If I were to write a book...
Shiplife Dictionary - Vol 2
What did they just say? What on earth does that mean? These are thoughts or statements that may take place if you have ever cruised on a ship as a passenger or worked as a fresh “newbie” onboard. I actually wrote about this back in 2015 but feel I really only scratched the surface when it comes to shiplife language. I keep it light hearted, for obvious reasons I will not entertain or discuss anything that would be rude, crude or socially unattractive.
On every ship around the world, just like any airplane that is expected to meet a global regulatory standard must follow the international aviation, or in my case maritime language of English. Crew will and do speak other languages especially with foreign guests, yet must be fully competent and capable of fluently communicate in English. This way, in the event of an emergency the ships crew are all speaking the same language.
English though, is actually a very “muddy” language as far as language goes. Ask anyone that is multilingual and English is not their first language they will tell you that English is one of the hardest languages to learn. My personal example, I am a born native english speaker from the west coast of Canada and yet I have travelled to Cardiff Wales and trying to order a hamburger at Burger King was laughingly impossible…
This happens because English is prone to adopt a lot of local slang or regional specific words. Did you see the size of that Lorry? or did you see the size of that truck? Just place it in the boot or just place it in the trunk.
So here they are, my TOP 10! words used in English by ships crew that are very commonly used onboard and perhaps never used back home.
Well, there you have it. My Top Ten behind the scenes ship english terms spoken by the crew.
I will also admit that my spoken english has actually morphed a lot over the last 4.5 years. I have by osmosis, adopted a lot more of the proper British vernacular as Canadian slang seems to have drifted further afield from her Majesty’s english. Is it “TOE-MOT-O”? or TOE-MATE-O”? or even, if I am really being literal “Tomato Sauce” (Ketchup). Another big one for me, I like my greens and enjoy Rocket… Nobody in North America knows what that means. In Canada or the US it is “Arugula”, for me though I have totally shifted to not even thinking about it and just saying “Rocket”, my poor local produce girl...
I wonder what you will notice on your next cruise? Let me know if you ave noticed other words that should have been included in the list by commenting below.
As part of a four part article, I wanted to write about the recruiters role in receiving, screening and handling of resume’s. We live and work in a fast paced world and the process of what to do or rather, how to review and process an application. Many working in the field of recruiting can receive several hundred resumes or more just for one posted job competition.
The following are purely from my perception as someone who takes part in the recruitment process, you may have different opinions and the most important thing is, that is ok. On average I participate in up to 100 job postings a year and for many of those postings I actively participate in the screening and interview process, especially when hiring for managers or above.
I have noticed, wide differences in quality when the recruiting process is taking place, some good, some great and some, needing improvement.
Shortly after posting the below regarding differences between a Resume and a CV I received several requests to dive deeper and share my thoughts on how to write the “perfect resume/CV”. Let me start by saying, “perfect” is and should not be the goal, your application will lack heart if you focus too much on details that frankly are not as big of a deal compared to the meat and potatoes content that it contains. Having said that there are some recommendations I can make to help ensure your application is SEEN and can help start that interview process.
Note that I used the word “recommendation” instead of “rules” or “requirements”. There are no hard and fast rules for the structure, they can also evolve and change overtime. My recommendation is to google “preferred resume structure in _______(country)”. Do not just take the first one as gospel, really do some searching and notice common accepted themes. Also, most word or document writing programs these days have easy to use templates that can get you started. I write mine for example using an apple pages template, why make life more difficult!?
"Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent"
I am sure the majority of us (in North America at least) are familiar with the term “Resume”, I would bet that a large majority of us have heard the term “CV” or “Curriculum Vitae”. What is the difference? Why are they titled differently? Would I ever submit one instead of the other?
Enquiring minds want to know! Spoiler Alert! I have provided examples of each type down below (CV courtesy of ExciteRecruitment.com).
Let’s first appease our inner book worm and look at the actual definitions of each;
- a summing up; summary.
