Want to kick-start your career? We're here to help! We offer numerous professional development events throughout the year such as workshops on resume writing, networking and interviewing all of which are posted on our "Upcoming Events" and "Calendar" page. Between events and opportunities, we have some tips for success to strengthen your skill set and make the right impression!
Build Your Resume!
An important and often overlooked opportunity we have to offer is always available! Employers receive a large number of resumes for any given job opportunity and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. So what can you do? GET INVOLVED WITH FSNSA! It’s not enough to simply perform well academically, hiring personnel need additional indications that candidates are well suited for a job! Write for our blog to show recruiters that you communicate effectively, spearhead an event to demonstrate leadership abilities and management skills, or simply attend an event to show that you are a team player! If you have any questions about opportunities available send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Once you have a solid resume, create a LinkedIn profile and make sure it is always up to date. This will not only serve as your resume, but an invaluable tool to expand your network, search for jobs and gain insight into the industry. Sigmund Fidyke III gave an insightful seminar on utilizing LinkedIn to its full potential. Join groups in your field and follow companies that are in your desired field. As a student, reach out to professionals merely to ask them about their job and the industry. Participate in discussions, fully complete your profile and be an active user. By exhausting every resource LinkedIn has to offer, your profile will appear higher upon a search list by recruiters, your network will grow and you will be aware of jobs and trends!
Join a Professional Group!
Aside from joining groups through LinkedIn, look into joining local and national organizations. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the Southern California Institute of Food Technologists Section (SCiftS) and the Food Industry Business Roundtable (FIBR) are all great organizations to join! It's an easy way to begin networking and develop skills, especially as a student! Attend monthly meetings hosted by SCiftS to become knowledgeable on current issues and speak with professionals. Help out with conferences coordinated by FIBR to assist with large scale events and build your resume. Actively participate in IFT's Annual Meeting and Food Expo by attending lectures, walking the floor or presenting research! Furthermore, as a student, we are fortunate to have a section specifically created for us! The Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) is a way to find internships, career opportunities and connect with students nationally! The opportunities are vast and endless, don't let them slip by you!
Here are some links about each organization:
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
Networking is one of the most important tools to develop as a professional. Developing and maintaining a network of contacts within the food industry will pave the way for your future career. Attend networking events and workshops through LinkedIn or professional societies. Meet professionals in as many settings as possible to make connections with individuals. It's an opportunity to learn from experienced food scientists and market yourself. Each interaction is a chance to make an impression, good or bad, on a professional so make sure to see below and always be prepared!
Always be Prepared!
Every interaction you have is one where an impression is made. Be prepared to discuss what you do whether it be work related, as a student working on a project or as a member within FSNSA. The goal is to create a positive and memorable impression on the person you are speaking with. Practice what you want to say so you are able to communicate clearly and effectively. Dress for success wearing clothes that are clean and fit well. Lastly, come to a networking event with a pen and pad to write notes and carry business cards! Business cards makes a strong positive statement, that you are a prepared professional. Get personal business cards through Chapman or online sites such as http://us.moo.com/ !
Maintaining a Network
So you've successfully established a solid resume, network and are a prepared individual. It's important to maintain the network you've worked so hard to establish. When you exchange business cards, immediately write the date and location where you met the individual. Be sure to include notes about what you discussed so that when you can recall important details. These details will help strengthen your relationship when you connect with them on LinkedIn or see them in the future.
Technology and social media has taken over our lives. For many students and professionals, taking part of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has become a tool to reach the masses and promote events. While these may be negatively perceived, it is important to realize that these are powerful tools which can also be used to your advantage. Decide what image you are trying to portray and ensure that what is seen by the public presents you in a positive light. If you are a blogger, write on topics relevant to the food industry to stay up to date on current trends.
Following the tips above, practicing patience and being persistent in your efforts will help you become a great professional. You've worked hard to get into graduate school but the hard work does not end here. Continue to challenge yourself, develop skills and be active in becoming a well rounded individual. It won't be long before you'll land that job or work for your dream company! Best of luck!
FSNSA President 2014-2015