Shipping is an important industry worldwide, and a career in shipping can be very rewarding for young people. However, getting a job in the shipping industry is not easy, but the following tips from experts like Victor Restis should help you improve your chances of getting hired.
1. Join Shipping Networks & Associations
Membership of international associations/networks will provide opportunities to meet members from all areas of the maritime sector and find people who might be able to help your career. The International Shipping Federation (ISF) is one such organization that has more than 50 national affiliates who deal with issues of concern to the global shipping industry.
2. Have a Career Plan & Be Flexible
Success in any job depends on knowing what you want to achieve and the steps you need to take in order to get there. What are your current skills? How can you improve them? Think about how a particular position could lead to another interesting opportunity. One of the most important skills in life is being flexible, so embrace changes when needed.
3. Gain Experience
A good idea would be to get some experience in your chosen field well before applying for a job. For example, if you want to be master of a ship one day, getting some experience on board as an AB or OS will help to demonstrate that you have what it takes. You could also try and get experience working in the offices of shipping companies and learn more about bookings, port agency services, etc.
4. Have Excellent Communication Skills
Your communication skills are extremely important in any job, especially when dealing with international customers and colleagues from all walks of life. The ability to speak foreign languages fluently is always beneficial, although it should by no means be seen as a pre-requisite. More importantly, good written English skills are essential for almost every role within the sector.
5. Be Enthusiastic & Organized
Successful shipping professionals are often very enthusiastic about their job and industry in general but also well organized. Make sure you plan your time carefully to make the most efficient use of it. You can never be late for an interview or meeting when you’ve planned everything in advance!
6. Have a Great CV
A great CV includes key skills that match the requirements of the position; relevant work experience; qualifications; membership of professional associations; languages spoken (if relevant), and testimonials from previous employers (if possible). Keep it short – three pages maximum, plenty of bullet points where possible so it is easy to read.
7. Be Ready to Travel
Shipping companies are often very international, so you’ll have to be prepared to travel, sometimes extensively. Therefore all your documents must be up to date and tidy, so they don’t hold you back from your next big opportunity.
8. Job Portals & Headhunters
There are many shipping job websites out there where you can see what vacancies are currently being advertised or headhunters who deal with the hiring process of global shipping companies – be sure not to miss them! As well as looking for your ideal position, don’t forget about reaching out directly through social media channels such as Linkedin, Facebook, etc., by letting people know about your current job search.