How To Start Your Career In Agriculture With Cargill

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With more than 80% of Canadians living in urban areas, we are becoming further removed from the process it takes to grow food and other agricultural products.

However, as the world’s population grows and we look for renewable resources to replace non-renewable ones, agriculture is becoming an increasingly important industry that is growing steadily in Canada and around the world.

“‘I Choose Cargill’ speaks to potential employees about the countless career opportunities available at Cargill. The idea is this: Whatever job you are looking for, you can probably find it at Cargill.”

Agriculture companies will be growing too and looking to hire students and recent grads from all educational backgrounds – not just agriculture – to replenish  and grow their work forces.

Cargill, for example, hires hundreds of students and recent graduates for summer, internship, co-op and entry-level jobs across Canada each year in many areas, including sales, accounting, operations, engineering, marketing, agronomy, management and quality assurance.

Krista Schmidt, Canadian university recruiting program lead, and Amber Alexandruk, associate university recruiter, play key roles in hiring highly educated and skilled workers to ensure Cargill is able to, as they say, be considered the “partner of choice” within the agriculture industry in Canada.

We asked Krista and Amber to share everything you need to know about starting your career with Cargill, including how you can impress them with your application and during your job interview, and what the student/new grad experience is like at Cargill.

Q. For what types of roles and for which departments does Cargill typically hire students and recent grads?
A. Cargill has 19 different business units in Canada. We hire a variety of summer and full time trainee opportunities. We look for students/recent grads for roles in sales, operations, management, marketing, agronomy, quality assurance, accounting and engineering.

Q. How can a candidate impress you during the application or interview process? What does a perfect application look like to you?
A. The interview is the student/recent grad’s first opportunity to show what they have to offer Cargill. It is also important to remember that the interview is a two-way street. The student/recent grad should utilize this time also to interview Cargill.

“Take some time prior to the interview to research the company as this will assist you in learning more about what we have to offer and if it aligns with your career goals. Come prepared with some questions about the company or the job opportunity.”

It is very important to be prepared for the interview.

Review your resumé and be ready to share information about your past work experience and education.

Take some time prior to the interview to research the company as this will assist you in learning more about what we have to offer and if it aligns with your career goals. Come prepared with some questions about the company or the job opportunity.

Be professional, it is important to be aware of the role you are interviewing for and dress accordingly. And finally, having an open mind of all the various opportunities and locations Cargill has to offer.

We don’t believe that there is such a thing as a perfect application. However, we do have some tips to share that student/recent grad’s should consider before submitting an application:

  • Carefully read through the job description and ensure you know what type of job you are applying for
  • Prepare a brief cover letter
  • Update your resumé regularly, and ensure you have all your work experience and educational background (including dates) recorded
  • Check your spelling and proof read your resumé before submitting
  • Use a professional email address during the application process (e.g., ilikebeer@hotmail.com may not be the best choice) – remember you are applying for a job with a professional company
  • Be honest when sharing your experience

Q. What is the student/new grad experience like at Cargill?
A. The onboarding process varies with each business unit. Cargill AgHorizons and Cargill Specialty Canola Oils offer students a tuition bonus for returning to the respective business unit for consecutive summers. Students are evaluated through the summer and those who have demonstrated leadership capabilities and are someone Cargill sees as having a full-time career upon graduation are selected to received the bonus. The amount awarded is based on the year of school the student is completing (i.e., $1000 for second year, $2000 for third or non-final year, $3000 for final year with a full-time offer).

Our AgHorizons business unit hires the greatest volume of summer students and recent grads. They have incorporated a referral bonus program for employees. If an employee refers someone to the AgHorizons business unit and we hire them, the employee receives a monetary bonus for the referral. An employee who refers a summer student receives $500 and a full-time referral receives $1000.

Each Cargill summer student undergoes a mid and final performance evaluation during work term.

“At the beginning of their work term, they sit down with their manager and talk about their goals and objectives and what they want to achieve by working at Cargill. We want to ensure they obtain everything they can from their experience.”

At the beginning of their work term, they sit down with their manager and talk about their goals and objectives and what they want to achieve by working at Cargill. This feedback is very valuable to the students and we want to ensure they obtain everything they can from their experience.

Each summer student is also required to complete a job shadow day. This is an opportunity for the summer student to spend a day with a full-time Cargill employee to shadow them and learn what their job entails. This gives the summer employees a chance to see all the opportunities that Cargill has to offer.

The agronomy assistant position with Cargill AgHorizons makes up the largest number of our summer students. We hire approximately 100 across western Canada and southwestern Ontario each year. Our FarmLogics teams arrange a two-day bootcamp prior to their first day of work. This boot camp prepares the students for their summer with Cargill. They receive an overview of Cargill and more detailed information about the company as well as receiving more technical training such as field scouting, weed identification and safety training

Q. What’s the best way for a student to figure out if a career in agriculture – or with Cargill – is right for them?
A. A great way to learn about Cargill is to take advantage of numerous summer employment opportunities we offer. This gives students a chance to begin in an entry level role while learning the business, as well as what Canadian agriculture is all about. Attending industry functions to network is another great way to learn about careers in agriculture. They can also visit our website (www.cargill.ca) to learn more about our company, see how we are actively engaged in our communities, learn more about our products and services and check out the latest job postings.

Q. What advice would you give to students who are thinking about careers in the agriculture industry?
A. The agriculture industry is growing at a rapid rate. There are many opportunities available across Canada and you don’t have to be from a farm in order to work in this industry.

Q. What else should students know about Cargill?
A. At Cargill our talent recruiting campaign is “I Choose Cargill”. This tagline speaks to potential employees about the countless career opportunities available at Cargill. The idea is this: Whatever job you are looking for, you can probably find it at Cargill. At Cargill, it’s your choice, your future. And you can choose your career path. You can change jobs, locations, even businesses, and you can do it all with the security and flexibility of working for one of the world’s largest privately owned companies – Cargill.

 

Think an Agriculture career means being a farmer? Think again.
Visit our Agriculture Career Guide for eggs-clusive jobs and career resources to help you hatch your career in the Agriculture industry!

 

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.