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Tips for a Successful Job Application from an Experienced Hiring Manager

You’re a professional diver that can’t wait to start working at your dream job in an amazing location. You just need to convince the dive center that you are the best person for the job. As a fulltime PADI Member for almost two decades, I have had my fair share of job applications and interviews. As a hiring manager in my current position, I now realize the common mistakes I made that probably cost me an opportunity or two in the past.

There are several ways of acquiring your dream job and sometimes it pays off to get a bit more creative. Here are a few of my tips from an employer’s point of view, so you have a better chance to get that job you always dreamed of.

Not What, but Who You Know

I freely admit that I would hire someone I know so much quicker than a stranger of the internet. A recommendation from another dive center owner or Instructor I know, quickly moves your CV to the top of the pile. Why would this be? Well, I would already have an idea of your character or your work-ethics and that gives me an idea of how well you could fit in with our team and how good you would be with my guests.


Another way to work your way into a full-time job, is to freelance. Make yourself available for freelance work for every dive center in the area. In the beginning that means showing your face often in the shops, meeting fellow instructors or managers in a social setting and a lot of networking. Before you know it, the shops might give you some freelance work, get to know you, and when a job becomes available, you might even be the first person they think of for the position. For this approach, you obviously need a bit of savings to tie you over until you got a full-time job.

I hear you thinking “maybe in the old days, yes, but it doesn’t work like that anymore.” I guess you would be right in a lot of cases, however, the dive industry is still a very social one, where interpersonal skills are held in high regard and meeting someone in person can make it so much easier to secure a position.

The Web

Over the past 20 years, a lot has changed and the internet has made finding a job a lot more practical then when I started in this business. Several websites like the PADI Jobs Board are dedicated to connect dive professionals and employers in a very efficient manner.

It’s possible to leave your CV online with a description of the job you would love to get so potential employers can contact you. However, the ratio of candidates to jobs is often very high and therefore, the more practical way to find a job in this industry would be to apply to a job advertisement.

So here are a few tips from a hiring manager who every year needs to sift through a pile of emails to find the right candidate for the dive season. I always hope to do this only once in a season because it usually brings some astonishing and frustrating responses with it…

The Don’ts

The frustration starts when a lot of the emails I receive are a waste of my time:

That Divemaster who applied for an Instructor position.That person who was fluent in several languages, except the language we requested in the ad.The Instructor who is only available three months later than when we need them to start.The one that applied for a job but lives in a completely different country than ours.The several applicants from different teaching organizations than the one our shop is affiliated with.

I get the distinct impression that these people have not even read our advertisement, have completely ignored the requests of the hiring party, or at least they seem to not have understood that we have our reasons to specify certain requirements.

Sell Yourself

There are, however, acceptable ways to ‘sell yourself’ in an application, even if you miss some of the requirements. You might write: “I understand the position requires experience in a luxury resort environment and I believe that my previous job in a 5-star restaurant has taught me customer service at a high level” or “you need someone with this amount of certifications, I have not reached that amount yet, however, I have extensive experience assisting courses in the years I was a Divemaster in similar conditions as those in your location.” This way you are acknowledging the requirement and are offering a reason why you should still be considered anyway. 

If there are other requirements mentioned in the ad, I recommend following the instructions:

When the ad asks you to contact the dive center by email, do use email and avoid the temptation to use other forms of communication. After sending your email, you can then decide if it is appropriate to follow it up with an alternate form of communication. Will it make you stand out or will it make you annoying?

When the ad asks for a CV and cover letter, make sure you do both. An empty email with only two attachments definitely does not make a good impression. Make the effort to include a cover letter in the body of your email. If you include a generic cover letter that has my name or my dive centers name misspelled or even completely missing, it likely ends up in my ‘nope’-folder. In the past, I have even received cover letters addressed to a different dive center or an email that has been sent to several dive centers at once!

Of course, there are plenty of articles online that show you how to build a good CV and I am not going into that here. I just want to mention that if you apply in your first, second or even third language, please let someone proof-read before you hit send (or at least use spell check). While written language skills are not always a requirement for a dive job, your CV is our first impression of you and paying attention to detail can only work in your favor.

Stand out

Emails that would pique my interest have a few similarities:

You have addressed it to my name or my dive center’s name. It is flattering and personal, it feels like you made an effort.You have highlighted all the requirements mentioned in the ad and how they apply to you, in your cover letter or CV.

Some of the best applications I have read include mentions that prove they have done their research. In the past, candidates have mentioned our TripAdvisor reviews, complimented our social media pictures, observed something on our website like a local dive site, our conservation programs or teaching ratios. This makes it clear that you are enthusiastic about this particular job and working for our dive center.

To be honest, for a job at our company that enthusiasm is even more important than the experience you have.

Now you know a bit more about how a dive center would undertake the search for a new dive professional. Try to avoid the common errors like being lazy with your application or making spelling mistakes. Stand out, use flattery and targeted language and don’t forget to show an interest in the company that might offer you your dream job.

Good luck!

Guest blog written by Warda van der Meer

The post Tips for a Successful Job Application from an Experienced Hiring Manager appeared first on PADI Pros.

Business Support, Dive Job, Job, job application, PADI, PADI Job, PADI Jobs Board, PADI ProPADI Pros

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