Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Would You Want to Talk to Me?

This is the meat of a potential one page resume. Proper formatting and perhaps a touch of color would be on a printed version. What do you think? Constructive criticism is welcome. I'm a Big Boy now.

A portfolio is another matter. Yikes! Life in a small town and all my work from referral has made it somewhat unnecessary. I have never advertised the landscape business in twenty years. Another project to assemble I guess.

A Resume:

To use my 20 plus years of experience in tropical horticulture in association with fellow green industry professionals to explore new avenues and challenge my present knowledge in an environment that offers opportunities for growth. The end result of this association would benefit myself, the company and the local community by employing horticulture to promote knowledge of sound environmental practices.

 Bachelors of Science Degree in Ornamental Horticulture.
 20 years of full range experience in landscape design, installation and maintenance.
 Computer knowledge in website production, Excel and Word programs.
 Produced and designed a website for a plant nursery
 Frequent contributor to Personal Garden Blog
Tropical Embellishments
 Experience with fiction and non-fiction writing.
 Experienced in training and managing employees.
 Client list includes both residential and commercial accounts, many with over 15 years of continuous association.

Professional History
 C. C***** Landscapes 1987-2007
Proprietor of full service business which offers all of the following: commercial and residential landscape design and maintenance, garden installation and consultation, irrigation system design, installation and repair, pest management and fertilization. Overall landscape management for second home vacation estates.

 Kihei Plant Productions, a Tropical Landscape Plant Nursery. 2002-2007 Propagator and grower of container plants for the landscape trade. This nursery serves both the wholesale and retail market with over 100 plant species grown.

 Kanapaha Botanical Gardens 1985-1987 Volunteer and weekend supervisor. Gainesville, Florida

 Catering and Wait Staff 1978–1985 Experience in many events and numerous clients at the Denver Country Club, Cherry Hills Country Club and Turkey Creek Country Club

 B.S. Degree in Ornamental Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Florida
 Landscape Design Program, Colorado State University
 A.A. Degree, University of Florida

References furnished upon request


The County Clerk said...

I'm dashing out the door but saw this and wanted to respond. This looks important. Apologies for terseness and brevity. I may print it out and look at it on the plane. Couple of very quick reactions (forgive my spelling):

1- "Catering and Wait Staff 1978–1985 Experience in many events and numerous clients at the Denver Country Club, Cherry Hills Country Club and Turkey Creek Country Club" - DUMP THIS. '78 to '85 are far enough back and it doesn't matter. It isn't germane and does nothing good (and may even do some negative things). Besides, for the kind of positions you are probably looking it REALLY doesn't mater - unless you applying to CIA or something. DUMP IT. DUMP IT FROM THIS POST NOW (webpages have history) and DUMP IT FROM THIS COMMENT. Just dump it.

2. - "Kanapaha Botanical Gardens 1985-1987 Volunteer and weekend supervisor. Gainesville, Florida" - This is fine, but don't list this like it was a job. List it like it was a way you support things in which you believe. More thoughts on this in two seconds.

3- "Frequent contributor to Personal Garden Blog Tropical Embellishments " - There is a way to handle this and this isn't it. Your blog is way to sell that you are passionate, capable and interesting. But saying "I have a blog and so I'm a writer" is not the thing to say about one's self, it's a conclusion you want others to reach on their own. "Christopher has a blog, it's great, he can write."

4- I'm in a bit of a hurry and so don't have time to be delicate so please forgive me. This resume looks like you are trying to be something you clearly are not... namely a white-collar-office-carreer-staffer. It looks to me like you are trying to form your unique, exciting and incredibly diverse experience into the same kind of of resume one might see from, say, my ex wife: a Ivy League, Financial Industry, Executive. You are trying to make white toast out of something rich and wonderful. This is a mistake. I would abandon this format and appraoch entirely.

The reality here is unavoidable no matter how you dress it up is that you are self-employed and have been since pretty much 1987. Fine. THAT'S THE STORY not all this waiter, volunteer, blog crap (sorry). I mean, in your Professional History, your C. C***** Landscapes and the Kihei Plant Productions dates OVERLAP.

This should be story of an independant guy who makes things happen. Talk to the Whispering Crane guy... he's not out there talking about his job. That would be a mistake. He's out there talking about his experience, outlook, point of view. It's good.

