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Securing Career Opportunities

Actively use resources both on and off campus to help you navigate the process of securing career opportunities that meet your specific goals. Regardless of where you are in your journey, seeking out experiences which grow your technical knowledge and enhance your professional skills is vital. Partner with Ferguson College of Agriculture Career Services to develop your personalized search strategy. In addition to traditional services such as résumé critiques and mock interviews, our team offers graduate school admissions essay reviews, internship coaching, employer contacts and more.


Recommendations for Securing Career Opportunities

Learn more about “securing” with recommendations targeted at helping you continue your personal creation of your future success.

 

  • Develop an internship or job search plan early in the academic year, taking specific recruitment timelines for your goals into consideration.

    Think about and record the parameters for your search, including typical work tasks, locations and other factors you prefer. Brainstorm a list of potential types of internships or jobs as well as employers related to your goals. Schedule a time to meet with a Career Services staff member to discuss your outlined preferences and learn about strategies and search resources specific to your goals.

  • Consider factors impacting your internship search and selection (geographic location, housing availability, wage, etc.) or your full-time search process (cost of living, salary needs and desires, community resources, etc.).

    Record the “wants” and “needs” impacting your internship or job search in two separate columns. Rank them within each of the two categories from most important to least important by providing a point value on a scale of 1-10. These lists and ratings will prove helpful in evaluating the “fit” of different opportunities as you decide to complete application processes and evaluate and compare different offers throughout your search. How does each opportunity score on “wants” and “needs” when evaluated against your self-created career decision rubric? While securing an ideal position meeting all of your needs and preferences may not be highly probable, your rubric will help you find the best match. Then, you can think creatively about options to manage the unmet “wants” and/or “needs” by the opportunities under consideration to determine each opportunity’s viability.

  • Research target organizations to determine if they have internship programs or jobs of interest and, if so, the recruitment timeline, processes and appropriate contacts.

    If you have specific employers in mind, visit their websites. Most organizations have a “jobs,” “careers,” “human resources,” or similar page on their site where current positions are posted and/or where application processes are outlined.
    As you visit these sites, note the answers to the following questions:

    • Does the organization have any current position openings or an internship program for which I want to apply? If yes, what are the other details of the process?
    • What is the application deadline and/or the selection timeline?
    • How do I apply? Online? Through email? Through postal mail?
    • Who is the best contact with the organization for questions related to the application process?
    • Will the organization be visiting campus as a part of the recruitment process, and, if so, when and where?
    • Who are additional networking contacts who can help me with additional information about the organization and the opportunity?
  • Identify employer, industry, campus and other networking resources for learning about available internship or job opportunities related to your chosen career interests.

    Visit with your academic advisor, professors, Career Services staff and other career mentors about the best methods for finding leads related to your goals. Begin your search using all of the different resources recommended in your search. Then, slowly narrow the resources as you discover which ones are helping you identify leads and which ones are not. Keep your mind open to exploring different means as new strategies and resources are revealed throughout your search.

  • Develop targeted résumés and cover letters for each internship application, submit materials in a timely manner, and follow up to ensure receipt of applications.

    Research each opportunity by reading the position description, reviewing the employer’s website, asking questions of your relevant network connections, and using other resources. With this knowledge, develop a unique, targeted marketing tool (your résumé) that appeals to the employer’s needs and highlights your background and potential for success in the role.
    If you experience résumé writer’s block, visit the “how to” resources available on Canvas Career Resources to learn how to get started. Once you have a rough draft developed, bring it by the Ferguson College of Agriculture Student Success Center, 103 Ag Hall, to have it reviewed.

  • Continue to establish and maintain good relationships with faculty members, advisors, peers, alumni and campus staff.

    Build relationships with your classmates and expand your networks together by sharing contacts. Visit with your professors after class, during their office hours, at campus events, or schedule appointments to discuss their disciplines and career advice. Attend discipline-specific student organization meetings, alumni panel discussions, and other activities. Keep in touch with your connections, making them aware of your search status and what you are seeking. Send them thank-you notes as they provide you with information and leads, and be willing to help them with their needs as well.

  • Identify members of your professional network who would be willing to serve as good references in your application process.

    Consider professors, advisors, current and former supervisors, as well as current and past clients or coworkers as references. Before you list their contact information on your reference page, be sure to ask them if they are willing to serve as a good reference for you during your search. Also provide your references with a copy of your résumé to assist them in recalling your qualifications for the opportunities you are seeking. Always send your references a thank you note and keep them updated on your application status as your search progresses.

  • Attend career development workshops, presentations and events.

    Visit the OSU Career Services website or OSU Hire System to find a schedule of campus-wide career events.
    Find out about workshops, presentations and events coordinated by Ferguson College of Agriculture Career Services by visiting the Career Services Homepage and following the Ferguson College of Agriculture social media channels.

  • Keep your OSU Hire System account active, and your profile and résumé updated.

    Visit OSU Hire System and go to the “Student & Alumni” section. Select the “Hire System Login” tab on the left-hand navigation menu. Log in to your account. Once inside the Hire System, use the options under “My Profile” in the top navigation to update your profile and upload a current résumé.

  • Create or update your LinkedIn account, including a professional photograph.

    Set up a LinkedIn account. Varying levels of subscriptions are available, including a free subscription option. LinkedIn also has an app for both Apple and Android products. The site has helpful information about account set up and use under the “Help” menu. Career Services staff also can provide guidance in maximizing your LinkedIn usage.

  • Purchase appropriate interview attire or check your interview clothes for repair or dry-cleaning needs.

    Ferguson College of Agriculture Career Services recommends having both business professional and business casual options ready for the interview process. Business professional will typically be appropriate, but in some instances, employers may provide candidates with the opportunity to interview in business casual. Safe definitions of each style are available on Canvas Career Resources. Lots of options are available for putting your interview attire together on a budget including sales, discount stores, resale shops, and partnering with peers for mix-and-match options.

  • Complete a mock interview and/or participate in Mock Interview Day.

    OSU Career Services offers 24-hour online virtual mock interviews through Interview Stream. OSU Career Services also hosts a Mock Interview Day each semester where employers volunteer to facilitate practice interviews with students, and students may also schedule mock interviews with Career Services staff. Information about how to use Interview Stream, how to participate in Mock Interview Day or how to schedule a mock interview with a staff member is available online at hireosugrads.com/StudentsAlumni/Interview-Practice.aspx

  • Attend career fairs and employer information sessions.

    Visit the OSU Career Services website or OSU Hire System to find a schedule of campus-wide career events, including career fairs and employer information sessions.
    Stay informed of employer-student connection events coordinated by the Ferguson College of Agriculture Career Services by visiting the events page and following the Ferguson College of Agriculture social media channels.

  • Report employment status to Career Services prior to graduation.

    Each semester, information about students’ post-graduation plans and/or internship plans is collected for use in completing critical reports for program recognition and accreditation by various educational and professional organizations. All interns and graduates are asked to complete a survey and provide the most accurate responses possible. The data you submit is confidential, and identifiable, individual information is not shared with entities external to Oklahoma State University.

 

Recommendations for Securing Graduate/Professional School Opportunities

 

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