Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
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on Saturday, 08 September 2012
in Guest Blogger

Why Do You Need A Resume, by Marcia Hancock, The Job Search Advisor

I'm pleased to introduce you to Marcia Hancock, The Job Search Advisor. It's much easier not to prepare a resume, but you can miss out on many opportunities if you don't have one put together, and one that's recent. Marcia gives great tips why it's important to take careful time in preparing a resume and shares useful techniques for creating it. Welcome Marcia!

A Story! Is This You?

Writing a resume is one of the least favorite yet necessary tasks for horse industry professionals. A friend and equestrian recently shared with me ‘I know I need to write my resume, bring it current, but I just dread doing this! I notice many projects that interest me, but because a current resume is required to be considered, I just do not apply!’

So many missed opportunities!

Why You Need a Resume!

You never know what life is going to throw at you and it is always best to be prepared! You do not want to miss out on any golden opportunities like my horse industry friend. Many equine professionals do not have current resumes or CVs or at the very least need an update to an existing resume. Think of a resume as a living document: it evolves as you grow in your life, career and job. Updating and maintaining, keeping a resume current, is one way to be prepared for life’s ups and downs.

Think of a resume as a tool to assess your current likes and dislikes, to know what it is you want from life, your job or career. Creating a resume is a process to determine what you want to accomplish, what you need to advance in your career, job or business.

Creating a resume keeps you focused! Helping you identify the skills you need to move you and your business forward, and identify the qualifications you need to make it all happen!


Setting the Stage

Ask yourself, ‘Just what is it I want to do next?’ Establish a clear picture in your mind of the next step in your career, job or business venture. Visualize yourself in that role, your business growing with you at the helm. Then begin to create your resume.  


A Marketing Tool

A resume is the best marketing tool available to you: it is a snapshot of a moment in time, a first impression for potential clients, a means to promote your personal ‘brand’ or business, to reinforce your importance to the horse industry and your equine clients.

A resume is one tool in your career arsenal to sell the product, you and your business, to the buyer: an employer, another business, a potential client. A resume will showcase how you will contribute to a client’s operation and ultimate success! Will display how you started, how you grew in your job or business, and what you bring to your next job or client’s endeavors.

A resume shows what sets you apart, what makes you unique.


What’s In It for You!

Writing and creating a resume is an exercise in self-assessment, taking stock of where you have been, where you are and where you want to go.

Ask yourself these questions:

What is it about your business or your job that you really enjoy doing?

What excites you and helps you lose track of time?

What is your passion?

What are your key strengths and what accomplishments are you most proud of?

The answers to these questions will keep you focused; bring your work in line with your personal and professional goals and objectives. Keep you moving forward!


Choosing a Format

Writing a resume and choosing a format that works for you should be approached like any other business-related task. The format you choose is as unique as your resume-it reflects you! Your business, your likes, your skills and accomplishments.

One way to decide on a resume format is to determine who the intended audience might be and any specific criteria or skills you must meet. Choose the format based on the needs of the reader, the resume’s purpose and your expected outcomes. The format you choose will contribute to the resume as your marketing tool and will reflect you as an individual and your purpose.

Formats to choose from are chronological, functional and a combination of the two.

When deciding on a resume format, ask yourself:

Is my work history in the equine industry a bit scattered?

Have I worked for several different employers or changed my business in a short period of time?  

Do I have any special skills? Areas of expertise?

OR do you have a steady work history in a different kind of job NOT in the equine industry?

If the answer is Yes to any of these questions, then consider the functional format.

What is a functional resume? A functional or ‘skills’ resume emphasizes and is organized by three (3) or four (4) skills sets, then notes experience with a list of employers or business endeavors. The functional format highlights skills by category with an emphasis on work experience and transferable skills. This is an example of a functional resume.

A functional resume might be the choice of someone with a well-documented career or business path with specific areas of expertise.

Picture in your mind: A functional resume divides experience into sections according to selected areas of expertise. Ex: An equine equity horse owner might specialize in breeding and stallion syndications, sales negotiations, contracts, equine health or care, equine insurance, law, transportation, and other areas of equine expertise.

The most common resume style is a reverse chronological order that lists your work experience beginning with your most recent or current job or business venture and working backwards. This format is considered by recruiters to be the easiest to read and follow.

A chronological resume organizes information with your work history in reverse chronological order. Start with your most recent employer or business venture and work backwards. The focus will be on the jobs that you held, your accomplishments and skills, and career, job or business progression.

If neither a functional nor strictly chronological resume work for you, there is a third choice, that of a combination resume format. Combination format combines the two formats into one resume devoted to Accomplishments with a brief summary for each job or business.


What are the Benefits of Each?

A chronological resume highlights your accomplishments, advancements and the progression of your business and career and shows steady progress.

A functional resume helps you downplay gaps in your work history or a career path that zigzags a bit. Functional format avoids repetition when you've had similar jobs within different horse industry organizations, and highlights your skills in a way that's not dependent upon how or where you learned them.

