Attention students: 10 tips to prepare for a career in agriculture

Posted on November 20, 2018 in Dairy Performance
By Eliza Ruzic
Agriculture is an ever-changing field with endless opportunities for a variety of careers.  From accounting to research, and from sales to hands-on daily labor, young people considering a career in agriculture have plenty of choices for future careers.

After speaking to an eighth-grade careers class recently, I started thinking about what students can do to prepare themselves for a career in agriculture.  Here are my top 10 tips to make yourself stand out as a candidate for a position.

10.  Read
Agriculture is an ever-evolving industry with new technology implemented every day.  By keeping up with ag newspapers and magazines or online resources, you will stay up-to-date on the latest research, markets changes, and farm trends.

9.  Job shadow
Most people in the ag industry are more than willing to spend time with students and expose them to what their jobs entail.  Before setting your hopes on a certain career path, explore many options by spending time with people who already work in your field of interest.

8.  Ask questions
There is no such thing as a stupid question.  Asking lots of questions will not only help you fully understand the job you could be doing, but it also lets your future employer know that you are willing to learn and are critically thinking about what the job entails.

7.  Résumé
Make sure your résumé is short and sweet, but also represents you as and individual and what your experiences have been.  Keep in mind the position you want and emphasize the experiences you have had that would be relevant to that specific job.

6.  Cover letter
Grammar is key in both your résumé and cover letter – it can be the difference in getting an interview or not.  Highlight personal strengths and how those relate to the company or job you are seeking.

5.  Professionalism
First impressions are very important, so be sure to conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.  A firm handshake can go a long way.

 4.  Thank you notes
With email, texting, Snapchat and voicemail, written notes are rare in today’s society.  Writing a handwritten thank you note to the person you interviewed with could be what sets you apart from other candidates.  Thank them for their time and consideration, and, above all, be genuine.

3.  Involvement
Extra-curricular activities related to agriculture can expose you to countless experiences that you will use in your career.  By getting involved, you show your potential employer that you are motivated to participate in more than just what is required of you.

2.  Network
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Meeting people that are in the field you are interested in will help expose you to more opportunities to learn, grow and prosper as an individual.  Having references and people you trust – and who trust you – will help open doors you didn’t know existed.

1.  Be present
Technology is buzzing in our pockets constantly.  When engaging in conversation with anyone, be there and pay attention.  It is the respectful thing to do, and not doing so will immediately jeopardize the respect someone may have for you.  If someone takes time to invest in your future, the least you can do is appreciate it.

I hope these tips are helpful.  I really enjoy spending time with young people and hearing about their dreams.  Many people are willing to help in any way they can to make those dreams become a reality.  Above all, be genuine and respectful, and work hard.  The rest should fall into place.

About the author:  Eliza Ruzic has been a Vita Plus Loyal dairy specialist since 2007.  She grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Valders, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007 with a degree in dairy science.  She and her husband, Phill, own and operate Ruzic Farms in Greenwood, Wisconsin.  THey are proud to raise their three kids on the farm, and also enjoy softball, bowling, and volunteering in the community.

Category: Business and economics
Dairy Performance