Lessons Learned at the National Advertising Conference

Photo by Rachel Keeton  Networking at big industry events, like the ADDY Awards, pays off.

Photo by Rachel Keeton.
Networking at big industry events, like the ADDY Awards, pays off.

This past week I had the opportunity to go to Admerica, the American Advertising Federation’s national advertising conference, in Phoenix, AZ. I was able to attend not only the Addy Awards Ceremony, but various forums, networking mixers and keynote speeches from the likes of Pete Cashmore (Mashable), Susan Credle and Lisa Cochrane (Leo Burnett/Allstate Insurance) and so many more. Being around some of the most creative, award winning industry professionals and ad agencies was an incredible, eye opening experience, especially as college student trying to get into the industry. It’s easy to get intimidated when you’re rubbing elbows with so many people who are “famous” in the advertising world, but you have to remember that these heavy hitters were once in the same position. Everyone I got a chance to network with was genuinely interested in what my future plans were and had great advice on how to get there.

The best advice the students received at the Admerica conference was from AOL’s Digital Prophet, David Shing, to “embrace change and take massive risks in your careers when you’re young.” He went on to tell the crowd about the pressure of figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life, and to instead start with what you don’t want to be doing. By simplifying a process like that, it allows you to spend more doing what you love. This advice is applicable across all industries, and should be something that students take to heart.

Students and young professionals need to remember to take advantage of networking events around them. College career services offices can sometimes be the best source of information on upcoming events, and they are always more than willing to help alumni. The old saying, “you reap what you sew” holds true when talking about networking. The effort you put into making new connections will pay off in the future, when you’ve graduated and are actively seeking a job. So get out there when you’re still young, and it’ll make the job hunt a lot easier when the time comes!

—Rachel Keeton

 

 

Talk Nerdy To Me – Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor’s newest event aims to bring together two of the greatest things about growing up: feeling comfortable in your own skin and the ability to legally enjoy an after-work drink, in moderation. Nerd Nite is a growing global phenomenon that brings together self-proclaimed nerds in a relaxed bar setting where they can share interesting informational nerdy presentations.

3D Printing Example at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Photo by ashlieforchione

I had the opportunity to get involved in Nerd Nite Ann Arbor in its early stages. My sister, a developer/nerd, and some of her friends made it their mission to organize the first ever Nerd Nite in Ann Arbor. I went at first to support her; while they had invited nerds they knew, the ‘Bosses’ (Nerd Nite organizers) weren’t sure how many people would actually show. One invited nerd even digitally muttered their uncertainty about the event – there would be girls there, and alcohol. How nerdy could it be?

How very nerdy, indeed. At least 20 people had to be turned away at the door – all the extra standing room only spots were taken well before the first presentation on Nanotechnology. Though some nerds waited in another area of the bar, hoping to catch a glimpse of the next two presentations on 3D Printing (see above photo) and Data Visualization, it was to no avail. No one even left the presentation area for fear of losing their spot.

At the end of the first night, I knew Nerd Night Ann Arbor would be bigger than my sister ever hoped. So, I did what any good sister-nerd with digital marketing know-how would do. I offered to help manage their social media outreach, and get my digital-nerd on. See, while digital and social marketing is a job field I’m pursuing, it is also a passion of mine. Something to get ‘nerdy’ about, as any good-fitting job should be. The facebook page and twitter are already exploding. I’m geeked to see what we can do for the next event this February.

If this post has got you feeling nerdy, geeked out, or put you in touch with your inner poindexter, check out Nerd Nite Ann Arbor or just talk nerdy to me.

When Networking: Think Locally!

Photo Credit: Graves Neal de Armond

When networking for a social media job, it is important to remember to not only “think globally”. I had been networking on Twitter for years and made many valuable connections, but most of them were living in different states and sometimes different countries than me. I also only met about a dozen of them IRL at a Tweetup in Salt Lake City, but it was for fun, not to further my career!

I started to see the error in my way and began attending local chapter meetings of the Social Media Club of Detroit (SMCD). It was there I met the person who does the social for Pure Michigan, who became a great mentor for me. He kept suggesting I attend an ongoing business networking lunch called LA2M, which was in my hometown Ann Arbor.  I always seemed to have a conflict on the day it was held, so I let months pass by without going.

Finally, one Wednesday my plans were expectantly cancelled so I took the opportunity to check it out. Wow. I was so glad I did. After listening to the speaker talk about mobile apps and eating a delicious lunch, I was able to talk to a lot of interesting people.

However, I have to say, the very best part was my chance to meet Derek Mehraban, the founder of LA2M and CEO of Ingenex. We chatted about my going to school for my Master’s in Public Relations and he mentioned he was looking for interns. I sat down for an interview with him the very next day, and was hired on the spot! He seemed impressed by my portfolio, but admitted it was like I had just fallen from the sky, he had no idea I existed until the day before even though I had built up a pretty substantial social media presence.  Again, my folly was focusing on a global level and overlooking the people that were doing what I was doing in my own town.

I also can’t stress enough the importance of networking with people face to face. Twitter is great, but nothing tops a personal connection with people in your industry, especially if you are job seeker. Job fairs, networking meetings, business workshops and seminars are all a great way to meet local people, in person. So make it a goal of yours to check out local networking opportunities, you may get a job out it.