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Chapter 22 Career opportunities.

The purpose of education and learning is to become employable and stay employable--to get and keep a job. People look for careers and careers look for people. Two broad categories of career opportunities in the equine industry are working for someone else or working for yourself. Success in any career requires some general skills and knowledge as well as some very specific skills and knowledge unique to a chosen occupation in the horse industry.


After completing this chapter, you should be able to:

* List the basic skills and knowledge needed for successful employment and job advancement

* Describe the thinking skills needed for the workplace of today

* Identify the traits of an entrepreneur

* List six occupational areas of the horse industry

* Identify the careers that require a science background

* Describe the general duties of the occupations in six areas of the horse industry

* Describe the education and experience needed to enter six areas of the horse industry

* List six general competencies needed in the workplace

* Describe five ways to identify potential jobs

* List eight guidelines for choosing a job

* List 10 guidelines for filling out an application form

* Describe a letter of inquiry or application

* List the elements of a resume or data sheet

* Describe 10 reasons an interview may fail

* Discuss what research studies indicate about basic skills and thinking skills for the workplace

* Describe occupational safety from the employer's perspective and from the employee's perspective

creative thinking
cultural diversity
data sheet
follow-up letters
letter of application
letter of inquiry


Over the past few years, in study after study, research has indicated that potential employees never acquire some very basic skills and knowledge. Without these basic skills and knowledge, the specific skills and knowledge for employment in the horse industry are of little value. The 21st-century workplace demands an even better-prepared individual than in the past. Finally, those individuals working for themselves must develop a trait called entrepreneurship. This may also be a good trait for any employee.

Basic Skills

Success in the workplace requires that individuals possess skills in reading, writing, arithmetic and mathematics, and listening and speaking, at levels identified by employers nationwide.

Reading. An individual ready for the workplace of today and the future demonstrates reading with the following competencies:

* Locates, understands, and interprets written information, including manuals, graphs, and schedules to perform job tasks

* Learns from text by determining the main idea or essential message

* Identifies relevant details, facts, and specifications

* Infers or locates the meaning of unknown or technical vocabulary

* Judges the accuracy, appropriateness, style, and plausibility of reports, proposals, or theories of other writers

Reading skills in the horse industry are necessary to keep up with new information, to understand directions for feeding or treating horses, and to understand the language of a contract (Figure 22-1).

Writing. Individuals ready for the workplace of today and the future demonstrate writing abilities with the following competencies:

* Communicate thoughts, ideas, information, and messages

* Records information completely and accurately

* Compose and create documents such as letters, directions, manuals, reports, proposals, graphs, and flowcharts with the appropriate language, style, organization, and format

* Check, edit, and revise for correct information, emphasis, form, grammar, spelling, and punctuation


In the equine industry, writing skills are necessary for such tasks as keeping stable records, taking a message, describing disease conditions, and requesting a test.

Arithmetic and Mathematics. The workplace of today and the future requires individuals with competencies in arithmetic and mathematics. Arithmetic is the science of computing with numbers by the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Mathematics is the application of arithmetic. Competencies important to those in the equine industry include:

* Perform basic computations

* Use numerical concepts such as whole numbers, fractions, and percentages in practical situations

* Make reasonable estimates of arithmetic results without a calculator

* Use tables, graphs, diagrams, and charts to obtain or convey information

* Approach practical problems by choosing from a variety of mathematical techniques

* Use quantitative data to construct logical explanations of real-world situations

* Express mathematical ideas and concepts verbally and in writing

* Understand the role of chance in the occurrence and prediction of events

Anyone not convinced of the value of arithmetic and mathematics to the horse industry should consider the skills required to figure feed conversion ratios or growth rates.

Listening and Speaking. Individuals working today and in the future must demonstrate an ability to really listen. This means to receive, attend to, and interpret verbal messages and other cues such as body language. Real listening means the individual comprehends, learns, evaluates, appreciates, and supports the speaker.

Speaking skills are used when obtaining and maintaining a job and communicating with coworkers. Career opportunities in sales rely on good speaking and communication skills. Individuals successful in the workplace demonstrate these speaking competencies:

* Organize ideas and communicate oral messages appropriate to listeners and situations

* Participate in conversation, discussion, and group presentations

* Use verbal language, body language, style, tone, and level of complexity appropriate for audience and occasion

* Speak clearly and communicate the intended message

* Understand and respond to listener feedback

* Ask questions when needed

Thinking Skills

Many research studies indicate that contrary to the old workplace, in the new workplace employers want workers who can think. Employers search for individuals showing competencies in these areas: creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, mental visualization, knowing how to learn, and reasoning (Figure 22-2).

