My present strategy for developing my professional network online and in person is still in progress. I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to meeting people in new situations. I am slowly but surely getting better at it.
Recently, I went to Guelph and Ridgetown for a career fair and to meet the program coordinators for the agriculture and horticulture students. This was something that was very stressful for me but always ended up going great. I even enjoyed myself! Every year, we try to visit as many schools as possible to connect with the young adults that would be interested in our organisation. IRE Canada hired me to take care of the eastern part of Canada. Therefore, going to career fairs, student clubs, school staff meetings, and anything else that could come out of those events will be a recurring part of my work year.
When it comes to online networking, I am quite active on Twitter. I have engaged in a few discussions with prospective hosts. I was also invited to host a popular Twitter account for a week. I have received quite a few direct messages on Facebook for more information. I also do my best to reach out to every network connected to the school we go visit before and during our trip.
During the last career fair, we had a student come up saying she was here only because she saw our tweet on the school page. The school was kind enough to have retweeted our shout out for our booth. This made me realize how networking is important. If I hadn’t tagged the school, the school wouldn’t have retweeted, and the student most likely wouldn’t have dropped by. Networking is amazing!!!
This leads me to my future plans: I will keep on working on stepping out of my comfort zone to go talk to people and spread the word about our organisation. In the next year, I will go to more career fairs, school meetings, and engage on social media in the ways I have stated above. I will also plan a few paid advertising campaigns for this Fall/Winter. All in all, it is a work in progress involving mixed feelings and a growing self-confidence.