From the Ring to the Real World: 8 Skills Employers Don’t Know You Have
For more than a decade, you have worked, hustled, and dedicated your time and efforts to your livestock. When the time finally comes to say “goodbye” to the ring and “hello” to the real world, you will take with you a unique and valuable skill set.
Once you’re ready to land your dream internship or job, use descriptive words and examples on your resume, in your cover letter, and to answer interview questions. You've done some pretty incredible things, this is your chance to really sell yourself to a potential employer!
Whether you decide to go into an ag-related career or not, the talents that you have gained throughout your showing career are exactly what hiring professionals are looking for - you just need to tell them!
Showmen (and women) don’t take days off: pigs need to eat and heifers need their hair worked. You have taken on the responsibility time and time again to work toward a goal and remain faithful to your livestock.
Common interview question: Tell us about a single task or project that you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far.
Words to use: Reliable, honest, hard-working.
Showing livestock is a confidence-builder for many. Not only do you become confident in yourself and your abilities, but you gain the confidence to speak in front of crowds and introduce yourself to strangers. Don't be afraid to amplify your skills and accomplishments on your application and in your interview!
Common interview question: Why should we hire you for this position?
Words to use: Personable, excellent verbal communication, talented, competent, adept.
Involvement with livestock gives many opportunities to get involved and dive into leadership roles. Whether it be within your 4-H club or FFA chapter, on the junior board of a breed association, or simply acting as a leader in the barn with your siblings.
Be sure to list as much of your involvement as possible on your resume, especially if you held a leadership position or were part of a team or committee.
Common interview question: What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?
Words to use: Dynamic, enterprising, initiative, integrity, collaborative.
Training your 1,300 lb steer to walk on a halter, loading a skittish gilt onto a trailer for the first time, and retraining your lamb on everything that he already learned yesterday.. because somehow he already forgot – these are all parts of our world that require great patience.
Common interview question: Share with us a situation in which you had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle this and what were the outcomes?
Words to use: Composed, adaptive.
5. Critical thinking/ Decision making
This is one skill that is often overlooked by interviewees. In order to create the perfect feed ration, find the right mating combo, or even when you’re out looking for “the one” each year, stock show kids make strategic decisions almost daily.
Common interview questions: Give some instances in which you recognized or anticipated a problem and were able to influence a new direction or approach.
Words to use: Analytical, good judgment, savvy, reasoning.
6. Drive/ Self-Motivation
It’s not always easy to jump out of bed every day to feed and give your livestock a morning workout. It takes drive and motivation to give your all every day for your livestock.
Common interview question: What motivates you to do a good job?
Words to use: Self-starter, determined, efficient, ambitious, independent, disciplined.
Employers are always looking for someone who is going to be loyal and committed to the job at hand. A great example of dedication is the undertaking of a livestock project.
Common interview question: Tell me about a time in which you were able to be very persistent to reach goals.
Words to use: Dedicated, loyal, consistent, passionate.
Record-keeping and organization are a huge part of maintaining livestock. These are also important job requirements for many different careers.
Common interview question: Give us an example of a prior experience that you have had that also required you to be detail-oriented.
Words to use: Meticulous, accurate, deadline-driven, conscientious, structured.