AgCareers.com Newsletter ~ University Edition
Fall 2009
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An online job board exists specifically for you, the agriculture, life science, natural resource, and biotechnology major! Graduating with a major in these fields makes you a valuable commodity in the employment arena. AgCareers.com is an online job board, which provides you with an avenue to find your career in agriculture.

For other helpful articles, like this one, check out the 2009 AgCareers.com/AgriMarketing Employer Guide. In addition to helpful job seeking advice for students, the guide also includes information about top employers in the industry who are seeking students, such as yourself.
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RESUME WRITING 101
A GUIDE TO DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME
By: Becky Schneider

A resume, is the one physical item you can leave with a professor, recruiter or company contact to make a lasting impression and provide critical, professional and contact information. Whether that impression is positive or negative depends on your knowledge and understanding of resumes.

There are several basic content items that should be covered in your resume: contact information, career aspirations, and professional and educational experiences. What you do with those three areas is what sets you apart from every other job seeker.

Contact Information

It should be easy for an employer to identify your name which means it needs to be at the top of the page. It is said that human resource professionals on average look at a resume for six seconds to determine if they are in the follow-up or decline category. Underneath or beside your name should be contact information.

As a college student that moves frequently, it may be important to put both a current and permanent address and phone number. If an employer keeps resumes for six months to a year, will they be able to reach you? Putting your parent’s address may make contacting you in the future more likely.

Also, be sure that contact information you provide will allow you to be professional if contacted keep that in mind if you provide a cell phone number. Will your voicemail message portray a professional? Also, use professional looking emails not hotgirl@yahoo.com or bigstud@hotmail.com.

Career Aspirations

A short and concise career objective allows you to communicate what your ideal job would be in the future at first glance for the recruiter. This will help employers know if your goals and the company’s position is a good match. If you are set on one position make that your objective. “I want a position that I can utilize my Agricultural Business degree by working as a commodity broker.” Otherwise, less specific objectives give you a chance to be flexible. “I want to utilize my communication and organizational skills in an agriculture related career.”

Professional and Educational Experiences.

The order in which professional and education information is presented is dependent on the type of resume you have. However, putting education directly after the objective is most often advised for young professionals or recent graduates.

Employers, especially at career fairs, want to know three things right away—your name, career goal and degree. If those three things seem close to their ideal candidate they are likely to continue scanning your resume.

After listing your education, including study abroad experiences, be sure to include internships, organizations or scholarly opportunities that are relevant to the job you are seeking.

When describing your work experiences focus on results and actions you took at that workplace. Use action words, such as developed, managed, sold, etc. and measurables to highlight your accomplishments. “Surveyed 25 cooperatives throughout the Midwest to determine usage and satisfaction of x product and then analyzed and presented the results for strategic planning session.”

There are two primary types of resumes, chronological and functional. The majority of people utilize the chronological resume because of the ease of organization. The most recent internships or organizations are listed first followed by things that occurred at later dates. However, with a resume that utilizes the functional method an older internship may appear before a more recent internship to highlight work experience that might better align with the job being applied for.

For example, if you have an agricultural business degree and completed an internship in 2008 working on a farm and one in 2007 selling seed and your career goal is sales, you would be better off to list the seed sales internship first. Functional resumes may also place scholar activities or clubs and organizations before work experience. If your leadership outshines your work experiences, listing those experiences first is acceptable.

In either layout your professional experiences and organizations are going to be the largest portion of your resume. Utilize the space you have with care. It was already been mentioned that an employer is going to scan a resume, therefore you need to make it easy to read and highlight things that set you apart from any other job seeker. Use bullets and short, descriptive sentences or phrases to provide relevant information about the experience. Be sure to use an easy –to-read font style and size, as well as use effective formatting throughout.

As always, the best advice is to edit multiple times and often. A resume should be tailored to each new opportunity you hope to experience. Each and every piece of the resume should highlight why you are the obvious candidate for the position. Click on the Agribusiness Employer Guide links on the right hand column of this article to check out an example of a resume of a jobseeker extraordinaire.

TIPS FROM THE FRONTLINE


Anne E. Cleary
Director – Human Resources
Wilbur-Ellis Company
“If you use goals or career objectives on your resume, consider keeping them broad. Although you may be applying for a specific position, often being open to another role will serve you well. Broadly stated objectives indicate a willingness to consider other positions.
 
Proof read, proof read, proof read. It is really unfortunate when a good candidate’s resume is rejected because of a typo – and it will get rejected. If you haven’t taken enough care to ensure correct grammar and spelling on your resume, then how will you approach your job?”
 
“As an employer I am often disappointed when I receive a collegiate resume with a poorly written cover letter or a resume containing spelling errors.
Shannon Blacker
Human Resources Manager
Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, Inc.
 
With all the tools and resources available to students today, I expect a resume that is at least free of errors and if isn’t, I will seldom take the time to learn about your experience or qualifications. Take the time to review your resume and have someone else review it as well. If your cover letter and resume are full of errors, what does that say about your attention to detail and the quality of work you will do for our organization?”
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