when i graduated from maine maritime in 1986 as a deckie there were not many US shipping jobs much like today, I weighed my options and decided to use my license and work on the tall ships here and eventually internationally; the pay is low but the marlinspike seamanship, experiences, and maritime industry connections I made then have been proven over and over again in my career as one of my most valuable assets.
given the state of the shipping industry right now, I would strongly encourage all recent or 2010 graduates to consider spending a few years working in the Maine Windjammer Fleet, Sea Education Association, Sea Cloud, etc etc if you can’t ship commercially. Making $600/week cash while sailing the caribbean, dating exotic people, all the while padding your resume is a solid way to spend a few years. trust me.
This approach incidentally led to my receiving my panamanian, liberian, vanuatuian, and marshall islands certificates over the years as I travelled the world sailing. When the industry improved and I decided to start shipping commercially, the transition was simple, I was highly sought after, and I have since that time never been without work.
so, good luck to 2010 and other recent graduates but please do [U]NOT[/U] PM/email me asking for further details/how to/etc etc: I have given you an option, now it’s up to you to figure out how to make that option reality if you choose.