Ag Career Day pays off big time for student

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. -- After multiple internships and a professional job offer, senior agricultural systems management major Brenton Sutton has nothing but great things to say about the College of Agricultural Sciences' Ag Career Day.

"I absolutely love the Ag Career Day -- this is one of the best opportunities for Penn State students," he said. "Companies from around the world come to this job fair. These companies want to hire the best of the best, and that's why they come to Penn State."

This year's event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Students can meet with as many as 200 representatives from more than 130 industry and government employers and higher education institutions from across the country. Ag Career Day also presents an excellent networking opportunity, as Sutton discovered firsthand after attending the event for consecutive years.

"The first time I went, I was a freshman, and I spoke with as many companies as I could. I ended up receiving an internship offer, which I later accepted," he said. "The next year I went back, eager as ever. That second year was amazing; people remembered me and I felt like I already had my foot in the door."

Sutton ended up with multiple internship offers during his sophomore year, and the one he eventually selected ended up being the perfect choice.

"After that summer the company asked me to come back for a second year, and I did not hesitate to say 'yes.'"

By his senior year, Sutton was searching for a full-time job. He found his experience at Ag Career Day to be crucial to finding the perfect opportunity.

"I started contacting the companies that I had met at the career day from previous years. I found that I had grown a reputation," he said.

"Companies that did not even attend the career day knew about me and were interested in me. I ended up having on-site interviews with three of the top agricultural companies in the world. A couple of weeks ago, I accepted the best offer and am now proud to say I have been hired by an amazing company."

Sutton offered a couple tips for students who are thinking about this year's event: "Just go. The biggest tip I can give students is to be there. Even if you already have an internship for next summer, it is never too late to start thinking about the future. My second tip would be to prepare. Preparation is huge."

For Sutton, that preparation entailed utilizing campus resources, such as Career Services, to help him construct his resume. He also stressed the importance of researching the companies that will be attending in advance. A list of companies attending Ag Career Day can be found on the event's website.

"Know who is going to be there and pick the top companies you are interested in -- know these companies," he said. "Know what they specialize in, what their values are and why you want to work for them. This will help you build your case as to why they should hire you."

Companies scheduled to appear include large international organizations, national and regional organizations, and Pennsylvania and local businesses. Several graduate and professional schools also will be there to present information to prospective students.

Sutton offered one final tip for students to keep in mind as they prepare for the event.

"Relax. This is your time to shine," he advised. "You have done all the preparation and work, and now is your time to show it. When you talk to recruiters, just let it be natural. And, above all, be excited to be there. After all, they are there for you."

For more information about Ag Career Day, contact Richard Rateau, coordinator of the event, at 814-865-7522 or by email at rrateau@psu.edu.

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Last Updated October 15, 2014