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