Does your experience fit a surf job?
Looking for a job, whether you’re straight out of school, finishing university or mid-career, can be a daunting prospect. If you’re looking for a job in the surf industry it can be even harder to know if the experience you have matches what the company you’re applying to is looking for.
The surf industry used to be a handful of grassroots surfers and their mates working out of a back garden shed. Those days are long gone and the industry is now worth billions in revenue. Whilst there is always talk of interest in the industry waning, all the statistics suggest otherwise, with more people in the water than ever.
Demonstrate your experience
Firstly, understand that every surf company is running a business. Having skills that relate to running a business or being a part of one, even if it isn’t within the industry, is helpful. Just like any other job you can find ways to demonstrate that the experience you have is transferable and how it could benefit them and their business.
Be the answer they’re looking for
Secondly, understand that the hiring manager is looking for someone to solve their problem. Lots of people apply without thinking about what the hiring manager and the company needs. Rather than droning on about yourself for pages and pages, find ways to demonstrate how you can solve their problems. Sending them a lengthy resume and cover letter all about you and boring them to tears about your education and what you want from your career is a great way to find yourself swiftly in the ‘no’ pile. Show them how you can help them. Be the answer they’re looking for. Ask yourself how you can be of service.
It’s a good idea to work out the relevance of your previous experience to the job you’re applying for too. If you write up one CV and send it out fifty million times you aren’t directly addressing their needs from the start. Spend time up front researching the position and the company. Find out what they’re missing and what they’re looking for. Be specific. If you are going for management job, how have you managed yourself and your time in the past? Can you demonstrate a time when you’ve successfully exceeded expectations? What is unique about your experience that would benefit them?
Diverse training and experience is transferable
Even if it isn’t directly relevant experience, know that a diverse range of training and work experience is transferable. For example, if you’ve been working in retail and you want a job in marketing, how did retail help you learn project management skills? Did you develop customer service skills? What did it teach you about communicating with target markets? Read more about the merits you get from working in retail here.
If there is a gap in your knowledge or experience, make sure to demonstrate your awareness of this and how you aim to tackle that gap. Showing you are self-aware and a fast learner with a good work ethic goes a long way to building their confidence in your ability and willingness to succeed. It also proves that you’re down to go the extra mile for them and that you care enough to have thought about it and come up with solutions for them.
Professional and personal development
Professional development is as important as personal development. If you have had training in a previous role, make sure to highlight how this helped you as an employee and how it affected your productivity, learning and project outcomes. Showcasing your readiness to do better is attractive to employers. Don’t leave out important things you learnt from personal development either. What have you learnt and how can you apply it to the role? When you were trekking through Peru did that teach you how to stay calm in a difficult situation? Did you learn a language and how can that be applied to this situation? If you have volunteering experience that could also earn you your next job. Find out more here.
Frequently people underestimate their ability, the value of their unique experience or completely miss the mark when selling themselves. A CV is a sales pitch. By understanding your own value and showing how that benefits others you are learning one of the most important skills of all.
Build a network
The surf industry is also full of really great people. This might sound irrelevant but why not get hold of people to find out more about what they’re doing, the projects they have going and what their job entails? Everyone loves to talk about themselves and give advice. So get out there and start meeting people and having a chat, buy them a coffee and show willing. Don’t waste people’s time though, have some questions ready, be genuine and listen carefully. Find more tips on networking here.
Whilst the ideas suggested here require more work in the lead up to applying and interviewing for a job, researching, being informed, addressing employer needs and demonstrating how you can add value to their team is more likely to land you that dream job quicker and with a company that’s a great fit.
We’d love to hear about any experience or wisdom you have about finding work in the surf industry in the comments below.
Posted by: Sarah Price, on February 15, 2016
Christine Deveney - TapaReef Owner & Creator
Russell Ord - Surf Photographer
Richard Kotch - Surf Photographer
Mick McComas - Red Island Travel Owner
Brian McDonald - Matanivusi Beach Eco Resort Owner
Alena Ehrenbold - Surf Film Director & Freesurfer
Mitch Revs - Artist
Philippa Anderson - WQS Surfer
Brett Levingston - Surf Guide, Lifeguard, Mad Huey
Jonas Claesson - Surf Artist aka Jonas Draws
We are currently recruiting a Host for our original beachside location – The Taghazout Villa, Morocco.