Turning a daywork gig into a full-time position: 5 essential tips
Written by Luke Wheeler
Last updated: 04/01/2017
Whether you’re new to the yachting industry – a greenie – or a seasoned crew member with a jam-packed CV looking for fresh challenges for your next season, picking up daywork will never hinder your career in yachting. You’ll meet new crew, gain new contacts, experience how things differ across various boats and areas, and gain experience that is always valuable, no matter how much experience you already have.
Daywork is also a fantastic way of finding permanent positions. Using a yacht crew agent in your area is a great start, and many permanent vacancies will be advertised and filled through such agencies – but even in this largely digital day and age, sometimes just showing your face and a smile is all you need to not only get daywork, but to turn that gig into your next permanent role.
If you want the crew you’ve been dayworking with to beg you to stay before it comes time to leave, then take a read through our five essential tips below to ensure you’re in the best possible position to be kept on.
1) Don't be late!
Well, duh, right? But seriously; don’t be late. No matter how small or trivial the job you’ve been hired for, and no matter how little difference being five minutes late would ultimately make to your ability to get the job done, it’s not about that – being late simply speaks volumes about your character. Those who show up late appear disorganised, unmotivated, unkeen; the list goes on.
If you are going to be late, phone the appropriate contact as soon as you even suspect you might not be on time. Apologise, explain the reason without blaming anyone or anything, show sincerity and determination to arrive as soon as possible, and you may claw back valuable points.
Honestly, there’s too much competition in this field to start rocking up late, and someone who can show up on time will not be difficult to find – so for the best chance of securing a permanent role off the back of daywork, timekeeping ability is paramount.
2) Their way is the only way
The yachting industry is one where you may have two workers – different boats, same job – whose duties and tasks could not possibly differ more. Everything is relative to the type of yacht, the owner, whether it’s private or chartered, and so on. Your way of doing things from previous experiences may be the polar opposite at this new gig.
Understanding this and showing your potential boss that you are willing to adapt and fit in to their methods and routines is super important. However, merely following literal orders and bringing nothing of your own to a task – whilst potentially fine if you don’t want to be hired by the yacht again – can be just as off-putting to someone looking to fill a permanent role with someone dynamic.
By all means, if you feel like you could improve your results during a task by doing something a little differently, open a discussion with the chief. Don’t be afraid to suggest how you could make something even better – it isn’t cheeky or rude to do so, even if it’s ten minutes after meeting them. It shows drive and pride in your work and an urge to please. However, if you’re told that something needs to be done to exacting standards in a specific, tried-and-tested way, don’t try and be smart about it.
3) Show your personality whilst remaining professional
Yachts are interesting locations to work; you’re often plunged into very formal environments, so professionalism is key – but living with crew who can’t let their hair down and be their own person would be a nightmare.
When existing crew know they’re looking to turn a dayworker full-time, they won’t just be looking at how you work, they’ll be looking at how you are. Should you be made permanent, you’ll be sharing a room with one of them. Being a good worker is one half of the equation, being a good housemate is the other.
Don’t take your professionalism hat off during your tasks, but do ensure that crew get an idea of what you’re like as a person. Take every appropriate opportunity to introduce yourself to someone new, and get to know as many people as you can, even just a little bit. Making an effort to gel with the existing crew will get noticed every time.
4) Treat the day as a long interview or trial shift
A good rule of thumb that may help cement several key behaviours and practices in your mind, is to treat your dayworking gig similar to how you would treat an extended interview, or a trial shift.
Be hands-on, keen and willing to show initiative, but remember your limits; you’re still very much a guest on the boat at this time. Go the extra mile to make sure you come across as extra polite and courteous, even if it feels a little unnatural. It will make the rest of the crew feel respected, and in turn, they will respect you.
If you finish the tasks assigned to you ahead of time, ask if there’s anything else you can help with. If you’re really good, try and spot other things that could do with some attention whilst you complete the tasks you’ve been hired for, and suggest that you’d be happy to take a look at it before the day is over. Even if they’ve got everything covered, you will look so good for showing that initiative.
5) Thank the crew and follow up with an email
If you can, try and catch up with a few of the crew – even the captain, if possible – to thank them for their welcome and the opportunity. At this point, they may mention if they’d like you back the next day, or they may just bid you farewell with no inkling of what’s coming next.
No matter the situation, following up with an e-mail just to reiterate how thankful you are, your appreciation for the opportunity etc., is never going to go down badly. You can even sign it off with something based on what you’ve learned about the crew; let’s say you learned one of the stews on board is off to training next week – chuck a ‘good luck’ in your follow-up e-mail.
After one e-mail saying thank you, don’t follow up again if you don’t hear back. Double messaging isn’t just a risky move limited to the dating world. More than one follow-up message after any kind of interview or appearance can – and, most likely will – ooze desperation. They have your details, and you will hear from them if the position is right for you.
If you have a great day on a dayworking gig and don’t get called back, don’t take it to heart. Chances are you were great, but that particular yacht doesn’t need someone full-time right now. Sometimes, a yacht may have seen three amazing dayworkers all of equal capabilities and skills, so an offer went to the one who had the most in common with the crew. These things are out of your control, and are so not worth fretting over.
Keep dayworking, get the experience, and the position will come. You’ll have a blast doing it.