Career: Craft a customer-focused résumé
For a résumé that resonates, emphasize how your skills and career achievements reflect a commitment to customers.
Carol D. Rau, PHR
Set yourself apart from other superintendent job candidates by infusing your career documents with examples of how service to customers informs your tasks, projects and maintenance objectives. Photo by Montana Pritchard Photography
If I were to read your résumé today, would I think of you as someone who is customer-focused? Would I make the connection between your agronomic skills and duties and how you serve your members, golfers, guests? The golf business is ultimately a service industry, so your résumé must show how you value your customers and cater to them. I am passionate about this topic, and I encourage you to employ the following strategies to boost your résumé by demonstrating your focus on customers.
Relate turf maintenance projects and tasks to the end user
As a service for GCSAA members, I critique résumés and offer suggestions for improvement, and I frequently see an over-emphasis on lists of turf-related tasks and projects that don’t detail the motivations behind these things.
A simple way to make more impact is to briefly explain why you did the projects mentioned, connecting each project back to golfers and their experience on the course. For example, if you recently rebuilt greens at your course, add a phrase like “In an effort to improve green quality and green speeds for golfers ...” to the beginning of your point, rather than just stating that you rebuilt 18 greens and surrounds. The reader will conclude that you value the golfer’s perspective and that you rebuilt greens, instead of taking note of only the turf accomplishment.
Include “golfer,” “member” and “customer” in your résumé
This may seem like an oversimplified writing strategy, but I think it’s an important one and shouldn’t be overlooked. If you want to appear to be focused on your end user, you need to name them.
If you’re applying for a position at a private golf club and don’t have the word “member” at least a few times in your résumé, you’re missing a huge opportunity to appeal to your audience. All golf facilities are service-oriented, but private, member-owned golf clubs are unabashedly all about members, and maintaining the golf course is just one part of providing those membership services. Incorporate words like “golfer,” “member” and “customer” into your résumé, and you’ll immediately notice a difference in the way it reads.
Demonstrate outreach to all customers
Do you play golf with the members or golfers at your course on a periodic basis to get feedback and ideas? How long has it been since you played golf with a group of ladies or juniors at your course? I believe a great way to differentiate yourself from other superintendent job candidates is to show that you reach out to every type of customer.
My experience working with hiring committees is that they want to hire a superintendent who values all golfers and finds creative ways to increase rounds with underdeveloped sectors of the industry. Perhaps you set up the golf course shorter and easier for a family fun day last summer, hosted a ladies invitational tournament, or took another approach related to golf for juniors or women. List such initiatives to convey the priority you place on your entire customer base, and to stand out in a way other candidates may not.
I recommend you invest a bit of time in updating your résumé with an eye toward implementing this trio of easy tactics. Framing your career experience as providing a top-quality product and service for your customers is a powerful way to distinguish yourself from a competitive field of candidates. I have seen small tweaks in a résumé generate big returns in terms of job search success for countless GCSAA members, and I hope the same can be true for you.
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.