- a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job. (source, dictionary.com)
Ok, how about,
noun: curriculum vitae; plural noun: curricula vitae; plural noun: curricula vitarum
- a brief account of a person's education, qualifications, and previous experience, typically sent with a job application. (source, dictionary.com)
Well, if you ask me they basically sound the same. What gives?? The main difference is how they are formatted, the order of the information and the length. Overall, a resume will tend to be a bit shorter page wise while a “CV’d” version could easily be several pages. It is mostly just North America that utilizes a “resume” format whilst the rest of the world follows a “CV” format. Some countries such as Canada will borrow from both, here for example a resume is usually longer than a CV.
Let’s first break down our initial questions asked in the first paragraph:
1. What is the difference?
As already hinted at above, the major difference is the format. Skills, Accomplishments and Education will generally be visible first on a CV before the professional experience, opposite on a resume. It is also very common for a CV to have a head and or a full body shot of the candidate housed in the upper right corner of the document (see note below on photos and job applications). Versus, a resume which will almost never have any pictures on it and professional experience will be seen before education, skills and accomplishments.
2. Why are they titled differently?
This is a great question, because as we know the structure by definition is basically the same. I have asked colleagues around the globe and nobody seems to know. My opinion is that a CV or Curriculum Vitae was already the norm around the world and in North America, especially in the United States the term was not, well, “English”. So the word Resume was chosen to fit in more culturally. If you have any more thoughts on this please comment below.
3. Would I ever submit one instead of the other?
In short, yes. Why? It depends on where you are applying geographically. In our global employment market these days it is becoming more and more common, even for entry level positions to apply to foreign employment opportunities (barring meeting foreign Visa requirements of course). When applying for positions in Europe and the Middle East especially a CV will be the preferred document to submit. How will I know? Simply, the website of the company you are applying to, pay attention to their verbiage. Does it say “attach resume” or “attach CV”.
Ok, back to this business about pictures and job applications. When I was fresh to the world of recruiting and human resources I sometimes received applications from job seekers with photos of themselves attached, sometimes embedded into the resume or CV and sometimes separate. Often the photos were professionally done and looked good, I will not lie though, I did sometimes receive photographs that were, to say the least… "provocative" and not something mom or dad would like to see floating out there on the world wide web. Although I thought the practice was “silly” at first, I discovered that in fact, this is a very normal practice on a CV. It is done to make a great first impression and like a sea of black suitcases in an airport, with that one pink one sticking out, a picture of you professionally looking your best helps you stand out and personalizes what is a very standard document.
What do you think? As always, please comment, like and share. As promised below are examples of my own, both as a resume and a CV version of the same. Note: below are samples, phone numbers and actual home addresses have been changed.
Until next time, happy hunting.
I often get questions via social media looking for advice on getting a cruise ship job. I noticed that once my job title changed from “Learning & Development” to “Human Resources” I started to get a lot more messages related to advice on how to land that cruise line job.
The main advice I have is that everything is done online these days. Especially for the larger brands in the industry there is nobody to call, you have to start the process online with the companies website. All major cruise brands have a careers tab on their main website. Start there and research what job you might be interested in. Make sure to pay close attention to the hiring requirements, as many positions require a minimum required amount of education or experience.
Depending on the country you are from, you may be redirected to apply through a hiring partner/agency. Large cruise lines employ crew members from over 80 different nations and the only way to handle that many applications is to contract out the initial recruitment to hiring agents in the local country. Most cruise line websites will direct you to the local hiring partner if in fact your country is using one. Be sure to follow up with them and they will carry out your recruitment process from there.
When I was in the hiring process I did as much research as I could about shiplife. I highly encourage anybody considering a life at sea to do the same. There are dozens of videos on YouTube and many blogs and articles from crew members that can paint a picture for you. At the same time, take everything with a grain of salt, some of the videos and articles may be from disgruntled employees, seek out the content that talks about life at sea.
