Growing up on the farm has its perks and its challenges. Growing up on a farm often leads to finding yourself so involved in the business that you may not leave or experience other roles. Writing a resume or talking about your experiences may have you drawing a blank. But farm experience is some of the best experience! Here’s how to draw from your experiences working on the farm while interviewing and secure a new role for yourself.
Farming involves being able to think and react in a short amount of time. When something goes wrong, you have to be able to improvise on the spot while remaining calm and executing the new plan safely. Equipment breaks down at the most inopportune times. So explain the time that a piece of equipment broke down and you had five minutes to make a decision on what the plan to fix it, whether that be driving to town or calling the local equipment dealer for spare parts. Talk about how you took initiative and developed a plan of action quickly in a moment of stress. This can also apply to a livestock emergency.
You have done a great job in preparing your resume, cover letter and applying for the right positions, and now you have landed the interview! The interview is where you and the employer ask questions to determine if the job and employer will be a fit for you. Most questions in an interview pertain to your past job performance, skills, values and competencies. However, you quite likely will also be asked about your previous job (or jobs) and employers, and why you left past positions. This can be an easy question for those who left positions after longer service for advancement opportunities. However, this can be a trickier question for those who left previous employers due to lay-off, termination, bad feelings, etc. So, what is the best way to address these questions of past employers?
What you say about previous employment speaks volumes about you, not the boss, which is why interviewers pose the questions. Interviewers are looking for a few things when they ask about your previous job, such as:
Planning to do an internship? You’ve probably heard some things over the years that might deter you. But to be honest, there’s probably not a lot of truth to those rumors. Check out these intern myth busts to get the real story.
Intern Myth #1: Interns do the grunt work.
Not all interns are just coffee runners like you might see in the movies. Most interns will take on numerous large projects to complete by the end of their internship. As well as advancing their career skills in several different areas.
Intern Myth #2: Internships are only in the summer.
If you are someone who has a hard time committing your warm summer days off of school to a job, then a summer internship may not be in your best interest. And it doesn’t have to be! Internships can take place during the spring and fall as well. The only downfall is that your internship might have to be limited to the hours between school and other commitments. Some students even take a semester off and work a full-time internship during the school year.
Nearly 47 percent of U.S. workers are female. Women own close to 10 million businesses. Almost 40 percent of all managers are women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2016. The majority of managers in human resources, social and community services, and education administration are female (bls.gov). Those are the statistics. Gender equality at work has been an important topic in workplaces, educational institutions, and the news. But what’s the perception of women in leadership roles? Do people prefer male or female managers? Let’s look at data that illustrates how this preference has changed over the years:
90% of Dr. Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell’s female Dartmouth MBA students said that they’d prefer a male manager.
GALLUP found that both genders still preferred a male boss in 2014; 26% of men and 39% of women said they’d prefer a male boss if they were taking a new job.
Meet Jason McAlister: Director of Animal Welfare at Triumph Foods . He is also known as “The Pig Whisperer” to many in the industry. He started his career at a small local locker plant in Iowa and since then, has climbed the ladder to attain his role that he has today. Jason talks about how he got to where he is now and how to get started in the Animal Welfare industry.
What is your title and how long have you worked in your field?
My title is Director of Animal Welfare at Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, Missouri. I have been in the live harvest field since 1993 starting in a local locker plant in Gilbertville, Iowa to IBP and Tyson. I was recruited by Triumph Foods in 2007.
What made you want to become a Director of Animal Welfare?
I have a passion for learning and passing my knowledge on to those around me. Leadership is a family trait; my Grandfather was a General Foreman for Firestone Tires. My father and mother both were managers and naturally I do the same. I think this is where my passion for training others comes from.
What is a day in the life like for you?
The majority of my day is consumed with problem solving and interacting/training my employees. I start each day in the barns visiting with each employee followed by staff meetings and visiting support areas. I like to be seen in each department daily (HR, the clinic, employment, and accounting). Visits with these folks is sometimes required but mostly it is just team/relationship building when you depend on these teams to be successful it is important that they know you care about their needs and don’t just come around when you need something.
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.