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.
How & When to Share 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.
However, if you merely have lukewarm experience or were not actively involved, association experience may not be as appropriate on your resume. Remember to treat your resume like valuable real estate. You won’t want to include anything on it that won’t provide return on investment. The idea is to intrigue employers. If there is nothing remarkable about your experience or you won’t be able to answer questions regarding your experience, don’t include it.
It is also important to remain timely when including association experience on your resume. If you have been out of high school and college for many years, it’s recommended that association experience is left off unless you are still actively involved on a board or as an alum.
Association experience from organizations such as 4-H, FFA, AFA, MANRRS, NAMA, and more can all be iterated within a separate section on your resume. This section could be labelled in different ways, but some possible headings include:
- Leadership Experience
- Leadership & Service
- Honors & Awards
From there, you may list what you feel is relevant on your resume in terms of honors, awards, leadership positions held, special experience, and more. But remember to keep it concise (think of that real estate again).
Including FFA Association Experience on Your Resume
Including FFA association experience on your resume is recommended if you are of high school or college age. This is helpful for securing campus employment, work studies, internships, apprenticeships, and early first-time employment upon graduation. A sample resume from ffa.org is shown to the left.
“We certainly recommend including FFA experience on resumes and highlighting officer positions held and major achievements and honors,” said McKenzie Baecker, Education Specialist – Advocacy and Government Relations Division, National FFA. “It’s at the discretion of the student to determine what they deem as major achievements and honors, but we recommend including any national recognition.
“Additionally, we have the FFA Resume Generator, which can be found on ffa.org on My Journey,” Baecker shared. “This walks students through the process of creating a resume, what to include and not include, and how to format a resume.”
Including AFA Association Experience on Your Resume
Association experience with AFA (Agriculture Future of America) is recommended to include on your resume throughout college and early in your professional career.
“We recommend [applicants] list their involvement with Agriculture Future of America in a leadership and involvement section. This would be where you would list any other association or volunteer opportunities as well,” said Annie Storey, director of programs for AFA. “We provide example language for each of our experiences. For students, this section of the resume is particularly valuable because it helps show how you have differentiated yourself during your collegiate career. For those with more experience, this section is also important because it demonstrates how you pursue lifelong learning.”
Other Association Experience
The same rules apply to other collegiate organizations such as MANRRS, NAMA, IFAMA, Alpha Zeta, Teach Ag, collegiate clubs, and more. 4-H experience applies similar rules as does FFA: if you were highly active while in high school and possibly as an alum, you may include this experience or honors achieved on your resume, but mostly to secure college-level employment. It is recommended to leave this experience off your resume once you are applying for full-time positions as a college graduate unless you feel it is very notable and important to share.
Put this knowledge to work and add your resume to the AgCareers.com Resume Database. Also, take note that when you create an account on AgCareers.com, there are boxes to check according to your association memberships. Employers can then easily seek you out or take note of your membership history when searching the Resume Database. Build your AgCareers.com profile today!