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Agrimarketing : AgCareers USA 2012
26 Agriculture Future of America, National Block & Bridle, Students of Agronomy, Soil and Environmental Sciences, International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership, Alpha Zeta, Post-secondary Agricultural Student Organization, Horticulture Club, Alpha Gamma Rho, Sigma Alpha, The American Red Cross, Teach America, and the list could go on and on! There are a plethora of clubs, organizations, extracurricular opportunities and even elective classes that allow you to be involved while you're in school that could enhance your career success. Next to having internships, taking part in extracurricular activities is a great way to build your employability skills. Traits like communication, decision making, professionalism, and self- management are skills you can develop through serving on commit- tees, planning and executing fundraisers and traveling. All of these are the types of activities that take place in extracurricular settings. EMPLOYERS NOTICE "When I look at resumes of entry level candidates, one of the first things I look for is involvement on campus. When I see the candidate has gotten him/herself involved in applicable clubs and groups this shows me that the candidate has likely learned good skills including teamwork, networking, leadership, time management and industry knowledge. These are all very important when looking for that first full-time job," says Molly Toot, Area Talent Manager, Land O'Lakes Business Development Services. You cannot write about the importance of going above and beyond your normal collegiate experience without mentioning the most useful outcome of your involvement ... networking! When I was in college, I was a member of a co-ed agricultural honors fraternity, Alpha Zeta. The camaraderie in this organization, for not only active members but alumni as well, was extremely close and we often joked that no matter where we were in the state, if we had a flat tire, you would always have an Alpha Zeta brother nearby to call for help. Seven years later, I've not had a flat tire and needed help from a fel- low brother, but I can't even count the num- ber of professional connections I've made as a result of being involved. I've found mentors, colleagues, clients and other opportunities as a result of knowing people I met via Alpha Zeta connections. BE CAREFUL However, while it is important to have an extracurricular section of your resume, you should proceed with caution. It can be easy to over extend yourself and be involved in too many activities and not focus enough of your time and efforts to genuinely being involved. A listing of fifteen different extracurricular memberships/activities will quickly scream to an employer "I will over commit to projects and will turn in half-finished assignments." Or "I've joined everything on campus to try and beef up my resume but I've not held any leadership roles, sat on any committees, or even attended half of the meetings." Being a part of clubs and organizations or getting involved in events on campus is about demonstrating leadership or your ability to follow, learning to work with others, accomplishing goals with likeminded individuals, and above all else, having fun and making memories. UNIQUE COURSES There are also unique courses you can enroll in that will probably fall outside of your normal plan of study but can be helpful in your career. Conversational Spanish, Business Writing, Personal Finance, Negotiation Analysis, and Human Motivation are all courses offered at schools throughout the U.S. that would be good examples. These courses would not necessarily be part of the outlined plan of study for an agronomy major, but they could certainly be beneficial to your resume. These courses offer skill development for real life situations, skills that will often set you apart during a job interview. To help you understand the importance of getting involved on campus, we asked a few agricultural professionals to share their experiences of how they stepped outside the box and continue to reap the benefits in their careers. STEP OUTSIDE THE BOX TO SET YOURSELF APART by Ashley Collins, AgCareers.com Marketing and Education Specialist AG & FOOD EMPLOYER GUIDE
AgCareers Canada 2012