Discrimination is treating someone unfairly based on prejudicial ideas about a certain class of people. Going through the interview process is stressful enough without also wondering if you were just discriminated against. Many times blatant discrimination isn’t always at hand, as there may be subtle comments or a change in demeanor when meeting first face to face that can suggest you are being discriminated against. Throughout the course of the interview, you’ll be asked many questions. Any interview question that doesn’t directly relate to the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform well on the job are generally a no-go.
What is the question? Asking questions around race, ethnicity, religion, gender (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability status and salary in some locations should be off limits. The reality is the answer to any of the questions isn’t indicative of your ability to perform on the job.
If you participated in FFA in high school and are now seeking a job, or maybe a career change, you should leverage the power of your blue-jacket past. That FFA experience of yours can open millions of doors. Yes, millions.
“A lot of high school guidance counselors and other adults recommend that graduates exclude high school experiences on their resume, but we actually recommend they include FFA on their resumes,” says FFA Alumni Development Specialist Allie Ellis. “We have more than 8 million FFA alumni out there, so that is a huge networking connection for job seekers who were in FFA.”
On the flipside, countless former FFA members who now are hiring employers tend to recruit employees who have that shared background, according to Ellis. “They know the leadership skills and experience FFA provides students, so they seek them out for their companies,” she says.
FFA has noticed a measurable rise in non-ag companies becoming corporate sponsors and an increase in corporate alumni and supporter chapters as well. Ellis says that is because they know FFA members are exemplary from other high school students. “We’re providing the next generation of leaders in the world, and it’s not just in the agriculture field — it’s all over the world and in all sorts of different careers. Companies are well aware of that.”
Beginning your career can be scary. I remember the first time I attended a career fair in college, I was so nervous about talking to the employers and giving them my elevator pitch. Things that went through my mind were “what do I even say?”, and “what if they aren’t impressed?”. Luckily, they were all very friendly and I survived my first big career event as a college student. Sometimes though, in situations like a career fair, interview, or networking, we can let our nerves get the best of us and end up dominating much of the conversation. I don’t know about you, but when I am super nervous, I tend to talk way too much. Talking too much can have a negative impact in many of these situations. There is nothing worse than being stuck talking to someone at a networking event, where you should be mingling, for more than 30 minutes. Here are a few tips so you don’t end up talking too much and risk having a negative experience.
Over the years, I have both been afforded opportunities personally and also observed the internal dilemma caused to young people when faced with the decision of relocation. It can be difficult. How do you weigh the pros and cons? What concessions must I make in order to ultimately get where I want? What if I turn the opportunity down?
These are all questions we either have or will face on our career journey. As I have taken my own steps and engaged in countless conversations on the topic of relocation, I have whittled my advice for a young person weighing options down to four steps.
Step one is to say, “Yes.” That’s my ultimate advice to a young person wishing to catapult their career, either straight out of college or along the way. You don’t have to compromise your long-term aspirations, but I guarantee your long-term options will be much reduced if “yes” is not part of your vocabulary.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard career professionals give advice to college students that if they really want to have a meaningful career, you have to be willing to say, yes. Say, “Yes,” to new job responsibilities. Say, “Yes,” to a new role. Say, “Yes,” to relocation. In all cases, you show a willingness to stretch yourself. That puts you in a better position to:
I’m sure you’ve heard the good ole’ saying – people don’t leave jobs, they leave their manager. While not always the case, it is certainly true in many instances. For sure the person you report to and how they treat you and value you are important. But, how do you figure out what you are going to get through the recruitment process?
The nice thing is, you are in the driver seat when it comes to this for the most part. In a job seeker market, you can do a little looking until you find the right fit. Here are some things to consider.
• What was the first impression like when you met them? Your gut can tell you a lot. Did they give you the time of day; treat you with respect; seem interested in you as a person? What types of questions did they ask you – were they self-serving or did they inquire about you as a person?
Virtual Career Fairs (VCF’s) are an increasingly popular way to connect with employers, in fact, AgCareers.com is hosting a Careers in Agriculture Virtual Career Fair on September 5. A VCF allows you to chat with prospective employers without even having to leave your computer! Just because you don’t have to put on a suit and meet these employers face to face doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the opportunity seriously and prepare for it like you would an on-site career fair.
