CV advice for head gardeners

developing a cv

As a head gardener, you provide a vital link between the vision that the owner or management creates and the teams that carry out the work to make that vision a reality. 

Whether you are managing a large private estate or public space, it’s down to you to demonstrate the leadership and horticultural expertise in your CV that shows how you have driven and realised long term objectives and goals.

Demonstrate team leadership

One of the most important qualities a head gardener needs to demonstrate is team leadership. So if you have managed part-time volunteers or full-time members of staff then this needs to be clearly stated in your CV. If you have mentored or coached new starters this again clearly shows a willingness to take on extra responsibility. Managing people is also about setting up appraisal systems, training, co-ordinating rotas and running recruitment exercises. All this should feature in the CV.

Illustrate your knowledge of sustainable practices

Building relationships of course is not just with your team. It is also about working with the general public, but most importantly for a head gardener, with the owner of the grounds or members of the senior management team. You need to demonstrate how you have made long term plans come to fruition. Use specific examples. Demonstrating the concepts of sustainability and environmentally friendly practices are also important for many head gardener roles.  

Show an understanding of health and safety legislation
Clearly, experience in managing diverse gardens and grounds is essential. But in your CV you will also need to demonstrate knowledge and compliance with health and safety legislation. Management of agrochemicals and hazardous substances and the maintenance of machinery, tools and other equipment is also important. 

How have you used your initiative?
What could really make the difference in your application to be a head gardener? New ideas and examples of taking the initiative will always look good in your CV.  What about that time you influenced the owner and turned a piece of unattractive area of wasteland into a productive organic vegetable garden? Examples of large projects you have managed will always be welcomed but remember it’s the results that count so always try to include the outcomes of your endeavours.

Of course you must include your horticultural qualifications. But using demonstrable examples of your achievements and leadership qualities above could really help make the difference in your CV.

This article is written by Neville Rose, director of CV Writers.

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