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Agrimarketing : Agribusiness Employer Guide 2008
recommended the Student Advance- ment Committee. To date, my involvement on the Student Advancement Committee has been one of the best decisions I have made because it combines service to the university with personal and profes- sional development opportunities and it is well known among employ- ers in the agriculture industry. Be sure to check out honors councils, ambassador programs and student advancement organizations on your respective campus. Tip 3: When to get involved and how to find balance between academics and involvement. I believe this step is rarely discussed, but incredibly important to your aca- demic success, especially as a fresh- man in college. Many students seek out involve- ment opportunities immediately and quickly become too involved and overwhelmed. College is a big step. Moving away from home with new- found freedom and jumping into fast-paced, difficult classes often leaves students in unfamiliar terri- tory facing new challenges. Take time to adjust to this new lifestyle and establish a strong GPAbefore getting involved. When you are ready to get involved, start with one or two orga- nizations and critically determine how much involvement you can manage without interfering with your academics. I researched involvement opportunities my first semester on campus, but waited until my second semester to partici- pate in a few select organizations. As a result, I made a smooth transition into the college lifestyle, established a high GPAand learned the delicate balance between academics and involvement. Tip 4: How to get involved. Once you have found a few organizations of interest and are ready to get involved you have a couple of options. One way to get involved is to attend an event hosted by the organization. While you are there, introduce yourself to the leaders and request more information about what you can do to become a part of the organization. You can also volun- Conferences provide personal and professional development opportunities and are a great way to meet students who have a passion for agriculture, but offer unique perspectives on the industry. (At right) The Internet is a great place to search for involvement opportunities. Discover what Agriculture Future of America has to offer by visiting their Web site at www.agfuture.org. teer to help the organization if they coordinate commu- nity service projects or special events. Some elite organizations require an application and/or an interview process. If this is the case, contact an advisor or leader in the group to learn how to be included in the application and selection process. Tip 5: How to further your career through involvement. Take on lead- ership roles. In leading your organi- zation effectively, you demonstrate responsibility, organization, initia- tive and innovation — key skills employers seek. It is also important to increase or improve your involvement on an annual basis. This shows you are a respected member of the organiza- tion who others want to work with. Make a point to learn from respected leaders in the organization as well as your own successes and failures. These are valuable lessons that will aid you in making future decisions and becoming a better leader. Take every opportunity to net- work with peers, administrators, fac- ulty, staff and professionals — you never know who you will work with in the future. Utilizing your special skills or area of study in an organiza- tion can also be valuable to your pro- fessional development. Since my major is agricultural communications, I seek opportuni- ties to develop marketing materials, redesign Web sites and write for group publications. One of the most important things to take away from your involvement is proof of your abilities. When a poten- tial employer asks you in a job inter- view to describe a particular situation and how you handled it, you should be able to draw from your involve- ment experiences to provide an effec- tive answer of how you utilized your abilities to solve a problem. Now that you have the tools to guide you to successful collegiate involvement, I hope you seek an organization that is perfect for you and run with it! “College is one of the best times of your life, enjoy every minute of it. Academics are incredibly important, but college is about learning how to learn, networking and discovering who you want to be.” Go out there and get involved! 23
May 2008 Supplement
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08