5 Ways to Approach Working in the Surf Industry

So you’re out to find a new job and love the idea of working in the surf industry. With lunchtime surfing breaks, free merchandise and trips around the world following surf contests on offer, who wouldn’t, right?

Surfing has always been synonymous with a cool and casual approach, appealing to the young-at-heart, but don’t be fooled into thinking you can take the same approach when it comes to targeting work opportunities in the surf industry. In a highly saturated market the surf industry is competitive, demanding and super savvy. It’s also incredibly diverse and offers broad job opportunities ranging from shapers, surf coaches and retailers right through to accountants and legal professionals.Over the past ten years the surf industry worldwide has grown exponentially and continues to provide a significant contribution to local economies, particularly in the primary surf clusters in Australia, California and Aquitaine[1].  

Making a good first impression on prospective employers is crucial in any industry. When it comes approaching employers in the surf industry, the challenge lies is ensuring that you don’t let a casual approach be confused with being lazy or unprofessional. Here are 5 ways to take the right approach;

1. Do your homework
Research the companies and the roles that you are interested in – don’t limit this to web searches. Talk to people who have worked with those companies or in similar roles – this will help you to ascertain if you’re well suited. You can access people involved in the industry in lots of different ways whether it be on the shop floor, at competitions or at local community events. When applying for specific roles take advantage of the contacts available for questions or queries – speaking to someone who’s directly involved in the recruitment process can be an invaluable source of information.

2. Be armed and ready
Ensure that you take the time to prepare a clear, concise and well-written resume, which includes a letter of introduction or professional summary. This should be tailored to each company or specific role – don’t expect prospective employers to do all the work in deciphering your resume to determine whether you’re a good candidate. Take the time to do a thorough proof-read and spell check – a second pair of eyes is also helpful, so ask a friend or family member to review your resume and letter before they go anywhere.

3. Look sharp
When meeting in person ensure you make an effort with your appearance. Rolling in barefoot, straight off the beach with remnants of zinc on your face and sand in your hair isn’t going to cut it. Dress appropriately – this doesn’t mean having to don a suit or wear the company’s merchandise head-to-toe but it should reflect their culture and the environment you will be working in. Whatever outfit you chose, wearing clean (crease-free) clothes and closed shoes will go a long way, as will leaving your hat and sunnies at home, and of course, turning your mobile phone off.  

4. Time it well
Allow plenty of time when preparing your resume and any job applications – last minute rush jobs won’t serve you well, particularly if you have questions about the role or company. Be patient and pick the right time to contact prospective employers, particularly when cold calling. If you’re approaching people in their work environment, a courtesy call prior to your arrival is a must – you’re never going to get a warm welcome when dropping in unannounced on someone in the midst of glassing a board… 

5. Keep it real
The best approach you can make is a genuine one. You can still remain professional while being yourself. Being authentic is first and foremost about being honest. If you’re not really interested in the company or the role it will be evident, so don’t waste your time or theirs.

Posted by: Jaclyn Knight, on February 13, 2014
Categories: Articles