saw someone not following safety measures?
  • How would you handle a conflict between you and a co-worker?
  • How do you think you’ll adapt to being away from home for months?
  • How can you avoid possible accidents?
  • What do you know about MARPOL?
  • What do you know about ISPS?

Questions aren’t only limited to what’s been mentioned above. That’s why you should always remember number 1.

4. CONDUCT A MOCK INTERVIEW

You might have written or remembered your answers to the questions mentioned. But, it’s best to put those answers into test by conducting a mock interview. Call a family member or a friend to help you in your interview practice. If you know someone who has experience in interviewing employees, better practice with him/her. Practicing an interview with someone can help you figure out some answers and actions that may need improvement.

5. KNOW WHAT TO WEAR

We understand that choosing what to wear for an interview can be confusing especially for offshore seafarers. But the simplest yet most presentable outfit you can wear to an interview – no matter what kind of position you’re going for – is a basic corporate outfit.

For men, get that black suit if possible, white collared long sleeve polo, and silk tie and ditch the fancy accessories. Going for this outfit can definitely put you on a step higher than those who come in wearing T-shirt and jeans. Complete your look with lace-up wingtips shoes. For women, it’s best to wear a professional-looking dress or suit with low-heeled shoes. Make sure your outfit is comfortable and lets you move freely.

6. GET GROOMED

You can have the best-fitting suit ready soon, but don’t forget to check your all-over look!

Get a clean haircut. Get rid of those piercings. Cover up those tattoos if possible. Make sure your nails are clean. Have a simple makeup and hairstyle.

Looking clean and presentable from head to toe will definitely boost your confidence in your upcoming interview.

7. GOOGLE YOURSELF

If you can easily look for details about the company you’re applying for, they can easily do it to you too.

Check your social media pages. Review your posts that could be embarrassing or may put you in a bad light. Delete them right away.

Go to a search engine like Google and type in your name to see the first few pages that come up when an employer does a search on you.

8. PRACTICE YOUR BODY LANGUAGE

It takes seven seconds to create a first impression. So, you’ll want yours to be a good one in a snap. Besides what you wear, what will catch your interviewer’s eyes right when you walk through the door is your body language. Even small gestures can speak volumes.

Here are some of the actions you can practice on:

  • Smiling when meeting an interviewer
  • Eye contact without staring
  • Walking with confidence
  • Firm handshakes
  • Talking with a sincere tone

Practicing these can help you lessen the worries you think about the upcoming interview. But, never forget to be yourself.

6. NEVER THINK ABOUT CREATING UNREAL STORIES

Waiting for your interview is already stressful. Thinking about lying makes it even worse. So, don’t you ever dare think about it! Making one lie often leads to another. These lies will require you to remember every single detail, which is good enough to give you a major headache. It can surely ruin the confidence you’ve been building. Just be yourself. Remember that you’re fortunate to be picked for an interview because you have what it takes.

10. THINK POSITIVELY

Practice positive thinking right when you’ve set your interview schedule.

It’s completely normal to be nervous. But instead of torturing yourself with those negative thoughts about failing the interview, lift your spirits up by focusing on better things. Imagine the new experience. Tell yourself that this company is looking forward to meeting you because of your potential, and you’re ready to prove them that you’re the best pick among the rest. Positive thinking helps you stay calm and controlled before and during an interview.

11. PREPARE THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO BRING

Never organize your documents at the last minute. Before the interview day, create copies of your resume, a list of references with their complete contact information, travel documents like passport and seaman’s book, certificates, licenses, and other requirements.

12. WRITE DOWN YOUR QUESTIONS

Interviews aren’t only about convincing a company that you’re the right person for the job. You’ll also need to know if the job and company are right for you.

Think about the questions you want to ask your interviewer. It can be about the job, the boss, the company, the culture, and so on. Write down your questions.

These questions you’ll ask at the end of an interview must tell the interviewer that you’ve done your research about the company and you’re interested to know more. Avoid yes or no questions.

