A combination of both academic and industry experience is the best way to get your foot in the door as a young agribusiness professional, according to a panel of experts at the New Breed forum in Geelong.
They were responding to a question from the crowd, which asked whether it was more important to graduate with a qualification, or to get hands-on experience.
PricewaterhouseCoopers senior consultant Ginny Blair said while both are important, industry experience is what will set you apart from other job applicants.
“When you’re reading résumés and there are 10 people that have come from Marcus Oldham, there’s got to be something that makes you stand out, and if you have work experience, then I’ll be getting my highlighter out,” Ms Blair said.
Sheep Producers Australia leadership manager Melissa Neal agreed that both were vital, and said other extracurricular activities like volunteering and community work would also help an applicant stand out.
And NAB head of agribusiness Neil Findlay agreed, saying résumés which show teamwork and leadership skills, through extracurricular activities, were the ones that most deserved follow up.
But Mr Findlay said if you really wanted to stand out, you wouldn’t wait for the job to come to you.
“Find an employer that you think you’ll be a good fit with and ask whether you can be put on without pay, and while not all employers will say yes, it shows that you want to be there, and that you haven’t just gone to them because they’re hiring and you want a job,” he said.
He said the importance of planning before a job interview was also crucial.
“Don’t just go in there and say I’m passionate about ag because I come from a family farm, be prepared to answer questions about teamwork and leadership,” he said.
Cultivate Farms co-founder Sam Marwood said becoming an expert in a field you were interested in was another way to make you stand out, and this could all be done on social media.
“If you’re interested in Poll Herefords, you could create a blog that documented your journey of becoming the best Poll Hereford expert in Australia, and that’s what opens doors to anybody in the industry,” he said.
Do you have any advice for young agribusiness professionals? Comment below.