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Paving the Path for Your Career

Managing Talent

Three tips for young farmers who want to advance.

Published on: October 9, 2013

Young farmers, do you want a job or a career? Getting a job is the easy part. It's what comes next you need to think about.

Young people coming into the job market have it easy, landing gigs quickly.  I just spoke to a soon-to-be graduate that had 10 interviews during career fair week. 

It can feel pretty darn good when you are in such high demand, but before you go celebrating with your friends out by the barn, I encourage you to take a step back and analyze your career plan. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What do you want to be doing? How will you get there?

Here are three critical tips to help you in reaching your career goal.

First, figure out what you want to be when you grow up. It is important to know where you are going, so you can be selective in your choices to help get you there. What jobs you select start paving the path for your career.

What you don't want to happen is paving in the wrong direction. It's really hard for a hiring manager to select you for a sales job when you have only selected jobs in the past in production Ag.  Maybe you can sell, but they mostly likely do not want to take that chance to find out if you can. Each job, each move, needs to be carefully selected. There are a lot of opportunities for new grads; don't just take the one based on pay, take the one based on career.

Second, constantly focus on expanding your skills and continuous learning. How one moves up is by gaining more skills and demonstrating you know how to apply them. You can't just be good; you have to be exceptional to keep climbing.

There is a reason executives are constantly educating themselves, networking, reading, etc. They know very well, they have to keep evolving their business no matter how successful it is. Don't wait for someone to send you to training; start expanding your knowledge on your own. With today's technology, knowledge sharing is made so much easier -- take advantage of it.

Last, have the right attitude and mentality. Humility is one of the best characteristics of great leaders. We just interviewed two individuals, about 24 years old. They both had healthy starts to their career, but a lot to learn. One was driven, knew he still had a lot to learn, but was confident in his ability to do so. The other was confident in his ability as well, but too confident. He acted as if he already had it all figured out. The later didn't have a chance. That closed-minded attitude not only won't get him the job, it will stunt his career growth.

Next time you see those guys at the top and think it was easy for them to get there, think again. It's always harder than it looks. It takes hard work, but it is the combination of the right path, constant learning/growth and the right mentality that will help you get there.