Creative Thinking. Creative thinkers generate new ideas by making nonlinear or unusual connections and by changing or reshaping goals to imagine new possibilities. These individuals use imagination freely, combining ideas and information in new ways.

Decision Making. Individuals who use thinking skills to make decisions are able to specify goals and limitations to a problem. Next, they generate alternatives and consider all of the pros and cons before choosing the best alternative.


Problem Solving. As silly as it sounds, the first step to problem solving is recognizing that a problem exists. After this, individuals with problem-solving skills identify possible reasons for the problem and then devise and begin a plan of action to resolve it. As the problem is being solved, problem solvers monitor the progress and fine-tune the plan. Being able to recognize a disease condition and look for solutions is a good example of problem solving in equine science.

Mental Visualization. This thinking skill requires an individual to see things in the mind's eye by organizing and processing symbols, pictures, graphs, objects, or other information. For example, an individual might use visualization to picture a stable and corral from a diagram or to understand wiring and plumbing from a schematic.

Knowing How to Learn. Perhaps of all the thinking skills, this is most important with the rapid changes in available technology. Successful individuals recognize and can use learning techniques to apply and adjust existing and new knowledge and skills in familiar and changing situations. Knowing how to learn involves awareness of personal learning styles as well as formal and informal learning strategies.

Reasoning. The individual who uses reasoning discovers the rule or principle connecting two or more objects and applies this to solving a problem. For example, physics teaches the theory of mechanical advantage; but the reasoning individual is able to use this information in understanding how the bones, joints, and muscles of the horse work individually and together.

General Workplace Competencies

Besides the basic skills and the thinking skills, the workplace of today and tomorrow demands general competencies in the use of resources, interpersonal skills, information, systems, and technology.

Resources. Resources of a business include time, money, materials, facilities, and people. Individuals in the workplace must know how to manage:

* Time through goals, priorities, and schedules

* Money with budgets and forecasts

* Material and facility resources such as parts, equipment, space, and products

* Human resources by determining knowledge, skills, and performance levels

Interpersonal. Successful people do not act in a vacuum. Most employees are members of a team where they contribute to the group. They teach others in their workplace when new knowledge or skills are needed. More than ever, and at all levels, individuals must remember to serve customers and satisfy customer expectations. Through teams, individuals frequently exercise leadership to communicate, justify, encourage, persuade, or motivate individuals or groups. As part of employment teams, individuals negotiate resources and interests to arrive at a decision. Finally, all interpersonal skills require individuals to embrace cultural diversity, a recognition of and sensitivity to the various backgrounds and norms of coworkers and customers.

Information. The Information Age is here. Individuals in the workplace must cope with and use information. Successful individuals will identify the need for information and evaluate information as it relates to a specific job. With the computer, individuals in the workplace must organize and process information in a systematic way. Also, with all this information available, individuals must interpret and communicate information to others using oral, written, or graphic methods. For example, breeding and performance data must be summarized. To manage production information, computer skills are the key (Figure 22-3).

Systems. No longer can any one aspect of a business or industry be viewed as a part that stands alone. Every aspect is part of a system, and successful individuals seek to understand systems--whether they are social, organizational, technological, or biological. With an understanding of the systems in a business, effective predictions and diagnoses can be made. Individuals can then modify systems to improve their products or services. For example, a person who breeds horses must understand the biological systems of reproductive genetics and animal behavior.


Technology. Technology makes life easier only for those who know how to select it, use it, maintain it, and troubleshoot it. Technology is complicated. Successful individuals learn to apply appropriate new technology through all the basic skills, thinking skills, and general workplace competencies.

Personal Qualities

Even with all the training in basic skills, thinking skills, and general workplace competencies, some individuals still fail for lack of personal qualities. These include responsibility, selfesteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity or honesty.

Responsible individuals work hard at tasks even when the task is unpleasant. Responsibility shows in high standards of attendance, punctuality, enthusiasm, vitality, and optimism in starting and finishing tasks.

Those possessing self-esteem believe in themselves and maintain a positive view of themselves. These individuals know their skills, abilities, and emotional capacity. They feel good about themselves.

Self-esteem and self-management are qualities that go hand in hand. Successful individuals demonstrate understanding, friendliness, adaptability, empathy, and politeness to other people. They demonstrate these skills in familiar and unfamiliar social situations. Such individuals are sincere people who take an interest in what others say and do.

Along with self-esteem is self-management. Individuals successful in business accurately assess their own knowledge, skills, and abilities while setting well-defined and realistic personal goals. Then, once goals are set, those who manage themselves begin to monitor their progress and motivate themselves through the achievement of goals. Self-management also implies that a person exhibits self-control and responds to feedback unemotionally and nondefensively.

