What does it mean to be an accountable employee? I think most people’s initial response would be, to be responsible for your own actions in the workplace. While that is certainly part of the equation, I’m particularly intrigued with the definition for accountability from The OZ Principle, written by Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman.
Authors of this book define accountability as an attitude of continually asking what else can I do to rise above my circumstances and achieve the results I desire? In the workplace, you could edit and also include, results the company desires.
The book continues to explain an ‘Above and Below the Line’ concept. In my opinion, it is a great depiction of what true accountability looks like, whether that be personally or in a work setting. According to the book, accountability above the line involves Seeing It, Owning It, Solving It, and Doing It. On the flip side, the unaccountable or victim cycle, includes things like wait and see, it’s not my job, finger pointing, and more.
Ralph Towell was raised in packing houses, watching his mother and father ship beans, cucumbers, and squash to vegetable stores. His father and grandfather started their own produce distribution business. Despite the agricultural family he was born into, there came a point in his professional career where Ralph realized he was making decisions based on his gut and not his expertise: the decision to go back to school.
The agriculture industry continues to shift and change. If you’re working in this field, you may sometimes reach the same point Ralph did and wonder how you can continue to grow in your career. Which leads to the question, “Are you ready to go back to school?” There are many factors that go into a decision to finish your undergraduate degree or continue on to earn a master’s. Here are a few questions (and answers) to help guide your decision-making process.
Better hope you don’t get called for an interview – that is, if you lie on your application! Lying could include listing education, skills, or experience that you don’t have, filling in gaps in your work history with “fake” jobs, or exaggerating your credentials.
Dishonesty in the application process doesn’t just impact you and the potential employer. Not only are you lying, but your references are forced into a rather sticky situation if they are put on the spot and become part of the deception.
We’ve heard it repeatedly, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Networking has become one of the most talked about terms (and perhaps overused) when it comes to career growth and business success. However, the effectiveness of this topic necessitates its continued emphasis. But what is it really? It surprised me when the first synonym that Microsoft Word and the thesaurus suggested was “schmoozing.”
Merriam-Webster defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Illustrating the importance of career networking, this dictionary also includes a quote from Hal Lancaster, “Networking remains the No. 1 cause of job attainment.”
It may be top-of-mind in the job search process, as a principal connector for candidates and employers, but networking is imperative for overall career and personal growth too. Furthermore, if a company wants to persevere and prosper, their employees need to continue to grow as well. Professional development and networking often occur simultaneously. It’s all about making contacts, meeting people and exchanging ideas.
Don’t hate me–I know, this blog post may not be super timely, as most of the college students I’m speaking to at this moment have just recently become graduates. But there’s still time to say you got a job right out of college if you haven’t already! Here are a few tips on how to land a job right out of college:
Not Too Picky, Now: I have always felt that you have a right to be picky with what you choose to pursue in terms of a career. It’s something you could be doing for a long time, so you should pick something that you want to do. But let’s get down to earth: if it’s your first job, it’s okay to go with something that isn’t your dream job right off the bat. Your dream job might not be available right now, so go for something that you can see improving you in the meantime.
Get Professional: Time to shape up social media profiles and get a professional email address. No more firstname.lastname@example.org or alcohol in your in profile picture.
Agriculture is one of the best pathways to choose for students because of the sheer amount of opportunity within the industry. Innovations in sustainable agriculture, precision technology, and plant/soil science are creating exciting new skilled trade roles each year.
Some of the roles that are in the most difficult to fill are within the skilled trade realm. There are simply not enough students entering these career pathways to fulfill the vacancy demand within agriculture. If you are in high school just considering your career path, or are mature, and open to retraining for a second career; consider training in a skilled trade. These roles can span every industry type within agriculture, and often include mechanics, welders, electricians, technicians, and specialists.
On April 27, I had the pleasure to virtually attend STEMConnector’s first #AGis Town Hall meeting live from Washington, D.C. STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are critical career areas we at AgCareers.com frequently advocate for, and as supporters of STEMConnector, we eagerly share in VP/Chief Strategy Officer Ted Wells’ opening remarks: “Agriculture is critical in order to sustainably feed the world.” And what better way to do this than to pursue careers in STEM?
Kevin O’Sullivan, Vice President of Global Equipment and Engineering Technologies at PepsiCo, opened the seminar by sharing, “There’s a stigma attached to food and agriculture; instead of thinking about seed and farms and tractors, we should be thinking about robots and drones and science and technology.” There will certainly always be a place for the top-of-mind elements of agriculture, but as the industry continues to progress, it’s plain to see that agriculture is steeped in technology and scientific advancement.
If you are active in agricultural programs and education while attending high school or college, you likely have some very valuable experience and honors under your belt! But is it okay to put that on a resume to share with employers? In most cases, most certainly. Agricultural employers will want to know if you have relevant association experience. It also may serve as a source of connection if your potential employer was involved in these programs as well. Learn how and when to properly include association experience on your resume.
Association experience is helpful to include on your resume when you have been actively involved in an organization and have achieved multiple honors or gained highly valuable and exemplary experience relevant to the job you are applying for. If you have served as a State FFA Vice President, include that on your resume. If you earned the American FFA degree, include that on your resume. If you have taken part in an AFA Leader Institute, include that on your resume.
A day in the life of an ag HR professional may not vary at the surface from industry to industry. There will always be positions to fill, new hires to orient, performance management objectives on which to coach, training initiatives to meet, and another fire to put out. And of course, these things are to be expected in day-to-day HR and for most HR professionals, these challenges are what attracted them to the field. While to the outside world, the world of agriculture HR can look like any other industry, on the inside, things can look much different.
Preparing to communicate a resignation with your present employer can be an awkward situation, especially if you have spent the last several years of your life working there. The emotions can vary according to your experience while working with the employer. Regardless of the situation, it is always a courtesy to prepare a 1-page resignation letter to follow your verbal communication with your immediate supervisor.