Putting Your Best Foot Forward


tci expo

We’ve already mentioned that first impressions are lasting ones. Let’s dig in a little bit more on some of the ways you can make a great impression on potential employers that goes beyond what you’re wearing, your extra-curricular activities and your work experience. Student Career Days presents you with a unique opportunity to be at the world’s largest trade show for the tree care industry. This means that you will have the opportunity to meet tree care professionals from all over the country.

Attitude is everything.

As a result, it’s very important to be aware of how you conduct yourself at all times throughout the weekend at SCD and TCI EXPO. Chris Ahlum, SCD sponsor and co-owner of Ahlum & Arbor Tree Preservation, says, “I look for those who just have an aura that people want to be around. If you’re in the lobby cussing and whistling at girls, then what are you doing on the jobsite when I’m not around?” Potential employers will be looking to see how you could represent their company – do you have the professional quality they’re looking for?

Students can have resumes, too.

It’s unlikely that, as a student, you will have a significant amount of relevant work experience. This doesn’t mean that your resume can’t be formatted nicely. Start with your name and contact information at the top. We recommend getting a Gmail account with some version of your name – for example: johndoe1@gmail.com. You may not have access to your school email for much longer, and an email address like partydude@hotmail.com isn’t very professional.

We suggest including a summary that repurposes some of the elevator pitch that you wrote; your college, degree and anticipated/actual graduation date; and then work experience and volunteer work. You may also want to include any student memberships with relevant trade organizations, such as the International Society of Arboriculture.

Show initiative, consider certifications.

Employers are interested with candidates have pursued certifications or have expressed interest in obtaining them. Noel Dubak, SCD sponsor and manager of global recruitment & development at Bartlett, says, “More tools in your pocket can mean higher wage.” One such certification that you could get which is highly-valued in the industry is a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The rules vary from state-to-state, so you will need to do some research for the state in which you live or plan to work. If you can’t get one yet, you can mention you’re interested in getting it.

Excuse me, your passion is showing.

Are you excited about the industry? Let it be known! Alex Julius, associate director of educational goods & services for the International Society of Arboriculture, an SCD sponsor, says, “If you have passion and aptitude to grow into a position, you will succeed.” Employers know that candidates who are excited about the industry are more likely to stick around, and thus are highly attractive to bring on as an employee.

Need help getting your resume pulled together, or need some coaching on how to positively represent yourself to employers at Student Career Days? Reach out to the career services department at your school – they have people who would love to help you work on your resume, elevator speech and some talking points.