Finally, to be successful in the equine industry, an employee or entrepreneur requires good old-fashioned honesty and integrity. Good ethics are still a part of good business.


More and more employers seek employees with intangible skills or soft skills, such as balance in a person's life, communicating effectively, problem solving, decision making, resolving conflict, working with others, planning, conducting effective meetings, professional growth, ethics, community service, and volunteerism. These skills are outside of technical skills needed in a job or career. Yet they often are more important in determining a person's success. Employers have been asking schools and colleges to teach these soft skills. Some schools and colleges have taught these skills, but not in formalized classroom settings with prepared lessons and assessments. Often many of these skills are gained when the student takes an active role in a club or organization such as FFA or National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization (PAS). Leadership roles in an organization are particularly effective in developing these skills. Students who participate in contests such as the FFA Career Development Events (CDE) also seem to develop more of the soft skills important to success in the workplace.

Recognizing the need for these soft skills, many companies have developed formalized lessons, training, and assessment. For example, the National FFA Organization developed educational materials called LifeKnowledge[R] that provide training in four areas of the soft skills--personal, organizational, career, and community. LifeKnowledge includes a set of 257 lesson plans structured to help FFA advisors and agricultural education teachers educate and prepare middle school and high school students to become proficient in 16 competency areas. Another 100 lesson plans are available specifically for use at the collegiate level.

The 16 competency areas and precept statements are described next.

Premier Leadership


A1. Work independently and in groups to get things done

A2. Focus on results

A3. Plan effectively

A4. Identify and use resources

A5. Communicate effectively with others

A6. Take risks to get the job done

A7. Invest in others by enabling and empowering them

A8. Evaluate and reflect on actions taken and make appropriate modifications


B1. Practice human relations skills including compassion, empathy, unselfishness, trustworthiness, reliability, and listening

B2. Interact and work with others

B3. Develop others

B4. Eliminate barriers in building relationships

B5. Participate effectively as a team member


C1. Contemplate the future

C2. Conceptualize ideas

C3. Demonstrate courage to take risks

C4. Adapt to opportunities and obstacles

C5. Persuade others to commit


D1. Live with integrity

D2. Accurately assess my values

D3. Accept responsibility for personal actions

D4. Respect others

D5. Practice self-discipline

D6. Value service to others


E1. Address issues important to the community

E2. Perform leadership tasks associated with citizenship

E3. Participate in activities that promote appreciation of diversity

F--Continuous Improvement

F1. Implement a leadership and personal growth plan

F2. Seek mentoring from others

F3. Use innovative problem-solving strategies

F4. Adapt to emerging technologies

F5. Acquire new knowledge

Personal Growth

G--Physical Growth

G1. Practice healthy eating habits

G2. Respect one's body

G3. Participate in a fitness program

G4. Set goals for long-term health

H--Social Growth

H1. Acknowledge that differences exist among people

H2. Present self appropriately in various settings

H3. Develop and maintain relationships

I--Professional Growth

I1. Plan and implement professional goals and priorities

I2. Make clear decisions in my professional life

I3. Demonstrate professional ethics

I4. Balance personal and professional responsibilities

I5. Demonstrate exemplary employability skills

J--Mental Growth

J1. Think critically

J2. Think creatively

J3. Practice sound decision making

J4. Solve problems

J5. Commit to lifelong learning

J6. Persuade others

J7. Practice sound study skills

K--Emotional Growth

K1. Cope with life's trials

K2. Live a compassionate and selfless life

K3. Develop self-assurance and confidence

K4. Embrace the emotional development process

K5. Establish emotional well-being

K6. Seek appropriate counsel

K7. Practice healthy expressions of love

L--Spiritual Growth

L1. Nurture a spiritual belief system

L2. Respect and be sensitive to others' beliefs

Career Success


M1. Demonstrate technical and business writing skills

M2. Demonstrate professional job-seeking skills

M3. Make effective business presentations

M4. Communicate appropriately with coworkers and supervisors

M5. Operate effectively in the workplace

N--Decision Making

N1. Demonstrate the decision-making process

N2. Demonstrate problem-solving skills

N3. Make ethical decisions

N4. Choose a career based on passion, abilities, and aptitudes

O--Flexibility and Adaptability

O1. Embrace emerging technology in the workplace

O2. Manage change

O3. React with openness to feedback and professional growth opportunities

O4. Experiment and take risks

P--Technical and Functional Skills in Agriculture and Natural Resources

Many high school agricultural programs and organizations such as 4-H, Block and Bridle, Alpha Zeta, PAS, FarmHouse, FFA, and Sigma Alpha endorse this training. Information about the training can be found on the LifeKnowledge Web site at <http://www.> or on the FFA Web site at < lifeknowledge/>. The goal of any of this type of training is to aid students in being successful in their careers and to become society-ready graduates.


