I am a firm believer in the employability and stronger earning potential of technical degrees compared to many bachelor degree programs. And I’m not alone, you’ll find recent articles from TIME, The Huffington Post and others with stories and research regarding the successful paths of graduates with two-year degrees. However, often job seekers in this community lack some of the more traditional opportunities to connect with potential employers which place even more emphasis on the importance of networking for the career of your dreams.
Associate/Technical/or Two-Year degree holders should absolutely be networking online. Following and interacting with companies of interest on social media sites, building an online portfolio or resume and utilizing online resume databases are all important avenues to be active within. Technical degrees mean just that, that you have a very specific set of skills and having a professional online presence will allow you to broadcast those skills for employers to identify. Many of my personal connections who have some of these very specific set of skills utilize them in their personal hobbies as well as in the workplace. When that is apparent on your social media profiles, you may open the door to new connections to help you find a career. However, don’t rely solely on the internet. Many careers for two-year graduates can still be found in newspaper or magazine ads or even through a recruiting or placement firm.
Word-of-mouth is a critical networking avenue for any job seeker and certainly for job seekers with a diploma or associates degree. Careers for these candidates are often filled quickly so being connected with other employees within the company or management who are aware of your skill set will often get your named mentioned in the HR office before the job is even advertised. It really is ‘all about who you know’ so never turn down an opportunity to meet new people and talk about your skill set.
The most important tip for any person seeking to build their professional network is to follow up. So if you’re putting all of these efforts into action make sure you stay in touch with the connections you make. If you apply for a position, call or email the employer to check on the status of your application. This shows your genuine interest in the opportunity. Once you’ve made a connection who you feel can help you be more connected in the job market keep them informed of your career path and the skills or training you have so you’ll be at the top of their list when an opening occurs.
For more employment advice for your career in agriculture, check out the AgCareers.com Career Cultivation job seeker blog.