We hear a lot of chatter about workplace diversity. Employers often allocate resources to recruiting diverse talent and are quick to tell candidates how welcoming of a work environment they’ll find. Job seekers want to know they are going to work for an organization that welcomes diversity in its most traditional sense, as well as a broader scope that accounts for diversity of thought and experiences. At AgCareers.com we recognize that as agriculture itself has diversified, so has its workforce. In response, we conducted a survey to capture employer’s efforts to address diversity within their organizations. While there’s a lot of talk about diversity in agriculture, we wanted data to back up the statement that the industry generally embraces and supports diversity in the workplace.
Our objective was that the survey responses would help us tell the story that we knew to be true. No longer is there a typical employee in agriculture; rather we’ve outgrown stereotypes about the demographics of our industry. The Workplace Diversity Survey- 2018 U.S. Edition did just that.
Congratulations! You’ve just been presented with a job offer for a new position. You have reviewed the compensation and benefits package, and everything seems great. Before accepting the position, are there any other factors you should take into consideration? Here are some common job offer questions to ask yourself:
1. What’s the location/ schedule of the new position? Does the new position allow you to work from home or does it require going into office? How long is the commute? Do folks stay late or leave at 5 o’clock? These are important considerations. Some folks are okay with a commute and longer hours, and others not so much. Be sure to be honest with yourself about what you’re comfortable with, because over time it could take a toll on your enthusiasm for the position.
2. What in the world will you be doing anyway? Make sure you fully understand the details of the responsibilities of the position. Don’t wait until the positions begins to learn about your new role! The moment you realize there is an aspect of your position you didn’t expect can be a rude awakening.
I fall into a unique age bracket where some people consider me to be a millennial and others consider me a member of Generation X, point being, I kept my first job out of college for nearly 13 years and that makes me a bit of an oddity. So, as you can imagine the choice to start exploring other opportunities was a daunting one. Speaking from my experience, below are some things to evaluate when deciding whether or not changing jobs is the right decision for you.
Are You Happy?
Honestly, this made the top of my list because just recently I ran into someone I worked with in my previous career who asked if I was happy now that I have made a career change. My guess is the question came from her assumption that I wasn’t happy which led to my decision to make the change I did. This seems like a fair analysis, but there are so many components of a career that can make you happy or unhappy. Leadership, job duties, compensation, etc.
According to the AgCareers.com Candidate Motivation and Behavior Survey, dissatisfaction with their boss or supervisor has a high level of correlation to the likelihood of that person changing jobs. The same question shows that satisfaction with coworkers appears to have less impact on employees searching for another job. I will say for me, this was one of the things that kept me happy for many years in my career. I felt committed to my teammates as much as I did my supervisors. But when you reach a point when you are no longer happy with the direction of leadership, your compensation, or the day to day tasks of your job, then it is probably time to explore a change.
For some of those that know me, they may find it hard to believe that I truly consider myself more of an introvert. But if you don’t believe me, ask my husband! However, over time I feel like I’ve figured out the extrovert part and can sit comfortably in that space when the timing is right and I’m so glad that I have. I’ve met so many great people and learned so many new things just by getting out there and starting and participating in conversations, whether at networking events, kid’s activities, tradeshows, etc. Getting that conversation started doesn’t always come natural for everyone. You know who you are – don’t worry, you aren’t alone! While I’m not going to claim to be an expert of small talk, here are a few things that I’ve found helpful over time.
1. Look for small groups of people to interact with if possible. If you get in with a group, it can be easier to jump in on conversations that are already taking place. Also, you are likely to have more to talk about and possibly in common when there are several people to contribute to the conversation.
Between high school and college, most students have served some type of leadership position. It can be difficult to shine in a job interview when several of the candidates have the same experience as yourself. So, what makes you exceptional? Standing out to employers may be simpler than you think.
Utilize Your Resources
Ask a previous employer or an organization you were involved in to send a recommendation letter to a future employer testifying some of your key strengths or positive work attributions.