The most common view of an entrepreneur is one who takes risks--a chance of loss--and starts a new business. But some traits of entrepreneurship are desirable at many levels of employment. Within any organization, an entrepreneur may:

* Find a better or more innovative use for resources

* Apply technology in a new way

* Develop a new market for an existing product

* Use technology to develop a new approach to serving an existing market

* Develop an idea that creates a new business or diversifies an existing business Almost anyone can be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is an attitude more than anything else--an attitude that incorporates many desired traits. The attitude of an entrepreneur includes:

* Taking risks with clear appreciation for the odds

* Focusing on opportunities and not problems

* Placing primary focus on the customer

* Seeking constant improvement

* Being impressed with productivity and not appearances

* Recognizing the importance of example

* Keeping things simple

* Using open-door and personal-contact leadership

* Encouraging flexibility

* Communicating purpose and vision

Entrepreneurs are ready for the unexpected, differences, new needs, demographic shifts, changes in perception, and new knowledge. Entrepreneurs are good employees and good employers. Entrepreneurs keep the equine industry growing.


Some people consider the only jobs available in the equine industry to be those in the actual raising or training of horses. But the industry as a whole requires a large number of people to support the infrastructure of suppliers, producers, and marketers.

Specific jobs or employment opportunities in the equine industry can be grouped into general categories. These include primary careers; horse shows and rodeos; the racehorse industry; recreation; equine supplies, support, and services; education; marketing; and research and development. Each area requires some unique skills.

Primary Careers

Primary careers are for those who want daily contact with horses and the horse industry, outside of horse shows, rodeos, and the racehorse industry as shown in the box below (Figure 22-4).
Primary Careers in the Horse Industry

Artificial inseminator
Breed registry officer
Broodmare manager
Equine consultant
Equine nutritionist
Equine researcher
Equine veterinarian
Exercise rider
Extension horse specialist
Farm/ranch manager
Horse auctioneer
Horse buyer
Horse camp operator
Horse club operator
Mounted police officer
Ranch or feedlot cowhand
Rehabilitation therapist
Riding instructor
Stable manager
Stallion manager
Veterinary technician

Supplies, Support, and Services

Occupations in the supplies, support, and services area include those that support the horse industry by providing the inputs necessary for an operation to be productive. These careers provide contact with horses and people in the horse industry, though not necessarily on a daily basis as shown in the box below (Figures 22-5, 22-6a, and 22-6b).
Careers in Equine Supplies, Support, and Services

Advertising copywriter
Commercial artist
Feed manufacturer
Feed store operator
Film production and distribution
Horse trailer sales and design
Insurance agent
Land consultant
Saddle maker
Tack and clothing retailer
Tack and equipment maker
Transportation specialist





Horse Shows and Rodeos

As shown in the fox on the next page, for individuals interested in working with horse shows or rodeos, a variety of jobs are available. Some offer permanent employment and a steady income. Some require travel to attend horse shows or rodeos in different places (Figure 22-7).

Careers in Horse Shows and Rodeos

Arena director
Course/jump designer
Drug inspector
Fair/exposition manager
Jump builder
Publicity director
Rodeo clown
Rodeo cowboy
Rodeo pickup rider
Show groom
Show manager
Show receptionist
Show secretary
Show veterinarian
Stock contractor
Ticket seller


Requirements to begin working in the horse industry vary depending on the level of work. One requirement common to all is practical work experience in the industry. To gain this practical experience, the new employee often begins at an entry-level job and then advances in the organization. Advancement depends on the skills and knowledge the employee brings to the job, the skills and knowledge gained on the job, and productivity on the job.

Entry-level educational requirements vary; but all of the basic skills, thinking skills, and general workplace competencies discussed earlier are important. These skills should be obtained in high school and reinforced during additional training and schooling. More specialized education in the equine industry is offered at some high schools, community colleges, and universities.

Many high school agriscience programs provide the education necessary for lower entry-level positions. Often high school programs in agriscience provide students with supervised work experience in some aspect of agriculture. This is invaluable for getting a job and helping individuals determine if they wish to pursue additional education (Figure 22-8).


Some community colleges and other postsecondary schools provide specialized equine programs with practical experience as a part of the schooling. Programs at community colleges focus on entry-level technician jobs.

Universities and colleges offering bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral programs provide some highly specialized education in equine science.


A supervised agricultural experience (SAE) is designed to provide students with an opportunity to gain experience in agricultural areas based on their interests. An SAE represents the actual, planned application of concepts and principles learned in school-based agricultural education. Students experience and apply in real-life situations what is learned in the classroom. Students are supervised by agriculture teachers in cooperation with parents/guardians, employers, and other adults who assist them in developing and achieving of their educational goals. The purpose is to help students develop skills and abilities leading toward an agriculture-related career.

