South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

A student’s guide for career fairs

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Lori Schultz discussed how internships provide experiences for students to gain opportunities in their respective field of study. Students should not be afraid to try involving themselves in something new.

The SDSU Prexy Council held a networking social event Oct. 3 following the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science Career Fair. At this event, the Collegian spoke with several employers about what they are looking for in future employees and asked them how students should prepare for the event.

The Collegian had the opportunity to speak with Justin Rueter and Mckenzie Botin of NEW Cooperative, Mckenzie Dufrense and Sadie Vander Wal of Agtegra Cooperative, Lori Schultz of Mustang Seeds, and Alyssa Williams of Nutrien Ag Solutions. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: What do you look for in an employee?

A: “Honestly, someone who shows up and tries even if they are unsure of what they are doing,” Botin said. “Someone who is willing to try and put in some effort is the first step of finding a good employee and from there you can teach them a lot of good skills. As well as being a good people person on top of that.”

“The interview and that whole process is just getting your foot in the door, once you’re there that’s when you need to show out and show what you are capable of and continue to do so,” Rueter said.

“As a college graduate you are just entering the workforce, you’re constantly learning and to think that you get out of school and you know exactly what you want to do is obviously unrealistic, but to be that lifelong learner and then also have that personality,” Dufrense said. “Someone who takes their job seriously as well as has fun at work. It is so much fun when you’re able to have fun with your coworkers.”

Q: What are the “Do’s and Don’ts”

A: “Always bring your resume, always have an elevator speech about yourself and it’s as simple as what’s your name, what’s your major, what year in school are you, and what are you looking for,” Dufrense said. “There’s nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to do after graduation or what you want to do for an internship, but to walk up to an employer and be able to say ‘You know I don’t know exactly what I want to do but I’m interested in this and I’m interested in exploring this’ because it’s our job to help and find that for you. Use the employer, an internship is such a short commitment, you have an outdate.”

“Don’t discredit what your experiences are,” Vander Wal said.

“Put yourself out there and introduce yourself,” Rueter said. “Don’t walk into a room and be quiet and expect others to approach you.”

Q: Does how a person present themselves ultimately affect your decision on hiring them?

A: Williams said yes. “So, when I mean dress to impress it’s not to dress in the best clothes, it’s to show that you care,” he said.

“I judge on the fact of was effort shown,” Dufrense said. “Make sure you feel confident, and you are able to sell yourself.”

“In today’s more casual business world, I’m less and less likely to let that make a major impact on that decision process,” Rueter said. “Oftentimes I still coach people to dress a step above what they would typically wear. Sometimes if it’s a very close decision it may come down to that. You can only make one first impression.”

Q: What is some advice you have for students to gain experience in their field of interest?

A: “Do internships. Don’t sell yourself short for the experiences you’re getting,” Shultz said. “Every bit of experience you get in an internship is useful. Don’t have a prejudgment and be open-minded.”

“Don’t be afraid to try new things, this is your chance to try it all. If you want to experience something else you have to speak up,” Dufrense said. “It’s your story and it’s your opportunity to write it the way you want to.”

“Putting oneself out there and not being afraid to step outside of your comfort zone because you won’t know until you try, and if you don’t try you’ve already failed at that,” Ruter said.

Q: Do you have any advice for students on how they should proceed after the career fair?

A: “A follow-up is always really appreciated whether that be a short thank you in an email, I got a text message from a student this past weekend actually which I was not expecting, and it made an impression on me,” Rueter said.

“We meet many people in a short time so it’s important to make your impression,” Botin said.

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