Many applicants get discouraged when looking for a cruise job because they feel that they don’t meet all the requirements of the cruise line’s job description. As a result they don’t even apply. The fact is it’s easier than you think to get a cruise job with no experience. Everyone has transferable skills that are applicable to many cruise ship jobs.
Preferred Experience for Cruise Ship Jobs
What job seekers need to know is that the experience, education and skills that a recruiter prefers to have is actually their “perfect” candidate as opposed to the candidate that they end up hiring. Think of the qualifications that the recruiter wants their ideal candidate to have as a wish list.
They may prefer that an applicant has more than one language, has shipboard experience, has a Bachelor’s Degree, and has X number of years of experience. Unfortunately for them, they may not find their ideal candidate because the requirements are unrealistic. Fortunately for you, this means that you may not need all the experience that they ask for.
In fact, this is a tactic that hiring managers use to limit the amount of unqualified and undetermined applicants that apply for a particular job. The more specific and strict they write the cruise ship job vacancy’s requirements, the fewer applications that they receive.
Transferable Skills for Cruise Jobs
Although you may not have the exact requirements and experience that recruiters ask for in a job description, you may have related skills. These related skills are called transferable skills. It’s only a matter of highlighting them in a way that’s applicable and relevant to the job you are applying for.
These transferable skills can be further broken down into hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are a person’s specific knowledge and learned abilities such as speaking a second language or proficiency in MS Office. On the other hand, soft skills relate more to a person’s personality, leadership qualities, personal habits, ability to communicate and problem solve.
First you need to identify the skills that a recruiter is looking for as detailed in their job advert. Next, you want to draw attention to how your skills are transferable to that desired cruise ship job. You want to be able to prove that you have both the skills and personality that are required to do the job that you are applying for.
Hard Skills Required for Cruise Ship Jobs
Presentation Skills – Just because you haven’t had a job that required you to use presentation skills, doesn’t mean you can’t put this on a resume. Consider all the school projects that you have had to give a presentation. You can also direct recruiters to a PowerPoint presentation that you have created that you have posted online.
Computer Skills – Computer skills are required for many cruise ship jobs, not just IT jobs. Proficiency in MS Office (Word and Excel) is a universal computer skill to have. Point-of-Sale (POS) systems are throughout the ship and this type of experience is preferred for the gift shop, spa, restaurants and bars.
Administrative Skills – This can be a broad spectrum of skills that includes organizing, planning, typing and filing at the very least. Listing specific task-orientated accomplishments is a great way to showcase these skills. For example, you can highlight your typing speed, experience using MS Word’s Mail Merge and using formulas in Excel.
Sales Skills – Many cruise ship jobs require sales skills. Applicants should highlight their sales accomplishments, experience exceeding sales targets and their ability to upsell.
Customer Service Skills – On a cruise ship, outstanding passenger service or guest service is extremely important. How have you made a difference for customers? How will you make a difference in the guests’ experience? Recruiters want to know.
Soft Skills Required for Cruise Jobs
Interpersonal Skills – Interpersonal skills includes oral communication and active listening skills. How effective are your interpersonal skills when it comes to delegating, motivating, disciplining, coaching, supervising, resolving conflict, problem solving and exchanging ideas?
Teamwork Skills – The ability to live and work in a multinational and multicultural environment must be emphasized. Even classroom group projects could be used as experience of highlighting how you have worked well as a team.
Independent Work Skills – Highlight that you can work with little supervision and can manage your time. Give examples how you have set and met deadlines.
Organizational Skills – Depending on the cruise job you are applying for, you should give examples of how you have demonstrated your organizational skills. List the activities that you have organized detailing how many people were involved and the age groups that attended. You could also highlight your organizational skills by explaining how you managed X number of projects at the same time.
Charismatic and Outgoing Personality – Many cruise ship jobs that are customer-facing such as Guest Services Associate, Cruise Staff, Youth Staff, and many sales-type positions require that the applicant have an outgoing personality and that they are easily approachable.
No Experience, No Problem
How you prove your experience goes beyond your past and current employment. Most job seekers have more skills than they think they have. They’ve acquired them through volunteering, travelling, extracurricular activities, hobbies, school projects, internships, workshops and seminars. Highlight all applicable skills in your resume and cover letter.
Having a past employer, teacher or coach write a letter of reference for you is another way to prove to your prospective recruiter that you are capable of certain skills and experience. They can say what your personality is like, the type of worker you are and the specific responsibilities you had.