How do I sell myself??

taitai(Z5 WI)March 10, 2007

I'm a 40 year old male. I love plants and gardening. I have done gardening for a couple of people over the years, who were very happy with my work. My home was in the local gardenwalk last year. I am mostly self taught. I would say I am fairly knowledgeable and a hard worker. I currently work in construction. I would love to someday move into a horticulture career of some type. I would really like something in plant production / greenhouse type of work. My problem for the last two years I have been applying for seasonal greenhouse help jobs, and I don't even get a interview. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. These are $5.50 - $6.00 jobs. I would think someone with experience and willingness to work would be a great find. Is there something employers look for that Im missing? Are there that many people applying for these jobs? I wonder if its my age. I don't know..

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Difficult to say .. maybe you are overqualified ?? At $6.00 an hour they are really looking for brute labor .. do as your told types use you and get rid of you when things slow down .. Does that sound like what you are looking for ?? ... then maybe it's good you did not get the job and there is no shortage of workers in the green industry that I know of in this price range.

Green house production ?? .. it would be a big plus to have some formal education at least two years and four would be better ... I would think you need to find a position where your construction experience would pay off initially for your employer .. like renovating .. building setting up green house operations. Plumbing .. electrical .. framing. Maybe ??

... then you would be in the $15 to $20 range ?? If they could afford it ...?

Ofcourse I have no idea what your construction experience is but I'll tell you the green industry can and often is a rat race. So I'd think twice .. even three times.

Good Luck .. Keep in touch.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 10:37AM
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First, if you really want to work in production, call the HR department of the growers nearest you and explain you're trying to get your foot in the door, get green industry experience, and whether they have anything available that fits. This is standard in any industry where you want to set yourself apart from the hundreds of other applicants.

Other alternatives: If there is a big garden center that does its own growing, you could try for a sales associate type position, then transfer over once you're already an employee.

Consider working for a landscape contractor instead of a grower. Many companies would probably relish having your construction background to call upon. Also, I know of many big landscape companies which have their own greenhouses because they keep such huge quantities of stock on hand.

If you have the time, you could try interning/volunteering someplace. A small business/nursery might take an intern, or a university, museum or conservatory might take volunteers.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 6:49PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

If you can stand the idea of working retail, go find your nearest garden center. They are probably hiring RIGHT NOW and will hire anyone who can breathe for seasonal help, as long as you are willing to do the gruntwork. Get a foot in the door so you have some experience, network with some people, and see what develops while you pursue the other options suggested.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 7:32AM
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There is discrimination in the green industry. It is not so much against race, sex, or color as it is about fitting in to the work culture of the group of people you will be working directly with. Sometimes it coincides with those listed above.

I have seen many, many, nursery/garden center/landscape companies where the landscapers were all male and the garden center staff was all female and the nursery was a mix of both. I've seen landscape companies where the entire masonry crew was Jamaican and the planting crew all mixed American. The managers find out that conflicts and/or other problems occur when you have some people feeling like outsiders and/or creating two or more subcultures within a group that start acting like rivals rather than workking together. It is illegal, but it exists much more often then you think. It is also practiced by people who do not see that they are discriminating.

You will find it easiest to be hired into a position where you are not an outsider. It could be the same job at a different place or a different job at the same place.

You also have to keep in mind that the people hiring are usually looking for the people who are best suited for the job. If it is hard labor, a younger man will beat you every time. If it is horticulture experience, a more experienced person will beat you every time. You have to look at yourself realistically and ask yourself who might put you and your qualifications over someone else. Then search for that situation and apply.

It is often thought about as an easy industry to enter into. It is, but the employer also wants the best person for each situation. It is easy to be hired if you fit a need. It is not, if you don't.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 7:35AM
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40 years old, working on construction, earning $20 an hour (just guessing)and applying for a totally boring job at 25 percent of what you are earning now, is why. The boredom alone would have you back home before you have tucked into your ham and lettuce sandwich. This is what I suggest as a sensible alternative to working in a nursery/plant factory: work for a good mo blo and go firm, being conscientious will make you foreman in one season, don't forget to ask/demand more money. Do the snowblowing if they offer it and learn all the machines, when next spring comes around renegotiate your position and your salary. Learn how this works. Some time later see if the old guy who has been running the company wants to let you, now 50, take over. If he makes you an offer you can't fail to refuse you now have the contacts and the expertise so you can start on your own and change a few things if they look like a good bet. In case I didn't make it clear: working in a nursery for five bucks an hour will suck you dry.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 5:38PM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

Don't want to be discouraging, but what has been suggested is realistic, your best bet is to scout out garden centers/nurseries, & stress your construction background, most of them would love to have someone to jump on misc. problems, which may include construction, wiring, water, etc.

I've been working, p/t, for 2 years at a local garden center, I work school hours because 1)I have schoolage kids, 2)they pay the same as I pay a teenage babysitter to watch my kids. I know more about plants than your average cashier, I do physical work-unloading pallets, moving things, deadheading plants, anything that's necessary...
You will be able to keep working if you do almost anything w/out complaint, but is that what you want to do?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 9:42PM
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pew63(6b, Trenton, NJ)

I started my gardening business (as a 41 year old male) as a summer gig only and now have quite a full spring,summer and fall list of gardening clients. If you are not having luck in the greenhouse/nursery business I would suggest marketing yourself as a professional gardener. I worked at a few nurseries in the PA/NJ area and many customers would ask for gardening services which the garden center did not provide. I saw a business opportunity, enrolled in a small business class, registered with the state, ordered business cards and passed them out to any and everyone.
I started the business charging $25 per hour and an up to $30/hr. It certainly beats $10/hr at the garden center where weekends are often required. It is mid-March and I have referrals calling me to do work for them this season.
There is a need for professional gardeners especially for those who do not or cannot do their own gardening. There is also a market for well-dressed containers in every season. Good luck in whatever you choose to pursue.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 9:57PM
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