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How to tailor your CV for a landscaping role

Top tips from Laura Sullivan at TopCV, the largest CV-writing service in the world, on how to adapt CV for a landscaping role.

As we approach the new year, top horticulture employers are gearing up for a recruitment rush, with plenty of new jobs targeted towards landscaping and maintenance.

If you are considering taking advantage of employers’ need for talented professionals in the sector, your CV needs to bring its A-game. To help you impress prospective employers and increase your chances of landing a brand new job, here is how to tailor your CV for a landscaping role.

Carefully read the job description

Before you even start to tailor your CV to a landscaping role, you must read the job description several times to understand what your prospective employer is looking for in a successful candidate.

Too many job seekers scan through a job description and assume the job is right for them without ever really identifying whether they fulfil the requirements. This is poor practice and is a waste of valuable time.

You will not always match every single requirement, but, at the very least, you should fulfil the essential criteria. Your shortfalls don’t have to be a negative; it’s merely a case of tweaking them, so you still appear a good fit for the position.

Identify keywords and phrases

Once you have decided whether this job is worth applying for, identify keywords and phrases in the job description to include in your CV.

Plenty of employers, today, use software known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) as the first phase of the recruitment process to create a shortlist of suitable candidates. ATS software scans CVs for relevant keywords, so if your CV is lacking the correct terms, your application is unlikely to make it to a human recruiter.

Once your CV reaches a recruiter or hiring manager for review, they will also be on the lookout for keywords and phrases to see whether you should be invited for an interview.

Therefore, keywords are a must.

When it comes to landscaping positions, common keywords include groundskeeping, maintenance, landscaping, environmental works, and horticulture qualification. Plenty of transferable skills are common requirements too, such as communication, leadership, and organisation.

Inject relevant keywords naturally

Now that you have identified the experience and keywords recruiters are looking for, it is time to start tweaking your CV.

Start by adjusting your personal profile. If essential requirements are not addressed in the profile, recruiters are unlikely to keep reading. With a landscape role, most employers require candidates to hold horticulture/landscaping qualifications. For landscape and maintenance operatives this usually means working towards or holding NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Amenity Horticulture (Landscaping) or Diploma Level 2 in Work-based Horticulture (Landscaping).

Candidates should also state if they are on the Register of Landbased Operatives (ROLO) and hold a Landbased Industry Skills Scheme/Construction Skills Certification Scheme (LISS/CSCS) card (administered by BALI). Other qualifications showing your skills and competence should be clearly stated, including NPCT/LANTRA Awards certificates such as PA1 and PA6 for pesticide application, Tractor Driving & Operation and chainsaw use.

Applicants for supervisory posts are normally required to hold the National Diploma in Horticulture or Landscape & Horticulture (BTEC) Edexcel or Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture or Work-based Horticulture (C&G). Managers are generally expected to hold Level 5 Diploma in Principles of Leadership & Management in Landbased settings (QCF) or Level 4 Amenity Horticulture Management. Other management qualifications should also be stated.

All candidates should mention membership of any relevant professional bodies and organisations, such as the British Association of Landscape Industries, Association of Professional Landscapers, Institute of Landscape, Chartered Institute of Horticulture and Institute of Groundsmanship.

Therefore, if you have such qualifications, do not leave them buried in your education section, or recruiters may miss them entirely.

Also, pepper keywords and phrases throughout your education and employment sections to show that you are the experienced and qualified candidate employers seek.

Make your most relevant experience prominent

If you have plenty of work experience under your belt, you may have some roles that do not seem immediately relevant to the landscaping role you are applying for. This is OK; simply zoom in on the most relevant skills to make your experience fit.

For example, most landscaping jobs require a plethora of soft skills, such as communication, because it is a customer-facing environment. Draw on these soft and interpersonal skills developed in previous positions, and reduce the detail of less relevant skills, so they do not overshadow what’s important.

If you do have a large amount of industry experience, you could split your employment history in two, featuring a ‘landscaping experience’ section and an ‘other work experience’ section, to make your most relevant key skills and achievements more prominent.

TopCV offers a range of CV-writing services including expertly-written and keyword-optimised CVs, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. It is currently offering a free CV review to help you land your perfect landscaping job.

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