Common CV Mistakes

Job hunting is stressful. We all know, too well, the pressure of having to find and secure a position on a yacht. We start to feel anxious when weeks go by with no response from prospective employers. Doubt begins to creep in. “Maybe I’m not as qualified as I think I am.” You think you’re either too this or that for the yachting industry.

Perhaps it’s got nothing to do with you but how you present yourself. A CV has the power to either make your case or break it. It could land you a job or it be the reason you lose out on a great opportunity. Your CV is what speaks for you, to hiring Captains, because you cannot be there to speak for yourself. So what is your CV saying about you?

Here are 3 common mistakes crew members are making on their CV’s


  1. Headshots

Crew members always get this wrong. Whether it’s poor quality photographs or inappropriately dressed crew; we seem to let ourselves down in this area when it is the easiest and most fun aspect about the resume.

Here’s a chance to give hiring Captains a visual idea of who you are. CV’s tend to be static and word heavy. A delightful photograph is a great way to break the ice as it were. Personality and charisma are easily captured in a photograph.

Most Captains/employers will not consider an applicant if they do not include a picture of themselves in their resume package. You might think it is superficial; that your chances of getting a job are solely based on your look but that is simply not the case. Hiring Captains want to be assured that you have a friendly face and approachable demeanor. The easiest way to gauge this, when the applicant is not present, is through a photograph.  

Make sure the image isn’t too small. Wear professional, sensible yacht attire. If you’re feeling brave opt for a shirt that has some color. Ditch a pattern polo shirt for something more sophisticated like a colorful collar and sleeves as it will provide a contrast to you and communicate your personality better. Don’t wear sunglasses and avoid visually offensive jewelry at all cost.

Human beings are visual beings so there is a great chance that you might land an interview, or even secure the job, if the hiring Captain or employer connects with your photograph. So it’s worth spending a little more money on a professional photographer because the perfect picture will pay for itself in no time.


  1. TMI (Too Much Information)


Writing up a CV is always awkward because you’re selling yourself without blowing too much smoke up your a**. You have to be honest about your shortcomings without shooting yourself in the foot. The CV  is a delicate balance of your strongest and weakest skills. So how do you achieve this? Giving the employer too much information is one way of ruining your chances of employment.

When Captains and hiring employers are considering a candidate for a position, they normally allocate a specific amount of time to going through CVs. They’re hoping to read through ten to fifteen, 2-page CVs at a time.  When they are met with a CV that is 3+ pages long they are already put off because they know it will be overcrowded with information, most completely irrelevant. This means that these CVs are ignored. Shock! Horror! But winning the pie eating contest in the summer of ’02 is a testament to my resilience. Nope; quirky anecdotes and special skills of that type that can be shared during the interview.

Rule: if it is not directly linked to the position then DO NOT include it.

Be as concise as possible. Shorten a paragraph down to 3 sentences. If you can, say something in 5 words. The easier it is to read something the more people read it.

Similarly; don’t leave your CV too bare. Simply mentioning previous jobs, positions and dates is not enough. Give the hiring Captain or employer an idea of what your day to day tasks included. By doing this you give the reader a better understanding of what you are capable of, what might need more support and training etc.


  1. Untidiness

A major turn off is a messy CV. Be sure to dot your i’s, cross your t’s and punctuate. 200 Captains were surveyed earlier this year and more than half said that the format and layout drew them to particular CV’s.

Forcing a prospective employer to sift through badly punctuated, poorly fonted information is a sure way to irritate them. Even if you have an impeccable work history and impressive references, an untidy CV is symptomatic of carelessness. No Captain wants to work with someone like that.

Use headings, sub headings and bullet points to make your CV to organize the information you would like to communicate.

Edit your work. When you’re in CV writing mode it’s very easy to miss grammatical errors. What we suggest is giving yourself a couple hours, or a day, between writing up your CV and editing it. Come back with a fresh pair of eyes and you’ll pick up mistakes easier. You might give it to a friend to look over for you. Read your CV out aloud to hear if your phrasing is correct.  


Some of you might be stressing over the information we've given you, worried that CV's already sent might have some of the errors we've mentioned. Trouble not, as long as you make corrections to your current CV, ammend what needs attention then you will be in a better position moving forward.