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With graduation comes a surge of young professionals seeking new employment, and the future is looking bright for the latest batch of agricultural and life science students. While many CALS undergraduates go on to earn master’s degrees, hiring opportunities are promising for students going directly into the workforce.

“Students are highly recruited within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences,” says Megan O’Rourke, Associate Director of Career Services. “We are seeing nearly a 100% hiring rate of CALS graduates.”

The 2015/2016 Entry-level Job Report for Recent Graduates in Agriculture and Related Disciplines provides insight into the hiring rate and wages new graduates can expect when entering the job market. Though salaries have remained more or less constant, the number of entry-level positions has gone up. Some degrees, such as Environmental Sciences and Forest and Wildlife Ecology, saw nearly a 4% average increase in salary, while others like Agricultural Business dropped by 3.6%. This salary cut is likely due to the influx in entry-level job postings and should not discourage graduates.

Here are a few of the highlights from this year’s Entry-level Salary Report:

  • Salary amount was similar to last year’s report (+/- .5%)
  • All but one sector reported more available positions
  • Environmental Sciences, Fisheries, and Forest and Wildlife Ecology saw the largest increase in salary (3.9%)
  • Agricultural Business took the largest hit (down 3.6%)
  • Technology sector was down (1.8%) and was the only sector to report fewer salaries offered than the previous year
  • Highest earning sectors include; Technology/Biosystems Engineering ($53,649 average), Ag Econ/Business ($46,045), Agronomy ($44,085), Food Science ($42,914) and Ag Education/Communications ($41,079)

The full 2015/2016 Entry-level Salary Report for Recent Graduates in Agriculture and Related Disciplines can be found at: https://www.career.cals.iastate.edu/placement-salary-and-internship-information.

O’Rourke has useful tips for students of all ages and majors, even those with a few years to go before graduating. Getting involved in student organizations and volunteer opportunities helps students develop transferable skills, like basic communication skills and time management, which can be applied to any career. She also encourages students of all levels to take advantage of career fairs and career services offered by the University.

“Students are able to see what a job search is all about, so come junior and senior year they aren’t as worried,” says O’Rourke.

Her biggest recommendation of all? Join LinkedIn. This professional social media platform is one of the first things employers will look at. It is a great way to highlight skills and connect with people around the world with similar career goals.

“Students love being on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is just an extension of that, but it’s their professional image,” explains O’Rourke.