References are a common job search dilemma, especially for those that are already employed. You can’t ask your current boss to be a reference unless you’re moving, or facing a lay-off, downsizing, or a merger, or other obvious situations. So who to ask for a reference if you can’t ask your boss?
This is one of the many reasons why it is important to stay connected with former bosses and supervisors; keep the line of communication open so they can serve as references in the future.
AgCareers.com has employed several interns over the nearly 20 years in business as well as numerous campus ambassadors throughout North America during the duration of the AgCareers.com Campus Ambassador program. We caught up with four former interns and campus ambassadors to hear how their time with AgCareers.com impacted their professional careers and what they’re doing today.
How did your position with AgCareers.com aid you in your professional development?
Being an AgCareers.com ambassador helped me understand the importance of networking and expanding your professional circle. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone and to avoid the risk of putting yourself out there, but nothing magical happens in this safe space. As an ambassador, I tapped into my network and grew my connections from the opportunities those connections provided. Working with new students, faculty and industry professionals exposed me to different ways of thinking and opened my eyes to opportunities I never knew existed. I would not have had the courage (or network) to pursue a career so different from what I had planned for without being a part of the AgCareers.com ambassador program.
Agriculture is such a great industry to consider joining! As consumer demand for agricultural products is growing both domestically and internationally, demand for a diversity of careers increases as well. And contrary to popular belief, many jobs in ag are very well-paid. To illustrate, below is a list of the five highest-paying jobs in agriculture.
A company’s foremost senior executives hold strategic management and prominent leadership roles within a startup or proven organization. As one might expect, they are the highest-paying jobs in agriculture. C-Suite roles include such titles as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), etc. To learn more about C-Suite Executive careers in agriculture, click on the following links to career profiles:
Have you thought about pursuing advanced education in agriculture but just haven’t had the time or accessibility? You may have heard it said that the master’s degree is the new bachelor’s. With agribusiness constantly advancing and employees seeking advancements in their careers, a master’s degree or an advanced certificate of some kind is growing increasingly attractive to both employers and businesses. But what institutions do you consider for this kind of education? What college will have your specific needs? And how can you pursue that kind of education without leaving your current job? The answer to these questions can be found in AgCareers.com’s University Partners. In this program for distance education, you’ll find six online master’s programs in agriculture that are both highly respected and highly effective. Take a closer look:
Evaluations of resume writing can be very subjective, influenced by personal taste and feelings. Potential employers may have an opinion on your font style, design, or whether or not you should use a summary or personal statement, to name just a few. But even though your resume is subject to this type of evaluation, it is important to not dismiss objective, measurable facts from your resume.
There are some key resume writing tips that hiring managers can agree on:
• Spell check, read and re-read. Have a friend check your resume. Misspellings and grammatical errors show a lack of attention to detail. This may seem obvious, but it happens frequently! These mistakes can often be fatal to your job search prospects and automatically send your resume to the “no” pile.
Early on in my career, I accepted a position managing a dealer network for a reputable horse trailer manufacturer. The work was fast-paced and dynamic, with a focus on relationships…all things I thrive on. However, just as I was starting to really settle in and hit stride in my role, I started noticing little things that signaled all was not as it seemed. What had appeared to be a thriving business, was really a once-solid business that had started to slowly crumble from within. It wasn’t long before I realized the business foundation wasn’t built strongly enough to handle growth. If things start to go awry in that situation, the domino effect can be devastating. However, there are cases where strong change management can recover from adversity and build a stronger company. When you are in the middle of a situation like that, how long do you stay with your struggling employer? In my mind, part of the answer to that question lies in your confidence in the leadership and your level of adversity to risk.
It’s incredibly important to maintain discretion during your job search. Unless there has been a mutually agreeable conversation between yourself and your manager regarding your wishes to move on, it’s in your best interest to keep your intentions secret until you’re at the point of providing references. Many employers see departing employees to have lost loyalty and no longer have their company’s best interests in mind. Employers often consider currently employed candidates to be more valuable than those who are unemployed for unknown reasons. But how do you go about a secret job search when you have an existing full-time job?
Day one, hour one at your new job and you find in the stack of onboarding paperwork a “Covenant Not to Compete” or a “Restrictive Covenant”. Also known as a non-compete. What is it? Why do they want you to sign it? And what options do you have?
A non-compete agreement, also known as a Covenant Not to Compete or Restrictive Covenant, is a contract between an employee and employer which restricts the ability of the employee to engage in business which competes with the employer within a certain geographic region for a certain period of time. By signing it, you agree that you will not compete with your employer by engaging in any business of similar nature in any capacity (employee, contractor, owner, investor, etc.).
New to the AgCareers.com team is Rachael Powell who serves as the Data Analyst – HR Solutions. Rachael has been with AgCareers.com for two months and works from the Clinton, North Carolina office.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis in your role with AgCareers.com?
So far some of the projects I have worked on are the National Pork Board Compensation and HR Practices Report and the Agribusiness HR Review. My other main task will be to aid in the completion of the Compensation Benchmark Review.
What do you enjoy about working with AgCareers.com?
I enjoy that I get to help compile information that will help ag companies throughout North America make more informed decisions.
What advice would you give to job seekers using AgCareers.com for the first time?
There are over 5,000 jobs posted on AgCareers.com. Take the time to diligently think about what would be the best career move. Tailor your resume so that it speaks to the strengths you possess that employers are looking for. If you need help, browse through the many resources listed under the job seeker tab.
Jennifer Badger works as Agricultural Marketing Specialist for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture in Columbia. She has been in this role for nearly a year, but she has been working in agricultural marketing since August 2012. In this interview, she shares a bit about her career path as well as advice for young ag marketing professionals.
What made you interested in this career path?
I became interested in this career path in high school while taking marketing and agricultural vocational classes. I was very involved at my local Brevard, NC FFA chapter so upon graduation I left to study Agricultural Business Management at North Carolina State University. Marketing came more naturally to me than accounting or economics, which were also parts of my business degree, but that fact coupled with my involvement on the yearbook staff at the high school and collegiate levels, I just enjoy the communication and marketing side of ag business more. These subjects along with agricultural science classes are all very important to my current job, but I really enjoy the personal connections that ag marketing establishes.