Planning and conducting an SAE for equine science may include areas of career interest such as nutrition, veterinarian, stable manager, trainer, farrier, groom, instructor, sales, tack, saddle-making, and journalism. Students should work with their instructors to

* Identify an appropriate SAE opportunity in the community

* Ensure that the SAE represents meaningful learning activities benefiting the student, the agriculture education program, and the community

* Obtain classroom and individual instruction on the SAE program

* Adopt a suitable record-keeping system

* Plan the SAE and acquire needed resources

* Coordinate release time and visits to SAE

* Sign a training agreement along with the employer, teacher, and parent/guardian

* Report on and evaluate the SAE and records resulting from it

Additional help and ideas for planning and conducting an SAE can be found through the national FFA Web site at <>.


Finding that first job or finding a different job can be difficult. Whole books, videos, and seminars are available on finding jobs. What follows are some suggestions. The Additional Resources section at the end of this chapter provides even more information. Sources for locating jobs include:

* Classified advertisements in newspapers

* Magazines or trade journals and publications

* Personal contacts

* Placement offices

* Employment or personnel offices of companies

* Public notices

* Online Internet services

Newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and publications can be good resources for locating a job. By reading the advertisements in these publications, the potential employee can determine the demand for his or her job skills. Also, the potential employee can compare his or her skills and training with those listed in the advertisement.

A different twist on the classified advertisement is the "situation wanted" section of newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. Many people secure excellent jobs by advertising their skills.

Personal contacts are still the main source of jobs. Employers do not like to make mistakes. Some feel that the recommendation of a trusted acquaintance lessens the chances of making a hiring mistake. Also, personal contacts may know of job openings before they are publicly announced. This gives the potential employee more time to prepare and research the job. Personal contacts include friends, relatives, teachers, guidance counselors, and employees of the hiring company.

Placement offices provide vocational counseling, give aptitude and ability/interest tests, locate jobs, and arrange job interviews. There are three types of placement offices: public, private, and school. These agencies work to match employers with prospective employees. Often, too, an agency knows how to help potential employees prepare and present themselves.

Public placement offices are supported by federal and state funds. Their services are free. Private placement offices charge for the services they provide. This usually is a percentage of the beginning salary. Individuals using private placement services sign a contract before services are provided. High schools, trade schools, and colleges may maintain a placement service for their students. They also help individuals identify their aptitude or interest for a job and help in preparation for job interviews.

Many companies support their own employment or personnel office. Individuals seeking employment can fill out application forms and/or leave resumes in case a job becomes available.

Finally, some companies seeking new employees may issue a public notice of some kind. This includes posters or fliers on bulletin boards around a community. Posters or fliers are sent to related businesses and are posted on their bulletin boards. Schools and colleges often receive public announcements of jobs.

Posting of jobs on the Internet is another kind of bulletin board announcement. Some online information services maintain computerized databases of jobs. Interested individuals use a phone, computer, and modem to contact the computerized database to search for jobs that match their qualifications and desires. This type of job listing can open the door to a wide variety of potential jobs. State or local job services also post jobs on Web sites. Many of these online services post resumes and provide help for writing resumes.

Career Clusters

Recently a series of career clusters were developed to help students and instructors identify jobs and careers in 16 broad career areas. Career clusters provide a way for schools to organize instruction and student experiences around categories that encompass virtually all occupations from entry through professional levels. The clusters provide information on the knowledge and skill required. One of the 16 clusters is Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; within that cluster are the occupations for animal science, which includes equine science. More information on the career clusters can be found at <> or <>.


Once some job possibilities are identified, the work begins. Getting a job is difficult and requires some preparation. Again whole books, videos, and seminars teach how to get a job. A few tips follow. Before applying for a position, it is a good idea to do a little research on the company and the job. Important things to learn about a job and/or company include:

* Name of the company

* Name of personnel manager or person who will conduct the interview

* Company address and phone number

* Position's minimum requirements and job responsibilities

* Geographic scope of the company--local, county, state, regional, national

* Company's product(s) and demand for the product(s)

* Recent company developments

Application Forms

If the company requires an application form, remember you are trying to sell yourself with the information you give. Review the entire application form before you begin. Pay particular attention to any special instructions to print or write in your own handwriting. When answering ads that require potential employees to apply in person, be prepared to complete an application form on the spot. Take a pen and a list with the information you will need to complete the application form. This information may include your Social Security number; the addresses of schools you have attended; names, phone numbers, and addresses of previous employers and supervisors; and names, phone numbers, and addresses of references. The following guidelines will provide you with some direction when completing application forms.

