Ag Career Day: Advice from a Senior

Posted: October 18, 2012

Jess gives advice on how to make the most of Ag Career Day.

Walking into the Bryce Jordan Center this fall on Ag Career Day seemed a little easier than past years. I wasn’t as nervous, so dressed in my suit and armed with a smile and freshly printed resumes in my portfolio, I embarked on networking with potential employers. 

Career Day is all about making connections and networking with companies that you may be interested in working for. From internships to full-time positions, Career Day provides opportunities for any student, from freshman to seniors! I attended Career Day for my first time as a freshman, mostly as a “practice round” so I would be more confident for the following year. I found that the employers were not intimidating as I had predicted, and in fact, they were more than eager to talk with me about my interests and how I could fit into a role with their company.

I’ve compiled my top three pieces of advice to share, as a graduating senior, for success at Career Day.

Be prepared.

Career Day is all about flaunting your professional side, and demonstrating that to employers. While cliché, first impressions are key.  Business attire is appropriate, so it is definitely worth investing in a nice suit and (comfortable!) pair of dress shoes or heels!

With over 50 booths at this year’s Career Day, it was so helpful to know exactly who I wanted to talk to. It is very helpful to review the attending companies online prior to the day, so you can plan which booths you want to visit and what their companies are all about! When you approach each booth, is it important to have a small introduction prepared, including your name, major, graduating year and your career interests. This will illustrate your professionalism as a student and can help to steer your conversation in the most productive way possible in the short time you’ll have with them.

Also, have your resume in tip-top shape in a nice portfolio or folder and ready to hand out. (Career Services on campus is a great resource for resume help!) Be sure to bring plenty of copies so you can offer a resume to each recruiter you meet. Last tip regarding preparation, while it may seem obvious—bring a pen! 

Be confident. 

I know this may sound impossible, as you meekly sneak your way around the maze of booths, employers, and fellow students. But, as discussed above, this time is for you to show your professional side, so hide your fear, stand up tall and put on a smile! (A smile goes a long way, as does a firm handshake!) 

One great piece of advice that I was once told was, “you are your own biggest advocate!” There will be nobody else there to vouch for your skills and how great you are as a candidate, so make it your own responsibility! Be brave and tell the recruiter about your skills and why you would be a great fit with their company.

Be motivated.

Ag Career Day is one of the great opportunities provided by the College of Ag Sciences so take full advantage of it! Make the most out of your experience and attend each year even if just for practice.

Finally, follow up with an email to each company you visited with and are interested in, expressing your interest and pleasure in meeting the recruiter and learning more about the company. With the large number of students that a company meets in a day, a follow-up email will definitely set you apart from the rest.

Good luck!