Here are some examples of smart questions you can ask in an interview:

  • What are the duties and responsibilities of this job?
  • What are the most important qualities should someone have for this role?
  • What is the culture of this company?
  • What are the common nationalities of crew onboard?
  • What type of ships do the company have?
  • What are the benefits and privileges do the company offers?
  • What are the biggest opportunities this company is facing right now?
  • Where is the company headed in the next five years?
  • What are the biggest challenges this company is facing right now?
  • Who do you see as your top competitor and why?
  • What is the typical career program for someone in this position?
  • What are the next steps after this interview?
13. KNOW WHERE AND WHEN THE INTERVIEW IS

The last thing you’ll want to ruin your dream interview is forgetting its set time and date, and not knowing where the company office is!

Check out the address right away and download or write down the directions in advance. Know the usual traffic conditions on the roads you’ll go through. This will give you an idea of how early you should leave to get to the interview on time.

Hiring isn’t a quick process as companies must be sharp enough in finding seafarers who are highly-skilled in taking risks and solving problems. We couldn’t agree more to this fact, especially around 80 to 90 percent of some of the shipping accidents that happen are caused by human error. You may have the required skills that shipping companies look for – and so as the rest of the other candidates.

So how can you rise above the rest and show a company that you’re a perfect match for the job? Impress them right away in your job interview. And how can you have a satisfying job interview where you know you’ve put your best efforts to become a company’s remarkable candidate? There’s no other way but to prepare.

How To Create A Career Marketing Letter For Seafarer

They say 50% of all recruiters never read cover letters. So why should you, a seafarer, even bother to create one?

Seafarers like you may have never thought about this. But besides your resume, the career marketing letter, more known as a cover letter or application letter, is essential in creating first impression to your prospective employer.

A good career marketing letter brings your application above the rest and puts you forward to the next step: the interview. But don’t settle for creating a good letter (because everyone does); better make it catchy and readable to make sure your words don’t end up unread.

Read on to know how to create a career marketing letter for seafarers that recruiters will surely read.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CAREER MARKETING LETTERS

In this time when reading thousands of application letters can be a chore for hiring managers, never lose the motivation in writing one that will get their attention. Your letter is still important and here are the different reasons why it’ll remain so when looking for a job:

It makes you stand out

Vacant positions always receive overwhelming loads of applications and hiring managers can’t review everything. Some applications may not be even viewed at all.

Sending a cover letter together with an attached resume is a great way to meet the job requirements and let the company know what makes you the best fit for the job.

It lets recruiters know that you’re truly interested to take the position

Recruiters don’t want to waste time around applicants who’ll only quit after a few days. With a cover letter, you can tell why you’re interested in the company and you’re ready to commit to the job.

It shows your personality

Resumes can be boring. Cover letters can add some life to your application by showing the reader a bit more about you as long as you keep it personalized for every recruiter.

It makes you a good fit even when you lack experience

There are job hunters who’re highly skilled and experienced but miss an opportunity because their cover letters lack motivation. Sometimes, a cover letter can bring you to the job you really want even if you’re under qualified if it shows how eager you are to learn and excel in the company.

THE PARTS OF A CAREER MARKETING LETTER

After knowing how important a cover letter is for every application, it’s time to learn how to create one that every recruiter will surely read.

Here are the parts of a cover letter for an application that should be always present:

Name and job title

Never ever forget to introduce yourself and let the recruiters know the position you’re aiming for. Just like in a resume, type your name in a bigger font size and bolder color. Indicate below your name the title of the position you’re applying for.

Date

Indicate when you created the cover letter.

Contact person name and title

You can address the letter to the hiring manager of the company if there’s no indicated instruction on who to contact.

Name and full address of the company

Check the company’s website to find out their complete name and address.

Salutations

Start the letter with a “Dear” and then the name of the contact person. Don’t leave this nameless.

First paragraph

Write down your objective here. Be straightforward in telling them what your application is for.

Second paragraph

Highlight your experience and accomplishments here. Create a visibly bright reference tool like bullet points to make sure recruiters see your accomplishments right away.

Third paragraph

This is where you finish the letter with a call to action which usually mentions to call the applicant in the indicated contact number and email address. (You can simply use up to three paragraphs but feel free to add more.)

Closing salutation

This is where you can close the letter using the words “Sincerely” and “Best Regards”.

Ending with your name and signature

If you’re sending your letter through email, you can simply end the letter with only your name.

