Lately, I’ve been receiving messages from fellow sailors and cadets who are asking for help to get on board. It seemed that the only way to realize their dream is to find someone within the company to lift them up. But I always tell them that it’s possible to get hired without any backers if they follow the steps here.
Besides, even if I wanted to help them, I calmly declined because I was not connected or affiliated with any shipping agency especially now that I’m on vacation for such a long time.
One thing I can do is share this post with you on how to get hired by a shipping company even if you came from an unknown maritime school and have zero backers. I got these techniques straight from the horses’ mouths- training instructors, crewing managers, and recruitment officers.
A few of my fellow seamen also used these methods and managed to make their dreams come true without relying on any backer except hard work and faith in God. You only need to be patient and open to new ideas.
How to Get Hired Without Any Backers
Perseverance, initiative, and the ability to make every “No” as your vitamin also play a big role. If your dreams are big enough, those traits will just come out automatically.
Here are secret methods you can use to get hired without relying on influential connections in the shipping industry. You can also use them if you want to apply to top manning agencies in the country.
1. Change your limiting beliefs
The first thing that you must do is to condition your mind and change your limiting beliefs about yourself and your current situation. Oftentimes, I see comments on social media saying,
“You can’t get hired if you don’t have a backer!”
That belief already limits your thoughts, actions, and resolve. If you hold on to that, it will materialize and you won’t make any extraordinary efforts to apply.
To change this, simply do the opposite. Say to yourself every day before you sleep and after waking up,
“There is an excellent company out there waiting for me. I just have to find them.”
Once you set your beliefs correctly, it’s time to prepare for opportunities that will come. Even applicants in cruise ship manning agencies who have no backers have this positive belief and it pays them well.
2. Study and familiarize the entrance exams and interviews
Before you can be hired, you must pass every entrance exam and interview. This can be done by diligent reviews and studies about some of the lessons you learned in school. A knowledgeable applicant teeming with self-confidence is sure to create a positive impression on the interviewer.
Even if you fail on your first, second, or tenth attempt, don’t be disheartened. Instead, study more and go over the previous exams and interviews. They may not be the same but I’m 100% sure they are similar.
So if you learn and familiarize the questions in every interview or exam, you can use that knowledge on your next application. Your previous interview experience will also allow you to build the right confidence.
3. Be creative in passing through the guards
Sometimes, the guards will stop you at the gate. But if you are truly interested in that specific company, change your strategy so that your application can get through.
One method is to tag along with an ex-crew of that company or another seafarer who is also an applicant. Simply ask their permission if you could join them in entering the office so you could pass safely through the guards.
Once you are inside, the rest is up to you. Give them a very grateful “thank you” but don’t ask them to be your backer because it is impolite to do so; unless they give you the offer. But you can ask them for tips and hiring news about other companies.
4. Be creative in sending application letters
If you have a little budget, you can send your application via LBC, J&T, or any courier services and address it to the crewing manager. This will surely put your name on his desk and create an impression of willingness, initiative, and guts.
Then there is an email system that you can use. Simply get the email address of the crewing manager and send a soft copy of your application form. You can do this in your free time during the evening. There are lots of crewing agencies with their emails listed in DMW’s list of manning agencies.
5. Leverage online platforms
While many agencies still use face-to-face hiring processes, many of them are also posting only through social media. With this, be sure to craft your profile professionally during job hunting.
Smart seafarers utilize professional networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, to showcase their skills, experiences, and accomplishments. They also actively participate in online forums and groups related to the maritime industry.
There, you can share knowledge, seek advice, and connect with potential employers. You can also use seaman job sites and apps to see and apply to companies.
6. Help random seafarers
Lastly, hanging out in Kalaw can be beneficial provided that you know how to take advantage of a situation. There are many seafarers out there from officers to ratings who are looking for something.
One of your best strategies is by talking to them. As you get to know them, ask something about what they’re looking for or what they currently need. But do it in a not-so-obvious, conversational way.
They may be looking for a new boarding house, cheap but effective traditional medicines because they want to pass the medical exams, contact access to lawyers, old, used, or new cars, vacation spots, companies hiring for a specific job, and many others.
Help them get what they want if you can do so. If not, try to help them the best that you can. Even specific information can be a big help to them.
During this process, it is important to set aside your desires. Most of them have problems bigger than yours and the last thing they want to know is how your problems are bigger than theirs.
Forget about you need a backer or you want to get a company. Don’t mention your drama of being helpless in the big city because nobody is helping. Avoid asking him to back you up. Keep away from topics such as those and focus first on helping him without expecting anything in return.
7. Help as many as you can
Job application is a numbers game. Getting hired in one shot without any backer is only a one-in-a-million chance. Hence, for you to get hired, help as many as you can.
By doing so, those people are now in your debt and some of them will find ways to pay you back. The more people you help, the more they are indebted to you. This way, you will also build a strong network of seafarers until one day, someone will help you out with your application. You will be surprised by the unexpected blessings that come your way.
Repeat the process above and just never give up.
May the winds be in your favor.