Monday, August 3, 2009

So far so good - landing a ship job - it's hard work but rewarding

Yes it is worth it. The process is not as daunting as it may appear. Most people applying to ships for the first time know very little about the industry and that's to be expected.

That is why I advocate learning about the cruise industry, the various cruise line profiles and the various shipboard jobs available. If you don't have specific shipboard job experience, be prepared to accept position which suits your experience and personality. Once you are onboard, you will have the opportunity to see all the other possiblillites.

a) If you enjoy parks and recreation, teaching, child care, paticipate in teen clubs, adventure outings, sports - then working as a Youth or Teen Counslelor would be an ideal position for you - so tailor your resume accordingly and do your homework.

b) If you have any performance background, you are an extrovert, have any amateur peformance experience, singing, comedy, if you have been a ham all through school, love a crowd and can handle a microphone, then you would apply for the Cruise Directors Staff (cruise staff, acd, jracd, social hosts) each cruise line calls this position something different so remember to do your home work.

c) If you have any hotel or resort experience as guest services, office business experience, then you are a perfect candidate for Jr Purser, Purser, Hotel Front Desk, Guest Services. Again each cruise line will call this position something different so do your homework.

d) If you have theatre / stage crew/tech experience or education, then Production Staff, Stage Crew, Sound/Lighting Tech(if you have relevant training) will be for you.

e) If you have travel experience, travel leader experience, adventure sales/leadership experience, dive experience, and you are comfortable on a mic in fornt of a crowd, then Shore Excursions may be for you.

f) If you have cruise travel sales experience, cruise retail sales experience, then Onboard Future Cruise Sales is for you. To apply for this position, expect to provide a DVD of your presentation/sales skills. This is a business position and you will expect to be a polished professional.

g) If have played in bands, duos, solo, worked resorts or other ships as a top 40 band, you will find work. whether you are a soloist, a duo/trio/band, emphasis is on a variety of music in your repetoire. Remember, you have the same passengers for 7, 10, 12 days and more, so you have to know alot of songs...and play them very well. A good vocal band is important. Everything from oldies, 50/60's rock, to classics and top 40 - plus a little latin would be good. This applies to all musical acts on cruise ships - yes, it is expected you can be all things to all people so you will be expected to constantly learn new material whilst onboard.
If you are a Caribbean style band, it is expected you also can play top 40 songs in a "Caribbean style". Musicans work very little compared to others -its a good life onboard.

h) Are you outgoing? If you have any gift shop / retail clothing experience, souvenir, jewelry experience, fine fashion retail experience, retail experience with watches, diamonds etc, you will find employment easy. Most shops onboard are concessions contracted by each cruise line to operate shops on their ships. Princess Cruises is the only cruise line which hires for its own shops. While some say the pay may not always be great, you get most port days off, because ships cannot open their shops whilst in most ports - great job if you want to see alot of the places you are cruising.

i) Doctors, nurses looking for a paid work vacation - contact the cruise lines. They hire short term for this position. If you have a few weeks or months off each year, this is a great way to see the world and get paid.

j) If you have musical theatre / film / stage background, or you are a schooled dancer, or singer there are many year round positions in various productions. These companies are usually contracted by the cruise lines to produce shows. Some of the major companies are Jean Ann Ryan, Stiletto, Sixth Star, Cameron MacKintosh and Princess Cruises and Crystal Cruises who produce their own shows.

k) If you enjoy photography or videography, there are positions on every cruise line. These are usually concessions, which means cruise lines contract out the photo dept to another company, and this company employs the onboard staff. In fact, the photog companies are usually listed on the cruise lines website under employment.

Do your research, prepare yourself a good presentation and if you need them and ask to whom and to where, do you forward your Resume, CV, DVD promo etc. Send it registered so they know you are serious, and you know they received it - then follow up by phone - 7 days after they have received your information and use your best professional / enthusiatic phone manner. They need to "hear" you smile!!