6 Mistakes Seafarers Make While Searching for Maritime Jobs

Let’s face it, finding the right job in the maritime industry can turn out to be a daunting task for most of us, especially in this time of crises. The whole process of hunting the dream ship job might take a toll on seafarers if the right approach is not taken. But then, what exactly is the right approach for searching a new maritime job?


Everyone is aware of the myriad of tools and resources that are easily available these days. For e.g. there are more than twenty websites to look for maritime jobs online.

We are not saying that these easily available resources are not helpful, but such overload of information might get seafarers easily confused as to what to use and what might actually help them in getting a new job.

When we talk about searching for a job on ships, almost every seafarer would mainly do one of the following things:

  1. Search online on maritime job portals for vacancies
  2. Upload his or her resume wherever an “Upload” button is found
  3. Ask friends or seniors about opportunities available in the maritime job market
  4. Scan through maritime periodicals, employment bulletins, or magazines for new opportunities
  5.  Go through various maritime groups on Facebook ( or other social networking website)to learn any new openings or join a hot discussion
  6. Visit websites of prominent shipping companies and mail resume on the very first email address they see in the “contact us” page.

Believe it or not, this is all mariners would do, at least most of them!

Any of the above mentioned ways might land you a job; however, if that happens consider yourself “lucky”.

For in this tough marine employment market, it takes more than just good amount of efforts and decent luck to grab an exciting job opportunity.

Mind that we are not saying that the above mentioned ways are not useful. However, they are all tried and tested ways which every mariner uses. To get a job in the tough times, you need to be different. Moreover, the job search process is not as tough as it sounds. With a focused and planned approach, the whole process can turn out to be much easier than one thought.

In order to make sure that mariners get the most out of the time and effort they invest in job search, there are six mistakes they need to avoid.

The errors which most of the seafarers make and which should be avoided are:

1.       Searching on Wrong Maritime Job Websites 

There are many maritime job website online.  However, keeping a track of every marine website would be a cumbersome and useless task.

Many seafarers try to search through as many websites as possible every single day with the hope to find something new. However, they are wasting a lot of time and effort in the process. Looking for a maritime job on a website which has not been updated in months is as good as not looking for a job at all. It is important that you choose the right website during your job search process.

Points to Note:

Not all of the job portals are regularly updated. It is very important that you invest your time in the right maritime website in order to get the desired results.

While choosing a website consider factors such as:

  • What maritime job websites have job postings that belong to your country?
  • How often do they update the website with new job postings?
  • Are they putting job requirements of the shipping companies or are they featuring ads of the agents?
  • Check if the jobs listed belong to fake or blacklisted companies or agents?
  • Don’t upload your resume in every job website that you come across.
  • Dedicate some time for researching on the website and its history.

2.       Dedicating Only a Few Hours for Job Searching 

Finding a job is a full time job!

If your definition of job search involves randomly sending a few mails along with your resumes, searching  only the “latest jobs” section of the job portals , and fooling around on the internet by “googling” with random keywords, then you have got it all wrong.

Many seafarers invest only a few hours for job search and then expect positive results. Note that sending a few resumes or uploading them on website is not called job search.

Points to Note:

There are plenty of distractions online while searching for a job online (Facebook being the main one). If you are serious about what you need, then keep aside all the distractions and focus only on your job. Invest your time into sometime constructive.

Things to do while doing job search

  1. Avoid things that distract you ( for e.g. social networking sites for chatting with friends)
  2. Make a schedule and follow it
  3. Experiment by adopting new ways and methods
  4. Eat, drink, and sleep “Job Search”

3.       Using the Same Tools Everyday

If a job seeker uses the same websites, same search engines, and same networking portals every day, he or she will soon reach a saturation point.

It is true that most of the seafarers use the same tools (websites, strategies, etc.) each day and then expect new results. If you are serious about your new job you have to look for new ways of job hunting.

Search for new tools, websites, and approaches to get different results. Unless and until you try you won’t come to know if a particular method works for you or not.

Explore the web; there is too much useful stuff out there.

What you can do?

  • Try using different features of the same website you visit everyday
  • Explore new tools and search engines for job search
  • Think out of the box and come out with new strategies to target you job hunting process
  • Use RSS feeds of the top job boards and sign up for their news letters
  • Read latest maritime news to know announcements of the top shipping companies

4.       Neglecting Networking

Networking is one term mariners are not very familiar with. Networking is an art which needs to be practiced often in order to excel. As seafarers are most of the time away at the sea, they are a bit detached from the rest of the world. This is one of the main reasons seafarers don’t really know the importance of networking or how to use it for their benefit.

Like in any other industry, in maritime industry as well networking can be used to get introduced to new opportunities.

A normal mariner doesn’t generally know how to use networking for his or her benefit and this is a massive drawback.

How to start networking?

  • Invest some time in networking each day
  • Connect to people who matter in the industry
  • Try to talk to them and ask them about new opportunities
  • Don’t be shy to inform them that you are looking for a job
  • Be an extrovert when it comes to marketing yourself
  • Think yourself as a product which you have to sell
  • Get to know as many new people as possible from your industry and talk to them about your situation

5.       Neglecting resumes or cover letter 

This is one thing most of the mariners neglect. Most of the seafarers think that shipping companies don’t give much importance to resumes while selecting a candidate. However, this is the biggest myth ever.

Resume is the first thing any maritime employer looks into when searching for a new candidate. Most of the recruiters spend less than 20 seconds in order to evaluate a resume. If your resume is just like those of others, there are very slim chances of it to be considered.

To make sure that your resume catches the attention of the recruiter, you need to learn the art of writing great resumes that work.

How you can improve?

  • Learn to develop the art of writing effective resumes
  • Know how to write a professional cover letter
  • Find out what you should mention and what you should not in your resume
  • Never copy your friend’s resume format
  • Never make spelling mistakes in the resume

Additional read:

6.       Losing confidence and giving up 

This is the most important of all points.

Many seafarers give up when they don’t get the desired results. They blame it on others, on the system, on the industry, and lastly on themselves. Eventually they quit. Worth thing, they start looking for opportunities in other fields without trying hard enough to get a job in the one they aspire for. They lose hope too early.

It is true that the process of job finding can take a toll on anyone when frustration, stress,             and negative attitude seep in. Though it is an extremely natural situation, one should try to maintain his or her state of mind without feeling dejected.

At the same time it is very important to strive for patience and keep on trying at the job search.

Losing hope is the worst thing to do during your job hunting process.

Things to do:

  • Keep yourself continuously motivated by keeping the negatives thoughts out of your mind.
  • Some people might get a job easily; some might have to try harder. Never compare yourself with your friends. You are unique in your own way!
  • Finding the right job is just a matter of time and one should not lose hope after getting a few rejections
  • Keep patience
  • If frustration builds up, take a break. Do things that you like. Invest time in your passion.
  • Never give up

Last but not the least, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!


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