Career Day puts ‘resources at fingertips’

Joe Carlson

Despite the fact that few of the companies present were hiring, hundreds of University students showed up to shake hands, trade phone numbers and network with possible employers.
The 1996 Agricultural Career Day took place Wednesday at the Northstar Ballroom in the St. Paul Student Center. The event was sponsored by the College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences.
About 300 students came to talk to the 55 employers in agribusiness from around the United States. Some students came seeking careers and internships while others were there simply to meet people and shake hands.
“It’s a nice chance to get out and see what career opportunities are available,” said Nathan Gibbs, a sophomore in animal and plant systems. “I think it saves students a lot of time in the long run.”
Animal and plant systems senior Joseph Pedretti said, “I can’t think of a better way to put these resources at your fingertips … it’s a real positive event.”
Director of Career Services in the College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences Jean Underwood said the event has been held annually for about 15 years.
Most of the companies at the event were on hand to collect resumes; not to hire for positions. Many companies will return to the campus later this year for recruitment.
Cargill Representative Todd B. Hall said, “what we’re trying to do is let people know who Cargill is and what kinds of jobs are available.”
Underwood said the day was not a recruitment event. “It is not a job fair,” Underwood said, “it is a career information day.”
“A lot of the companies are looking for people to do internships,” said Zaccheaus Ogunfolami, a graduate student in the College of Natural Resources.
“It seems like the smart way to set up internships,” Pedretti said.
Agricultural education junior Ken Tufte said that he got an internship at Career Day last year. “I know a lot of people who have gotten internships through this.”
Ogunfolami said he thought that companies prefer internships to career hiring because “they want to test you out first.”
Some of the company representatives at the event were past University agriculture students.
Northrup King representative Kindra Rott, a 1995 University graduate in agricultural business management, said, “I came to Career Day every year when I was in college … this was the best place to come for internships.”
“It opened my eyes to the different opportunities in agriculture,” Rott said.
Agriculture professors were also on hand to talk to prospective employers.
Department of Work, Community, and Family Education Professor Roland Peterson said “it’s a great way to meet the people who your students will work for.”
Peterson said he attended the event to answer common questions agriculture students have, such as: “What are these companies looking for and how do we prepare for that?”
Underwood said the Carlson School of Management and the Institute of Technology have similar events “because career services are decentralized” at the University.