Will seasonal positions look bad on your CV?

Q: Jake, Deckhand, 23:

“I’ve just been offered a seasonal position on a yacht, and I don’t know whether to take it. It sounds like a great boat but I’ve heard that captains sometimes look with suspicion on CVs that have lots of seasonal roles on them, is that true? I’ve only had one yachting job so far and it was just for the season, so I’m worried about taking another straight after as I don’t want to look like a boat-hopper. What should I do?”

A: The Crew Coach:

This is a really good question faced by a lot of people, so I’m very glad you brought this one up. You’re right, captains do sometimes worry when a CV has lots of seasonal roles on it; they might think (sometimes justifiably) that the person can’t handle a yachting job year-round, or that they have other priorities or are not treating yachting as a serious career. However, people are less concerned by this when you’re very new to yachting- captains fully understand that new crew take whatever jobs they can get. In the early stages of your career you would need to accumulate quite a few short roles without references before you start setting off alarm bells.

Regarding this position you’ve been offered, my advice would be that you shouldn’t hold back in accepting a good job just because it’s seasonal. There are some real positives to accepting a seasonal position: not least that there’s a chance it will become permanent if you impress the crew, or that you could be well recommended to other captains. Some of the best jobs in yachting are only ever passed on via word of mouth, so never-ever underestimate the value of a captain’s recommendation. And if you have really proven yourself but they don’t have a job for you on their yacht, they will often move heaven and earth to help you get a good job within their network.

There are some other real advantages to taking a few seasonal roles throughout your career, particularly early on. When you work on varied boats you’re gaining insights into how things are done on different yachts, as well as meeting different owners and crew (aka broadening your industry network), and learning different systems and equipment. This kind of exposure makes you a more knowledgeable, well-rounded and well–connected crew member and can help you progress up the ladder as you have a better understanding of the wider yachting picture. Meanwhile, you’re also learning which kinds of boats suit you best: power or sail, large or small, private or charter, structured or laid-back. In many ways seasonal roles actually serve as a great apprenticeship in yachting.

Having said that, if your second seasonal position comes to an end with no possibility to stay on, then I would advise explaining to your crew agent that you only want to be put forward for permanent positions for your next role. While seasonal roles show that you are versatile and good at adapting to new situations, after 2 seasonal roles it would be beneficial for you to work on a yacht year-round to start really knowing the boat and understanding the cycles and demands of the yachting year.

Above all, when you accept a seasonal job, give it your all and treat it like a permanent one. Don’t hold back your effort, loyalty or dedication just because you might not be on the boat next season. Your attitude is your reputation, so don’t think short-term just because the job might be. You would be amazed how often a seasonal role becomes a permanent one for the right crew member.

What do you think? Share your comments below!

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