Starting a Career with Wilbur-Ellis


In just a few months, COVID-19 has dramatically changed the world. Our hearts go out to those impacted and we wish everyone health and safety always. We also appreciate the impact this disease and “shelter in place” orders are having on students and recent grads who are still keen to learn this summer and make a meaningful impact at work. At Wilbur-Ellis, we’re still proudly hiring. Sure, the work may look a little different, but we’re committed to developing and training our interns while we navigate this new normal. And, when we “return to work” – and we will return – we’ll still be looking for bright, talented professionals who are keen to help us create the essentials for the world to thrive. In some ways, there’s no better time to apply.

Debra DeFreece, recruiting director for Wilbur-Ellis, shares tips and strategies for students looking to gain experience or start a career at Wilbur-Ellis – who should apply, why they should apply and how candidates can break through during the application process.

First things first, why Wilbur-Ellis?

Wilbur-Ellis is a terrific company for those starting out in the field. We take the time to get to know our employees and we’re very committed to employee development. A broad learning and development curriculum, coupled with continuous, transparent conversations with managers, is at the heart of this development. In fact, one of the greatest aspects of Wilbur-Ellis is our focus on career pathing – looking at an individual’s competencies, skills and passions and seeing where that can be applied in different areas. Wilbur-Ellis is also a truly team-oriented culture – you will have the support, guidance and resources you need to do your job well and feel supported in your role. What’s more, we genuinely care. When you succeed, the company succeeds.

Who should apply for a position at Wilbur-Ellis?

We’re always looking for bright, capable applicants who have a passion for the industry and for the work itself. Curiosity is also key. The strongest candidates express a keen interest in learning about and exploring the various businesses to see where they might fit and develop. It’s important the relationship is positive and mutually beneficial. We create an experience that helps our interns constantly learn and cultivate new skills, so they can grow into their next role. One intern told us that his internship was much more than a job for the summer; in fact, it gave him the ability to develop relevant skills and insights. This is always our aim.

What advice do you have for candidates wishing to apply?

I have a few pieces of advice I’d like to share:

  • First, do your homework. You can research Wilbur-Ellis by checking out our website (our careers page, in particular, is a great resource), reading articles written by and on us or visiting our social channels. The more you know, the more we’ll have to talk about at the interview.
  • Pay attention to your resume. Create a good professional resume and include what you have done above and beyond your studies. For example, list the clubs you are in, describe the meaningful projects in which you have participated, include volunteer and community work, etc. Really think about your life as a whole and communicate specifically what you are looking for today and how you can contribute in your new role.
  • Get in front of us. Look for opportunities to connect with us in person or online. Starting early this fall, you may very well find us at your local college career fair  – possibly in a virtual capacity as many of these events move online. If that’s the case, check in and introduce yourself—we’d love to talk to you. You can also apply any time online at

Many people apply for positions at Wilbur-Ellis, any advice on how to break through?

I think it’s important to be persistent. Even if you are not selected for a position this year – as the old adage goes – try, try again. If the passion and the interest is there, then we definitely want to know because that is what we are looking for.

Want to hear more? My colleague Jennie Feiss, corporate recruiter – agriculture for Wilbur-Ellis and I were recently interviewed on our company podcast. Take a listen below to learn more about us, Wilbur-Ellis and our internship program.