Career: Ready, set, résumé!

Revise your résumé using these three strategies to help distinguish yours from the others in the applicant pile.


Filed to: Job search

Superintendent resume
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Does your résumé quickly and concisely convey why you are a great fit for a particular job? Does your résumé highlight qualities relevant to a prospective employer’s specific needs and priorities? Or is your résumé more of a stagnant document that just chronicles your job titles and turf experience?

I often work with GCSAA members who have qualifications that align perfectly with a certain job opening, but who have difficulty expressing that fact in their résumé — especially in a brief, attention-grabbing manner.

General managers, golf management executives and green committee members don’t have the time to invest in slowly perusing résumés. Work with this reality by tailoring your message directly to your audience right from the get-go. The following strategies for succinctly emphasizing points pertinent to your target golf facility — not simply your strengths, but the strengths the employer is seeking — will help you jump-start your résumé.

Power titles

The beginning of your résumé can either boost your brand and frame your career in a positive light, or it can actually detract from what you’d like to communicate. An excellent way to make sure you captivate your audience early on, before they’d have to read halfway down the first page of your résumé, is by summarizing your career success through the use of punchy “power titles.”

Basically, brainstorm one, two or three words or phrases that capture important, employer-relevant qualities about you, and include these at the top of your résumé, beneath your name. Options include the actual job title to which you aspire or titles you have held, certifications, professional qualities, specific turf expertise, types of golf facilities you’ve worked at, management skills, and golf industry leadership. This is your opportunity to put forth the key, overarching points you want a hiring committee to understand (and hopefully remember) about you and your career before they get into the more detailed sections of your résumé (if they do). Don’t make those looking at your résumé have to hunt for your relevant strengths — put these front and center.

Core competencies

A formatted list near the top of your résumé can convey several skills to your audience without taking up too much valuable space. A list allows readers to quickly and easily glean information about a candidate without being overwhelmed by and having to scan through too much text.

Using a list presentation lets you paint a quick but broad picture of what you offer, and not just in terms of agronomy. Turf maintenance is only one of many aspects of your professional role at a golf facility. Areas to consider expounding upon in your core competencies list are leadership, financial management, staff development, tournament operations, golfer/member relations, community involvement, and ways that you advance the game of golf. As always, determine what to put on your list based on the specific golf facility to which you are applying. Zero in on the attributes and abilities that will be significant to them.

“Why” phrasing

Throughout your résumé, when you describe an accomplishment, include why it mattered. All candidates will have turf maintenance and management success, but if you explain why particular work was done and the result for your customer (golfers, members, owners), that will likely resonate much more with your audience and, in turn, distinguish you.

Think of your résumé through the eyes of a reader who loves golf but may not be interested in the nitty-gritty details of turf maintenance. A favorite quotation of mine to guide superintendents in creating career documents is “Golfers love golf, not turf.” Golf course management know-how by itself won’t set you apart, but articulating why you conducted certain work can be the bit of information that piques an employer’s interest in you.

Putting these simple yet powerful résumé strategies into action will get you out of the starting gate with a bang and go a long way in getting you across the finish line to your next career goal. Ready, set, go!

Carol D. Rau, PHR, is a career consultant with GCSAA and the owner of Career Advantage, a career consulting firm in Lawrence, Kan., specializing in golf and turf industry careers. GCSAA members receive complimentary résumé critiques from Rau and her team; résumé, cover letter and LinkedIn creation for a reduced member rate; and interview preparation and portfolio consultation.