TIPS IN WRITING A GOOD CAREER MARKETING LETTER

It’s pretty easy to follow the first and last points in opening and ending a letter. But you may be thinking about how your paragraphs should be written to show recruiters that you’re someone who mustn’t be missed.

As recruiters get piles of cover letters every day – written in the same format and bland style, we recommend that you loosen up and put something different in that letter.

Take note of the following tips that let you become an applicant worth calling:

Personalize

Not one application letter will be fit for all job openings, so try to get away from copy-pasting. To make your writing easier, think about why you’re doing this application and why you believe you should be in that company. Read the job posting carefully and list down the required skills that you possess. Mention every matching skill in your letter to convince recruiters that you fit the job well.

Make a good narrative

Writing a story is the last thing job hunters would write in their cover letters. But, doing this can get them to read your letter especially if you start with a killer opening line. In creating a narrative, ask yourself: “What’s the most interesting thing I’ve done that’s relevant to the job I’m applying?” You can start the story by telling your biggest contribution to your past work that the company would greatly want to have with your help.

Use bullet points

You can break down all your accomplishments with the use of bullet points to make them easier to read. A bulleted list stands out to impress a recruiter right away.

Show a company that you can blend well with their culture

Take a look at the job post again. Find out if a company wants a “team player” who can get along with a group, or a “self-starter” who can work with minimal supervision.  Whatever they mention in the requirements, think of how you can tell them that your personality matches their world through your cover letter.

Finish with a question

A call to action at the end of the letter is always important. Ending it with a question convinces the reader to make a move whether it’s making a phone call or an interview.

SAMPLE APPLICATION LETTER FOR SEAFARERS

Here’s a sample application letter that can help you learn how to create one that makes you stand out.

 

JUAN DE LA CRUZ
Chief Engineer and Marine Engineering Instructor
+63912.345.6789
name@email.com
Linkedin.com/JuandelaCruz

November 16, 2018
Captain Nathan Blas
Training Manager
ABC Maritime Training Center, Inc.
Chino Roces Ave., Makati City 1231

Subject: Tenure-track Instructor on Maritime Education and Training Courses Position

Dear Captain Blas,
I’m interested in working with you as a tenure-track lecturer/instructor on Maritime Education and Training-related courses. I believe that my years of experience in teaching, training, and working in different types of international vessels meet all the requirements needed for this job position.

Here’s a summary of what I’ve done:

  • Six (6) years of experience as a marine engineer
  • Three (3) years of experience as an instructor in the field of marine engineering
  • One (1) year of experience as a cadetship training instructor
  • Conducted several in-house familiarization training courses

As a marine engineering instructor in the Maritime Institute of the Philippines-Manila, I taught different subjects in the areas of Marine Thermodynamics, Engineering Materials and Testing, Marine Pollution and Prevention, Hydromechanics, Basic Safety Course, Marine Auxiliary Machineries, Machine Shop Practice, Marine Electro technology, and Engine Watch keeping.

I have also supervised students from the Philippine Maritime Academy and Maritime Academy of the Pacific in the cadetship training provided by Southern Shipping Agency. Here, I’ve conducted classes where we’ve discussed marine engineering theories and how they can be applied to actual field work.

Besides teaching students, I have also conducted in-house trainings. I have lectured about Liquefied Gas Carrier Familiarization Course for Officers and Ratings at Pacific Asia Maritime Training Center. Then, I assisted trainees in a familiarization course about the Operation and Maintenance of Man B&W and Mitsubishi Engine.

Please check the attached curriculum vitae to have a detailed look at my skills and experiences. Can we set up a phone call or a short meeting next week to talk about how I can contribute to your training center as an instructor? Please contact me at +639123456789 or email me at name@email.com.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward hearing from you.

Best regards,
Juan de la Cruz

 

DON’T FORGET TO BE YOURSELF

Career marketing letters let recruiters know a bit about who you are as a professional. Let yourself shine through it by highlighting your strengths. If you’re sending an application through email, use the letter as your actual email text that recruiters will surely see once they open your message.

For print, it’s best to keep your letter short and fit to only one page. Never even think about lying about your experience. Don’t even boast too much that the reader may see that you’re thinking too highly of yourself. With this article, we hope you’ve learned how to create that best application letter that recruiters and employers will surely read.