Career Development after the Instructor Examination?

How to find or not find a job?

Congratulations, you have completed your Open Water Instructor course, well done! Regardless of which organisation you chose to become a professional with, you now face a career development question. I myself am a PADI Pro on the Island of Gozo and I see many Instructor newcomers facing this decision. Where do you go from here and how do you go about it?

Abroad or stay Local?

Maybe you decide to stay at the dive center you trained at and gain experience in familiar surroundings. Others choose to flee the nest and travel to some far exotic place to teach there, why not? Opportunities are available across the globe, so why not explore and travel?

Some Personal Thoughts.

I don’t promise you will get a job in paradise, but some things require thought before applying for an Instructor position. My views may not and will not reflect views of other dive center owners or employers. These are my personal thoughts and what I look for and want to know.

My status is a PADI Course Director taken way back in 2001. You see how time flies and how old we get without counting the years. I began to dive with thirteen years of age, completing thousands of dives throughout my diving career. I opened dive centers, managed dive centers, spent time on live-a-boards, did underwater bomb disposal and commercial diving too. Travelling the world, living the dream and being always short of cash is the lifestyle that we sign up for and face, no doubt about that! Not to mention, three dives per day and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Welcome to the diving industry!

In your application or resume;

Don’t include the following information:

Where and which country you did your Instructor Examination(IE) . Some dive centers and countries reap negative responses. You are an Instructor now; that’s what counts and you are looking for a position.

Your future employer is not interested in the amount of diving you have done – as an Instructor, I expect you know how to dive and manage yourself. If not, you would not have passed your IE.

I am not interested in how many certifications you have done. Tell me you have a low number, this reflects little experience in the teaching world.

It is better to say you are confident in teaching DSD courses and competent at all levels of other core diving courses. This reflects better on yourself rather than listing your certification course numbers. Remember, your name on the card as the certifying instructor may not mean you did the complete course.

You should include:

Any other languages you speak fluently

What qualifications you have

 Specialties courses you can teach

Non-diving skills that you might have (boat license, IT skills, website management)

Environmental programmes you participate in (Beach clean-ups, underwater clean-ups, etc.) If you don’t have any, I suggest you go ahead and partake in some volunteer programme.

Tell me what is unique to yourself and why you differ from others who want employment? Keep it short and simple. Make sure your contact details are correct – this is very important!

Attitude:

Are you a sales person? If not, get used to the idea that you are and have to be. You are a salesperson working in the diving industry, secondary to that, you are a diving instructor.

Dive centers require customers who take part in beginner courses and open water courses. You have to be willing and able to sell a customer an open water course after a successful DSD. Again, revenue is required to pay your salary and overheads of the business.

Continuing education courses and the sale of dive equipment is very important to a dive center. Certified divers what something new to do. Grasp the opportunity and sell them a Con Ed course or piece of useful equipment. A new challenge requires new gadgets. You are willing to go back to the dive center shop and make your students want to buy a T-shirt, mask and snorkel or a reel. A mask and snorkel are the easiest thing to sell to an Open Water Diver student.

Social Media and Your Social Media accounts;

Ask your students and clients to leave a review on trip advisor, google business or other media sites. This is vital for business in the modern world. Inform them to tag the dive center and the dive guide or instructor on their posts and Instagram photos.

Your Facebook and Instagram content.

Once you apply for the open position your new employer will want to check you out. Remember those drunken images showing you completely wasted last weekend – well you know where your application is heading? Correct, it will be used as a paper ball to have a one shot target practice into the waste paper bin.

Don’t expect your future employer to run after you. You want a job, then sell yourself and your skills. Inform the whole wide world what you can do and why I need you in my business. Don’t write, “send me a message if you are interested” you must sell yourself in a positive manner.

Appearance:

We are the diving industry, a suit and tie are not required for an interview. But, the first impression is what sets you aside from others who want that same job. A clean pair of dress shorts instead of cut off jeans and a clean pressed T-shirt goes a long way. Faded and ragged beachwear is not a winner. Make sure your T-shirt print slogans are decent and politically correct. Shoes – these are things that cover your feet, not flip-flops. Make sure your feet are clean and presentable, do NOT show up barefoot!

This applies to Instructors who are job searching, but it applies to Divemasters too. I am sure, people who write “searching for a job worldwide” do not mean it in the sense of anywhere in the world. I am confident they have a rough idea where they wish to go and their parameters are set, so why bother writing it like that? State clearly and openly what you want, what you can do and where you want to go.

Stand out from others.

Try to stand out from the crowd, be willing to work and sell. The dive industry is not living the dream from nine till five, it is about being there when required. Night dives end late in most countries in the summertime, but you still need to promote them. Here is a chance to sell night dive specialties, compasses and torches. Remember that income for your dive center goes towards paying your salary at the end of the month or week.

An instructor who does not sell courses and dive gear is of little use to the dive center. If you cannot be bothered with marketing and selling you will not last long in the industry. A dive center does not make its money alone from guided diving, it makes a profit from courses and dive equipment.

As part of the Instructor Development Course you learn about marketing and selling in the industry. If you are interested in becoming a PADI Instructor take a look here for more information.

Good luck with your career development and I hope you find your dream job.

Dive safely

Dive Smart Gozo