You’re riding the bus home from class one day, scanning through the AgCareers.com app, and you see your dream job opened up. Time to open up your old resume and add in everything you’ve been up to since the last time you applied to your summer role a few years ago right? Not necessarily so: many job seekers get in to the habit of adding and adding to a resume without considering what shouldn’t be there. Less is sometimes more. Let’s take a look at a few things that may be taking up space on your resume, but not necessarily helping to sell you to your future employer.
Formatting: Unless you are applying for a graphic design job; keep the fonts, colours, boarders, and lines to a minimum. Keep it clean and simple, yet have an element that makes your resume memorable. 3 years ago we received many applications for an internship role. I can still picture one of the resumes, along with and her name and details. It’s all because she has one appealing accent colour that made it stand out from the others.
The time is right; you are fresh out of school and a position in the family farm business awaits, or so you thought. Is it really the right time to return home; is it your idea or your parents? Understanding why the time to invest these early career years back at the family farm or business immediately after completing a few years away from home is crucial.
Is the business expanding and all hands on deck are needed? Have you been given a unique opportunity to be a part of this growth? Or are you the easiest candidate to hire because mom and dad are getting burnt out from a heavy work load? Or are there other factors such as health that out of their own control? Or is it that you need a job and expect a position be available, because after all, you have a newly minted agriculture degree?
Think about your return home to the farm and ask the same questions you would when considering other employment opportunities: what is my role, my responsibilities, my compensation and hours? Think about strategic questions like, what are the goals of the business? Do they match my personal goals? Is management willing to consider my opinion? It’s critical to have conversations with your family members before taking on, or assuming any role will be made available.
No degree required–in agriculture? I feel like I spend a lot of time dispelling the myth that agricultural careers are not just cows, plows and sows. They are rewarding and fulfilling careers that require an advanced degree and often very specialized training or education. On average, over the past three years, 65% of the jobs posted on AgCareers.com require a bachelor’s degree or higher.
However, as in all industries, it takes a diverse skill set of employees to power all aspects of the day-to-day operation. There are some critical careers in agriculture that can be obtained without pursing any advanced degree beyond high school. If you are a person who is looking for a career in agriculture that does not require a degree, consider these:
Making a career move can be both exciting and daunting. The impression you make and your performance in that new employee honeymoon period can determine if you are going to fit in culturally, and ultimately be successful within the organization. Here are a few key things to remember as you go about making sure your new manager and co-workers feel that hiring you was a great decision your first week on the job.
It should go without saying that you should arrive early, with a ready-to-learn attitude and an open mind. Within every organization, there will be unspoken cultural norms to tune in to, so ask questions, listen and observe closely. Be professional in all aspects, and that includes not getting sucked into the water cooler gossip. If you treat everyone with respect, whether they’ve earned it or not, you will be much better off in the long run. Integrity is one of the top attributes of a leader, and demonstrating it builds trust regardless of what level of position you hold.
Two years ago I was awarded a generous sponsorship to the USDA Student Diversity Program that provided me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of the vastness of the agriculture industry. The Conference in Washington, D.C. was a highlight in my life and greatly strengthened my commitment to my education in agriculture. It was interesting and incredible being in the nation’s capital, meeting new people and making friends with other students from all across our nation. I learned so much that week about the diversity in jobs related to agriculture, far beyond just an ag degree and science degrees or engineers and scientists.
“Larger companies in the ag industry, such as ours, have plenty of opportunities in our support groups such as IT, Finance, Human Resources, Public Relations, Supply Chain and more,” said Erin Wagoner with the Maschoffs.
This view of the many diverse degree opportunities in agriculture beyond an ag degree is supported by those leading companies in the agriculture industry.
“We hire biology, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers and other degrees that have related skill sets to agriculture,” said Nick Koewler, from Land O’Lakes Inc.
My involvement in the industry has revealed to me how the backgrounds in this field are limitless; from growing, harvesting, and sustaining foods more widely and efficiently to marketing products, communicating public information and creating legislation for farmers around the world.
In 2014, AgCareers.com hosted more than 64,000 career opportunities for more than 2,000 companies in the agricultural industry. The common most agriculture careers that come to mind might be Dairy Farm Manager, Agronomist, Crop Scout, Plant Breeder and so on. But there are also thousands of other jobs in the agriculture sector that may not come to mind.
Agriculture companies need skilled employees for various positions including but not limited to: Information Technology, HR Managers, Administrative Assistants and Educational Staff. Below are some not-so-thought-of jobs posted on AgCareers.com quite frequently.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis in your role with AgCareers.com?
I manage the job board sales and partnership clients for the Western region. I really enjoy working with all of our clients and really strive to give them the best customer service possible. I pride myself on a quick response time and try to be as punctual as possible.
What do you enjoy about working with AgCareers.com?
I love that I get to work and build relationships with clients from all aspects of the industry. I love working for the company as a whole. It has a great family dynamic and I love working with all the team members.
What advice would you give to job seekers using AgCareers.com for the first time?
I would really advise them to set up an account on the website and subscribe to the Career Cultivation blog. There are lots of resources we provide that help them with their job search. Also update and upload your resume to the resume database.
For those individuals who are not involved in agriculture, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of agriculture is farming, ranches and animals. According to a 2013 survey conducted by AgCareers.com, 44% of the general public views agricultural careers as hard work with little pay and 39% feel that little education is needed to pursue an agricultural career.
We know that careers in agriculture are not only diverse but rewarding. There is more to it than just farming, ranches and animals. Just like every other industry out there, agriculture cannot run without sales and marketing staff, numerous support staff and those working in the field every single day.
This is a very exciting industry to be a part of. Each year, equipment manufacturers are designing new machinery to help farmers work more land, seed companies are working with better technology to increase the viability of seed and environmentalists are working to make sure the land is used in the most sustainable way. And these are not the only sectors found in agriculture. If you are a student still considering career fields, one way to explore the agricultural industry is by participating in an agriculture internship.