Ag fall career day hosts 229 potential employers


photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Kathy Vives runs the booth for the Henry Doorly Zoo at the agriculture career fair Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the Lied Athletic Recreation Center. This year’s career fair welcomed 208 businesses and organizations, the largest number on record for Iowa State.

Caitlin Deaver

The nation’s largest agriculture career fair, which is hosted by ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is right around the corner.

On Oct. 15, the College of Agriculture Ag Fall Career Day will be held at Lied Recreation Athletic Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Last fall, the career fair attracted 208 companies; this fall, the number has risen to 229 companies looking to employ ISU students.

“Employers in the agriculture industry look to students in [CALS] at Iowa State University because they know that some of the most talented individuals in the country choose to study here,” said Bethany Olson, senior office assistant at College of Agriculture Career Services.

“They also know Iowa State provides countless opportunities for growth and development as leaders on campus, in addition to an incredibly high quality education in agriculture and the life sciences.”

Thirty-five new companies will be in attendance.

According to a newsletter, Mike Gaul, director of Agriculture and Life Sciences Career Services, said, “The growth of this event and the number of new companies in attendance is a testament to the quality of students and programs associated with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.”

Some of the big-name companies that will be attending this fall’s career day include: Ag Leader Technology, Cargill, DuPont Pioneer, Elanco Animal Health, Hormel Foods, Inc., John Deere, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Monsanto and Wells Fargo.

“A variety of highly successful and influential companies in agriculture attend our career fair, ranging in size and market share in their respective industries,” Olson said

The College of Agriculture has maintained strong relationships with partners in the industry. Some company representatives dedicate their time to student organizations within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to strengthen ties between them and the college through its students.

“Additionally, several industry partners have made major financial contributions to the college’s facilities,” Olson said. “One example of this is the recently-opened Monsanto Student Services wing in Curtiss Hall. This wing was made possible by a major financial contribution of Monsanto.”

Before attending career day, students are expected to come prepared to meet potential employers.

Students are encouraged to do their homework before arriving at the career fair. This could include finding out what companies they want to talk to by researching the companies and talking with upperclassmen about different internship opportunities.

Students should bring their resumes too, after having been thoroughly checked over multiple times.

“Come prepared with more resumes than the number of companies you plan to talk to,” Olson said. “On the day of [the career fair], you need to be prepared for unexpected opportunities to get your resume into the hands of an ‘unplanned’ company. It’s better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared.”

Dressing conservatively is also important in preparing for the career fair, as it presents students as ready for the professional world.

“For men, a suit and tie is appropriate,” Olson said. “For women, a pant suit or pencil-skirt suit is appropriate.”

Lastly, students should arrive early and come alone.

“Interview schedules fill up quickly, so the sooner you can get yourself in front of a potential employer, the better chance you have of landing an interview,” Olson said. “Also, the career fair is not the place for social hour with your college buddies; the opportunity to network and get on the interview schedule of a major player in the agriculture industry is an opportunity that doesn’t come every day, so students should come focused and use their time at the career fair wisely.”

On Tuesday, students will check in at kiosks in the lobby of Lied; they will then swipe their student ID card and receive a name badge.

“Recruiters working at the career fair are going to be meeting over 2,000 students in a matter of six hours,” Olson said. “As a student, be prepared and decide ahead of time how you are going to set yourself apart from the rest of the students to get on an interview schedule. Come relaxed and ready to talk about yourself, your academic choices and your career goals.”

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will be hosting another career day next spring on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Approximately 115 companies will be in attendance.

“It’s incredibly important for students to take advantage of career fairs because it’s a very convenient opportunity for them to explore potential employment and internship options in an environment full of positive energy and lots of options in the industry,” Olson said. “It’s an incredible opportunity.”