Why are soft skills important in yachting?

Louise Overend, Interior recruitment consultant at YPI CREW talks about soft skills and their importance in the yachting industry.

In yachting, it is very easy to get caught up in focusing purely on your “hard skills” when writing your CV or going into a yacht job interview. In truth, 57% of employers will value your “soft skills” just as much, if not more, than your hard skills. When I take in a position, soft skills make up just as much of the requirements and are especially important in an industry like yachting.


So, what is a hard skill?

A hard skill is a practical or technical skill. For example, computer skills, writing, maths, cocktail making, silver service, floristry, or laundry.


And what is a soft skill?

These are based on your personality. For example, empathy, emotional intelligence, communication, problem-solving, leadership, flexibility, organisation, or attention to detail.


What are the most common soft skills that are requested in yachting?

Along with the most obvious ‘attention to detail’, a lot of my positions ask for emotional intelligence, drama-free individuals, team players, good communicators, someone who can take instruction well, and flexibility. However, don’t just get caught up in these. Any natural skill you have as a person can be a great asset.


Why are soft skills so important in yachting?

Soft skills aren’t something we are taught, they part of our personality. We all have a unique and innate skillset, but we can always develop and work on new skills. Never undervalue your natural gifts.

For example, if you have the emotional intelligence to ‘read a room’ and know how to instinctively adapt to the situation, that’s an incredible skill to have.

Being a good communicator is a great talent too. It’s important in giving and taking instruction and feedback and is also very useful in service, when you will have to silently communicate with your team using simple eye movements and head nods.

Being a team player means you can put your ego aside for the good of the whole team and know that what you do reflects on everyone – not just yourself. It means you are committed, co-operative, loyal, and supportive of colleagues. Who wouldn’t want that in an employee, especially for a small and tight-knit community on a yacht?

Being drama-free and having the ability to rise above in-fighting and bitching is probably one of the top soft skills you can have. You can always lend a supporting ear to someone who needs to talk and advise from a good place. But recognising and staying out of any toxic situations, bullying and back stabbing is a difficult but worthwhile skill to master, and will always serve you well.


So how do you spot yours, and show these on your yacht CV?

Resist the urge to just make a list of the soft skills that you think someone else wants. Don’t just write down what you thing the employer wants to hear. A lot of people do that and it ends up being a bit similar and dull. You want to stand out!

So my advice is to sit and write down your soft skills. Then ask friends, family or even a previous employers what they think your soft skills are. You might be surprised at what outsiders see in you that you don’t always recognise in yourself. Find out what they think makes you good at what you do and what makes you unique.

Note down examples of you using these skills. Perhaps you were on the hockey team in school and had to take and give instructions. Maybe you worked in a florist where you had to go from taking wedding orders to funeral orders in minutes. This taught you how to adapt to be sensitive to the situation. Perhaps you worked in a very busy restaurant where you had to have excellent time management and communication with your team and the kitchen. You will be surprised at how many skills you actually naturally have and how these have served you in life.

Use some examples on your CV, in your job descriptions, your profile, and in your hobbies and interests to give insight into your amazing natural skills! Having these examples ready in your mind when you go into interviews will also improve your confidence and help you tell a clear and positive story about you, your life, and how your soft skills have been an asset.


Written by Louise Overend, Interior recruitment consultant at YPI Crew