View Full Version : Changing career focus - my new resume is pretty much empty
05-16-2010, 03:04 PM
I've been an office worker/accounting clerk for 14 or so years now, and I'm working on moving away from that to more of a gardening focus. While my resume isn't bad for office work (I have lots of good jobs and skills in it), it's pretty much empty for gardening stuff except for a couple of courses I've taken at our local zoo and my home gardening adventures. What do you do with such an empty resume? Do I keep the office jobs in it and explain that I'm changing focus? Do I play up the gardening courses I've taken and back-burner the office jobs? Any direction would be appreciated.
Also, anyone in North Calgary want a gardener? :)
05-16-2010, 11:58 PM
It would help to know what kind of gardening you're interested in. Are you interested in doing garden design? Working at a nursery? Doing heavier work as a landscaper?
My parents' next-door neighbor went from being a hobby gardener to having an extremely successful greenhouse/garden design business of her own. It took a lot of hard, unpaid work. Here's how she went about it:
1) Basically spent 20 years as a hobby gardener, learning everything she could about gardening from classes, books, and other gardeners she befriended. I think she had an apprentice-type relationship with a local nursery owner.
2) Turned her own yard into a showplace. She and her husband worked on it every single weekend.
3) She joined a number of groups and volunteer organizations, and invited people over to her house for parties to show off her work. Some were related to gardening, some not. This helped build her reputation in the community.
4) Did a lot of free garden design jobs for friends, who then wrote stellar testimonials for her.
5) She bought a small property with an old barn. It needed restoration, but it was inexpensive and located on a visible main road. Then she and her husband spent most of their time turning it into a gardening showplace.
6) She started running a small nursery and garden design business out of the barn. By this time, people in the gardening community knew her well and were eager to patronize her business.
So you can definitely go from being a hobby gardener to being a professional gardener, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Maybe some of the things our family friend did are ideas you could try.
ETA: It occurs to me that this doesn't exactly answer your question. I guess my point is, look for more unpaid experiences to pad out the resume.
05-17-2010, 01:22 AM
Generally, you keep what you think is most important at the top of the resume. In your case, that would be gardening courses and experience in gardening.
Employers are like everyone else - lazy readers. They want to see the "good stuff" first, so play up your gardening experience and courses as much as possible, going into as many details as you can and even mentioning some of the things you learned in the classes. Go into specifics such as irrigation systems, seasonal planting, local annuals (and other stuff that you would know but I don't). The more specific you get, the more interested they are in what you seem to already know (something) about.
Then try to put all of the less relevant (for this employer) office/clerical work into one single listing/category. For instance:
Kept accounts, made bank deposits, prepared tax forms, scheduled payroll (etc. etc. etc.) for such firms as Jones Corp., Ajax Company, DHR Industries, (etc. etc. etc.)
By lumping all of the above office experience into one category, it is seen as a "plus" for your potential employer and not as if you had 32 jobs in 48 offices. Plus, by simply listing all of the experience and companies together, they can pick and choose which to talk about without having to scan down six pages of office jobs.
BTW, always try to keep the entire resume to one single page (remember the "lazy reader" comment above) unless you happen to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And it goes without saying a good resume is on nice paper, with no fancy fonts or frills.
Hope this helps, and good luck!!!
(You know, you can come to Vegas and do our backyard anytime!)
05-17-2010, 01:47 AM
If you are willing to do entry-level work, a resume is usually not necessary. You usually just have to fill out an application.
05-17-2010, 08:15 AM
My sister went from being a supervisor to being the head groundskeeper at the Navy base. You need to showcase yourself where paper can't. I think you can take liberty and add a photo section to your resume to show off your talents.
Gardening is a hobby of mine but not everyone has a green thumb. That is what they are most interested in along with the ability to design a good looking bed of flowers and shrubs.
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