I walked into Washington Square Park that Saturday morning feeling anxious but excited. It was a beautiful day in New York City, crisp but warm, and only a handful of people populated the normally bustling park. Attired in a pencil skirt and heels, folder in hand, I mentally prepped myself as I circled the square. I was on my way to the New York Women in Communication Foundation’s (NYWICI) annual Career Conference.
The day-long conference at New York University featured over 40 communications professionals speaking on topics ranging from social media marketing to news reporting to producing video for online platforms. One panel, “Secrets to a Successful Job Search,” was dedicated entirely to resume and job networking do’s and don’ts from four recruiters. Keynote speakers for the event were Kate White, former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, and Jenna Wolfe of NBC’s Weekend TODAY. Both were fabulous. While I practically filled an entire notebook with tips and tricks from these ladies, I’ve listed the SparkNotes of their speeches below.
Standout Quote: “Listen more than you talk. Contact + curiosity = opportunity.”
Go big or go home
-Make your boss say “wow” on a regular basis. If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing enough.
-Ask yourself once in awhile, is this as gusty as it could be?
-Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
Manage your success
–Be a relentless architect of your career
-Step back periodically to “drain the swamp” of your personal and professional lives and think about the next step
-Actively “adopt” your mentors by developing relationships with key people. They won’t come to you.
Dare to set boundaries
-Refuse to let your smartphone control you
-Don’t bite off more than you can chew
-Make time to do what you love
Standout Quote: “Make as many mistakes as you want — just don’t make the same mistake twice.”
-Be comfortable in your skin
-Stop being nervous and anxious. Everyone makes mistakes. You don’t want to seem insecure.
-Appreciate where you are in the journey. Look ahead but don’t forget to enjoy the moment
-Believe in your potential
Show what you can do
-Do something great and then let your superiors see it, don’t just tell them what you can do
-Work harder than anyone else
-Meet as many people as possible, and always look for networking opportunities
If you’ve got a personality, use it
-Carve out a niche in the business. Lots of people can do the job well, but what can you do that’s different?
-Don’t change to fit the mold; you might regret it later on
-Just. Be. You.
To be completely honest, I left the conference feeling invigorated by their stories, but also a bit discouraged– most of these women had accomplished so much at such a young age, and I had to wonder if I could ever near their levels of success. If so, what should I be doing now to get there? With the future so uncertain, those competing emotions — hope and discouragement — seem to characterize the lives of young professionals.
But I’ve tried to internalize exactly what Jenna Wolfe emphasized to us– and that’s to enjoy the ride.