I always find networking events to be awkward. I never know exactly what to say. Plus–and this is something I need to get over–I’m always insecure about either being underemployed or completely unemployed. Not to mention I’m usually older than everyone in the room. It’s something that makes me shy away from social gatherings. But I do feel that it’s necessary, which is why I knew I had to attend BuzzFeed’s Happy Hour hosted by Ed2010.
After squirming around other attendees in the packed pub, I listened intently as each editor spoke about their daily duties and the non-structure of their day saying “no two days are the same.” Legit, that was music to my ears. One editor explained the culture as a “kindergarten class with snacks, toys, and couches.” I’d gladly call dibs to be apart of that classroom.
I was set on giving the perfect elevator pitch that showcased my personality and passion, but half-way through conversations I realized I didn’t have to force it. What I wanted from the conversation was right in front of me. Here are five lessons I learned from Ed2010’s Happy Hour with BuzzFeed editors:
1. Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
Man, listen. As soon I realized that most of the attendees were fresh out of college working or looking for their first job, I immediately began to tense up. How in the world do I compete with that? Apparently, it’s not only something I was feeling. One editor who was telling me about her current position, leaned in almost whispering her age making me rejoice. Granted, she found her dream job, but like me, it took her a while to get there. That proved to me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And there is light for you too!
2. Creating A Personal Brand Is Key
When I was freelancing in Philadelphia, I listened as my editors talked to seniors at a nearby college. My ears quickly perked up as they spoke about the importance of having a blog, which is around the time I was thinking about creating this blog. The importance of it was reinforced when I listened to the travel editor, specifically. Instead of suggesting the attendees look up well-known travel writers, she was racking her brain trying to remember names of bloggers. Bloggers who’ve made a mark in the industry so much that she’s reached out to them to do freelance work for BuzzFeed.
3. Your Dream Job Might Require Different Skills Than You Think
I was most surprised by this one. Did you know that one of the main skills a travel editor needs is Photoshop? Me either. I had no idea, but now that I think about it, it makes sense. In addition to quality content, what draws people into travel posts are the pictures. I can literally spend all day looking at pretty pictures of beautiful landscapes in other regions of the world. I love seeing how others live, work, but most importantly, eat.
4. The Road To Success Is Always Under Construction
For me, where I’m at in my life right now, there is no truer words than these. I can’t tell you how exhilarating it was to hear each editor’s journey to their current position. Each differed, but I especially enjoyed the travel editor’s story who went from a full-time employee to a freelancer and back again. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what path you take as long as you use it wisely to get to where you want to be.
5. Push Your Passion
This might sound like a given, but don’t allow your current work situation (or lack thereof) define you. Focus on the things that excites you. The topics that you could spend all day talking about and it never get old. For me, that’s food and healthy living, which I excitedly discussed with the health editor. You never ever know where it’s going to lead you and when you’re excited about something, it’s evident.
Have you learned any valuable lessons from a networking event?