When I started getting involved with the #agchat community on Twitter, it was – for the most part – a way to talk with other people involved in agriculture. I started in with the chat every Tuesday night at 8 pm EST (shameless plug!), but it quickly grew into friendships and professional connections that I never would have thought possible.
Now that I’m in job-search mode, I realize just how valuable that community of people has been in my life. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate them first and foremost as friends that I can count on in any situation to stand up for me, offer advice or answer questions. However, as a college graduate, this community has also come to my aid as a professional network. They have been there to review resumes and cover letters, set up interviews and visits, answer questions about career life, give me new opportunities to hone my skills and pass on positions that they see open up. I cannot place a value on just how important these people have been in making my transition into the “real-world” an exciting adventure.
If you are a current college student, especially in agriculture, my one biggest piece of advice would be to get involved in professional networking online. You can meet tons of people through student organizations (trust me, I was active in several of them!), but there are few places where you will have access to as broad a knowledge and experience base as what you will find online. For me, joining that first #agchat conversation was one of the smartest decisions I could have made.
Have you gotten any unique advice from your online network? Do you have questions about how to get more involved in professional networks on the web? Let me know and, just maybe, your virtual network can start right here!