Job Search Not Gaining Traction? Try These 5 Ideas.

“If the company would just give me a chance…”

Have you thought or said this? How about this one:

“How am I supposed to get that experience when I can’t get anyone to give me that experience without experience?”

(I promise it makes sense – read it again)

“I’ve applied for like 100 jobs and still getting no feedback!”

Any of these resonate with you?

The demand for talent in agribusiness is real. But just as fierce is the competition for time and attention from recruiters and hiring managers. I can empathize with all of these comments above. However, by asking for “a chance” or experience or for feedback, you are asking for value.

First rule of business, value must be EXCHANGED, not given.

So, how do you exchange value with a potential employer? Now you are asking the right question!

We at AgGrad recently re-launched a new and improved AgGrad Live in which we are spotlighting a new career in agriculture each week by interviewing someone who has that job on Facebook Live. We will be re-releasing the episodes on YouTube and eventually as a podcast.

The first episode was with John Stewart, Manager of Government Affairs at American Feed Industry Association (AFIA).

During the interview, John explains that he always approaches every conversation with legislators by knowing what is important to them and how he can help them get what they want.

This struck me as an important lesson for all of us: understand what others want and lead with value.


Here are five creative ways to lead with value in your job search:


    1. Provide well-researched ideas for free. Take a look at your target company’s website, social media, etc. Write down some observations and ideas. Research the type of work they’ve been doing and see if there’s a way you could provide some additional insights based on your experience. This must be done in a very humble and constructive way. (Read: NOT “you need to change these things”). More along the lines of “I was researching your company and jotted down some notes. I thought i’d share in case they were useful”). Also, important here is to make sure these are intentional, specific, well-researched, and strategic. Don’t tell them to change their colors or logo. Instead, you could mention that you would love to see instagram posts of current employees with captions of what they do (as an example).
    2. Ask to interview them for a blog/podcast/video. This is way easier than you think. You can start a blog in minutes through You can record a podcast with your phone through or several other tools. Record the video with your phone and edit through iMovie or another free software. You are helping the employer tell their story. I can tell you from experience, the same people who don’t have time to “grab coffee” with you, have time to tell their story so that you can share it. This is a great way to start a relationship by leading with value.
    3. Connect them with potential customers or partners. You know more people than you think. You know professors, alumni, people you grew up with, connections from organizations you’re a part of, etc. Think about who strategically would be great to connect to each other. The criteria here is that they should be able to offer value both ways. Maybe it’s a Farmer you could introduce to a Crop Adviser, for example. Important here is to get both side(s) permission before making the introduction. Provide a concise email introduction giving a brief background on both parties. State the intention is that there may be a good reason for them to connect, but no obligation. Leave it there for them to follow up with each other. You may just check back with them individually a couple of weeks later to see if they connected.
    4. Offer to intern. For free if necessary. This one is primarily for those who are either graduating this year or have already graduated. Too many people in this category think they “should be past” internships. Wrong. Internships are a low-risk opportunity for both sides to try each other out. An internship can give you the experience you so desire without a company having to really go out on a limb to take a big risk on you. This takes so much risk off the table for the employer. Also, if you prove yourself to be indispensable during the internship, you will get a job. Either with them or one of their competitors. Also, don’t limit your view to SUMMER internships. An internship can be a project you work on part-time while going to school or working full time. A great way to stand out is to offer to intern during another busy time like fall or spring when college interns are hard to find. Get creative here and offer some real value!
    5. Organize an Event. Offer to organize a lunch and learn or recruiting event to bring your target company to campus. Maybe you are a member of a club that could host an information session. Or perhaps you are going to an industry event and want to help host a young professional meetup? (<–SIDE NOTE: If you are interested in this specifically, please let me know – AgGrad would like to be involved). Be creative here! Lunch? Tailgate? Golf Tournament? There are a million event ideas here that would be very valuable for the company.


Notice that these ideas consider what does the company want? They want things like new ideas (#1), exposure (#2), growth opportunities (#3), the RIGHT people (#4), and networking opportunities (#5). These are things you can provide!

Motivation is very important here. Your focus needs to be 100% on providing THEM with value. NOT on what you will get in return. Yes, the hope here is that this will lead to a job. BUT, with the five strategies above could lead to a job in any number of unexpected ways. For example, maybe it doesn’t lead to a job now, but it does a year down the road. I guarantee you they will remember.

Or perhaps another employer takes notice of what you’re doing for their competitor. Or maybe someone else gets the job because of your efforts and reciprocates in some way. There are unlimited scenarios that could play out.

What’s most important is that you provide real value to the world. Real value just happens to be exactly what employers want.

Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.