When it comes to finding new job opportunities in the agriculture industry, it’s often who you know that makes all the difference. Connections are important, but many professionals neglect networking because it can be time-consuming and overwhelming. If you’re serious about building your career in the ag business, however, it’s time to get serious about networking.
Face-to-Face Networking is Crucial
Face-to-face networking is still one of the most important tactics ag pros can use to make new connections. The difficulty many ag professionals have with traditional networking is the business is so geographically dispersed. Unlike New York City where finance pros can find a host of networking options within walking distance, ag professionals need to find ways to get in front of people who may work four states away.
Conferences and seminars are a fantastic way to network and grow your knowledge of the business. These settings involve less pressure than a traditional networking event, because everyone there is interested in the topic at hand and expects to meet new people. They key is to put yourself out there during the event. Visit booths, follow up with presenters during mix and mingle hours, and introduce yourself to the people sitting around you in breakout sessions and keynotes. Always make sure to follow up with people you meet on social media after the event is over.
Get Active on Social Media
Social media is another low-pressure yet effective way to build new connections. Always start with LinkedIn, because it is designed for professional networking purposes. Make sure your profile is updated and complete, and begin joining agriculture groups related to your area of expertise. Participate thoughtfully in the conversations there, asking and answering questions. Each week, try to add at least a few new connections to LinkedIn.
You can also find groups on Facebook that are dedicated to agriculture and career growth. Twitter – if you cut through the noise – can also be a platform for connecting with other ag pros. The key to success with social networking is to find the mix of platforms that work for you and spend time there regularly.
Work With a Recruiter
Networking is a marathon, not a sprint. If you are looking for new project management opportunities in the immediate future, you need other tools in your toolbox. Working with a professional ag recruiter can be a great way to quickly open doors. Effective ag recruiters have spent years in the business building their networks and developing great relationships with employers. Partnering with a recruiter gives you instant access to that network and can lead to a host of opportunities you wouldn’t find searching on your own.