I have been a secretary/administrative type for the last 11 years, and my resume definitely shows that. I would like to look for a landscape designing job now, with no business experience in that field, a few designs done on my own (and one professional one), and the courses I’ve taken. So, uh, how do I adjust my resume so that it is something that someone looking for a landscape designer would take seriously? The work history part for designing is going to be awful short.
Obviously, list the stuff most relevant to the desired job first.
If you’ve taken courses, list education first. After that, perhaps a heading for "experience’, where you list the designs you did on your own. Then, you could list “other work experience” (or a similar type of heading) where you indicate your other work experience.
My opinion is that instead of an objective statement (which I hate anyway) you do a five-six line summary of you as a professional at the top of your resume. Something that highlights the soft skills that a landscape designer would want and that uses the same key words they’ve used in their ad (or in ads you see for the industry). If it were me, I wouldn’t have a problem starting out with something like "Hardworking, industrious, independent professional looking to move into the landscape design field. Motivated, energetic former adminstrative professional desiring to contribute skills in organization, creativity, focus, and time management learned through previous career to a new field. Successful graduate of XYZ program with grade point average of blah blah… "
See where I’m going here? I would write it with the intention of saying to a company: Congratulations! I am one hell of an catch as an employee! And lucky, lucky you, I am desiring to grow into a new field! Here, let me summarize below that I am trained and can do the job, but more importantly, you can count on me to work hard, be a valuable employee and exceed your expectations! I am someone you are going to want to be on your team, and we both know that takes more than just knowing how to put a design plan together!
And then list your education, and then think about how what you have literally done well as an admin translates to your new industry and tailor your bullet points thusly. You may not have five years of design experience, but I bet dollars to donuts you’ve dealt with challenging people/situations and any company needs people with good customer service/client satisfaction skills.
Try organising it with a landscaping header, then a jobs header. Just to see what it looks like. For a design-y job I would have thought that the CV must be a looker too (sans serif fonts, etc)
Disclosure: I don’t know anything about landscape gardening other than the name of the chap who did my parents’ home.
Wouldn’t you have a portfolio of your work? I’d think that would carry a lot of weight in making up for lack of professional experience.
Ooh, a portfolio! I hadn’t thought of that.
Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I think it’s coming together; we’ll see how successful it is at getting me a cool job.