The career fair at the 41st National Collegiate Landscape Competition hosted by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, included more than 75 companies looking for prospective employees. Companies were searching for the perfect mix of professionalism and passion in students ready to begin their green industry careers.
More than 670 students walked the career fair networking with potential employers. McHale Landscape Design from Washington, D.C., said they received upwards of 50 résumés during the event.
We talked with some landscape pros about their recruitment process, any challenges they have with hiring and their thoughts on résumés.
Hilliary Barnard, a senior account manager with Munie Greencare Professionals in Illinois, says: “We are looking for good, hardworking people. They need to be open to learning.” The biggest challenge her company faces is students and potential employees not wanting to relocate. To counteract that challenge, Munie offers to cover the expenses of relocation.
Jason Ulberg, the vice president of Rocky Mountain Custom Landscapes, Inc., says finding labor for their company is year-round process. “We hire about 25 to 30 new people every year,” he says.
“We are always hiring in multiple areas of the company and it doesn’t matter the person’s age.”
Nick Valencia, a senior project estimator with Designs by Sundown, says experience is great to have but not always required to get hired. A good attitude and work ethic go a long way. “A right fit is most important for us,” Valencia says. “A new employee needs to be able to fit with our company culture.”
Paul Tagliasacchi, the hardscape project manager with GreenEarth Landscape Services in Florida, agrees. “We are mainly looking for high energy and applicants willing to do anything,” he says. Their company prides themselves on offering a well-rounded experience with hands-on, paid internships, Tagliasacchi says. GreenEarth also encourages and will pay for continuing education.
Additional career-building advice
The four landscape professionals we spoke to at the career fair had a few more tips to suggest for students and other potential employees.
- Don’t forget a description of your work/experience. “A résumé is important, but so is sitting down and talking with the person,” Barnard adds.
- Avoid lacking direction or focus on chosen career path. “We are more focus on what the applicant can improve upon,” Ulberg says.
- Include photos of design work and before/after photos. “We’re not as picky about spelling on résumés. It’s more about how they present themselves and their qualifications,” Valencia says.
- Tagliasacchi agrees that grammar is not a key factor. “We look at how we can grow with each other,” he says.