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.
Go to work on Monday. Take your lunch break. Go home. Repeat until Friday. Ah yes, the classic 9-5, 40 hours/week job. Is this you? Have you thought about exploring other options? What about those things called contract jobs … what are they and how do they work?
Contract jobs are just what they sound like, jobs that are contracted. The position could be contracted for a certain project, a specific length of time, a temporary position…there are a handful of reasons an employer would want to hire a contract employee. Contract positions can look completely different from one to the next, so it is important to understand exactly what is involved with the contract position you are considering.
So, what should we know about these types of positions? I reached out to our HR Team here at AgCareers.com to hear their thoughts on these roles from a Human Resources perspective. They shared that it is important to understand the parameters of the role.
They are the most important part of any job hunt. The first look employers get into who you are and what skills you bring to the table, and one of the only ways you will land an interview with your dream job. We’re talking about resumes and what can make or break you when your name is sitting in bold letters on an employers’ desk. Crafting a professional, concise resume that will get you an interview is no easy task. It may be difficult to narrow down your achievements onto a one-page, tell-all sheet, but what you leave off your resume is just as important as what is put on. Take this resume advice: here are some things to leave off and what to put on instead.
This piece of resume advice is for all the college students or recent grads out there. The general rule is to not have anything below a grade point average of a 3.0 visible on your resume, but there’s no need to get discouraged if you don’t meet this criterion. Kristine Penning, AgCareers.com Creative Marketing Specialist, advises, “skills are definitely more important [than GPA].” Employers want to ensure they are hiring someone with the right skill set, so try spending more time promoting yourself in other ways.
Millennial–a label given to those born between 1981 and 1996. There sure is a lot of talk about this generation in the workplace. Not great talk, at that. Millennials seem to come with stereotypes and a bad reputation before they may even start their first day working at a company.
Are you a Millennial? If so, let’s get one thing established. You don’t need to live up to the stereotype others may have placed on you. Be yourself and show your colleagues the great qualities that tend to thread through your generation. Some examples may be your push for inclusion, civic-minded goals, and sustainable practices.
Here are three ways to overcome stereotypes that may have been placed on you:
1. Make a point to understand their perspective
Their perspective. That may be hard. Perhaps your boss gets frustrated when you do not want to work on the weekend, and it seems like no matter the outcome one of you is unhappy with your quantity of work hours. Take a moment to stop and think about why your boss is getting frustrated. Is it because they value hard work, which to them translates to putting in extra hours? What is the root of the frustration?
Picture this… you have revised and proofed your resume and cover letter 20 different times and finally submitted the application to your dream job. You feel a sense of relief because the hard part is over, right? Wrong! Next thing you know, you get an email to schedule an interview and the relief and excitement you felt after submitting your application materials slowly goes away and you have a new sense of worry in your head. Prepping for an interview can be nerve-wracking and the interview itself can sometimes be challenging. There are several different things you can do to prepare but what do you do about the dreaded awkward silence that can creep up in an interview?
There is no doubt that awkward silence is killer in any situation but during a job interview, the silence can feel like torture and really make us sweat. During the silence, a million thoughts might come across your mind such as, should I say something else or sit here quietly? Here are a couple of things you can do to dodge awkward silence in interviews.
Don’t break the silence
Silence may be uncomfortable, but it isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes we panic and think that breaking the silence during an awkward gap is the right thing to do, but that can make things even more awkward for both parties. Silence can be a natural part of the conversation and is bound to happen. Show them that you are still engaged in the conversation by keeping eye contact and smiling.
But, but, but… you may say, I really need to sell myself, I have a lot of experience, education, etc. Most people are, or feel, overworked and rushed. Humans and computers (applicant tracking systems) scanning your resume want to pick out key points and assess your qualifications efficiently and quickly.
To honor this effort, I’m making this blog short, concise, and direct!
Cut out the clutter – what to remove from your resume to keep it to one page: