Briefly describe your work experience outside of your time in the Navy as an Able Seaman.
"Before joining the Navy I was working in construction. I enjoyed the hands on aspect of the trades but was looking for something that offered more growth and leadership. I decided to join the Navy as an Able Seaman so that I could continue to use my hands on the job."
At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to become a sailor? You can tell a personal story if you wish but be sure to keep them brief.
"Growing up, my father was a sailor and I always knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I enrolled in the Navy as soon as I could and haven't looked back since."
As an Able Seaman you are often working in closed quarters with others. Tell the hiring manager about your ability to work well with other individuals.
"I am able to get along well with most personality types. Rarely do I have a disagreement with co-workers and fellow seaman."
Tell the hiring manager about your level of reliability on the job.
"I have a strong history of being reliable. I am responsible, punctual, and can be relied on. If you were to call my references, they would confirm this is an accurate description of my character."
Take the interviewer through your experience. You can answer this briefly.
"I have been working in the Navy for 4 years, 18 months of which have been as an Able Seaman. In total, I have just under 2 years' experience on deck."
Walk the hiring manager through your career as an Able Seaman thus far. Keep it brief and focus on the positive aspects of your time in this role.
"I began as an Able Seaman with the Navy in a role where I primarily sailed on auxiliary vessels. More recently, I was promoted to vessels that are navigated through the oceans in the US, including the Great Lakes. In total, I have 18 months experience as an Able Seaman."
If you are the successful candidate, how will you immerse yourself into the role? Tell the hiring manager what you will do to prepare for success.
"If I were hired, I would immediately start learning the details of the ships that I would be working on. I have already done some research but, with your guidance, I would be happy to get a head start on reading the correct manuals, etc."
Assure the hiring manager that you are able, and willing, to operate under extreme weather conditions.
"As an Able Seaman, I am aware that I will be expected to work in all weather conditions. I have experienced extreme weather changes at sea and am able to handle the pressure and stress that comes with that."
If you have been at sea for an extended period of time: "The longest I have been at sea was 21 days. It was difficult at times but I kept myself busy and am confident that I could do it again." If you have not been at sea for an extended period of time: "I have not been at sea for an extended period of time, however; I feel that I could definitely handle it. I am resilient by nature and feel that my Navy training would prepared me well for that type of situation."
"The longest I have been at sea was 21 days. It was difficult at times but I kept myself busy and am confident that I could do it again."
Give an example to the hiring manager that will assure them you are able to keep watch and stay keen for long periods of time.
"On my current ship, I am tasked with keeping watch for long periods of time with very little breaks. I have extensive training in this role and am confident in my ability to remain keen."
Talk to the hiring manager about your training and level of confidence in lifeboats and life rafts.
"I am fully trained in the use of lifeboats and life rafts. I have studied the proper and safe use of both, extensively."
Briefly discuss your experience in First Aid and CPR. You can talk about your level of comfortability in life saving techniques and if you have ever had to utilize these skills.
"I am trained in First Aid and CPR and have my current certifications which I just renewed last month. My skills are strong and I am confident that should I come across an emergency situation, I would be able to utilize my knowledge under pressure."
Display to the hiring manager that you have a strong sense of direction. You can do this by discussing any feedback you have received from a previous leader in your career.
"My superior officer often comments on my uncanny ability to know which direction we are headed, even when at sea. I have been interested in this skill since I was young and have spent a lot of time perfecting my sense of direction."
An able seaman is a sailor who generally serves as a ship's helmsman. Able seamen perform multiple tasks on deck. They stand watch to look for obstructions in the ship's path, turn the wheel on bridge, measure water depth, and use emergency equipment under instructions from the mate. They are also responsible for painting and chipping rust from the ship's structure.
Government-issued certification is a must to be employed as an able seaman. This is a strenuous job. Able seamen must have the physical strength and stamina to handle the rigors of the job.
Prospective employers will be looking for applicants who can handle being away at sea for several weeks if not months at a time. Not everybody can handle long sea voyages. If you have not done any sea voyage, either as an apprentice or employee, employers will be reluctant to hire you. At the interview, you must emphasize your 'can do' attitude as that is crucial when you are working as part of a ship's crew. You must also stress that you work well as part of a team. Be prepared to answer all kinds of questions about working aboard a ship and also about being out at sea. You can get an idea of what kinds of questions to expect when you go to mock questions.