Professional Development

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Professional Development

Cover Letter Outline

Your Address

City, State, Zip

(Ms. or Mr.) I.M. Hiring
Personnel Manager
Name of Company
Company Address
City, State, Zip

Dear (Ms. or Mr.) Hiring:

Your opening paragraph should arouse interest on the part of the reader. Tell the employer why you are writing the letter. Do not say in the first paragraph that you are looking for a job. Give information to show your specific interest in the company.

Your middle paragraphs should create desire. Give details of your background that will show the reader why one should consider you as a candidate. Be as specific as possible about the kind of a job you want. Don't make the reader try to guess what you would be interested in.

Refer the reader to your general qualifications on your enclosed resume or other material. Use as much space as you need to tell your story but keep it brief and to the point.

In your closing paragraph you ask for action. Ask for an appointment suggesting a time when you will contact the individual. You may now list your dates of availability.

Sincerely yours,

[Your Signature]

Type your name here

Design 101

Design for All Print Materials

Four Design Principles:

  • Contrast (making elements look very different from each other)

    • If you use one script font, use a sans-serif font with it

  • Repetition (continuing the same idea throughout the design)

    • Use the same logo, colors, lines, etc. to stay consistent

  • Alignment (organizing elements to look unified)

    • You can justify design to the right, left, center (and sometimes more), just pick one and stick with it.

  • Proximity (placing related items together)

    • For events, put the time, date, location, etc. in the same place.

What else is important?

  • Audience (designing to attract a specific audience)

    • Ask yourself who is your audience and what do they want?

    • The elderly need bigger font sizes and probably wouldn’t enjoy a fluorescent yellow flyer.

  • Typography (using two readable, contrasting fonts)

    • Always, always, always choose a readable serif font for any body copy!

    • Get fancy with headers, but make sure they are legible

    • Serif fonts have tails on the end of letters, like Times New Roman and Adobe Garamond Pro

    • Sans-serif fonts do not have tails, like Arial and Franklin Gothic Book

    • Don’t use caps too much – it’s harder to read

  • Simplicity (creating a clean design piece with enough white space)

    • Clean means not cluttered – the less on the page, the easier it is for the reader to digest the information

    • If something doesn’t fit, delete it

  • White space (not necessarily white – but open space for readers’ eyes to rest)

    • Too much of anything can give someone a headache

  • Color (using color to add interest, but usually only two or three)

    • Don’t use color because you want to, use it because it adds to the message

    • Warm (red, orange, yellow) vs. cool (blue, purple, green) colors, what do they mean to different cultures?

Public Relations


  1. Do good work.

    1. If people aren’t reading it, you are wasting time and money
    2. Put together something that you are proud of

  2. Check out other newsletters.

    1. What are they doing? How can you do it better?

  3. Content.

    1. Make a list of story ideas that should be in the newsletter

    2. Think about photo or graphic options for each story

      1. Do not “borrow” online images. Find free images if needed
        (EX: has both free and buyable images)

      2. Consider taking your own photos which add a personal touch

    3. Remember your audience and what they would like to learn about

  4. Create a prototype.

    1. Choose a grid – newsletters are usually 3 – 5 columns for each page

    2. Choose colors – remember the audience

    3. Choose fonts – for headlines, body copy, etc.

    4. Design a flag (the newsletter name on the front page)

    5. Consider adding pull-out quotes to capture interest in a story

    6. Consider lines, page numbers, and other possible elements to add consistency

    7. Show your co-workers, boss, etc. How do they feel about it?

  5. File type.

    1. Is this a print newsletter or an email newsletter?

      1. Print: Talk to the printer and find out what they need from you

      2. Email: Use a file type that most computers have (EX: PDFs work well, others use Word)

Public Relations

10 Do’s When Meeting with Community Leaders

1. Learn a little about their business or project before the meeting.

2. Brainstorm common questions to ask before the visit so you don’t get stuck without anything to say during the meeting.

3. Create a positive first impression. Look them in the eye, give them a firm hand shake, and clearly introduce yourself.

4. Lead the meeting. Thank them for taking time to meet with you, preview your objectives for the meeting and do a time check (ask how much time they have for the meeting.)

5. Remember their name and use it throughout the visit. It might help to repeat their name out loud during introductions. “Mr. Smith, it’s nice to meet you.” “Hi, Mr. Smith, I’m Jane.”

6. Bridge your passion and mission with theirs. After listening to their description of what they do, connect a piece of that to something you are involved with, enjoy, or care about.

7. Be a professional…in conversation, actions, and body language.

8. Be yourself. It’s important to maintain a professional, focused attitude during the visit, but leaders will respect your ability to share who you are and what’s important to you.

9. Confirm any follow up steps at the end of the meeting. Ex: They will donate to you, you will call them back to answer a question they had, one of you will send further information, etc.

10. Have fun with this chance to learn about them and make a connection with this leader. Thank them for their interest in you and their service to your community.

Supervised Agricultural Experience Opportunities


Ag Communications E/P

Agricultural Education

Ag Mechanics Design & Fabrication E/P

Ag Mechanics Energy Systems

Ag mechanics Repair & Maintenance E/P

Ag Processing E/P

Ag Sales Entrepreneurship

Ag Sales Placement

Ag Service E/P


Beef Production E/P

Dairy Production E/P

Diversified Ag Production

Diversified Crop P/E

Diversified Crop Production Placement

Diversified Horticulture E/P

Diversified Livestock Production E/P

Emerging Ag technology E/P

Environ. Science & Nat. Resource E/P

Equine Science E/P

Fiber & Oil Crop Production E/P

Floriculture E/P

Food Science and Technology E/P

Forage Production E/P

Forest Management & Products E/P

Fruit Production E/P

Grain Production E/P

Home and/or Community Development E/P

Landscape Management E/P

Nursery Operations E/P

Outdoor Recreation E/P

Poultry Production E/P

Sheep Production E/P

Small Animal Production & Care E/P

Specialty Animal Prod. & Care E/P

Specialty Crop Production E/P

Swine Production Entrepreneurship

Swine Production Placement

Turf Management E/P

Vegetable Production E/P

Veterinary Medicine E/P (NEW!!!)

Wildlife Management E/

Supervised Agricultural Experience Opportunities
5 Star Applications:
1. Star Farmer

2. Star Agri Business

3. Star Agri Science

4. Star Greenhand

5. Star Agri Placement

Agri-Science Award

This award recognizes a individual who creates and reports on an outstanding science project related to agriculture.

Agri-Entrepreneurship Award

This award recognizes an outstanding idea for a unique entrepreneurship project

Leadership Roles

  1. Chapter Leadership Roles: Basis for all of FFA. Chapter action. You are the leaders of this!

~Conduct chapter meetings

~Plan chapter activities

~Host chapter banquets

~Bring new ideas back to chapter

  1. District Officer Role:

~Legislative Breakfast (January)

~District Officer Training (January)

~Two Executive Meetings (usually just president, but all can attend) (September and February)

~District Activities (Dances, Farm Shows, etc.)

~State Convention Courtesy Corp

~State Fair

  1. State Ambassador Roles:

~Assist at leadership camps (1 ER and 2 WR)

~Manage the Animal Nursery at State Fair

~State Leadership CDE’s

~District Officer Training and Legislative Breakfast

~State Convention

Leadership Roles

  1. State Officer Roles:

~Chapter Banquets

~Speech Training & Blast Off Training

~COLT & NLCSO Leadership Camps (Aurora NE)

~Soy Bio-Diesel Days

~SD Leadership Camps (1 ER and 2 WR)

~FFA Day at Dome (Minneapolis)

~State Fair

~Executive Meetings

~Chapter Visits

~District & State Leadership CDE’s

~Dakota Farm Show

~District Officer Training/Legislative Breakfast

~Business and Industry Visits

Career Development Event Opportunities

Fall Leadership CDE’s

Ag Broadcasting

Ag Communications

Ag Issues

Ag Marketing

Ag Sales

Creed Speaking

Extemporaneous Speaking

Job Interview

Jr. Parliamentary Procedures

Sr. Parliamentary Procedures

Prepared Public Speaking

Spring CDE’s

Ag mechanics

Ag Sales


Dairy Cattle

Dairy Foods

Environmental & Natural Resources

Farm Business Management


Food Science & Technology

Horse Evaluation

Livestock Evaluation

Meats Evaluation & Technology

Nursery Landscape

Professional Development

Interviewing Tips-

Be on time!

Be Prepared!

Practice possible questions!

First impression!

    • Smile

    • Dress Appropriate

    • Firm Handshake

    • Eye contact

Do not talk too much!

