The Value of Internships


The Value of Internships

It takes a special kind of person to walk through a field in the mid-summer heat of the Central Valley. To those in agriculture, it’s just another Wednesday. Therefore, it is important for the next generation of agriculturalists to know what a career in California’s top industry entails by finding the value of internships.

Internships in agriculture serve as a stepping stone for aspiring professionals to acquire invaluable expertise for their future career. Shannon Douglass, the Director of Outreach at CalAgJobs, frequently underscores the significance of internships to agriculture students.

“It’s proof that you’ve not only gained knowledge in college, but are also adaptable, reliable, and understand professional commitments,” Douglass remarks.

To agriculture recruiters and employers, internship experience signifies that a candidate is multifaceted. Douglass indicates that agricultural internships encompass both conventional and distinctive experiences, involving both office work and field visits.

Breanna Lee, a recruiter for Crop Production Services, concurs that internships are essential. She considers them the keystone of a resume. “Internships demonstrate initiative and readiness to work hard,” she explains.

Unveiling the Value in Versatility

Internships extend beyond resume building. They are crucial for budding agriculturalists to discern which agricultural sector aligns with their competencies and aspirations. Mary Willis, who manages internships at Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, labels this the “Test Drive Career Hypothesis.”

Essentially, this hypothesis encourages interns to ascertain through experience whether a specific agricultural field is congruent with their personality and goals. Lee advocates for taking diverse internships to discover one’s interests and possibly uncover a “hidden gem” in the ever-evolving agricultural sector.

Securing the right match can pave the way to establishing roots in a particular company or field. Companies often utilize internships as a recruitment strategy. Conversely, if an intern discerns that a company or sector is not engaging, they can pivot early without committing entirely to an unsuitable path. These encounters also help in broadening an intern’s skill set.

Networking: The Keystone of Internships

Douglass, Willis, and Lee unanimously agree that networking is an indispensable element of internships. They all emphasize the vital role of forging professional relationships in the agriculture industry.

“Having your name recognized among industry professionals is instrumental,” Lee asserts.

Douglass advises interns to cultivate and maintain the connections they develop. LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for keeping tabs on former employers and updating them on career progress. These connections can be instrumental not just for opportunities within the company, but elsewhere too.

“In agriculture, positive experiences and connections are extremely beneficial, as it’s a tight-knit community,” adds Douglass.

Kayla Copus
CalAgJobs Intern


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