The process can be long, you will need to find some patience as you can go weeks without hearing any updates. Just keep calm and wait. In other cases things might move quickly, especially if there is a significant need for your position.
Have some cash ready. During the recruitment phase if offered a position you may have to secure several foreign Visas, most especially a US C1/D Visa or an EU Schengen Visa. Also, you will have to complete a pre-employment medical exam which varies greatly from one country to the next. For example in the United States and Canada the price can range from $600-$900 and an approved medical is valid for 2 years for most positions, licensed marine officers are required to renew on a more frequent basis.
When you get to the interview phase it is important to make a good impression. You do this by ensuring you research the company, the role and know what it is all about. There is everything you need to know available to you online, google, YouTube and even instagram can help you with your knowledge.
Behind the scenes on a cruise ship
I have written before on social media use, misuse and abuse, targeted more as a tool kit for HR Managers. I also have written about personal brands “what is your brand”. The other day something very interesting happened to me. I was scrolling my facebook feed as most of us do and I came across a meme that jumped out at me (posted below). I was instantly horrified and sad at the same time, it’s 2018 for crying out loud and considering the massive wave of gun violence in the United States I found it very distasteful.
Then I saw who posted it. A comedian, jokester, YouTube star that I had followed since his career first started, In all his videos and posts he has always stayed away from politics, religion, etc. I always looked up to him for that and thought being a younger guy he would be for equality and inclusion. I posted a comment on the thread basically sharing my upset and disappointment, then I read the hundreds of comments. There were a small few bigoted comments in support of the meme and post but there were many dozens and dozens that clearly felt the same way I did, many with the comment “unfollowing you”.
Lance is a very popular YouTuber and I never expected him to reply to my comment and I was still so dumbfounded that someone would post something so mean. I took to twitter, Lance has over 826,000 followers there, mine is measly but the power of social media can be amazing. I shared the meme, tagged Lance in it and spoke out about how bigoted and hateful this was and that there are children all around the world that kill themselves because they aren’t accepted for who they are.
Lance responded. He immediately apologized and shared with me something that I had already assumed. Lance is his own business and social media is his platform so he does have staffers that help to manage his various social media platforms, one of them had decided to re-share the meme from another site and Lance had no idea it was even posted. Lance immediately regained my respect as a fan of his, he was so upset about it and assured me this was nowhere close to his outlook or opinion.
This was an interesting lesson though and Lance and I had a back and fourth text discussion about it. He “is” his own brand as @Lance210, in his face on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The general public has no idea if it is him posting, or someone doing it for him, with an impressive 11.3 million facebook followers he has earned a lot of fans, this is his income. Social media gurus make money from many of these platforms it is literally their careers. The lesson here is that even ONE tweet, post, pic or meme can tarnish your brand, badly. How many hundreds or even thousands of fans unfollowed Lance that day?
Some fans were so outraged they reported the post to facebook internal security as an inappropriate post. Imagine the impact if his page had been shut down by facebook? You just lost the ability to communicate to your 11.3 million fans who are your customers and who you rely on for your well being.
In this day and age, it does not matter if your brand is just about you, a small company or a large corporation with thousands of employees. One single post to social media can damage that brand, very quickly. Lance managed it very well, reacted immediately, apologized and investigated how it all happened in the first place. If I am one of his customers then he did the absolute right thing and went into customer recovery mode, I am an even more eager fan than I was before.
So where do we go from here? Education, Education, Education and ensuring that we closely monitor what we are posting ourselves and what others might be posting on our behalf. I always ask myself before I post anything “would my mother be proud of me for posting this?” If I cannot give an emphatic YES, then I don’t post it. If you are a blogger and you have help managing your social media image make sure they know your moral code and brand standard.
Let me know what you think, feel free to comment below.
Practice Safe Social Media,
Like I said, Lance is actually a cool funny guy. Check out one of his recent prank videos here. You can follow him as @Lance210 or Lance Stewart.
