Our Thoughts On Agriculture Today.

Undergraduate Recruiting Series: Part 4 of 4

Posted by Edward Romero on October 12th, 2010

Domain: Professional Development

Welcome to Part 4 of the Undergraduate Recruiting Series.  You can find Part 1 (Intro) here. Part 2 (Outreach/Recruitment) can be found here and Part 3 (Educational Development) here.

This week we will talk about the third part of the Undergraduate Recruiting and Educational Pipeline (UREP) model – Professional Development.

Over the course of the last several weeks, we have talked about the following research as outlined in the first blog post.

  • Students Must Be Connected With Their Educational Environment
  • Family and Community Support Is the Key to Academic Support
  • Students Become Active Learners When the Experience is Meaningful
  • Students Will Select Careers They Believe Are Most Relevant to Their Future Success
  • Perceptions about Agriculture Are Not Always Positive

Which leads me to a couple of points.

Relative to this topic and according to research, perceived barriers and relational support found that both family support and the perception of barriers were predictive of career aspirations. In other words, family is not only key to academic support but also influential in the career choice of the child. Students will select careers they believe are most relevant to their future success as do parents.  Some of those factors that influence career aspirations in addition to parental support are race, gender, academic achievement, socio economic status and self-esteem.

Research has also shown students often ask themselves the following questions when determining what their career selection will be, which in turn, determines their field of study.

  1. What does my family think about this career option?
  2. Are there others like me in this career?
  3. Can I be successful in this career and have room for growth?
  4. Will I make money in this career?
  5. Will I have to move from the comforts and conveniences of a life that I am use to?
  6. So you are probably asking yourself, what does all the above have to do with Professional Development?

Typically, Professional Development begins while students are in college. In the UREP model, it is part of the Educational Development domain (part 3 blog post) within the Student Development category, but it also occurs after graduation as well. See picture above.

From an academic perspective, the Professional Development domain is more a result of the efforts prior to graduation than the actual domain itself and is the final phase in the UREP model. The ultimate goal or objective for most colleges and universities is to prepare students who are ready to delve into the workforce and start their professional career.

By students working with their University Career Center, students can learn about:

  • Job Search
  • Cover Letters
  • Resume Writing
  • Dressing for Success
  • Professional Business Etiquette

plus more…

In addition, in preparing students for their early professional career, students exposed to industry professionals early in the process can learn valuable business skills such as:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Networking
  • Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Mock Interviewing
  • Learning Industry Lingo
  • Professional Expectations
  • Industry Direction or Interest
  • Personal Brand Development

Please note, the above list is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. I am sure you can think of other skills as well.

All or some of the above skills can be learned during internship or cooperative work experiences and are strongly encouraged.

Industry Partners

Often times, the first thing we think about when partnering with industry is asking for money. Financial support in the way of scholarships or some of other financial means is important and many provide financial assistance to students to help them go to school.  And it’s appreciated, don’t get me wrong.

However, there are ways that industry can partner with colleges or universities besides just giving money to the school for scholarships. Money for scholarships is one way to collaborate, but there are more opportunities for direct involvement from industry professionals as well.

Industry Professionals are good resources and are often times very willing to provide general information to college students in preparation for their first job opportunities. Professionals are willing to talk about any of the topics mentioned above.

For instance, as a student advisor, we partnered with industry professionals and invited them to conduct workshops for the students. They would discuss many of the topics listed above. Some would conduct mock interviews. Others would look over resumes or cover letters.  We also had sessions on how to network with industry professionals, plus more.

Interestingly, what I found that students enjoyed the most and was most helpful were personal stories. Stories about how they ended up where they did. The routes they took and the experiences they gained along the way. In my opinion, nothing beats a personal story to show how many pathways can be taken to end up at the same place – the job you want.

My experience always found industry professionals excited to talk to college students about the do’s” and “don’ts” of what should be done in trying to land a job, whether it’s just an internship or a more permanent job; regardless, they were willing to help. You just need to ask!

Until next time…


About the Author: Dr. Edward W. Romero is founder and manager of AgForLife, LLC. He is passionate about recruiting more students into agriculture and believes the agriculture industry offers awesome opportunities for young people. You can follow him via AgForLife, LLC on Facebook or Twitter.


5 Responses to “Undergraduate Recruiting Series: Part 4 of 4”

  1. Augustine Wetsel

    Nice post! I just discovered your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  2. badmash

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

  3. Gregory Despain

    Hi, great blog!

  4. Krysten Blinston

    Freakin nice blog .. looking forward to further posts.

  5. Dr. Romero -

    Thanks so much for work on this series. It does an excellent job of applying both cultural and practical elements. Well done.

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