Want to work in Ibiza? Gemma Charters, Brand Manager at Ocean Beach, explains how she built her dream career

Working in Ibiza. It’s a bit of a dream, right? But can you actually forge a lasting career on a notorious party island?

Ocean Beach Ibiza
Ocean Beach Ibiza

Working in Ibiza. It’s a bit of a dream, right? But can you actually forge a lasting career on a notorious party island?

Working in Ibiza. It’s a bit of a dream, right? But can you actually forge a lasting career on a notorious party island?

Beyond the bubbly, it’s a highly competitive business environment explains Gemma Charters, Brand and Events Manager for Ocean Beach Ibiza, as she offers her top job hunting and career building tips.

Tell us about your job at Ocean Beach Ibiza? ‘My role involves organising and ensuring a smooth running of all of our events. Right from the start, I decide which events will work for our brand for the season ahead, then I’ll get artists booked, productions created, and themes executed, often with partners like Soul Heaven, Hed Kandi and Ministry of Sound.

As Brand Manager I work with our designer on every piece of artwork that we create for the venue; from compiling briefs right through to the final sign off. It’s important to ensure continuity with our branding as well making sure our artwork encapsulates the beach club in the style that we are renowned for.’

(Picture: Gemma with colleagues in Ibiza)

When did you first think that you might want to work in Ibiza, and when did you decide to actually go for it? ‘I knew from a young age that I wanted to spend some time working abroad, but it was only after I finished university and had spent a year working for a PR company that I thought ‘it's now or never.’

‘I’ve worked here for 11 years now and when I first came I booked myself a weeklong holiday with a view to networking and finding work when I got here. I started off as a PR and Ticket Seller then moved on to become PR Manager before I got the job I'm in now.' What are your tips for job-hunting abroad, especially if you don't already live in the new location? ‘Social media channels are a great place to research different local groups, who will often offer information on interview dates and tips on how to survive working your first year. Most places will advertise on their websites when they are looking for staff too. If you don't think you will make it in time for interviews email the appropriate person and ask for a Skype interview to ensure you don't miss out.’

‘If you know you’re looking for a long-term position, it’s best to get in touch with companies before you come to find out what higher-level vacancies they have. Do your research – find out who the appropriate person is and contact them directly to ensure your CV isn't lost in a mass of others. I would always suggest ensuring your covering email gives insight into who you are and why you are passionate about moving to that country, as well as your skills and career history. It’s important to show that you’re in it for the long-haul too - companies want to know they can trust you and invest in you and that you’re not just going to leave after one summer.’

A lot of people think working abroad means finding casual work or doing a season at a bar – are there more varied job roles out there? ‘Most people think we are on a constant jolly, but this is far from the truth! It’s not uncommon to be working seven days a week during our busiest times. Have a clear idea in your head of what you want to be doing and look for roles where you think you may have an option of stepping onto the ladder, even if it’s a temporary arrangement at first. If you show an interest in the bigger picture of the company, are passionate about what you do and are committed to the job, this can lead on to greater roles.’

Did you find it was more competitive when looking for a job abroad? How did you make sure you stood out? ‘It’s hugely competitive over here, however as long as you have done your research on the job you are applying for (alarmingly some people turn up not knowing anything about the company they are applying to) and demonstrate reliability (this is essential in Ibiza), you'll find yourself at an instant advantage.’

What are the biggest pros of working in Ibiza? ‘The obvious pros are waking up to the sunshine every day and being in an environment where the majority of people around you are happy and on holiday. It’s not like the dreary journeys on the London tube where people dare not look at each other! Ibiza is one of the most beautiful islands in the world which is full of wonderful beaches, restaurants, bars and of course one of the most famous sunset locations - who doesn't want to see that every night after work?

Another pro for me is that I feel I have gained more confidence and achieved a lot personally by pursuing my goals on my own. Aside from my full time job at Ocean Beach Ibiza, I also co-own a body painting shop in San Antonio called Kiss My Fairy and I co-own a jewellery brand called Urraca Vintage. I don't think I would have ventured into either of these businesses had I been living in the UK, but there's something about being in Ibiza which encourages creativity and encourages you to be less fearful.’

Are there any cons? ‘For me the biggest con is not seeing all my family and friends in the UK as regularly as I want to. That is definitely the hardest part. However a big pro for them is they have free accommodation in Ibiza whenever they want and I love having them over. The other con is that I do miss the UK supermarkets and high street shopping!’

Are there any dangers that women should be aware of? ‘Always do your research and go for jobs with reputable companies – I have heard of people on the island doing unpaid trials with a promise of a job at the end that never materialises. To work over here you do require an NIE number and social security in order to get a contract with a business which you can organise via the embassy before you arrive or alternatively you can organise when you get to the island. This can often take a while to process so either get here early or plan ahead from home.’

Recommended websites? ‘I used a website called Ibiza Spotlight as my source of knowledge when I first came over to the island, but since then there are so many new websites and blogs that offer local information. Look at the websites of places, restaurants and clubs you are interested in, like the Ocean Beach Ibiza site as they usually display lots of information about the local area too.'

Looking for more career inspo? It's not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire's @ Work Live, in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April 2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.