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Looking for a job can be a very intimidating process. You may find yourself in a similar situation as me when I was just about to finish college, and every relative would ask me at every holiday or family gathering the same question. “What are you going to do when you are done with school?” The simple answer would have been I don’t know which would lead to more questions. However, I had a standard, yet complicated, answer about how I enjoyed agribusiness and saw myself working in a marketing and sales capacity.
After going on for a couple minutes my relatives seemed satisfied that I had direction in my life and they had no need to worry. Only in truth, I really had NO IDEA what I was going to do after graduation!
Looking back, here are some lessons that I learned along the way. Hopefully they will help prepare you as you look for your first job after graduation. Be prepared to start digging deep and try to be true to yourself.
Lesson 1: Take advantage of every opportunity while still in school. I learned from my family at an early age the importance of meeting new people and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. I strongly encourage students to take advantage of international travel opportunities, join interest clubs or a group that you would like to learn more about. If you are not the type of person to travel, be sure to join your student government organizations, toast masters or volunteer with an organization in your spare time. You never know when these opportunities can lead to a future job. I was actually interviewed for a position while taking part in a student exchange program in New Zealand. Through my travels I have learned the value of another language, if you have the chance to take a language course in school, I highly recommend this opportunity. Having a second language is a very attractive skill to potential employers.
Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) students explore career opportunities from AgCareers.com at the MANRRS National Convention.
Lesson 2: Start your job search NOW! Even if you are just starting college, now is the time to start taking advantage of every networking opportunity and internship to get the most out of your university experience. Let’s recap a few things about searching for the right job.
First question: What makes you tick? Are you the type of person who enjoys speaking to people on a daily basis? Do you enjoy numbers? Are you a hands on type person? You may have been asked: What do you enjoy doing?
When you are looking for a job you need to know what you enjoy doing and what makes you happy. In my experience, I enjoy interacting and speaking to people, I love to travel, and meet new people. At the same time, you should think about your strengths and weaknesses. Also, what type of lifestyle would you like to have when beginning your professional career?
You may be saying to yourself, “Hold on, I am flat broke from student debt and bills are piling up, I just need a job that pays and I don’t care about what makes me happy. Right now money makes me happy.” WRONG ANSWER! You will soon find out, it is more important to do what makes you happy rather than live for a paycheck.
Second Question: Which companies will allow me to continue doing what I enjoy in life? Make a list of ten companies that you think are strong possibilities and begin your research. You will see in this booklet, some great companies, offering a lot of opportunities. Maybe you know a sales representative who works there or a relative. Give them a call and see if they can help you get a foot in the door.
Ask questions to find out what it is like to work there, who the key contacts are, and the current opportunities that are available. Now that you have completed your research, you need some sales tools to help you land the job.