If you’re looking for a florist job, the first thing you’ll need to do, if you haven’t already done so, is write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) or resume. The CV is your sales pitch on paper—your all-important self-marketing tool that highlights your education, work experience and skills when job hunting. A tool that’s become pretty much expected by today’s employers.
What to include
The basic components of a CV are the following:
Contact information – List your full name, full address, phone numbers, email address and professional social media presence (i.e. LinkedIn). Make your name stand out so that it’s the first thing the employer sees by bolding the text or increasing the font size.
Objective – Write a sentence or two summarizing your employment goals and why you want this job. Doing this gets the employer thinking about why they should hire you and not someone else.
Profile – Sell yourself by writing out your skills and qualities applicable to the job you’re applying for. Stress your top four or five key skills that make you a suitable candidate for the job. i.e. “Five years intensive experience working as a florist with little to no supervision” or “Independent worker who works well under pressure.”
Employment history – Focus on anything related to floristry or flowers. If you don’t have any of this kind of experience, think hard about what transferable skills you gained from the experience you do have. i.e. use your gardening experience to highlight your proficiency with plants.
Education – List any relevant education and training. No need to list your elementary school. If you have additional post-secondary education just list that and your florist education, with the florist education at the top. List any relevant courses that you’ve taken, even if just a short workshop.
Professional qualifications – Assert your competence for the job by listing any certifications you have with florist associations. If you have none, even listing memberships with florist associations is helpful.
Volunteer experience (optional) – As with the employment history section, focus on relevant experience.
Interests (optional) – Let the employer know what interests you have by listing a few here. Only add interests that are relevant to the job, such as art, design, flower arranging, etc.
Accomplishments (optional) – academic awards, sports achievements or other certificates and achievements.
Other skills (optional) – list any additional languages you know and other relevant skills that haven’t already been mentioned.
NOTE: there’s no need to list your references on your CV or to write “References available upon request.” If the employer wants your references they will ask and you had better be prepared to have a list of references to hand over.
Refer to this template for a general resume format.
Types of resumes
Resumes generally fall into one of three camps: chronological, functional, or the combination/hybrid, which is somewhere in between the first two. The differences between these particular styles of resumes are as follows.
This resume format lists your work history and education chronologically, from most to least recent. The idea behind a chronological resume is to present employers with a detailed background of your accomplishments (employment, education, volunteer, awards, etc.) and the easiest way to do so is by date.
They are best used for job seekers who have no gaps in their employment record (or who can prove those gaps in time were spent wisely) and have a strong track record of work experience that they would like to illustrate.
After listing the company name, location, dates worked and title, write bullet points that focus on accomplishments and responsibilities rather than tasks. For example, if you worked as a cashier, do not write “worked as a cashier” when you can deliver much greater impact by writing the following:
– Served customers quickly and effectively while working in high-traffic retail store.
– Consistently operated cash register with efficiency while responding to long queues of customers.
– Accurately balanced cash register on a daily basis for three years.
For many job seekers a lack of work experience is the most anxiety-inducing part of the job search. Don’t let it be. Just get creative and work around it. One way to do so is to opt for the functional resume instead of the chronological. Using this format you can stress your skills rather than your experience. So even if you’ve never worked with flowers before but you love them and know that you’re the right kind of person to work with them you can stress your transferable skills.
For example, focus on your creative skills by referring to your drawing ability. If you’ve ever sold any of your creations or have displayed them at an art show, make sure to mention that. Or perhaps you really got into visual arts in elementary and high school and designed some fantastic pieces of work. Maybe you’ve never had the opportunity to work with flowers, but you’ve informally arranged flowers in your home or you do some gardening. Mention that and be specific by stating how often you arrange flowers and/or garden. Refer to this transferable skills checklist to brainstorm a list of transferable skills.
This format is used by those who have a good amount of skills and experience and want to demonstrate both to prospective employers. Remember, the CV is about selling yourself, so if you have both, it’s a good idea to stress both so add as much information as you can without making the resume too long (one or two pages is a good length).
If you want to go the chronological route, but still want to stress some of your skills, you can just add a highlight of qualifications section near the beginning of your resume to point employers to your most important skills for the job, without having to go through the process of creating a whole skills section.
General CV tips
- Always focus on your strengths. i.e. if you have a short employment history but good education, put your education section at the top and your employment history below.
- If you have no employment history rename the “Employment history” section to “Experience” and add in your relevant volunteer or other experience, such as hobbies. If you think you have no relevant experience, think again. Get creative and draw connections between your transferable skills and the florist job.
- Individually craft each CV for the job you are applying for. i.e. if the job advertisement asks for a specific skill, make sure you highlight that in your highlight of qualifications or within your experience section.
- Make your CV easily readable by including boldfaced section headers, underlines and italics wherever appropriate. Type your CV out with a large enough font (11 point Times New Roman or larger) on standard-sized paper (210 x 297 mm A4 in Europe or 8.5 x 11″ letter size in North America).
- Utilize action verbs to showcase your skills. Refer to this list for ideas.
- Don’t lie about anything on your CV. It’s not worth it because sooner or later you’ll get caught, which could lead to your dismissal and a tarnished reputation.
- Most cities have government-run or non-profit NGO employment resource centres that offer lessons on CV and cover letter writing and even individual assistance. If you don’t have a resource centre nearby ask around at your school or community centre for help in sharpening your CV writing skills and to get objective advice on your CV.
- Proofread your CV then pass it along to an employment counsellor or friend to proofread it again. Your resume is your first impression. You may only have this one chance to impress an employer, so take the time to do things right!
The CV is about selling yourself, so without going overboard, make sure to highlight your best attributes. Other job seekers will be doing so, so you will have to too. If you deliver this sales pitch right it can make the difference between getting or not getting the job. As with anything, CV writing takes practice so work at it and you will continue to improve your CV over time and thus increase your chances of landing a job.