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Seaman Resume Example & Writing Guide

Your love of the water led you to a career as a seafarer. You're ready for your next voyage and you've taken the first step. Congratulations! This resume guide and examples will help you sail off to your next job. Just fill in your details, download your new resume & start your job application today!
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Seaman Resume Example & Writing Guide
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You know how to keep things ship-shape. In fact, that’s your job! Now it’s time to take a new tack in your career. Perhaps you have finished your tour with the Navy and are looking for civilian work at a shipyard or on a commercial or passenger ship.

Your expertise may lie in ship repair, maintenance or operation. Whether your skillset is full to the gunwales or you are just starting out, you need to get noticed and grab that interview. How? With this guide and our adaptable seaman resume example.

Resume.io has the tools you need to present a first-rate image of yourself. Our adaptable seaman resume examples , templates and this guide will teach you how to:

  • Choose the best layout to highlight your professionalism
  • Write a profile that fits the bill
  • Elevate your employment history beyond the routine
  • Focus on the skills that show you know the ropes.

What does a seaman or seafarer do?

A seaman or seafarer is a person who operates ships, and may be employed by the navy as a sailor or by a private company. You must be skilled in seamanship and be able to assist in the navigation of ships during voyages. 

As a seafarer, you may work on ships that transport passengers or cargo from one place to another. seaman may have a combination or short and long trips, depending upon the nature of the voyage. They might operate ships for leisure, commercial, or business purposes. 

The main goal of a seaman is to safely transport passengers or cargo in a timely manner. In order to do so, they must check weather patterns and communicate with safety professionals to ensure a safe sailing pattern. Some seafarers choose shore-based positions.

Expert tip

Ranks of Seamen/Seafarers

Each of these titles holds different responsibilities. All report to the Master, who, in turn, reports to the ship’s owner.

  • Chief Mate (also called Chief Officer), Second Mate (also called Second Officer), Third Mate (also called Third Officer)
  • Deck Cadet
  • Chief Engineer, Second Engineer, Third Engineer, Fourth Engineer
  • Engine Cadet
  • Electrician
  • Boatswain (also called Bosun /Deck Foreman)
  • Pump Man
  • Able-Bodied Seaman (AB) (also called Quartermaster)
  • Ordinary Seaman (OS)
  • Fitter
  • Oiler
  • Wiper (also called Motorman)
  • Chief Cook and Steward

Ready to take the world by storm or your next voyage? See our other transportation resume examples listed here below - and get inspired to write your own.

Understanding the job market

The job market for those yearning for the open seas is tight. Supply chain efficiencies and demand for products that must be shipped in cargo containers, such as iron ore, grain and petroleum products have a great influence over jobs both on the ocean and in shipyards.

Your prospects are likely to come from retiring marine workers or those who decide to switch careers. The good news here is that if you are skilled, you are one of only a few qualified to do the work. Make sure your resume example proves beyond any doubt that you are the best person to fill the spot.

With the cruise industry shut down, your prospects may be limited for now, but as travel expands, you will find more opportunities.

Statistical insight

Economic recovery from Covid-19 is an unexpected boost for water workers. While last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, anticipated job losses or meager growth, it now projects that the number of jobs for captains, mates and pilots of water vessels will leap by 4,000 jobs through 2030 and the number of jobs for sailors and marine oilers will grow by 2,700 positions.

How to write a seaman resume 

Your seafarer resume sample should follow a standard format with the following sections:

  • The resume header
  • The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • The resume skills section
  • The education section

Your job is to convince hiring managers that you are the right person for the job. Your knowledge of the sea and ships is deep and you want to show it off. Using strong descriptive language, without crossing the line into bragging territory will make your seaman resume sample a convincing one.

Choosing the best resume format for a seaman 

Most resumes follow the standard reverse chronological order format. Why? It makes it easier for recruiters to scan for relevant information. If this is your first job or you're switching careers, you may consider hybrid resume formats.

The functional resume format is best reserved for highly technical professionals or specialists, since it emphasizes niche or complex skills. 

Resume summary example

Your seafarer profile is your opportunity to show your true colors. You’ll be working in close quarters with many different types of people, so a personality fit is crucial, but you also have to press your biggest achievements into service.

You have about four lines of type to explain your work philosophy, how you collaborate with other mates and brag a bit about your seaworthy accomplishments. Don’t neglect to mention your love of the open seas. Read through this seaman resume example text for a profile to get you started or click over to our transportation resume samples for more ideas.