* Follow all instructions carefully and exactly.

* If your application is handwritten, rather than typed, write neatly and legibly. Handwritten answers should be printed unless otherwise directed.

* Application forms should be written in ink unless otherwise requested. If you make a mistake, mark through it with one neat line.

* Be honest and realistic. Give all the facts for each question but keep your answers brief.

* Fill in all the blanks. If the question does not pertain to you, write "not applicable" or "NA." If there is no answer, write "none" or draw a short line through the blank.

* Many application forms ask what salary you expect. If you are not sure what is appropriate, write "negotiable," "open," or "scale" in the blank. Before applying, try to find out the going rate for similar work at other locations. Give a salary range rather than exact figure.

Letters of Inquiry and Application

The purpose of a letter of inquiry is to obtain information about possible job vacancies. The purpose of a letter of application is to apply for a specific position that has been publicly advertised. Both letters indicate your interest in working for a particular company, acquaint employers with your qualifications, and encourage the employer to invite you for a job interview.

Letters of inquiry and application represent you. They should be accurate, informative, and attractive. Your written communications should present a strong, positive, professional image of you, both as a job seeker and future employee.

The following list should be used as a guide when writing letters of inquiry and letters of application.

1. Use 8 1/2 x 11 inch white typing paper, not personal or fancy paper, and use an attractive, simple format. The letter and envelope should be neatly typed and free of errors and smudges.

2. Write to a specific person. Use "To Whom It May Concern" only if you are answering a blind ad.

3. Make your letter short and specific, one or two pages at most; leave details to the resume.

4. Set a positive tone and use logical, organized paragraphs with ideas that are expressed in a clear, concise, direct manner.

5. Use carefully constructed sentences that are free of spelling or grammatical errors. Avoid slang words and expressions and excessive use of the word "I."

6. Avoid mentioning salary and fringe benefits.

7. Write a first draft and then make revisions.

8. Proofread the final letter yourself, and have someone else proofread it. Be sure you have addressed it and signed it correctly.

A letter of inquiry should:

1. Specify the reasons you are interested in working for the company and ask if any positions are available now or anticipated to open up in the near future.

2. Explain how your personal qualifications and work experience would help meet the needs of the company. (Since you are not applying for a particular position, you cannot relate your qualifications directly to job requirements.) Mention and include your resume.

3. Express your interest in being considered a candidate for a position when one becomes available, and state your willingness to meet with a company representative to discuss your background and qualifications. (Include your address and a phone number where you can be reached.)

4. Obtain the name of the personnel manager and address the letter of inquiry to him or her.

A letter of application should:

1. Indicate your source of the job lead (newspaper ad, etc.). Specify the particular job you are applying for and the reason for your interest in the position and the company.

2. Explain how your personal qualifications meet the needs of the employer and explain how your work experience relates to the job requirements. Mention and include your resume.

3. Request an interview and state your willingness to meet with a company representative to discuss your background and qualifications. (Include your address and a phone number where you can be reached.)

4. Obtain the name of the personnel manager and address the letter of application to him or her.

Resume or Data Sheet

Many jobs require a resume or data sheet (Figure 22-9). The following information should be included:

* Name, address, and phone number

* Brief, specific statement of career objective

* Educational background--names of schools, dates, major field of study, degrees or diplomas--listed in reverse chronological order

* Leadership activities, honors, and accomplishments

* Work experience, listed in reverse chronological order

* Special technical skills and interests related to job

* References, if requested

Limit your resume to one page if possible. Make sure it is neatly typed, error free, and logically organized. Be honest when listing qualifications and experiences, and make sure your strong points will stand out clearly at a glance. Employers look for a quick overview of who you are and how you might fit into their business. On the first reading, the employer will spend only 10 to 15 seconds reading a resume, so be sure to present relevant information clearly and concisely in an eye-catching format.

The Interview

The next step in the job-hunting process is the interview. There are many sources of good information on how to do well in an interview. Perhaps the best advice comes from the interviewer's side of the desk. This is a list of reasons interviewers give for not placing applicants in a job.

1. Poor attitude; not really eager to work, or interested only in the salary and benefits of the job

2. Unstable work record; lacks direction or goals

3. Lack of confidence and self-selling ability

4. Lack of skill and experience; bad references

5. "Bad mouthing" former employers

6. Too demanding (wanting too much money or to work only under certain conditions)

7. Unavailable for interviews; late for or cancels an appointment

8. Poor appearance, poor grammar, use of slang

9. Lack of manners and personal courtesy; chewing gum, smoking, or fidgeting

10. No attempt to establish rapport; not looking the interviewer in the eye; being evasive

11. Showing up with a friend (always go alone to an interview)

A good resume shows information quickly and clearly.


