I first crossed paths with Dana Mull and Eric Spell through the agribusiness world in 2017. Little did I know, we’d all be working side-by-side at Charles Aris Executive Search just a few years later.
This is often the story we hear from candidates and clients in the world of agriculture. New opportunities spread by word of mouth, and connections you made years ago can quickly result in a life-changing career pivot. Here’s how to make the most of this relationship-based industry and ensure you’re taking advantage of even the most unassuming connections:
Talk to people in different sectors.
The people you meet in agribusiness will leave you feeling like it’s a small world, but the diversity in its roles and sectors is vast. If you’re ever hesitant about whether someone is worth connecting with, don’t be.
The overlap between agricultural sectors is only going to increase amid growing demand for food and changes in the global climate: industry professionals will need an open line of communication with AgTech firms, scientists will work with chief financial officers, etc., etc.
Anyone could be your future colleague, no matter their role or industry, so be open to having any and all conversations when the opportunity presents itself, because you never know who you’ll need to connect with down the road.
Attend as many events as you can.
One easy way to foster these connections is by attending agriculture-related conferences, panels, parties and events of all shapes and sizes. If you’re invited, accept! These events are great for networking, but they also allow different industry sectors to mix and mingle in a way that fosters connection, innovation and camaraderie.
This is an especially useful tip for anyone new to the world of agribusiness. If you’ve been freshly hired into an agricultural organization from an outside industry, events are your key to the inner circle; be sure to attend with business cards handy.
Talk to recruiters, even if you’re not pursuing a role.
Just like every other agribusiness sector, recruiters in this field are a small group that you’ll get to know very well. Answering the phone to these recruiters, even if you aren’t ready to discuss a new role, is a great way to plan for when you are prepared to take the next step.
There’s also a good chance you’ll know someone else who’s qualified for the role and ready to pursue new opportunities. Recommending an interested colleague is a great way to boost your reputation among coworkers and recruiters alike. If your organization is hiring down the road, you’ll also have an inside recruiting connection to refer to your team. That way, your company won’t miss a beat when looking to fill a mission-critical position.
Agribusiness is a unique industry with robust networking opportunities. The more involved you become, the more you’ll realize it’s a small circle of executives. Being open to conversations, learning about different sectors, attending events and speaking with recruiters are all ways you can boost your own network and reputation in this field. Even small connections can lead to big opportunities!