Growing up on the farm has its perks and its challenges. Growing up on a farm often leads to finding yourself so involved in the business that you may not leave or experience other roles. Writing a resume or talking about your experiences may have you drawing a blank. But farm experience is some of the best experience! Here’s how to draw from your experiences working on the farm while interviewing and secure a new role for yourself.
Farming involves being able to think and react in a short amount of time. When something goes wrong, you have to be able to improvise on the spot while remaining calm and executing the new plan safely. Equipment breaks down at the most inopportune times. So explain the time that a piece of equipment broke down and you had five minutes to make a decision on what the plan to fix it, whether that be driving to town or calling the local equipment dealer for spare parts. Talk about how you took initiative and developed a plan of action quickly in a moment of stress. This can also apply to a livestock emergency.
A large part of the farm experience involves preparation. Discuss in your interview what your typical decision making process looks like. Maybe that includes when you decide it may be appropriate to spray a herbicide or what hybrids to plant in which field. Or maybe it’s a financial plan about how to expand the business without cutting costs. Did you apply for a loan? What type of planning did you need to do to make that happen? Or perhaps you developed a succession plan with your parents or manager. How did you go about that process?
You might not have been the manager at the farm, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t serve an important position. Being a leader on the farm can range anywhere from operating large pieces of equipment to making sure the livestock gets fed each day. You most likely had a regular task that you had to complete in order for things to go smoothly, that others were counting on you for. Tell the interviewer about what you were in charge of and how it was accomplished. Maybe you are the type of person to complete jobs without being asked. Make sure to note that you are a self-starter and finding things to accomplish on your own is not difficult.
A very popular interview question is, “Tell me about a time you faced a challenging problem and how you handled it.” Now is your opportunity to tell the interviewer about the time your cows got out and you were the only one around to get them home. Explain your strategy and what approach you took to get them back in the pasture. Talk about what steps you took to address this problem. Employers want to know that you can improvise and come up with solutions on your own when there is no guidance available.
Now’s the time to apply this knowledge to your job application! Check out AgCareers.com. Employers using AgCareers.com are looking for people with farm experience like yours.
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Guest Blog Post by Kate Boeckenstedt, AgCareers.com 2018 Marketing Intern