Since I recently graduated from Michigan State (Go Green!) and just took an awesome full-time position a couple of days ago, I’d like to think that I’ve done a pretty good job at preparing for “the real world” and that I can offer some halfway decent advice to college students and recent graduates. My big piece of advice today for those college aggies out there: apply for the AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Social Media Training Conference!
Okay, so this may not seem like an applicable piece of advice, but trust me, it is.
I attended the conference last year and cannot explain how beneficial it was. I learned a lot about different social media platforms and set goals for how I wanted to improve my “agvocacy” strategy (including this blog, which has gotten considerably better over the last year). The biggest thing for me, though, was that I got to network with people in lots of different sectors of the industry and from all over the country. Some of those connections even helped me when I started looking for a job about a month and a half ago.
When you’re in college, people tell you that networking is huge. You know, it’s the “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” adage. Well, the AgChat Foundation conference is the perfect way to do just that and learn how to better tell your farm and agriculture story. Whether you grew up on a farm or happened upon agriculture through a random series of events, this conference is perfect for you. With fewer and fewer people raising/growing their own food, it’s important to build opportunities for conversations and social media provides a perfect venue for that. Both of these skills – the ability to network and the ability to intelligently communicate with others, even if they don’t necessarily agree with you or understand your background – will take you a long way in the professional world.
For more information about the conference and application details, visit the AgChat Foundation website. I promise, you won’t regret it.
PS – As someone who did this exact thing last year, it is very likely you will balk at the cost (we’re poor college kids, I totally understand!). However, there are lots of organizations out there who are willing to support professional development like this. Apply now. Worry about cost later. People can help you brainstorm potential sponsors if you need the assistance.