How to Really Read a Resume from a Horse Facility Job Applicant

When sorting through resumes, make sure you know the qualifications you are looking for and the keywords that indicate experience.
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When sorting through resumes, make sure you know the qualifications you are looking for and the keywords that indicate experience.
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Make sure when you are sorting through resumes that you know the qualifications for the position and the keywords to look for in the resume.

Spring and summer are the busiest seasons at a horse farm or boarding facility and often additional employees are added at this time. How can you make sure you are hiring the right employees? This series on finding the right employee should help.

Your job has been posted and candidates have applied. Now you have a pile of resumes to go through to choose whom you want to interview.

Experienced hiring managers spend less than 20 seconds reviewing a resume. That’s because they know what skills or traits an employee needs to be successful. We asked Mary K. Thomas, president of Equistaff of Florida, and Thomas Schin, a client relations executive for AccuStaff, a staffing agency in New York, what they look for in resumes. The three major things they look for in reviewing resumes are formatting, work history and relevant experience.

Formatting: An error-free resume provides a first look at the individual’s attention to detail and education. A stall cleaner or hot walker might not need to have the best grammar or spelling skills. However, an employee responsible for maintaining social media accounts or communicating with clients needs to be able to articulate professionally via the written word.

“In some jobs with horses, spelling and grammar not be as big of a deal, but in others it might matter,” Thomas said.

Work history: A candidate’s work history is telling. “You want to see if the person has a consistent work history, which indicates his or her ability to retain a job,” said Schin.

Seasonal, contractor and grant funded candidates can be an exception to this rule. Schin cautions that someone who has jumped between multiple jobs in a short time span might not be the best choice.

“The best indicator of future performance is past performance,” he said. “Their longevity in a job speaks volumes.”

Keep in mind that a gap in employment history can be telling and should be investigated. That gap could indicate time out for education, rehabilitation or incarceration.

Relevant experience: Read each position the individual has included on his or her resume. Look for key words that explain what he or she has been doing. Decide ahead of time how critical it is that the person has the exact skills you’re looking for. 

Specialized positions require technical training and expertise, whereas other positions mights offer an opportunity to invest in training if the individual meets basic criteria. For example, if you’re hiring an exercise rider, you don’t likely have the time to train someone how to ride at the level required. However, if you’re looking for basic barn help, you might have the time to train a person to clean stalls and feed.