This resume should tell me about a green entreprenuer who has achieved X Y and Z from Maui to Montauk (I'm just making stuff up). It should be the story of a passionate guy who accomplished benchmarks... grew business to X clients, P&L accountability/responsibility, grew the team, paid the help, managed projects including massive Hawaiian blkah blah blah. i donno.

Anyway, who knows what you'll do next, but don't conform your uniqueness to a non-unique world. You've played by your own rules for 20 years... and you are still standing baby!

(That isn't to say that you can't talk about succesful business relationships, long term clients, associations, etc)

Anyway, my reaction is that your "resume" should be a list of accomplishments and not a formal job history.

I have to go (18 minutes on this comment YIKES) but I'd pull this entire post down and start over. Really.

You have a good story to tell.

Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Thank you very much Hank for your response. I understand what you are saying. Talk more about my actual work experience, clients, projects and philosophy of the last twenty years of being an entrepreneur.

Cheryl said...

It always takes me a little longer to reflect on something important, but you're getting some good advice so far.

One minor point that was emphasized in all those resume workshops I took during unemployement, references upon request is now considered redundant. No need to state the obvious.

Pam/Digging said...

Good luck with your job hunt, Christopher. You have a lot of entrepreneurial experience. I'm sure you'll find or create a satisfying job when you move to North Carolina.

Cheryl said...

Assorted comments.

1. With 20+ years, it's OK to go over a page if you need to.

2. This is exactly the kind of objective that workshops and HR like. Manager and marketing types love it. An engineer would get annoyed with all the words that don't say anything, and suggest "horticulturalist position". Go with what appeals to you because that's probably the type of person who will be reading it.

3. No need to list education twice.

4. Put whatever is most important on the top half of the first page. If they don't get interested by then, they're not going to finish it.

5. Personalize your qualifications and objectives for the company and position. They might not make it past the third qualification.

6. Keep your sense of humor.

7. Here's an intro guarateed to get you past the automatic keyword screening software.

I have over ten years of experience, although never more than 3 months at a time. I have never worked with mountain, artic, or temperate plants. I always wished that I had a masters degree in Horticulture. I have no experience with computers, excel, word, web design, html, or power point. Ideal employee has never been used to describe me.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Thanks Cheryl.

You are saying that managers and HR folks would like my "objective" as written?

Key words are important even in a negative sentence.

I hope to have a job before I leave and it would be easy to personalize to the companies and institutions I plan to approach from a standard format on the computer.

I don't know if I am being naive by not being really worried about getting a job. I have been scoping out the area and there are many horticulture related jobs listed regularly.

Cheryl said...

You are probably going to see a less formal process than what I am used to. That's good. In my case, it is as though I have to write an objective that I don't like, to get past someone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, in order to get to someone who doesn't like what I have written.

Go with what appeals to you. It's the one place to make a statement about who you are. It's good to get resume and job hunting advice, but only follow what makes sense to you. Some really stupid ideas get pushed every now and then.

I didn't mean to worry you. You've been researching the field. I can only comment on my own field. It was just random ideas that you might find useful.

Enjoy your move. It's going to be great. I'm in a different place in life right now. I might be looking for a new job soon even if I don't want to. Sorry if my mood came out too much.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I was reading your conversation with Judy, Cheryl and almost chimed in since it seemed germaine to my current efforts.

The application process at a couple of places may be closer to what you are used to. One is a state university institution and requires filling out a state application. I downloaded the form and started filling it out until I got to the part where they wanted to know about specific courses in collage, dates and whether they were quarter or semester hours. I will need my really old transcripts to fill that out.

It has been so long since I was in the job market much less on the mainland that I may be a bit removed from the reality of competition for work.

Here it has never been a problem and what I consider my normal work behavior seems to stand out as above average to many people. That is why I have never had to advertise or look for accounts.

chuck b. said...

You're not going to start your own business?

One rather pedantic point about your resume, believe it or not, the title of your degree is (most likely) Bachelor of Science, not Bachelors.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Pedantic points are welcome and appreciated.

I did not think I was going to start my own business when I moved here so any thing is possible. I do plan over time to build a small nursery to supplement my income and my meager social security check that I may be able to collect 75% of after I am 70.

Deviant Deziner said...

looks good to me.

I agree to dump the food service experience.

I'm not so sure about the blog info.
Perhaps it is a positive attribute , especially if your new position requires a fair amount of writing.

Robin said...

don't forget to add your interest in horticultural photography