Some may ask, “So how will what I do on campus prepare me for a job?”  Certainly, studying and learning the material in class will help, but is there anything else I need to do?  Career development encompasses much of what you do on campus.  It is connecting with others, learning about them and what they do, what you have in common, and connecting with who they know.  It’s about joining a group, taking a leadership role on a project, you don’t have to be an officer. It’s about trying new experiences, learning more about what you are passionate about and finding new passions.  It’s a time to explore and learn more about yourself.  Sometimes this means exploring different types of classes to see what you enjoy learning about.  Other times it may be that “I love my major, but don’t know how this translates into a job”.  Exploring the world of work can be exciting, you might learn about jobs you didn’t know existed.  Go to a career fair or join in on an industry tour.  Take advantage of support in writing your resume and learning how to ace your interview.  Set up a LinkedIn and really use it to connect with others that have similar interests to you.  Know your dining etiquette, so you are prepared whenever an opportunity presents itself!  It all adds up, so find the combination that works for you.  Questions about the process?  Come into the College of Agricultural Sciences Career Development Center Office hours for a quick 15 minute appointment to review your resume, cover letter, or receive a brief overview; or sign up for a 50 minute Career Consultation through Beaver Careers on the Career Development Center’s website.

So here’s my list of the Top 6 things to do to help prepare for your future career:

  1. Expand your comfort zone and try something new - Join a group, take on a project, take a class in an area you haven’t explored yet or study abroad.

  2. Explore the World of Work - Go to a Career Fair. Yes, even if this is your first year, go to the Career Fair to explore and learn what is out there.  If you are a sophomore or junior research what companies/organizations are coming and check out the internships and summer jobs.  As a senior continue to connect, research, and look for job opportunities.

  3. Be prepared - Attend career workshops & events.  Learn how to dress for success, prepare for the Career Fair, brand your image, create your resume, develop your 30 second infomercial, or participate in Speed Mock Interviews or Mocktail Hour with employers.  You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you want to be ready.  Have your resume and infomercial ready to share!

  4. Know Yourself - Take time to reflect on who you are and where you are headed.  Who am I?  What do I get excited about?  What do I value? What major should I choose?  I love my major but what can I do with my major?  You can take several career assessments including the MBTI, Strong Interest Inventory, and Sigi3.

  5. Connect - Network with everyone you know: friends, family, faculty/staff, neighbors/community, clubs/organizations, employers/co-workers, professional associations, and professional social media.  Did you know that findings from Jobvite’s 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study included:
    • While 67 percent of job seekers using social media turn to Facebook, whereas 45 percent use Twitter and 40 percent use LinkedIn.
    • 79 percent of recruiters have made hires via LinkedIn, despite job seekers’ Facebook use.

  6. Be Professional - Most importantly, treat people with respect, you never know who could be your boss someday.

So now you ask “will there be a job for me when I finish?”  According to the Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment United States, 2015-2016 Report there will be outstanding opportunities.  So the good news, projections between 2015-2020, include an expectation of 57,900 average annual openings for graduates with a bachelor’s or higher degree; but with an average of only 35,400 new U.S. graduates in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, or the environment each year these graduates can only fill 61% of the expected annual openings.