I’M IN COLLEGE! NOW WHAT?

Going to college. It is about having fun, meeting new people, trying new things, and …. Graduation? Many seniors get to the end of the college adventure and realize that they need to use the degree they earned but they have no idea where to start.

As a whole, students interested in the agriculture industry are looking at endless job possibilities. The agriculture industry is full of jobs for recent college graduates; you just have to know where to start to get one.

It is hard to buckle down and think about getting a job during your first two years of college, but they are pivotal years. Most students do not realize the value of internships early on in their college career. Internships are the best way to know what you are interested in, find out what you are not interested in, and build up your experience on your resume for your future job search. But how do you find an internship?

Step one: Start by looking with companies who hold your interests. If you are an Agronomy major, looking with a seed research company. If you are an Agriculture Communications major, there are wonderful social media internship opportunities with Illinois Corn (shameless plug). Look on the company’s website or, if possible, connect with a professional that is employed there. If you know an employee do not be afraid to ask questions about internship opportunities and then look into applying to them!

The average agriculture major has 2-3 internships by the end of their college career. These internships help to make you marketable to a future employer. Many employers treat the internship as a test run for the student to see if they would be good as a future employee. So I encourage you to look into companies you may want to work for in the future and apply to an internship with them!

Step two: Networking. There is no better tool than having a good relationship with industry professionals. This can happen through an internship or joining a club. Sometimes clubs have networking opportunities where industry professionals come in and speak on a panel or speak about their career. Attend as many of these as possible and remember to take the time to introduce yourself to the speaker after the session is over. I found my career through networking with the National Agri-Marketing Association chapter at Illinois State University. I was able to meet my future boss at a speaking session my junior year and reconnect with the company again my senior year and apply for a job.

Step three: The main idea of being in college, find a job.  How do you find the job for you? Do not wait till the last minute. Get your resume reviewed by a professional or a professor. Next, start looking at job postings in the beginning of your senior year and sending in resumes. If it is possible, attend a career fair with your best suit on and resume in hand. Look on career websites, ask your professors about job postings, and check with the professionals you have connected with. You never know when you will happen upon your dream job posting.

Take every opportunity you get in college, but remember why you are there. Getting a career is the goal, right?

Cara WorkmanCara Workman
ISU Student
Follow Me on Twitter – @caraworkman