Adaptable summary sample

Experienced seaman with a proven track record of successfully operating and supervising boating excursions. Experienced in directing ships transporting bulk materials and goods, as well as ships transporting passengers. Committed to ensuring the safety of crew and passengers while at sea, and adept in monitoring and maintaining the proper function of ships. Driven and enthusiastic, with a passion for life at sea.

Expert tip

Getting past the Applicant Tracking System

ATS software is used to sort and scan resumes. In addition to inputting your data into the human resources system, the ATS ranks your resume by scanning for keywords and phrases pegged to the job. 

Increase your chances of passing the ATS hurdle by analyzing the job listing and noting any skills and requirements. Cross-reference those words and phrases with your resume. Make sure any skills you have that are mentioned in the listing are also in your resume. Use the exact phrasing when possible. Then, use both acronyms and the full names of organization, certificates, etc., just to make sure the ATS catches them. 

A final word of advice: Don’t leave important information for your cover letter (but do check out our cover letter templates and examples here). The ATS may not scan it or rank it as highly.

Employment history sample: your experience fits the bill

Your employment history section is the sea shanty of your success. You may not be singing your praises, but you should be focusing your job descriptions on all your accomplishments as well as your responsibilities. Use powerful action verbs and remember that data and specifics make your case much more strongly than generalities.

If you completed an apprenticeship, you may also list that here.

Expert tip

Your goal here is to show a pattern of growth in responsibility and knowledge.

Use the seaman resume sample content below as a guide.

Adaptable resume employment history example
  • Worked as a seaman shipping cargo to and from locations spanning 100 miles.
  • Inspected boats and performed minor maintenance when necessary.
  • Worked well with other crew members and followed safety guidelines.
  • Handled paperwork and collected payment and receipts during deliveries.
  • Remained informed about weather patterns and planned trips accordingly.

CV skills example: focus on the role you want

The skills section of your seaman CV will depend heavily on the position you seek. Seamen all need general knowledge of marine vessels, physical strength and stamina and communication skills, but you also need to match the skills and attributes on your CV to your desired job.

For example, an able-bodied seaman steers vessels, docks and undocks, and acts as general assistant to the mate, Maritide describes. With experience, they may take on a supervisory role. If you are looking for an entry-level position, you may be applying for an ordinary seaman job. Skills required for that job include upkeep of the ship, acting as lookout and helping load and secure cargo, according to Maritime Professional.

Check out part of our seaman resume sample below.

Adaptable resume skills example section
  • Leadership Skills
  • Knowledge of Marine Vessels
  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Physical Stamina
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Knowledge of Math and Physics

Seaman resume education section 

Your education section is a straightforward listing of your academic and professional education. There are many channels to becoming a seafarer. You may have joined the Navy right out of high school or earned a college degree in maritime studies. If you have an STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping), include that here. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor's, you may leave out your high school. 

The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) lists the different degree and certificate programs you may have or may want to obtain to advance your career.

Use the seaman resume example text below to format your education section.

Adaptable resume education example
  • 2001-2005 SUNY Maritime College, Marine Engineering Throggs Neck, NY
  • 1997-2001 Glenoake High School, High School Diploma Glenoake, OH

Resume layout and design

A clean resume layout and design is one of the best things you can do to make a great first impression in this competitive industry. For a seaman resume sample, there's no need to include many colors, graphics or images. A simple yet eye-catching header and a neutral color palette will make you stand out as a polished and professional candidate. If you need help creating a design, try one of our resume templates which allow you to format a professional seaman resume sample in just a few clicks.

A seaman resume format must muster crisply and cleanly. Since your seaman resume is the first impression your prospective employer will get of you, your layout and design must also look crisp and clean. Check out our seaman resume examples and templates for ideas.

Recruiters will scan for some key data first:

  • Your contact information (including your LinkedIn profile if it is up-to-date)
  • Your current job and title
  • Your previous job and title.

Make sure these items stand out. Use the standard headings you will find in our resume examples so recruiters don’t have to guess what each section is and leave plenty of white space to keep it legible.

  • Stick with classic, easy-to-read fonts
  • Make sure you have a friend or colleague proofread before you hit send.
  • Do not include a photo or any graphics
  • Go overboard with colors or design elements

Key takeaways for a seafarer resume

  • Your profile shows the cut of your jib
  • Use keywords and phrases strategically to beat the ATS
  • Your employment history should describe your career from stem to stern
  • Align your skills section with the job listing
  • Check out our seaman resume sample for more ideas on creating a great layout and design.
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