If you opt to look for a farrier job as opposed to going the self-employment route, a resume or CV is pretty much essential. The resume (what will be focused on in this article) is your sales pitch on paper—your all-important self-marketing tool that highlights your education, work experience and skills when job hunting. A tool that’s become pretty much expected by today’s employers.
Because of this expectation, you don’t want to be caught without one. Even if you’re self-employed it’s a good idea to keep an updated resume so that you don’t forget any of your accomplishments should you ever go looking for a job or if a prospective client ever asks for your qualifications.
What to include
The basic components of a resume include your contact information listed at the top followed by work experience and education / training, though not necessarily in that order as you will see in the examination of different resume types. There are also optional sections which are great to add if you have suitable content to fill them up.
Contact information – list your first and last name, full address, phone numbers and email address. Make your name stand out so that it’s the first thing the employer sees by bolding the text or increasing the font size.
Objective (optional) – write a sentence or two summarizing your employment goals and why you want this job to get the employer thinking about why they should hire you and not someone else.
Highlight of qualifications (optional) – stress your top four or five key skills that make you a suitable candidate for the job. i.e. “Five years intensive experience working with horses with little to no supervision” or “Independent worker who works well under pressure.”
Work experience – focus on anything farrier or horse related. If you don’t have any of this kind of experience, think hard about what transferable skills you gained from the experience you do have. i.e. use your experience walking dogs to highlight your proficiency with animals.
Certifications / Affiliations (optional) – assert your competence for the job by listing any certifications you have with farrier associations. If you have none, even listing memberships with farrier or horse associations is helpful.
Education / training – list any relevant education and training. No need to list your elementary school or even your high school. If you have additional post-secondary education just list that and your farrier education, with the farrier training at the top. If not, you can add your high school. List any relevant courses that you’ve taken, even if just a short workshop.
Volunteer experience (optional) – as with the work experience section, focus on relevant experience.
Accomplishments (optional) – academic awards, sports achievements or other certificates and achievements.
Other skills (optional) – list any additional languages you know and other relevant skills that haven’t already been mentioned.
NOTE: there’s no need to list your references on your resume or to write “References available upon request.” If the employer wants your references they will ask and you had better be prepared to have a list of references to hand over.
Refer to this template for a general resume format.
Types of resumes
Resumes generally fall into one of three camps: chronological, functional, or the combination/hybrid, which is somewhere in between the first two. The differences between these particular styles of resumes are as follows.
This resume format lists your work history and education chronologically, from most to least recent. The idea behind a chronological resume is to present employers with a detailed background of your accomplishments (employment, education, volunteer, awards, etc.) and the easiest way to do so is by date.
They are best used for job seekers who have no gaps in their employment record (or who can prove those gaps in time were spent wisely) and have a strong track record of work experience that they would like to illustrate.
After listing the company name, location, dates worked and title, write bullet points that focus on accomplishments and responsibilities rather than tasks. For example, if you worked as a groom, do not write “groomed, fed and cared for horses” when you can deliver a much greater impact by writing the following:
– Groomed 10 horses at various shows around the state with no supervision
– Successfully handled a diverse range of horses including young horses and stallions
– Accurately spotted a variety of equine illnesses before they became major problems
– Effectively treated minor injuries and performed equine first aid
For many job seekers a lack of work experience is the most anxiety causing part of the job search. Don’t let it be. Just get creative and work around it. One way to do so is to opt for the functional resume instead of the chronological. Using this format you can stress your skills rather than your experience. So even if you’ve never worked with horses before but you love them and know that you’re the right kind of person to work with them you can stress your transferable skills.
For example, focus on your ability to work with your hands and to construct things by referring to your pottery hobby. If you’ve ever sold any of your creations or have displayed them at an art show, make sure to mention that. Or perhaps you really got into shop class in elementary and high school and completed a number of great projects. Maybe you’ve never had the opportunity to work with horses, but you got a chance to volunteer at a local cat rescue center. Mention that and be specific by stating how many cats you rescued. Refer to this transferable skills checklist to brainstorm a list of transferable skills.
This format is used by those who have a good amount of skills and experience and want to demonstrate both to prospective employers. Remember, the resume is about selling yourself, so if you have both, it’s a good idea to stress both so add as much information as you can without making the resume too long (one or two pages is a good length).
If you want to go the chronological route, but still want to stress some of your skills, you can just add a highlight of qualifications section near the beginning of your resume to point employers to your most important skills for the job, without having to go through the process of creating a whole skills section.
General resume tips
- Always focus on your strengths. i.e. if you have little work experience but good education, put your education section at the top and your work experience at the bottom.
- If you have no relevant work experience rename the “Work experience” section to “Experience” and add in your relevant volunteer or other experience, such as hobbies. If you think you have no relevant experience, think again. Get creative and draw connections between your transferable skills and the farrier job.
- Do not include personal information on your resume such as height, age, photo or social security number.
- Individually craft each resume for the job you are applying for. i.e. if the job advertisement asks for a specific skill, make sure you highlight that in your highlight of qualifications or within your experience section.
- Make your resume easily readable by including boldfaced section headers, underlines and italics wherever appropriate. Type your resume out with a large enough font (11 point Times New Roman or larger) on standard-sized paper (8.5 x 11″ letter size in North America or 210 x 297 mm A4 in Europe).
- Utilize action verbs to showcase your skills. Refer to this list for ideas.
- Don’t lie about anything on your resume. It’s not worth it because sooner or later you’ll get caught, which could lead to your dismissal and a tarnished reputation.
- Most cities have government-run or NGO employment resource centers that offer lessons on resume and cover letter writing and even individual assistance. If you don’t have a resource center nearby ask around at your school or community center for help in sharpening your resume writing skills and to get objective advice on your resume.
- Proofread your resume then pass it along to an employment counsellor or friend to proofread it again. Your resume is your first impression. You may only have this one chance to impress an employer, so take the time to do things right!
Resume or CV?
A resume is a concise document generally one or two pages that outlines a job seeker’s experience, education and skills with less detail than a CV, which generally runs longer and is meant to be a full record of a job seeker’s work and education history. Since the CV is a longer, more detailed document, it’s generally the same regardless of position applied for. Job seekers using a CV will differentiate their application using their cover letter rather than their CV, whereas job seekers using a resume will alter their resume based on the position for which they are applying (in addition to writing a tailored cover letter). For example, a fresh graduate from a farrier school may have a resume that they used for applying to part-time hospitality jobs while in high school. That same resume could be altered to focus on skills pertinent to farriery. If that same job seeker had a CV rather than a resume they would just add on their education, skills and experience that they’ve gained since high school.
The resume is the preferred format in North America whereas the CV is preferred in the UK, Europe, New Zealand and elsewhere. In some countries, such as Australia, both resumes and CVs are used, but for applying to different types of jobs. It’s best to use the standard format for a farrier position in the location you’re applying in.
The resume is about selling yourself, so without going overboard, make sure to highlight your best attributes. Other job seekers will be doing so, so you will have to too. If you deliver this sales pitch right it can make the difference between getting or not getting the job. As with anything, resume writing takes practice so work at it and you will continue to improve your resume over time and thus increase your chances of landing a job.