From Normal Life to a Scuba Diver Life: Getting the Job
In the last episode we saw our ‘hero’ giving up his normal life to become a full time scuba pro. A baby was on the way and it was uncertain where would be the best places to go or to avoid. Faithful DIVE.In readers came to the rescue with helpful ideas and comments which were very much appreciated. Soon ideas about how to make things work began to form.
On August 10th young Dylan Marlin Strudwick was born to exhausted but grateful parents. During the last few weeks we have made a list of ‘top 40’ most suitable destinations and been learning how to cope with the dramatic change in our lives and prepare for more dramatic changes to come.
Hunting for a Dive Job
I’ve attacked the job hunt with a vengeance. First, networking: I have asked my existing dive friends, friends of friends, even pets of friends to let their friends know that I’m on the market. Dive Instructor Wanted ads: yes, please. I’ve gone to online dive job sites and prostituted myself in many shameful ways.
Mass mail attack: finally in the most depraved of actions, I have searched country by country for any and all dive operations and sent out CVs and cover letters to everyone with a valid email address. I'm of course keeping track of everything and following up regularly. Dive shop owners be warned - there is no escape!
My CV and cover letter are really my most important weapons. There are some resources available for those who search online for such things and I’ve developed my own approach based on what I’ve found. For those of you in a similar position this is what I did.
Simplicity is key
I realized that many dive shop owners may not speak the same language as me, and to make translating easy instead of trying to look smart and wordy I have made the language I used simple, clear and easy to understand.
Short and sweet
I decided not to go into a lot of detail about my non-diving experience. Instead I have kept it to job title, company, and dates. I do talk about them in some detail at the end in my mini sales pitch.
I managed to keep it to one page in the hope they might actually read it if it was short enough.
Making things obvious
I put my diving qualifications, instructor number, languages, number of dives, certs and specialties in a bulleted list at the very top of the page where it can’t be missed.
Mini Sales pitch: I have a three paragraph sales pitch at the bottom explaining why I would be great to work with. I tie together my previous work experience, dive experience and hopes for the future.
The Cover Letter I actually put in the email is a little bit different. It’s a slightly longer full page sales pitch that goes into more detail than the mini one on my CV.
I look at how my non-diving work history has provided me with unique skills that I use as a dive instructor and what I can do for their business beyond diving. I have made it just a little bit silly, and just a little bit fun and try to communicate my genuine enthusiasm in the hope that it will stand out among the many applications dive center operators receive.
Let’s be honest I’m not a sit around and wait for things to happen kind of guy. I’m more of a grab things and shake them until they do what I want guy. So of course I have a backup plan if I don’t manage to get a job.
The idea here is that it’s a lot easier to shake things up if I’m actually in the neighborhood. Enter the MSDT course. If things don’t work out in the next few months I figure it might be worth going for an MSDT internship. That would give me a lot more specialties to offer, a bunch of certs and put me in a place where I might want to work.
Then I can go around to the local dive shops and charm, harass and yes, if necessary shake the owners into an inevitable and jelly-like submission.
So far I have had a few positive responses, two interviews, and a lot of rejections from about 150 mailings. I have had a lot of positive feedback about the format of the CV and Cover Letter, and might even have a dive job lined up for this season.
I still need your help
As always I would like to invite our readers to share their experiences. How do you make yourself stand out? What works for you and what doesn’t? Where and how do you look for opportunities? Do you know anyone who might hire me?
Next time we’ll look into how I prepared for interviews, what sort of questions I’ve been asking dive operators and how I’m planning to actually get everyone settled in to wherever it is we’re going. Stay tuned!