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The Importance of Your First Superyacht Job

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Boat show

Landing a job can often feel like an uphill battle, trust me, I know. I was there myself.

I have been speaking with our YOA training graduates and our YOA crew for years and this year, there seems to be even more competition for every job that is posted.

Believe it or not, my crew agents and I have interviewed more than a few crew without any prior yachting experience who have turned down job offers because the job ‘wasn’t rotational’ or ‘non-charter’.

In this blog, we'll discuss why your first superyacht job is so important. It goes without saying that you should trust your gut as to whether you feel it is a legitimate job offer or not (no shortage of fake jobs out there) but assuming it is, let’s discuss why your first job is so important and how it is an opportunity build towards a successful career.

1. A Competitive Job Market

We literally receive hundreds of applications for a single position as I’m sure you’ve seen on Yotspot etc. this makes the selection process difficult given the number of candidates we need to interview and review. Employers have the luxury of choosing from a pool of qualified candidates, and being too picky could result in you missing out on a valuable opportunity.

Not only that, you can ruin your chances of future job offers depending on how you approach your interview. What do I mean? Well I was talking with a captain today who told me the junior crew member he was interviewing ‘counter interviewed’ him to such a degree that it became comical. While asking questions in an interview is encouraged, taking the approach of ‘I’m going to decide whether to grace you with my presence or not’ does not do you any favours. Think carefully about how your questions are phrased and can come across.

2. Building a Strong Foundation

Your first job on a yacht is often a trial by fire, you have to learn to ‘swim’ very quickly and it allows you to build a solid foundation for your career. The skills you learn will stand you in good stead going forward and can help you establish a strong professional background that can be leveraged when applying for jobs on other boats in the future. You never forget your first boat!

3. Learning from the Best

Regardless of your prior experience, there will invariably be crew on your boat with decades more experience in the job than you, so be humble enough to take on this knowledge. Be humble and learn, that’s why you are there. Yes, you can of course bring your prior experience to bear wherever possible but tread lightly. You need to learn the way a particular bosun, chief stew or chef wants things done on their boat. Your ability to take direction will be noted carefully. This hands-on experience cannot be replicated in any classroom or training program.

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Superyachts in Antigua

4. Networking Opportunities

Building relationships with colleagues and superiors is vitally important. Your peers will become your network, future collaborations, job recommendations, and hopefully friends. Yachting is a small industry so take care to build these relationships.

5. Nurturing Resilience and Adaptability

Your first job offer may not align perfectly with your long-term career goals, but it challenges you to be adaptable and resilient. The ability to face and overcome difficult situations, demanding charter guests etc and being able to ‘tough it out’ when the going is less than good, will always stand you in good stead. It won’t go unnoticed!

Employers value practical experience. Your history of work experience demonstrates your commitment, work ethic, and willingness to start at the bottom. This first experience sets you apart from other candidates who may still be searching for their ‘perfect’ opportunity.

While I’m the first one to say that you should have aspirations, it’s also important to start somewhere. The grass isn’t always greener somewhere else, it’s greener where you water it. It needs time to grow!

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