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You should study job postings as well. Pay particular attention to the list of required skills and qualifications to get an idea of what qualities employers in the agriculture industry find most desirable. If you recognize those skills as your own, make sure you include them in your resume.
What to Include in an Agriculture Industry Resume
If you’re preparing a resume for a specific sector, you should target your summary, work experience, and education to the specific job. Relevant information and experience is what the hiring manager is looking for and should be given prime real estate in your resume.
Because of the different skills required in the various sectors, a review of agriculture resume samples based on your sector of interest is recommended.
If you’re a recent graduate and not sure which sector you find most appealing, or you’re willing to consider using your skills to crossover to another sector, your resume will differ from that of a candidate who’s been in the agriculture industry for some time.
Regardless of all these factors, there are certain resume sections that potential employers are accustomed to seeing. You should have an idea how you’ll include your attributes in the following sections:
- Summary statement
- Work experience
The sections listed above are used in a chronological resume, which lists work history with the most recent job first. A chronological resume is best suited to those who have no employment gaps and who can show a steady progression in their field. It’s also the most familiar resume format to potential employers.
A functional resume focuses first and foremost on an individual’s accomplishments, skills, qualifications, and quantifiable achievements. Functional resumes are best suited to those who have gaps in employment, a non-traditional job history, or are seeking a career change. You should be able to find functional agriculture resume samples for reference and comparison if you think this format would suit you best.
How to Write the Agriculture Resume Summary Statement
You’ll notice in agriculture resume samples that the summary is usually limited to three or four well-written, targeted sentences that parallel your qualifications and competencies with those identified in the job description. By mentioning quantifiable accomplishments, you’ll be telling the potential employer that you’re results oriented and that you can add value to their company.
Below you can find two examples of nicely crafted agriculture resume summaries targeted at different agriculture sectors:
Agricultural scientist with 10 years experience in private industry. Worked to improve standards, conducted tests and experiments to improve food quality and analyzed soil samples in the field. Developed conservation and soil management methods for farmers and forestry companies that helped to ensure effective land use and improve crop yields. Up-to-date on state and federal (EPA) regulations and compliance requirements.
Agricultural engineer who has designed agricultural machinery and equipment to perform more effectively and efficiently. Has designed food-processing plants and structures to store and process crops. Supervised large-scale land reclamation projects, and applied technological advances to farming. Provided farm managers with advice on water quality, controlling rivers, and protecting other water sources.
How to Write the Agriculture Education Section
- Participation in related programs (this is where you mention the family farm or your participation in 4-H programs)
Make sure you’ve checked the educational requirements listed on the job posting. They vary by sector and job title, and there are many positions that require advanced degrees. Even entry-level agricultural engineer positions require a bachelor’s degree, but many farm and ranch managers qualify through work experience on the family farm or ranch. More and more, though, even those positions require a degree. If your degree is in progress, it should be identified as such and listed under degrees with course of study identified.
A wide variety of certification exams are available from the Certified Crop Adviser, the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, and other reputable groups. Many of these certifications can be awarded after online course work, and would look good on your resume. Farm internships or apprenticeships can be mentioned here as well.
Hiring managers often look to see if an individual who’s a recent graduate or new to the work force grew up working on a family farm or participated in 4-H programs – so include this info. However, if you’ve got years of work experience already, you can leave it off.
How to Write the Agriculture Work Experience Section
The headings for each job should include the name of the company, city and state, job title, and employment dates. Consult agriculture resume samples for format options.
While format is important, content tells the concise story of what you’ve done at previous jobs how you’ve made a difference. List quantifiable results that show you can meet or exceed expectations. Don’t simply list your responsibilities and duties. What speaks to a hiring manager is a list of what you’ve done, and what you can do for them. This is where you use action verbs.
You also want to be concise. It’s best to list your successes as bullet points that are properly formatted. If you’re applying for a position in management, potential employers value written communication skills in addition to your industry understanding and experience. Your well-crafted resume could be the tie-breaker between you and another candidate getting an interview.
To avoid possible age discrimination that you’d never be aware of, remember that you don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had. Include your recent job experience that’s relevant to the position you’re seeking and leave off the older, unrelated jobs.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Agriculture Resume Work Experience Section
You can find more action verbs as you peruse agriculture resume samples.
How to Write the Agriculture Skills Section
For example, depending on your specific experience, you could indicate that you’re able to:
- Coordinate activities with other departments for optimal nutrient levels
- Quantify the efficacy of various materials proposed for use
- Produce statistical reports
- Understand, apply, and comply with federal, state, and local farming regulations
Unless you’re applying for a position with the forestry service in the field, you’ll have to be able to communicate with peers, supervisors, and sometimes vendors. Soft skills go a long way in distinguishing a technically qualified applicant from the right person for the job.
Whether your specialty is soil management, water preservation, crop production, or livestock, if it requires certain skills that are valued by the potential employer, list them. Use wording that’s similar to what’s used in the job posting.
Should I Include References in my Agriculture Resume
- Listing your references takes up valuable resume space that could be used to show your qualifications for the job.
- It will give you an opportunity to get them ready as a separate document to submit when requested.
- When a potential employer asks for your references, you can give the people on your list a heads-up to be expecting a call from so-and-so about such-and-such a job.
Your references should include one or two supervisors or managers, a co-worker, and even a subordinate with whom you had a good relationship. Make sure you get their permission first. Even if they truly like you, no one likes being caught off guard.
Agriculture Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- Avoid first-person pronouns (I, me, my, we, us, etc.). A resume is a semi-formal document that represents your skills, qualifications, and experience. Save the first-person style for your cover letter.
- Remember who your audience is. You want the person reading your resume to see you as a valuable addition to their organization. Don’t exaggerate or lie. If you get an interview, you’ll have to be able to substantiate your claims.
- Don’t just proofread once and consider it done, and don’t count on spell check. It doesn’t catch everything.
- You may like to express yourself by using a variety of fonts and even graphics, but if you clutter your resume with distractions like a word cloud, you’ll be put to the side. You’re not applying for a job as a graphic artist. This is agriculture we’re talking about.
Job Prospects in the Agriculture Industry
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agricultural and food scientist job sector is projected to grow 9 percent by 2022, which is about the same rate as for all occupations. Because of ongoing animal research and increased agricultural output, agricultural scientists will be needed to develop sustainable practices in ways that are environmentally friendly. With increased public awareness of nutrition and food safety, they will be in demand to maintain and increase both crop and herd productivity and health. Private industry is expected to be responsible for most of the employment opportunities, and research in genomics and sustainability will also contribute to the number of agricultural science job openings.
- The agricultural engineering sector is expected to grow slower than the growth of all occupations, with a projected growth from 2012 to 2022 of only 5 percent. Some employment opportunities in this sector will be related to designing new agricultural machinery and equipment needed to implement research findings.
- Unfortunately, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers are in the unfavorable position of finding their job opportunities in decline because of the successful push to produce more with fewer workers. Larger, well-capitalized farmers are better able to afford the expensive machinery and chemicals necessary in today’s farming industry, and they are also better able to withstand climate and price fluctuations. Employment in this area is projected to decline 19 percent from 2012 to 2022. Agricultural managers who may have owned their own farms may find opportunities working for non-residential owners who want experienced managers to run their farms and ranches for them.