If you are looking to make a successful career in agriculture, then you need to plan ahead. While agricultural jobs may be relatively easy to get into, providing you have the right skills and passion for the experience, career progression is exactly the same in the agricultural world as it is in the business world – along with luck, skills, and hard work, you also need to know the right people.
However, for anyone just making their first move into this world, knowing the right people can be difficult. Our experts at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists have put together a short guide on networking tips for anyone looking to get an agricultural job or progress their agricultural career.
Start with those around you
One of the biggest networking mistakes is to expect that you will immediately be able to meet a CEO of a large agricultural firm who is prepared to give you a helping hand. This is unlikely to be the case, and this mentality will actually set you back. Instead, talk to those around you, especially those who introduced you to the agricultural industry in the first place, and make connections from them. Whether this is by attending more meetings on their farm, going to social events, or even discussing things with your university career advisor, the best way to make those connections is to start with your immediate agricultural circle.
Try and volunteer
If you are looking for your first agricultural job, then a great way to make connections is through volunteering. Actively giving up your time just for the experience of the position is likely to show your commitment to any potential employer, and this also provides a great opportunity for networking too. Even if you already have a job and cannot take the time off to volunteer for another position, it may be worth attempting to volunteer for experiences outside of your official job remit. This will give you the opportunity to meet many new people, increase your network of contacts, as well as providing you with a greater range of experiences which will help you further down the line.
Attend agricultural conferences
Deciding whether or not to go to a conference can be difficult. It means time away from the office or university, your home and your family, combined with the actual logistical costs and the conference costs too. However, agricultural conferences can be incredibly useful to you, and generate a large return on investment if approached in the right manner. One of the best ways to use conferences is through networking, allowing you to meet new people who will be useful to you and your business in the future.
As such, at any event it is vital to approach networking properly. Here are a few ways to ensure that your time at conferences can be used effectively so that you can maximise your return on investment.
1. What do you do in your breaks?
Many people will spend their breaks between speakers checking in with the office, or doing other things instead of using this time to talk to new people. Instead, we would suggest leaving a talk just before the end to take care of any business and then using the break to connect with other attendees.
2. Skip a talk
While every talk may be useful, it is well worth skipping a talk and instead using the time more effectively in the communal areas. Using this time to start dialogues with other like-minded people will help you connect, and potentially establish a long-term business relationship.
3. Attend all the receptions
While you may be tired after a whole day of processing new information, you should never ignore the end of day receptions, as this means you are missing out on the best time for networking. If there is no reception scheduled, then it is well worth going to the hotel bar and ordering food there. Other people from the conference will do the same, and if you leave your ID badge on, you can easily be identified as an attendee.
Work on your communication skills
Great communication skills are essential for successful networking, and being confident and articulate is one of the best ways to ensure that new people remember you. While some of this is natural, practice really does make a difference. Before approaching someone new and trying to make that initial connection, ensure that you know in your mind what you want from the conversation. Whether you are looking for a business card, wanting to discuss an opportunity in their business, or are just looking to make their acquaintance, knowing what you are going to say and the direction you want the conversation to take will help you make a great first impression.
Another way of helping to establish network connections is by showing an interest in the other person, their business and their work. By offering insights, opinions and asking questions, you can turn a short introduction into a full conversation, which is far more likely to cement you in their mind. Not only is this an opportunity to show off your skills and knowledge, but it may also pave the way for a conversation to emerge that is directly relevant to you and the assistance you need in your career. Even if the conversation doesn’t turn that way immediately, your natural curiosity and interest will allow a secure connection to be made, which could be the basis of a future working relationship.
At Agricultural Recruitment Specialists, we pride ourselves on helping both job seekers and head-hunters find exactly what they are looking for. By taking a client-oriented approach, we offer bespoke and tailored services to everyone, allowing us to find your perfect match. Operating across any different agricultural sectors and working as a worldwide recruitment partner, we are confident in our ability to help you. For more information, please contact us at https://www.agrirs.co.uk/contact-us.