Supervised Agricultural Experiences are critical to every FFA member. They give students real world experience in career fields and exhibit talents that help set them apart. 2012-13 National FFA Secretary Kalie Hall has created a four-part series designed to show why an SAE is important, answer common questions and more.
SAEs give FFA members real world experience that can help accomplish the third part of the FFA mission: career success. Sooner or later, each of us will be looking for a part-time job, summer internship, or our first full-time job after college. Most prospective employers will ask us to submit a résumé that will hopefully result in a job interview. FFA members can use SAEs through both résumés and in interviews to show a potential employer what they can bring to a company or organization.
Andy Armbruster, the U.S. Learning and Development Lead for Monsanto and former national FFA officer shared this advice:
“For current FFA members, it’s imperative that they have the ability to articulate what they have learned, risked and succeeded at with their SAE. FFA members should be ready to talk about successes and failures with their SAEs when they interview for jobs and scholarships.
“For my business, I want to know that a person has experience in putting together a business plan. A successful SAE has a plan. I want to know how a person handles conflict. Most SAEs put a person in a situation where conflict arises. I want to know how well person can build relationships. Many SAEs provide opportunities for FFA members to build relationships in order to achieve their goals.”
- Don’t just list awards or use foreign language (SAE, proficiency awards, stars, etc.) If the employer is not from an FFA background, these terms, without explanation, may not communicate clearly what you actually accomplished.
- Do look at the job description. Be sure to include any skills needed to do the job well that you have developed through your SAE.
- Example: If the job description mentions that you will manage a budget, you could include that you responsibly managed a budget through your poultry production enterprise over a four year period.
According to AgCareers.com, most employers are using behavioral-based interview questions. They believe past performance will predict future behavior. By sharing success stories from an SAE, FFA members can show a potential to produce the same success for their company! Here are some common questions you may encounter that gives you a chance to talk about your SAE:
- Tell me about a time
- …you overcame a challenge?
- …learned from and corrected a mistake?
- …discovered and managed a weakness?
- …demonstrated work ethic or commitment?
- …made a long term investment?
- …adapted for the situation?
Check out more about answering these questions in this article by AgCareers.com. http://www.agcareers.com/newsletters/thestartechnique1.htm
Kalie Hall is a Franklin County FFA member from Carnesville, Ga. She is currently serving as the 2012-13 National FFA Secretary. Hall is currently studying agricultural education at the University of Georgia at Athens. She plans to become a middle school agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor.