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Lessons from a college recruiter

Land O'Lakes' Jenny Friedman offers on-campus insight to those interested in ag

Labor Day is the start of the busy season. A small-but-mighty team of college recruiters will spend the next few months crisscrossing the country and sharing the story of Land O’Lakes, Inc. It’s an exciting one. The agriculture and food industries are growing fast. There’s a whole world out there that needs more food. And Land O’Lakes is a major player in feeding human progress. 

To help build talent in the industry, this past year, the College Relations team helped bring in 70 full-time trainees and 270 interns. This year, they’re already back at it—visiting campuses, attending career fairs, connecting with student clubs and faculty, and building relationships with our businesses.

We sat down with Jenny Friedman, senior recruiter and supervisor, to get some insider info on Land O’Lakes, her team’s travels and what to expect on campus. So all you aspiring Land O’Lakers out there—listen up—we’re turning the mic over to Jenny. Here’s what she had to share. 

Consider your career mission

For me, one of the greatest parts of my job is being able to educate students about the opportunities that we have coming out of college. Students today are looking for a challenging opportunity that will help them grow both personally and professionally. We have that. 

They also care about what their employer does and what the culture is like. Our genuine people, family-oriented culture and purpose align with what many students are seeking. Land O'Lakes is a company where you can really find a home.


You'll see reports that students pursing a secondary education aren’t considering the ag-related industries. According to the USDA, between 2015 and 2020, we expect to see 57,900 average annual openings for graduates with bachelor’s or higher degrees in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources or the environment. But only 35,400 students will graduate with these degrees, leaving a gap. 

Many students have not been educated on all the interesting and diverse career paths available in ag and this is where our team really shines. We want students to know that we hire a variety of majors. If you grew up on a farm or have never left the city, we want you. If you’re interested in IT, marketing, finance, supply chain, agriculture, communications, sciences, the list goes on, we have a job for you

Come find us on campus

Our campus recruiting teams put on a few miles, flying all across the country to visit key campuses. My team attended 305 events during the 2015-2016 fall and spring recruitment seasons. So if you’re interested in Land O’Lakes, there is a good chance we’ll be near you sometime during the school year. 

On campus, it’s game time. We put a lot of prep work in all throughout the summer to ensure as soon as the doors open to students, we’ve got our best foot forward. We have amazing partners from each of our respective business unit programs who invest time and energy away from their day-to-day to share our story. The whole team loves being able to talk about Land O’Lakes. 

I love that in every conversation, there is an “ah-ha moment.” That moment of, “I didn’t know that!” Inevitably there is someone who is surprised that we’re more than just butter, but that’s happening less and less. Students are doing their homework and know we have Winfield US, Purina, International Development and many other parts of the business. 

Make the most of your meeting

We know our people are our greatest asset, so we bring alumni, former interns and our program leads to campus to meet with students. It’s a great way to build connections and make sure students get a chance to know what a “day in the life” would be like. 

It’s an important connection because every year competition increases. So does the caliber of students. Our on-campus teams are blown away by the students they meet. And the people here, at a senior level, are noticing it, too.  

We're one of the few companies where a student can say, "I met with a VP on campus." Beth Ford, group executive vice president and chief operating officer, is just one of many leaders actively engaged at her alma mater. She’s had coffee with students before and helped bring them onboard for us. How many college students can say, “Beth Ford talked to me about why I should join Land O'Lakes”?

This is just one of many reasons our team is proud to represent the company. If you’d like to learn more, watch Twitter for where we’ll this fall and spring. On campus, look for the friendly faces in Land O’Lakes polos.