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Over-qualified or over the hill? What is wrong with my CV?

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  • Over-qualified or over the hill? What is wrong with my CV?

    I have applied for a deck officer cadetship (January entry) to Carnival UK, Celebrity, Chiltern Marine, Maersk, Noble Caledonian, Princess, SSTG, Star Cruises, Variety Cruises and Viking Recruitment - ten organisations with SSTG and Viking each representing many shipping companies. I had three immediate rejections - Noble, Star and Viking - with all the others approaching rejection by default, i.e. they haven't even replied and it is nearly a month since I applied. The most positive reaction, and the one exception is Maersk who said their applications had closed for this year but would hold my details on file for next year!

    What is wrong with my CV? (http://www.millea.com/Tim_Millea/MIL...lleaCVX%20.pdf)

    I can't believe I can't even get an interview. Am I over-qualified or over the hill?

    Any help or advice much appreciated.

    Tim.

  • #2
    I have had the exact same, apart from I was lucky to get an interview with CMT. From my experience is neither over-qualified or over the hill. It appears to me that shipping companies now prefer the majority of cadets to be under 20. But I am determined to keep applying till im successful.
    "Riches don't make a man rich, they only make him busier" Christopher Columbus

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    • #3
      Perhaps it's because you've already got a HNC. so perhaps you don't qualify for government funding, but not sure what the whole story is there..

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      • #4
        I think that possibly the agencies would think that you have too much life experience. I'm not trying to condescend, but cadet work is skivvy work most of the time. Spending months brushing, painting, chipping. They may feel that having had yacht master work, being so interested in travelling worldwide and having held senior positions within different jobs, that you are more likely to quit. The agencies don't care if you want to go on a cruise ship and not platform supply, they just stick you on what is available. Perhaps thin out your C.V. a little? Say you have worked on the yachts, but I don't think they care about the miles you've done. Also try and write your C.V. with only the pertinent information that you can relate back to the cadetship. You can impress them with the yachtmasters and your experience face to face at the interview stage.

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        • #5
          Join the RFA!

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          • #6
            As mentioned, I would take bits out that don't relate to the application.

            And some companies do prefer younger candidates, although I'm 22 and I managed to get accepted by
            Carnival Maersk and SSTG. What's more important is how committed you come across and whether they feel you will stick it out through the entire cadetship. Last thing they want is to invest their money in you, only to have you drop out half way through.

            They may worry that since you've had so much life experience/job roles that you'll get bored of the cadetship and drop out?

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            • #7
              Thanks for the replies! Points taken about 'thinning' out my CV. I read that a significant proportion of job applicants exaggerate their experience and qualifications. It seems I have to do the opposite. Shame I have already applied to everyone - except the RFA.

              I am sure that many cadet recruiters would prefer younger applicants but they are not allowed to by law now. Still, they can prefer people with more recent A-levels, or less 'life experience'.

              It is strange that now I feel the only cadet recruiter I can trust to abide by the letter and spirit of the age-discrimination law is the one I haven't applied to. RFA, here I come. I have requested an application form. Before I was put off by the militarised application procedure sift, AIB etc. though I must admit if you are going to be passing through the Gulf of Aden, you might as well have a gun on your ship with someone who knows how to use it.

              I may be writing off the other organisations a little too early. They may just be busy and/or slow to reply....

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              • #8
                Hi Tim, while not as qualified as you, I was also worried that I might come across as overqualified and too old when I applied for my cadetship age 30 when I imagined 16+ was the standard age.

                I sent a covering letter attempting to answer the many questions that recruiters may have had when they saw a mid stage career finance professional changing career for a life at sea.

                I'm sure you also sent covering letters where possible, but just on the off chance you didnt that might be something to think about.



                Having read your cv my questions would be

                what were you doing between 1997 and 2001?
                why did you leave lecturing and academia in 2004 to go and work for a property firm in Turkey?
                why are you thinking of becoming a deck officer just as you have finished your Ph.D?

                In your profile section, I would expect you to write why you are wanting to change career to the merchant navy.