Here are some tips for how to approach a virtual career fair in a way that will be rewarding for both you and your prospective employer:
• Do your homework beforehand. Just like you would for an on-site fair, you need to take the time to research what employers are registered for the fair. The virtual career fair site will list all registered employers and link to more information about each. Read up on the companies and dig deeper into the ones that interest you. The company will post their chat hours, position locations and what majors they are recruiting.
Salary negotiations can often be the most dreaded part of the pre-hire process. A little work beforehand can help to ensure that you remain as confident through the negotiation process as you did the interview stage. Below are a few things that will help ensure in the end you’re satisfied with the offer you receive.
1. Do know your number. Some employers will ask upfront what salary you are looking for, while other employers may not ask because of local legislation. Even if you are or aren’t asked, you should have at least a range in your head you are willing to accept.
2. Be prepared. If you give the employer a salary number, be prepared to state why you are worth that amount. Let the employer know that based on your research and considering your skills and experience, you are looking for “x” dollars. Research is the key to a great offer if you don’t know what your worth or willing to accept, how will you know if you should accept the offer?
Agriculture has a range of opportunities for all different education levels. For some, heading straight into the workforce after graduating high school is the best option. Others may need a bachelor’s degree from a university to achieve their career goals. But if the best fit for you is to spend two years acquiring an associates degree, there are still plenty of suitable jobs in the agriculture industry. Here are five rewarding agriculture jobs that only require a two-year degree.
1. Grain Buyer
With an average annual salary just below $64,000, you can make an honest living as a Grain Buyer. A Grain Buyer would require strong interpersonal skills because they spend a lot of time building relationships with farmers. Companies will hire a Grain Buyer to negotiate grain prices and coordinate deliveries. The best part is, this career only requires an associates degree in agriculture business.
2. Construction Foreman
An associates degree gives you the upper hand with this career, and on average a Construction Foreman makes well over $62,000. They aid in building multiple different agriculture buildings while demonstrating strong leadership skills in order to lead the rest of the team into a completed project. If you’re looking to pursue this career, a two-year program in carpentry, construction, equipment operation, power technology or building systems will put you on the right track.
Summer is half over. Have you done everything you can to get the most out of your internship or work experience? If you can’t answer that question with a resounding “YES,” here are some ideas to assure you end your experience in a way that fully maximizes the opportunity. Your employer will organize your work and get you up to speed on your job and the organization, but it is up to you to take the appropriate initiative to get as much out of your work experience as possible.
Communicate your reason for choosing your current work experience to your supervisor, mentors and others. Talk with them about what you hope to get out of it, how you hope to grow and how that connects to your career goals. This conversation is critical to their ability to help you achieve those goals and give you feedback on your growth along the way.
Not sure you can communicate this in a concise way? Take a few minutes to define the objective of your experience. If you were to write a mission statement for your time in the experience, what would it say? Conduct a SWOT analysis to help you think through this process.
Trust me, I know the nine months out of the year spent frantically fighting exhaustion while keeping up with classwork, extracurriculars, and attempting to have a social life make summer seem like a relaxing breath of fresh air. But if your goal is to actually be prepared for a full-time career, you might want to rethink spending your free time hanging by pool and eating popsicles. While I still encourage some fun in the sun, career preparation shouldn’t stop simply because the weather’s warmer. Internships are a crucial part in giving you a step up on the job hunt ladder after graduation. Here’s why you need an internship:
When employers see an internship (or multiple) on your resume, it counts as a big gold star in your favor. Not only do they show your initiative and drive to succeed, but internships give you hands-on experience in your field of study. You will undoubtedly be forced to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations, just like a full-time position. As a bonus, these real-world experiences will make for great supporting arguments while responding to questions in an interview!
Process of Elimination
When asked why internships are important, Bonnie Johnson, AgCareers.com Marketing Associate, responded, “What do you really want to do after you graduate? Agricultural interns tell us that one of the top reasons they take internships is to develop insight into what they might want to do for a full-time career after graduation. You may have your heart set on working on a farm, or alternatively in an office– try both! It’s important to vary your internship experiences to determine the best fit for you.” You need an internship to give you the experience you need to make an educated choice while finding your perfect career.