In a recent conversation with two ex-crewmembers, I was surprised to discover the polar opposite ways in which they both secured their jobs on board. One, a stewardess – perceived as extremely lucky – found a permanent job immediately after qualifying through an acquaintance; the other spent months dockwalking and securing daywork on various yachts until they found a position as a deckhand on board.
The stewardess who achieved the job immediately had also been using LinkedIn to advertise herself and her availability. Although LinkedIn is used as a tool for many jobs all over the world, how common is it to use this professional networking site to procure a job within yachting?
Intrigued, I placed a poll on our @SuperyachtNews Twitter account to analyse how LinkedIn may be changing the face of superyachting recruitment. Asking if any crew had experiences with the website, 30 per cent of all respondents indicated they’d tried using LinkedIn but with limited success, 22 per cent had found it helpful, but interestingly 26 per cent had never thought to use the online platform, 22 per cent believing it wouldn’t work for a career in yachting.
In an industry often plagued by a taint of unprofessionalism, could this indicate a move into a world where CVs and experience may look to replace the traditional dockwalking? Although often used as an opportunity to 'prove' themselves among existing yacht crew, dockwalking is prone to personal prejudice and unreliable results.
LinkedIn provides a platform to promote your CV and reach a far greater audience when compared to the limited amount of superyachts in a harbour, but would the LinkedIn method of job-hunting work in a yachting environment, particularly for junior crew with limited experience? In my opinion, no.
As an individual yacht is often compared to a small (or, in some cases, not so small) company or business – with the owner or captain as the CEO – the hiring and firing of staff happens without the standards of procedure seen ashore, therefore why would the yacht adhere to the same strict hiring practices? Although our industry is seeing a rise in professionalism and standardisation of methods, the hiring of crew is, unfortunately, still mostly based on the yacht and its crew's own personal code. Therefore, for new yachties, it looks like dockwalking is here to stay.