One of the best things you can do if you’re looking for a job is to google yourself, UCD agriculture students heard at a recent Agricultural Science Association (ASA) career forum.

A strong theme at this year’s event was the role online information plays in the recruitment process.

Clodagh Kavanagh, General Manager of Darley Flying Start said that it is a fact today that our “digital brand” often proceeds us.

“Everyone should take some time to google themselves to ensure that you are always presenting the best possible impression online,” she said.

A good start is to learn how to make the most of the privacy settings on Facebook and other social media channels.

Neil Keane, ASA President said that when he graduated 15 years ago, social media simply was not an issue.

“For students and graduates today however, it is crucial to understand that our presence on online networks can distort reality and the impression you are giving may not always reflect the hard work and commitment you demonstrate in real life,” he said.

As well as learning about the importance of managing their personal “digital brand” when seeking employment, students also received practical career advice on how to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, options for postgraduate studies and new interview techniques, including video.

Speakers at the forum were all former agricultural science students now working in the industry, including Elaine Fenton, Alltech; Ed Hendrick, CEO of Sonru; and Fergal Maguire, Teagasc.

A number of the speakers also encouraged students to welcome any available mentoring opportunities available to them with Clodagh Kavanagh advising students to “aim really high, ask for help and get a mentor”.

Fergal Maguire, Walsh Fellow at Teagasc recommended seeking help from professionals in preparing for interviews, a process which helped him to secure a job in Ballyhaise College as an Agricultural Development Officer.

He also advised students “to always ask questions as there is a lot to learn!”.

Almost 100 final year Agriculture and Food Students from UCD joined the ASA this year.

As part of the membership package, students can avail of mentoring with senior ASA members, attend ASA networking events and information tours as well as avail of attractive special offers.