The changing leaves brings in a new phase in recruitment, and that’s career fair season, and organizing internship opportunities for the coming spring. It may seem early, but if you need to secure an internship, summer job, or your make your first post-graduate career choice – the time is now. Most campuses are hosting career fairs in September-November each year, typically there is a different fair for each specific college. You should absolutely attend – even if you are returning to the farm this summer, it’s never too early to familiarize yourself with agricultural companies in your area. The companies have prepared, come early to set up their booths – and cannot wait to talk to excited and interested students – that’s why they are there! You have some preparations to make too – let’s take a look at how you can be the most impactful at the fair and how to approach employers properly.
Dress – The problem is that you’re usually going to go to their fair between classes. You probably don’t want to sit in class in polyester dress pants before darting off to the fair; but at least try to look professional. You don’t have to wear a suit, although some do. Even dark wash jeans with a nice top, or a blazer would set you apart from some of the other attendees. The number of students that we see at career fairs each year in Ugg boots, leggings, overly distressed, jeans, or work boots is sometimes overwhelming. It reflects badly on you and on your educational institution.
Agriculture is one of the best pathways to choose for students because of the sheer amount of opportunity within the industry. Innovations in sustainable agriculture, precision technology, and plant/soil science are creating exciting new skilled trade roles each year.
Some of the roles that are in the most difficult to fill are within the skilled trade realm. There are simply not enough students entering these career pathways to fulfill the vacancy demand within agriculture. If you are in high school just considering your career path, or are mature, and open to retraining for a second career; consider training in a skilled trade. These roles can span every industry type within agriculture, and often include mechanics, welders, electricians, technicians, and specialists.
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?
Pursuing a professional designation either on its own, or to complement your existing education and experience, is an excellent way to prove credibility in a certain field of expertise. While job hunting for research roles in soil, plant, or animal science, it’s common to see that Masters or PhD is required; agriculture has its own unique set of professional designations to help you differentiate yourself.
Each professional designation is typically governed by an industry institute or association. These bodies have varying requirements depending on the designation, often mixing courses and experience. They operate to a high standard of ethics and expect the same of their members. This group can also provide you with vital mentoring throughout your career.
Many of the designations that are unique to agriculture fall under the agronomy umbrella, let’s take a look at some:
According to the most recent Job Report from AgCareers.com about 32% of our applicants aren’t coming from an agriculture-related job or educational program. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for these non-ag candidates on AgCareers.com-quite the opposite actually.
Looking at the top ten careers types posted on AgCareers.com, many of them aren’t ag-specific. Types like sales, labor, manufacturing, accounting, maintenance, and technicians aren’t necessarily ag-specific roles. Many of these job postings may require knowledge of the agriculture industry, without having been immersed in it with previous work place employment.
Being realistic about your prior education and experience, your job is to relay to the company that your skills and experience are transferrable to what they are looking for. Traditionally resumes have focused on job duties and tasks performed, however now employers find skills and achievements more important. If you did sales for a non-ag product, don’t focus on the product and your sales process. Instead, highlight what you accomplished, did you increase sales by a certain percentage over time, did you bring on a certain number or percentage of fresh clients, did you do your own business development and lead sourcing. Show that you were creative in territory expansion and revenue increases. To the employer revenues are the top priority – you can teach someone a new product, but you can’t easily teach sales skills.
Bonjour…! Unfortunately, that’s all the French I will be sharing with you today, because while I’m writing about all the benefits of being bilingual in today’s job market, it is a skill that I don’t currently have.
If you were a kid growing up in the ’80s or ’90s in Canada, there is a good chance that you spent some time in class watching the French-speaking pineapple named “Ananas” on Téléfrançais. If you were anything like me, you didn’t pay much attention in your French classes because you didn’t live in Quebec, why would you ever need French?
Fast forward to now and I have lost track of the number of times I cursed myself for not meeting the bilingual requirement on job postings. I never thought that bilingualism would be a job requirement, both in agriculture and in an English-speaking province. Here are just a few of the ways you’re benefitting if you have a second language.
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.