                Hope that doesnt sound condescending/patronising.
                Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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                • #9
                  We have a newly qualified officer onboard who is 40 years old and an ex software engineer, so there are opportunities for older cadets. It might be that you were simply too late with applications.

                  If MAersk have come back to you to say that there applications have closed for this year then it is possible that most other companies will be the same, so take a look at the advice on here and apply again for next intake.

                  Good luck!
                  Go out, do stuff

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                  • #10
                    Have you tried BP? I have a feeling you may have a good chance with them.

                    But as mentioned above, you haven't really explained to them why you want to become a cadet after your phd etc.

                    And yes the timing isn't ideal as most companies will be busy sorting things out for us who are starting in a few weeks! Next intake will be January so may hear back nearer then?

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                    • #11
                      Many thanks. What a great community this is! I should have passed my CV before you before applying. Loads of helpful and positive advice. I am re-working my CV based on your feedback.

                      I did write covering letters adding to the CV but yes, probably not enough to explain to someone who doesn't know me why I want to go from PhD to merchant navy. I didn't go back further than 2001 on jobs because I was advised elsewhere that 10 years was more than enough. I may 'undate' my qualifications and I will better present my motivation. I had my arms twisted to enter academia, now I will do what I should have done instead.

                      As for the beautifully put 'skivvy work' expected of cadets - age is no barrier to that. One does not get more grandiose with age, sorry to disappoint you :-) I have heard graduate friends in their first paid jobs say they could never go back to living like a student. I did and much worse. Only yesterday I was sitting in the mud in a cloud of biting insects pulling out weeds for hours on end. Chipping and painting sounds very civilised in comparison!

                      A genuine thanks for excellent feedback.

                      Tim.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by timmillea View Post
                        Many thanks. What a great community this is! I should have passed my CV before you before applying. Loads of helpful and positive advice. I am re-working my CV based on your feedback.

                        I did write covering letters adding to the CV but yes, probably not enough to explain to someone who doesn't know me why I want to go from PhD to merchant navy. I didn't go back further than 2001 on jobs because I was advised elsewhere that 10 years was more than enough. I may 'undate' my qualifications and I will better present my motivation. I had my arms twisted to enter academia, now I will do what I should have done instead.

                        As for the beautifully put 'skivvy work' expected of cadets - age is no barrier to that. One does not get more grandiose with age, sorry to disappoint you :-) I have heard graduate friends in their first paid jobs say they could never go back to living like a student. I did and much worse. Only yesterday I was sitting in the mud in a cloud of biting insects pulling out weeds for hours on end. Chipping and painting sounds very civilised in comparison!

                        A genuine thanks for excellent feedback.

                        Tim.
                        Most of them will actually have an application form itself. Have you completed the application forms or just sent CV's in?
                        I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                        All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                          Most of them will actually have an application form itself. Have you completed the application forms or just sent CV's in?
                          I have followed whatever their stated procedure was. Most request a CV and have a short form. Carnival UK had the longest form with no CV. This was all online. Almost all of them say that they only accept applications via their website or by emailing their completed PDF or MS Word form.

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                          • #14
                            Just as an additional career idea, have you thought about working as an IT officer on a cruise ship. When I was getting some sea time on Holland America's MS Rotterdam I did a few days in the IT dept and was surprised to find he was the same rank as a 2nd engineer, so deemed a senior officer with a decent cabin to match. He had a few of the Microsoft exams but not a complete MSCE, so probably quite an easy job to get into with your computer background. As I see it, you'd just need to complete the safety courses.
                            Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chris View Post
                              Just as an additional career idea, have you thought about working as an IT officer on a cruise ship. When I was getting some sea time on Holland America's MS Rotterdam I did a few days in the IT dept and was surprised to find he was the same rank as a 2nd engineer, so deemed a senior officer with a decent cabin to match. He had a few of the Microsoft exams but not a complete MSCE, so probably quite an easy job to get into with your computer background. As I see it, you'd just need to complete the safety courses.
                              That is how I discovered the cadet ship - having been looking for IT jobs on cruise ships (following my degree), but came across the cadet ship and thought, i'd give it a shot
                              ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

                              ? Mark Twain
                              myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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