SD FFA Scholarships

$750 Mary Hanson

$500 SDSU Agriculture Education

$500 Blue and Gold *

$500 Wosje Ag Business *

$500 Carhartt*

$500 Bob Titus Memorial *

$500 Wade Lang Memorial*

(* use the Blue and Gold Application)

National FFA Scholarships

MANY awards to apply for – one application to complete! Application can be found at the National FFA website (

Professional Development

Items to Include on Your Resume

~ Objective: clear and concise

~ Education: year in school, any honor roll/class ranking, any specific classes that pertain to the job

~Skills: RELEVANT job skills

~Activities: volunteer or extra curricular positions

~References: available upon request, separate page, 2 professional and 1 personal

~Bullets or concise sentences

~ Use keywords/ buzz words

~ Remain focused, avoid clutter, only relevant information

Chapter Growth

Recruiting and Retention

-Invite prospective members to your banquet.

-Elect outstanding members as ‘Members of the Month’

-Have some members talk with 8th/7th graders let them know what FFA is really about.

*Could serve a treat like ice cream to help motivate them to attend.

-Invite non-members to attend a FFA meeting

- Write a letter to possible members as they entire middle school

-FFA week activities for the entire school/community

-Hold a “Farm Day” or “Ag-ventures Day” where young children (or even non-FFA members your age) visit and learn about animals, crops and the many agricultural industries. Use this opportunity to teach others about food safety, farm business management and much more.

-Tell your friends about what your doing in the FFA

-Multimedia presentations (PowerPoint/videos)

-Websites are a great tool for spreading the word of what your chapter is doing

*People like to see pictures

-Create an experience at Chapter Meetings.

-Illustrate how your agricultural education program provides students with opportunities to:

*Interact with people outside the school setting

*Earn local, state and national recognition

*Establish career skills

*Establish work experience

*Apply school lessons to real-life situations

*Meet influential people

*Take the lead

*Learn to handle pressure

*Enjoy real-world results

*Build a positive attitude

Public Relations
How to Write a Press Release

Company Letterhead, Name, Address, Phone Number, Web Address

PRESS RELEASE in all caps

Contact Person's Name

Immediate Release or Release Date (all caps)


BODY-Date/City-who, what, when, where and why.

Catchy Text

Sum it up...

Basic Font, Double Spaced


Chapter Awards
Chapter Booth Award:

Enter a booth at the State Fair in Huron. These booths have a wide range of topics, most are educational, (like the cuts of meat or something your Chapter is passionate about.)

Public Relations Award

This award is given at State Convention to Chapters who create a public relations scrapbook of the articles and pictures of their Chapter in any newspaper, magazine, or on the radio or television.

National Chapter Award

This award is both a state and national recognition. Applications are completed to show how the Chapter has grown in three different areas: student, chapter, and community development.

Chapter Fundraising Ideas

Selling Fruit

Running a Concession Stand at your school

FFA Farm

Car Wash

Labor Auction-Auction off members to work for community members

Meal with Entertainment-Have an FFA dinner theater and sell tickets. “Find out what happens at the Anytown Chapter dinner theater presentation, The Owl, The Gavel, and The Missing OD

Donkey Basketball

Dodgeball Tournament-Hold a dodgeball tournament, have the teams that enter pay an entry fee. Use the entry fees as part of the prize for the winner and the rest is profit for your chapter. You’re having fun, raising money, and building a positive public image at the same time. Could be used as a great opportunity to recruit with booths showing what the FFA is about and what your chapter is doing.

Magazine Sales

Selling Cookie Dough

World’s Finest Chocolate Fundraiser

FFA Popcorn

Milk Machine-vending machine in your school with dairy products

Spaghetti Supper

FFA Carnival

If your chapter has something specific that you are trying to raise money for asking for sponsorship from local businesses may be useful. Use only when appropriate.

Personal Development

Daily Activities that Ensure You’ll Grow

Be Yourself

Pocus on Possibilities

Access Your Inner Guidance

Taking Personal Responsibility

Listen to Others

Accept Your Life – Question what can I improve right now?

Have JOY!

Set LIFE Priorities

Love Yourself “As Is”

Serve Others

Personal Growth Titles

~Habitudes by Dr. Tim Elmore

~Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

~How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D

~Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

~The Bible or any books about your faith

~Portable Pep Talk “Motivational Morsels for Inspiring You to ~ ~Succeed” by Alexander Lockhart

~Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

~101 Series by John C. Maxwell

Leadership, Relationship, Attitude and Equipping

~Tipping Point “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by ~Malcolm Gladwell

~The Peacemaker, Student Edition by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson

~1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before Leaving Home by Harry H. Harrison Jr.

SD FFA Leadership Retreat 2009

Partnering SD FFA and Monsanto

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