Roger Brown

Contact Information
PO Box 1238
Anywhere, ID 00000
Phone: 000/888-8888

Career Objectives

Obtain a satisfying job in the equine industry that provides
opportunities during my career.


College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls, ID, 2004-2006: A.A.S., Equine
Local High School, Anywhere, ID: Graduated 2004.

Activities and Honors

* Member Block and Bridle Club, 2002-2004.
* Advisor to local 4-H Club.
* Member 4-H Club with equine emphasis; learned judging and equitation.
* Member FFA for three years and was elected president during senior

Employment and Work Experiences

January 2005 to Present: Sun Valley Stables, Sun Valley, ID; general
help; cleaned stalls and exercised horses.

July 2000 to December 2004: ABC Grocery, Anywhere, ID; restocked
shelves; boxed groceries; promoted to checker position.

Available on request.

Follow-up Letters

Follow-up letters are sent immediately after an interview. The follow-up letter demonstrates your knowledge of business etiquette and protocol. Always send a follow-up letter regardless of whether you had a good interviewing experience and even if you are no longer interested in the position. When employers do not receive follow-up letters from job candidates, they often assume the candidate is not aware of the professional courtesy they will need to demonstrate on the job.
A Job Is More Than Money

Before taking a job, be certain that it is
what you want. While the salary or the
wage is important, job satisfaction is
something quite different and very important.
Jobs quickly become routine and mundane. A
job with little fulfillment and challenge can
easily become a chore for some people. Before
taking a job or even while looking for a job,
answer these questions:

1. Does the job description fit your

2. Is this the level of occupation at which
you wish to work?

3. Does this type of work appeal to your

4. Are the working conditions suitable to

5. Will you be satisfied with the salary and
benefits offered?

6. What are the advancement opportunities?
Can you advance in this
occupation as rapidly as you would

7. Does the future outlook satisfy you?

8. Is the occupation in demand now and
in the foreseeable future?

9. Do you have or can you get the
education needed for the occupation?

10. What type of training is available after
taking the job?

11. Can you get the finances needed to get
into the occupation?

12. Can you meet the health and physical

13. Will you be able to meet the entry

14. Do you know of any reasons you might
not be able to enter this occupation?

15. Is the occupation available locally, or are
you willing to move to a part of the
country where it is available?

Also, before taking a job or looking for a job,
do a little personality inventory of yourself.
Consider the following:

1. Do I like to be alone or with people?

2. Am I mechanical or artistic?

3. Would I rather work independently or
under supervision?

4. Would I prefer to be mentally or
physically active?

5. Can I take authority and responsibility
for others?

6. Must I have freedom to express

7. What things do I like to do? (Make
a list.)

8. At what time of day do I work best?

9. Can I work under pressure or stress?

10. Make a list of your strong points.
Consider skills, hobbies, and leisure-time
activities you can offer an employer.

Do your research, and your job will be more
rewarding. You will also feel better about yourself.

The major purpose of a follow-up letter is to thank those individuals who participated in your interview. In addition, a follow-up letter reinforces your name, eagerness, and qualifications to the employer and indicates if you are still interested in the job position. It also offers you an opportunity to restate your reasons for wanting the job and explain why you think you are a strong candidate.


Employees in the equine industry should expect a safe and healthy workplace. Still, individuals may encounter such hazards as:

* Toxic chemicals in cleaning products

* Slippery floors

* Unsafe equipment

* Sharp objects

* Heavy lifting

* Stress

* Harassment

* Poor workstation design

To prevent or minimize exposure to occupational hazards, employers are expected to give employees safety and health training, including providing information on chemicals that could be harmful to an individual's health. If an employee is injured or becomes ill because of a job, many employers pay for medical care; sometimes employers provide lost wages.

Not only are equine industry employers responsible for creating and maintaining a safe workplace, but employees must do their part as well. Employee responsibilities include:

* Following all safety rules and instructions

* Recognizing and understanding the dangers of working around horses

* Using safety equipment and protective clothing when needed

* Looking out for coworkers

* Keeping work areas clean and neat

* Knowing what to do in emergency situations

* Reporting any health and safety hazards to the supervisor

For additional information about personal and occupational safety practices in the workplace, contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) online at <>, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at <>, or the U.S. Department of Labor at <http://>.


The goal of education and training is primarily to become employable and stay employable--to get and keep a job or run a successful business. The world of work requires people who can read, write, do math, and communicate. Rapidly advancing technology has made these skills even more critical. The modern workplace requires people who possess thinking skills. In addition to possessing a solid set of basic skills, future employees also need to relate well to other people, be able to use information, understand the concept of systems, and use technology. Personal qualities such as responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity are not outdated concepts.

