If you're an enthusiastic plant hobbyist, chances are you've visited a nursery and thought about how nice it would be to spend all day around plants instead of sitting inside at a computer. Well, what's stopping you? You don't need a degree or even work experience in the field to get started. Here's how I did it.
1. Apply at small, independently owned nurseries
I applied at some chain nurseries but I could tell they weren't interested in my resume which was loaded with art gallery, personal assistant, and production assistant work. Plus, I wasn't exactly excited about working at a big corporation since I would just feel like another cog in the machine. Small independent businesses, in my experience, care much more about "meshing" with the people they hire. Also, your interviewer probably has more sway in the company and fewer supervisors to answer to. Clicking with this person will carry a lot more weight in your interview.
2. Make your past job experience relevant, especially sales
Managing a gallery and managing a plant shop are very different things. But did I draw attention to that in my interview? No way! I made sure to speak confidently about the client-facing work that I did, how I conducted sales, and how many tasks I juggled effortlessly. Emphasize the things you can do innately that can't be taught. Thriving under pressure or being able to build relationships with customers are valuable qualities you bring to the table; everything else you can easily pick up as you go.
3. Count your home houseplants or garden as experience
After leaving the art gallery world, I didn't know what I wanted to do next in life. But after a few months I realized the one thing that gave me purpose was growing plants at home. So I talked this up in my interview. Houseplant enthusiasts these days run their collections like a business––you seek out high quality but affordable materials, care for your inventory, and maybe even make some sales. Talk about the time you eliminated mealybugs from a plant, and how you could use that experience to help a potential customer.
4. I can not stress this enough––VOLUNTEER!
Volunteering is an insanely easy way to build your resume and experience when you have little to none. But you MUST be willing to actually put in the work. In my opinion, the things I have learned volunteering are just as valuable as the things I have learned through my current horticulture program, which isn't cheap! If you need ideas for places to volunteer in Southern California, I will do a future post specifically on that.