You have probably already heard this one a million times but I will say it again. Building connections is so important to establish relationships no matter what industry you are in. Employers talk and references are key, so take the time to establish contacts with anyone in the industry.
Kate Boeckenstedt joins the AgCareers.com office in Ames, Iowa this summer as our Marketing Intern. Kate just completed her junior year at Iowa State University as an Agricultural Education major with the Communications option. Last summer, Kate worked as a Crop Scout for AgVantage FS in Alburnett, Iowa.
What will you be doing this summer with AgCareers.com?
I’ll be in charge of the student success kit we’re working on as well as the Internship Benchmark Survey. Organizing some pages on our website as well as a few special marketing projects will be some other things I’m working on this summer.
What do you enjoy about working with AgCareers.com?
I like the flexibility and getting to know the indoor work environment. I like the opportunity to grow and share my ideas. The research side and blogging has been new to me. I never thought I’d be a blogger.
What advice would you give to job seekers using AgCareers.com for the first time?
Don’t limit yourself to what your major is. There are so many opportunities available on AgCareers.com. Also don’t utilize it just for the job search. There is so much available to enhance your career skills too.
Workplace wardrobes can be tricky, particularly for those employees who do not have a mandated uniform or clearly written (and modernized) dress code policy. However, you may have a few things in your closet that you should never wear to work, regardless of how well the dress code is explained or enforced.
1. Flip flops. The weather is warming up and maybe you have a really comfortable pair. Sorry, put them back in the closet. Flip flops are never quiet and they’re never that nice (no mater how much you spent on them). While some offices may permit open toed shoes, sandals that expose more foot skin than they cover should be saved for the weekend.
2. Leggings as pants. While some dress codes may ban leggings all together, I can justify their presence in the office when worn under a LONG tunic or dress. However, substituting them for pants is not acceptable.
Ohhhhh, the nervousness, unpredictability, and awkwardness of blind dates…. or job interviews! It doesn’t take much effort to illustrate the similarities between the two, even in dictionary definitions:
• Blind Date: a social engagement or date with a person one has not previously met.
• Interview: a formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications.
Fact #1: In job interviews, you’re typically socializing with someone who you haven’t met before.
Fact #2: In blind dates, you’re evaluating your date’s qualifications and “fit.”
Rita Cook always knew she wanted to work with farmers. She recently returned to her home county to work as an Ag Loan Officer in Iowa Falls, Iowa with Green Belt Bank & Trust where she has been for one year. Rita talks about what she has learned in her first year of work as an ag loan officer and her advice for those interested in the career path.
What made you want to become an ag loan officer?
I grew up on a diversified grain and livestock farm in Iowa, and knew I wanted to work hands-on with farmers to help them be successful. The bank had an opening for an ag lender. It was a perfect fit to combine my passion of helping farmers with lending.
What is a day in the life like for you?
A lot of days are spent meeting with customers or visiting with them on the phone. I work with customers to update their balance sheets, put together projected cash flows for the coming year, and then analyze those numbers. Once the analysis is done, I present the customer’s request to our internal loan review committee for approval. There’s a lot of leg work that goes on behind the scenes, especially if a farmer is purchasing farm ground or a putting up a livestock barn.
So, you’re on the hunt for a new job or you are a new graduate looking for your first start! Navigating job postings, career fairs and social media can be time consuming. When targeting your job search, how do you spot a great company to work for? It isn’t just the job description you should focus on, it’s also the company. Outside of your family, work is said to be the biggest thing to influence happiness and most of us spend most of our time at work. Also, the more comfortable you are in your workplace, the better you will likely be at your job. Here are some tips for honing in on that company with the culture for you and how to spot a great employer:
1. Internet research. Research the company. Look on their website and read about what they say about themselves and their employees. There are also a variety of websites and forums where current and previous employees can post about their own employment experiences with the company. Social media is also a great tool for researching companies and look to see what brand the company is showing through their social media channels. Does their messaging appeal to you?