Grow your career on

Advanced Search Offers Students/Grads Employment Advice
September 30, 2008
Emily Caldwell, Progressive Dairyman

Despite a recent slump in the economy, agricultural students can plan on a “bright future” in the industry, says Eric Spell, president of The recruitment website, which started as a newsprint publication 10 years ago, has become the leading online career portal in the agricultural industry. Spell says more than 1,000 employers use the site throughout a year.

Although he considers the website to be diverse in terms of companies, he sees more activity among certain agricultural sectors including crops and agricultural chemistry; grain and other commodities; livestock – mainly pork, poultry and dairy; seeds; precision agriculture; agricultural finance; and farm equipment.

“We’ve had a 32 percent increase in job listings,” Spell says. From January to July of last year, 10,190 positions were posted. In the same period of 2008, he saw 15,111 job opportunities.

“There may be some companies being hit hard with rising fuel or feed costs,” Spell says. “But if students have a solid agricultural background, they should be able to find plenty of other positions.”

No matter where you are in your college career, Spell has some advice that may help to jumpstart your future.

Spell’s advice for recent and soon-to-be graduates:

Start job-hunting as soon as possible.
If you are graduating in May, start your search this fall. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to find your dream job.

Do your homework.
Spell says to research the company and to talk to new employees. “There’s enough opportunities out there right now that you don’t have to jump at the first option,” Spell says.

Look at the total package.
Spell believes many young adults only look at the starting salary. He says to consider vacation, time off, insurance, benefits, perks and bonus potential in addition to salary offers.

Don’t be too picky.
For students who have graduated and are having trouble finding a full-time position, Spell says to keep an open mind. He recommends that students accept a temporary or internship position and continue their job search. He says this could lead to new opportunities for graduates and will help them avoid resume employment gaps.

Current and future students can get a leg up on the competition by preparing themselves for life after graduation. In addition to maintaining good grades and being involved in extracurricular activities, students should be “seriously considering” at least one summer internship in their college career.


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