I have two things to say, #1 I never thought I would end up working in human resources and, #2 I never thought I would end up with a career based at sea. Human Resources was vilified and made to seem scary when I was in high school and my family business was a yachting and marine service company. I thought HR was scary and the inner rebel in me automatically avoided the family business.
I am not sad that my life has taken several personal and professional diversions over time. But, I know that HR is not scary and evil and I also know that my heart belongs to the ocean. It may have taken a few years but I am happy and proud to say I am “back in the family business”.
How did I get here? Well, that is actually a funny story, at least to me. I have a close friend that for years has fantasised about working on cruise ships and after both of us were in a bit of an emotional slump career wise I finally said “ok, thats it! I am coming over on Sunday with food and we are going to apply to the cruise lines”.
Sunday happened and with our laptops out, resumes and cover letters updated we applied to a couple of our favourite companies. We were both in the same role in another industry and ended up applying for the same role which was in Training & Development.
Monday morning… We BOTH received responses from our most preferred company asking to complete online personality testing. We did that right away and both passed. The next steps were phone/skype interviews with the recruitment professional before we would progress to the direct hiring manager. We did our interviews on the same day, mine in the morning and his in the afternoon.
Success! we both passed the screening process to this point. The next step was to do a teach back (facilitate a mini training session) via Skype. Not an easy task over Skype at the time! I had to use several devices to ensure I had all my bases covered. Skip to a couple days later and I had passed the interview, my friend, had not… I was devastated for my friend because really, this was their idea.
Once you pass the interview process you have to complete intense background checks and a very thorough medical exam. Some of this is out of your own pocket and the medical exam, at least in Canada was about $800. I was then offered a start date! after some back and fourth and trepidation on my part I left my office job for the last time in March 2015 and have not looked back since. I love my life at sea and yes, it is a lot of work to get here. I think it is worth it and is the most rewarding work I have ever had the pleasure to do.
If you feel like getting your feet wet… join me! I will follow up with another article more specific to job hunting for careers at sea. In the meantime, just check out all the various websites and or speak to your local hiring partner.
May the winds be in your favour,
Shifting perspectives of HR
When I was 14 years old, in high school, I was made to complete a personalty profile along with my fellow students to determine what career path we not only could take, but should take based on our competency and academic standing.
At that time I had my heart set on being an airline pilot or a doctor or optometry. Based on my profile results I was essentially told that I was not smart enough to do either. Both of these turned out to be untrue, I became a pilot despite not being great at maths. These tests at the time served only to pigeon hole or limit the dreams of many young people, good intention but poor execution.
If you told me at 14 that one day my career arc would take me to being a human resources professional I would have used some very colourful language to essentially say “not a chance, no way”. Why would I say this? Because the world of human resources had been vilified to me. My aunt has been an HR professional for years and has a very distinguished record, yet members of my own family spoke about her work in such a negative light that I grew up thinking that the world of human resources was a scary and negative place. It turns out this could not be further from the truth.
I am not alone however, many people have a physical cringe moment when the topic of “HR” is raised. Further, often when someone is invited to meet me in my office the first question is “am I in trouble”. Why do people feel that way? I would suggest it stems from the notion that most guests say to me when they find out what I do “oh! you are the one that hires and fires”.
I do not like hearing the because, as I have learned, human resources is so much deeper than simply starting or ending someones career. I have so much respect now for what my aunt does, she works in a heavily unionised and regulated health care industry and yet when we meet we do not compete for the most recent exciting termination story or investigation. We talk about organisational development and how to support the business needs of our organisations and ensure we create an inspirational place to work.
It is true, sometimes we have to give bad news to an employee including ending their current employment. We also and more often get to give good news, a promotion or a successful hiring. We do not look at the end of someones career as a a bad thing, the news hurts them and we feel it too, we also know that if their career is ending with us it is for a good reason and they will certainly find more fulfilment in another role or a different company, bad news today can and is good news tomorrow.
Do not be afraid of HR, our soul purpose is to help you achieve you goals.