We’ve heard it repeatedly, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Networking has become one of the most talked about terms (and perhaps overused) when it comes to career growth and business success. However, the effectiveness of this topic necessitates its continued emphasis. But what is it really? It surprised me when the first synonym that Microsoft Word and the thesaurus suggested was “schmoozing.”
Merriam-Webster defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Illustrating the importance of career networking, this dictionary also includes a quote from Hal Lancaster, “Networking remains the No. 1 cause of job attainment.”
It may be top-of-mind in the job search process, as a principal connector for candidates and employers, but networking is imperative for overall career and personal growth too. Furthermore, if a company wants to persevere and prosper, their employees need to continue to grow as well. Professional development and networking often occur simultaneously. It’s all about making contacts, meeting people and exchanging ideas.
References are a common job search dilemma, especially for those that are already employed. You can’t ask your current boss to be a reference unless you’re moving, or facing a lay-off, downsizing, or a merger, or other obvious situations. So who to ask for a reference if you can’t ask your boss?
This is one of the many reasons why it is important to stay connected with former bosses and supervisors; keep the line of communication open so they can serve as references in the future.
Evaluations of resume writing can be very subjective, influenced by personal taste and feelings. Potential employers may have an opinion on your font style, design, or whether or not you should use a summary or personal statement, to name just a few. But even though your resume is subject to this type of evaluation, it is important to not dismiss objective, measurable facts from your resume.
There are some key resume writing tips that hiring managers can agree on:
• Spell check, read and re-read. Have a friend check your resume. Misspellings and grammatical errors show a lack of attention to detail. This may seem obvious, but it happens frequently! These mistakes can often be fatal to your job search prospects and automatically send your resume to the “no” pile.
There is still a valuable place for you in the work world even if you weren’t class president, didn’t lead a committee to record fundraising, haven’t worked in management at a global corporation, or weren’t a star athlete or had the lead role in a play.
You’ve applied for a job and were just called for an interview. You’re excited, but you can already feel the butterflies in your stomach. Do you believe in yourself and your abilities to succeed in this potential new job? Even if you are lacking in self-confidence, you can take action before an interview to give yourself a much-needed mental boost. Do a little research before you sit down for the interview. Prepping will help you go into the interview with increased confidence and poise.
1. Inform yourself about the potential employer. Google the organization to see if they’ve been in the news lately. Is the organization non-profit, privately owned or publicly traded? Check out their company website, examine their mission statement and goals. Look at their career section for information about benefits and company policies that might guide your answer to “Why do you want to work for our organization?” Make sure you understand what the business really does before you make your way to the interview.
2. Find out everything you can about the position, and this starts when you first apply. Keep track of positions you’ve applied for – you can do this simply thru AgCareers.com. Log into your free job seeker account and apply to positions; your applications will then be saved and viewable at any time under your “application history.”
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I have a unique job where I get to do a lot of different things daily. Primarily, I do graphic design for AgCareers.com, so this includes handouts and flyers, brochures, mailers, e-blasts, reports, infographics, social media graphics, basically anything the team needs that involves anything graphical. I also handle a share of social media tasks like creating content and posting the jobs that you see on our social media. And I get to do some video production and a variety of writing on the blogs, the newsletter, through the Career Guide, and creating surveys.
What do you enjoy about working here?
I love my job. I appreciate that my job is not just one sector of agriculture, but is all-encompassing of the industry. I feel so fortunate to come to work every day and get to do what I love for the industry that I love. I also love creating. And I feel genuine doing so. I grew up on a farm, and my husband and I farm, so coming from this industry and getting to support it through my daily work is and has always been my dream. All my passions fit into one job, which I think is pretty rare to find in a career.
You’re running out the door for an interview, starting your first day at work, or getting ready for a big presentation on the job and notice a major wardrobe malfunction- ARGHHHH, what now?!? You aren’t a skilled seamstress and don’t have much time. NO FEAR! You can overcome many wardrobe emergencies with simple fixes, using things you have around home or the office.
Grab a twist tie from your bread bag to temporarily reattach a button. If the button is loose but still hanging on, dab on some clear nail polish.
The stitching has come loose on your pant and your hem is hanging down- fix it with some double-stick tape…voila!
Not the best timing for a stuck zipper! Rub some Vaseline, lip balm or even pencil on the zipper to work it loose.
I’m definitely not a social media expert. However, in working in the HR industry with AgCareers.com over the past five years, I’ve seen, heard about and experienced many social media mistakes that you won’t want to repeat. Think before you post!
“The hiring manager rambled on and on during my interview,” one applicant tweeted. “I totally aced my interview today; bet I get a job offer tomorrow,” gloated another on Facebook. Don’t think that employers aren’t looking, because they are! Before you share, take the time to ask yourself, “Could my comments be taken negatively?”
“Will I have access to Facebook at work?” asked one candidate in their first interview. Do you think they got a second interview? We’ve heard there is no such thing as a dumb question, but unless you are interviewing for a marketing or digital communications role, stay away from comments about social media during interviews.
I’ve been working in the “real-world” for over 15 years now. I remember the beginning at my first job out of college, thinking many things I hesitate to share. For example…”I’ll be going to work like this, every day, for the next 40 years?!”
For those of you starting your first job, or working with the same organization for a few years, here are a few things to think about:
Emma Lackey grew up in rural Ontario, Canada and soon discovered her deep passion for agriculture. In her early teens she started working part-time on a dairy farm; soon she was spending every weekend and summers on the farm.
“By the time I graduated from a prestigious Canadian university, I already knew I wanted a future in agriculture,” shared Lackey. She moved home and started working full-time on the farm, milking, feeding, cropping, fixing and loving every minute of it. Lackey wanted to stay involved in ag while also putting her degree to use.
She learned about AgCareers.com from many of the farm-related publications she regularly read. “The AgCareers.com site was easy to navigate and I checked often for job postings that interested me. I was excited to discover a site that could connect me with so many opportunities in the agricultural industry,” added Lackey.