Jobs in the equine industry range from those very closely tied to the industry to those that support the equine industry. In general, potential job areas include supplies and services, training, production, marketing, research, and development. Education and training for jobs in the equine industry vary from on-the-job training to high school and college degrees.

After training and education, finding and getting the right job may still be a challenge. Several good resources exist for locating a job. Still, the best one is personal contact. Well-written letters of inquiry and application, a clear, eye-catching resume, and being prepared for the job interview help secure a job.


Success in any career requires knowledge. Test your knowledge of this chapter by answering these questions or solving these problems.

True or False

1. Reading skills are not important for employees who feed horses.

2. Good ethics are still a part of conducting a horse business.

3. A veterinary technician does not require a science background.

4. General appearance is important in a job interview.

5. The horse industry includes much more than just riding and training horses.

Short Answer

6. List three traits of an entrepreneur.

7. Name four general competencies needed in the workplace.

8. Give three sources of information for finding a job.

9. List five types of work available in the horse show industry and five types in the support and services area of the horse business.

10. Name 10 primary careers in the horse industry.

11. List three options for an SAE in the equine industry.

Critical Thinking/Discussion

12. What is the purpose of knowledge and education?

13. Explain the differences between a letter of application, a letter of inquiry, and a follow-up letter.

14. What kinds of information are listed in a resume?

15. Describe five reasons that an interview may fail.

16. Discuss two reasons that computers are important in the horse industry.

17. Describe an employee's responsibility to promoting occupational safety.


1. Gather sample resumes from local sources. Develop your own resume or data sheet.

2. Collect position announcements and classified ads for jobs in the horse industry. Write a letter of inquiry and a letter of application for two selected jobs using this information.

3. Develop a list of questions frequently asked during job interviews. Use the questions in role-playing job interviews and videotape the interviews.

4. Visit a public or private placement office. Following the field trip, discuss the office's policies and how they affect job searchers and employers. Alternatively, invite a representative from a state employment agency to explain how employment agencies can help students gain employment.

5. Attend a career field day. Locate individuals currently employed in the horse industry to discuss career opportunities.

6. Select one career in the horse industry of interest, and prepare a research paper on the career using a computer and word processing software. The paper should identify the knowledge and skills required and the employment opportunities.

7. Collect pictures or photographs of people engaged in various careers with horses, and prepare a bulletin board collage.

8. Meet with a resource person such as a business owner or personnel manager to discuss what he or she looks for in resumes, application letters and forms, and during interviews.

9. Visit with local agribusiness people to discuss the importance of employee work habits, basic skills, and attitudes, and how these affect the entire business.

10. Write a follow-up letter for a job in the equine industry.

11. Using the Web sites listed in this chapter, develop a presentation on occupational safety from the employer's or employee's perspective.

12. Using the Internet, visit some Web sites that post jobs, such as:





Search for jobs in the equine/horse industry and look for any aids the site provides to those applying for a job.



Aslett, D. (1993). Everything I needed to know about business I learned in the barnyard. Pocatello, ID: Marsh Creek Press.

Business Council for Effective Literacy. (1987). Job-related basic skills: A guide for planners of employee programs. New York: Business Council for Effective Literacy.

English, J. E. (2003). Complete guide for horse business success. Tempe, AZ: Scholargy Custom Publishing.

Harness Horse Youth Foundation. (2001). Equine school and college directory. Carmel, IN: Author.

Kreitler, B. (1996). 50 careers with horses--from accountant to wrangler. Ossining, NY: Breakthrough Publications.

Mandino, O. (1970). The greatest salesman in the world. New York: Fredrick Fell Publishers.

Peters, T. (1994). The pursuit of wow! New York: Vintage Books.

Smith, M., Underwood, J. M., & Bultmann, M. (1991). Careers in agribusiness and industry (4th ed.). Danville, IL: Interstate Publishers.

U.S. Department of Education. (1991). America 2000: An education strategy. Sourcebook. Washington, D.C.: Author.

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration. (1978). Dictionary of occupational titles. Washington, D.C.: American Association for Vocational Instructional Materials.


Internet sites represent a vast resource of information, but remember that the URLs (uniform resource locator) for World Wide Web sites can change without notice. Using one of the search engines on the Internet such as Yahoo!, Google, or, find more information by searching for these words or phrases:

applying for a job

career planning

creating a resume


finding jobs

horse industry careers or jobs

workplace competencies

workplace skills

Table A-18 in the appendix also provides a listing of some useful Internet sites that can serve as a starting point for further exploration.
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Author:Parker, Rick
Publication:Equine Science, 3rd ed.
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Previous Article:Chapter 21 Business aspects.
Next Article:Appendix.

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