Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Career in Agriculture—Preparing for the “Long Haul”

Submitted by Emily Schneider, Agriculture Future of America

The career opportunities in agriculture are infinite. Interested in business? Marketing? Law?  Product development? You can find all of these careers and more within the agriculture industry. After you decide you want to become part of the industry, however, what do you do next?

Today’s school of thought seems to imply to students that to get that job—the quickest way to get your foot in the door—is to fill your resume with activities, study abroad trips, internships and anything else that would set you apart from your competitors.  All of these things are important, but once you land that “perfect job,” do you know what you need to do to succeed in the long run?

Agriculture Future of America (AFA) and Millennium Research recently conducted a study called the AFA Future Leader Preparedness Study. This online study surveyed students and decision-makers throughout the agriculture industry to discover similarities and gaps in the understanding of what it takes to succeed professionally. This was done with the intent to apply the findings to improve and validate core competencies within the AFA Leader Development Model. 

What did those leaders in agriculture say they were looking for in potential employees? You might be surprised to learn that a high GPA, hands-on Ag experience and networking skills were almost at the bottom of the list. Industry leaders reported that above all, they value a self-starting individual who can think through problems with an outstanding work ethic. Why do you think industry leaders are looking for these things? Because they have seen that these qualities equal success—for the company AND for the employee.

To learn more about what these industry leaders look for in their future employees, view the AFA Leader Preparedness Study. Click here for more information about AFA and its programs.