Tip: The purpose of a resume no matter which format you choose is to peek the reader’s interest, and emphasize your Accomplishments and Skills. Avoid a ‘tell all’ resume. Make the reader want to learn more about you, call you then meet you.


Equine Resume ‘Quick’ Checklist: 

  • Focus on what you can do, not what you want.
  • Avoid ‘soft skills’ like ‘organized’, ‘dependable’, ‘good worker’-stick with concrete facts and measurable skills.
  • Keep it Simple and to the point. No ‘big’ words or catchy phrases.
  • Avoid abbreviations and spell out words-not everyone knows TX is short for Texas.
  • Education at the end of the resume. Certifications in the first section.
  • No references!
  • Be professional but not formal. The horse industry is not very formal.
  • Write like you are engaged in a conversation with someone but avoid using ‘I’.
  • No personal information about family, favorite horses, pets, relatives, politics, etc.
  • Take time to create your resume, do not rush to avoid being sloppy.
  • No longer than 2 pages.
  • Spell Check!


Accomplishments Worksheet 

Key to your success is maintaining an Accomplishments Worksheet as part of your regular routine. Make this a habit and part of your daily business-related activities.

Questions to ask of yourself to create and maintain an Accomplishments Worksheet: 

  • How do you ‘own’ this?
  • What about your business, what special tasks/projects did you complete today that sets you apart? How did you do this better than anyone else?
  • How do others benefit from your special skills and what you accomplished?
  • List any awards you have won or recognition.
  • What are you most proud of?
  • How did you expand your business?
  • How did you overcome obstacles? Challenges? Results?

Begin with the most impressive and important Accomplishments first.

Are you a subject matter expert or have an impressive number of years in your field?

Have you spearheaded an innovative approach in your field?

Now you are ready to begin writing your resume or updating an existing resume. Creating your resume based on your Accomplishments is the first step in realizing a sense of self-worth and purpose, putting into place a system to identifying key strengths, Accomplishments and areas of expertise.


How Else Can You Use an Accomplishments Worksheet?

The basic elements for an ‘Elevator’ Pitch’ or ‘mini bio’ are from your resume. However, a pitch or bios are not necessarily done chronologically: your best accomplishments are in the foreground. Start with the most important things first!

What will “sell” you as a professional and what represents the direction you want to go are usually first.

An elevator pitch or bio is a summary of your experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.

A ‘short or mini’ bio is a short verbal or written summary of your professional life much less formal than that of a resume or CV. A bio is often engaging to the point of being conversational and easy to read. You imagine yourself in a conversation with the intended audience about the most important accomplishments in your work history.

Include a list of interesting words, phrases and sentences that describe you.


Words of Wisdom!

Creating/writing a resume, CV, and/or bio can be a life changer. There is so much to be learned from the process of writing/creating a resume including learning to assess your own skills! I see this everyday in my practice.

Writing or updating a resume should be at the top of your ‘To Do’ list. Work with a professional to help you make the time for this important endeavor. No family or friends who think you are great to begin with! An objective observer and a 2nd pair of eyes will help you accomplish your personal, professional and business goals!


How to reach Marcia:, 650-393-9616


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About the author

Lisa Derby Oden

I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that is! Early in my career I owned and operated Derby Farm, a riding stable in Buxton, Maine. I have also worked as a freelance riding instructor and bring all this practical experience to my consulting work. Blue Ribbon Consulting focuses on business and nonprofit development in the equine industry. I provide evaluation, planning, research, marketing and problem-solving services to take you successfully through all your horse business transitions. I've worked with clients around the world, and have received state and national honors for my work in the equine industry. Since I love this industry and believe in it, I've also been a nonprofit founder, board member, and executive officer for local, state and national organizations. I've worked with nonprofits in strategic planning, program development, corporate development, fundraising, grant writing and grant administration. Part of this wonderful journey has also allowed me to serve as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer at several universities, and to deliver business development, marketing, and leadership seminars throughout the United States. I also developed and oversaw the Entrepreneurs Resource Center for a community college. I've published two books, have been a columnist and freelance writer for many trade publications, and am a partner in the CD series “Inventing Your Horse Career.”


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"When I was an adjunct at UNH, Lisa Derby Oden brought a wealth of information and knowledge about current issues facing the equine industry locally and nationally to the equine science students there...Lisa provided a full understanding of how each segment of the industry is dependent upon each other for stability and growth. Her in-class workshops helped students increase their awareness of problems encountered in the equine field. She offered opportunities to learn about small business operations and professionalism.

Time and again, she offered UNH undergraduate students insights into current horse industry trends which have an effect on their chosen equine profession. I sat in on Equine Business Management when Lisa offered it through UNH. It helped me tremendously with my own business on my farm. I highly recommend her industry workshops as a must do walkthrough before venturing into any horse-related business. "

Heather Smith, Sunrise Bay Farm, Durham, NH