Writing an application letter has become one of the most critical steps in securing a maritime job. This is true, especially for fresh graduates who are just starting out.
If you want to get ahead in applying for any position on board, crafting a well-written application letter will help you stand out and get noticed!
It is your chance to make an excellent first impression on the hiring manager.
The way you write, your correct grammar and spelling, carefully chosen diction, attention to detail, clarity of thought, and professionalism will show them why you are the best candidate for the job.
Why write an application letter?
I understand your concern if you think writing application letters won’t help. There are legitimate reasons for this, which may discourage you from creating a good one.
However, technology has become so engraved in us that recruitment agents now use all available means to find the best crew for their ships.
This includes CVs, online application forms, online seaman job sites, Facebook groups, and emails.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this image.
Five years ago, recruitment officers preferred connecting with their applicants through SMS, phone calls, or walk-ins.
I tried sending my application letter during those times but only got so few replies. But now, it’s different.
They are open more to online applications and this is shown in their Facebook posts where they always (or most of the time) encourage applicants to send them their CVs and application letters.
Here’s the sauce:
As what Maine Marine mentioned in their job post,
“Polish up your resume and get ready to submit it via email!”
What is an application letter?
Also known as a cover letter, an application letter is a document addressed to potential employers expressing your interest in a job.
This letter typically features a brief introduction, a summary of your qualifications, skills, experience, and why you’re the ideal candidate for the position.
Online job applications are convenient; interviews usually happen after they determine your qualifications from your CV.
However, to even get to that point, you must first grab their attention. It would help if you got noticed first before other candidates, and that’s precisely where application letters play a crucial role.
How to write a seaman’s application letter
When crafting an application letter for seafarers, there are distinct approaches based on your experience level.
Thus, we will create three categories- one for seafarers with experience and another for those without.
But before writing anything, here’s a general guide that you must keep in mind.
- Be specific – Tailor your letter to the position you are applying for.
- Be concise – Keep it to one page or less.
- Proofread carefully – Make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors.
- Be honest – Show them your willingness and availability.
- Tailor each letter – Customize your letter for each job application.
- Mention certifications – Include any certifications, licenses, or training.
- End with a “Call to Action” – Conclude by expressing your eagerness for an interview and thanking the reader for his consideration.
For Seafarers Without Experience
You don’t have prior experience, and you’re setting sail on your seafaring career journey. Here are some useful tips and a guide to help you write an effective application letter.
1. Start with enthusiasm – Express your genuine passion and enthusiasm for pursuing this career.
2. Showcase your education – Highlight any relevant educational background, extracurricular achievements, or certifications, if applicable.
3. Emphasize transferable skills – Transferable skills are skills that can be applied to different jobs and industries. For example, if you have experience in customer service and are applying to a cruise ship manning agency, you can highlight your communication and teamwork skills.
4. Explain your motivation – Share what motivates you to become a seafarer and your commitment.
5. Relate to the Company – This is why you have to tailor each letter. Research the prospective company and show how your values align with its mission and goals.
For Seafarers WITH Experience
If you already have experience working at sea, it’s time to effectively showcase your seafaring background and skills.
Here are some valuable tips.
1. Start strong – Begin with a confident introduction, highlighting your years of experience.
2. Highlight specific achievements – Detail your notable accomplishments, like the positive results of your vetting inspections, how your ship received an award within the fleet, your participation in a rescue operation, etc.
3. Showcase your certificates – Aside from the usual COPs and training, mention relevant certificates and training like the ones you had abroad, if any.
4. Emphasize soft skills – Skills such as leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, reliability, etc.
5. Discuss commitment to safety – Express your dedication to safety protocols.
Examples and Templates
Here are some examples of application letters written by a seaman without experience to a shipping agency and another with seafaring experience.
You can change the words inside the bolded [brackets] to suit your application.
For a Seaman Without Experience
[City, State, ZIP Code]
[Your Email Address]
[Your Phone Number]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
Dear [Mr. Sanchez],
I am writing to express my strong interest in the [Deck Cadet] position on one of your managed vessels, as posted on the [Seaman Hiring Facebook Page]. While I still need to gain direct experience as a seafarer, my dedication, love for the sea, and unwavering commitment to this industry motivate me to learn and grow.
My educational background includes a [Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation] where I gained a deep understanding of maritime operations, safety procedures, seamanship, and navigation. I have also had the opportunity to participate in several hands-on training exercises and simulator courses such as [Ship Simulator Course and Safe Mooring].
In addition to my academic experience, I have also developed a number of transferable skills that would be valuable in the role of a Deck Cadet.
For example, in my previous role as [Junior Safety Officer] at [ABC Builders Philippines], I was responsible for [advising on various safety-related topics, evaluating safety measures, inspecting equipment and site safety, and identifying and mitigating work hazards].
These experiences have taught me how to work effectively in a team, communicate clearly and concisely, and solve problems under pressure.
As someone committed to safety, I believe my values and the company’s visions align. I genuinely identify with your goals and see this alignment as a perfect fit for my aspirations.
I am confident that my skills and experience would be valuable to one of your managed vessels. Given the opportunity, I can demonstrate my potential to contribute positively to your company as a whole.
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to further discussing my qualifications in an interview. If you have more questions, you can contact me through the abovementioned contact details.
For a Seaman WITH Experience
Now, here’s one for a seafarer who already has sea service experience. I won’t be writing the letter header since it will most likely be similar to the first one.
Let’s start with the salutation instead.
Dear [Mr. Connor],
I am writing to express my keen interest in the [Third Officer] position aboard one of your managed vessels, as posted on [Seaman hiring Facebook Page].
With over [10 years] of experience as a seafarer and [4 years] as an officer, I bring a proven track record of exceptional performance in my job and an unwavering commitment to safety and efficiency.
As a Third Officer, I was responsible for ensuring [vessel safety and maintaining the firefighting equipment, preparing port documents, and submitting relevant paperwork on time]. I also possess a solid understanding of [ship operations, safety procedures, company manuals, various shipboard equipment, and safe navigation].
Safety is non-negotiable, and this dedication has elevated my performance on board to new heights. Throughout [10 vetting inspections and 3 PSC inspections], I received no significant shortcomings, with the majority resulting in zero observations.
I hold relevant certifications, including [COPs and COCs], and I am deeply committed to continuously enhancing my skills. In addition to these qualifications, I possess a leadership certificate, further demonstrating my dedication to professional development.
The maritime industry demands not only technical proficiency but also a strong work ethic, adaptability, and the ability to thrive in challenging conditions. I am confident that my proven work ethic, resilience, and commitment make me a valuable asset to your team.
Thank you for considering my application. I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to meet with you and discuss my qualifications in greater detail.
These application letters are samples only. You can always use this as your template, but be sure to change the details.
May the winds be in your favor.