How to successfully change career by Stephen Ensell

GoLandscape EdNews & Events

Changing careers

I’m sure you have been asked that question, ‘What is your dream job?’. How many of us are actually employed in a dream job! Surely the more realistic question is, ‘Are you enjoying what you do at the moment?’.

If you’re employed in the UK, the reality is most of us will end up working for a very long time, in some cases well past the age of 65. With such an investment in time and energy, it makes sense to be working within a role that you enjoy.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle

Steve Jobs

If you’re one of the 56% of British workers who are unhappy in their current role, according to a CV Library poll surveying 1,200 people in 2018, taking the first step to changing careers takes time, planning and plenty of investigation. It should never be a knee jerk reaction as a result of a bad day at work. Before any decisions are made, the ‘why’ needs to be carefully examined and thought through, so be open and honest about why you are changing careers in the first instance.

Consider a career in landscaping?

If you are looking to change careers, think landscaping. The ornamental horticulture sector, of which landscape services is one industry that is represented within this sector, offers boundless opportunities to be creative and to be challenged. Working individually or as part of team, many roles in the industry almost certainly involve working outdoors. As well as the added benefit of being responsible for transforming landscapes, shaping the environment around us and improving quality of life for those that enjoy our landscaped spaces, you will quickly come to realise that this industry is one of the friendliest and most supportive industries in the UK. Speak to people already in the industry, find out what they enjoy, but also what they don’t like about their job. It’s important to get the whole picture. Don’t forget, if you don’t know it, Google will. Failing that, social media is a great place to make new connections and conduct some research.

Try before you buy

If you want to be absolutely sure you’re making the right move, see if there is a company willing to let you volunteer for a day or two’s work experience. It’s invaluable to get a real feel for what landscaping is like, you can read as many books and articles on the subject as you like, it’s not until you try it first-hand that you will appreciate what the role is like and what it entails.  Plus, you can add this to the experience section of your CV.

What to take, what to leave

Take stock of your current job role, what do you enjoy, what are you good at? This will help determine the positive things that you can carry over into your career in landscaping. Likewise, have a think about what makes you unhappy and stresses you out in your current job that’s made you want to change.

Also, don’t ignore your weaknesses, knowing these, along with your strengths will help you understand how you can use them to your advantage.

I’m really good at……

You’ve decided that you’re leaving, now you need to really get to grips with what you’re good at and what skills and abilities you can transfer into your new role.

Landscape companies are always looking for people that are effective communicators, able to solve problems, work well with others. But what specific skills do you have that can be brought to the table? How are your planning, organisation and management skills?

Take a look at job adverts for landscaping companies, see what skills they are after and try and match them to your own set.

Plug the gaps

Consider ways you can update your knowledge and learn essential new skills that are more specific to the role. Have a look at local and/or part time courses, or even consider a distance learning course from a reputable awarding body. These will help develop your understanding of landscaping, won’t break the bank and can be done at convenient times outside of core work hours.

Take the jump and apply

Maybe you’re the world’s best procrastinator, and you will find excuses to put off doing things; the times not right, I need to do more research, I need more savings behind me. It’s quite easy to talk about changing careers, lots of people do this, but if you are serious about joining the landscaping industry, then you can’t just talk about it, you need to make it happen and take the plunge.

You are not entering an industry that is oversubscribed, it has a shortage of skilled people and is very keen to recruit fresh talent.

Don’t lose your nerve

Friends and family might say you’re mad to change careers at a certain stage in your life and will present you with lots of reasons why you shouldn’t leave your current job. Just keep revisiting your original reasons for wanting to change, why you dislike your current job versus what’s so appealing about a job in landscaping.

So, you’ve done your homework, you have a plan and can see that you not only want to change careers, but that it is a viable option. All that’s left to do is to try, go for it and make it happen! You’ll be better off for it in the long-term, and you never know, it might just become your dream job after all.

For help and advice on locating a suitable role within the landscaping industry visit, where you will find a wealth of expert knowledge and career advice on routes to industry, qualifications and CV tips.

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