5 Career Tips From the 2013 NYWICI Student Communications Career Conference

If you're a career-oriented collegiette interested in a job in communications, what could be better than spending a day meeting like-minded girls and mingling with some of the industry's most powerful women? Absolutely nothing. On Saturday, November 9th, ambitious undergraduate (and graduate) students flocked to New York University's Kimmel Center for this year's New York Women in Communications, Inc. Student Communications Career Conference. From amazing panel discussions (the conference covered everything from blogging to acing that job search) to inspirational speakers (like Lucky's Eva Chen, Girls Who Code's Reshma Saujani and She's The First's Tammy Tibbetts), NYWICI's event left collegiettes feeling confident about their future careers. We were beyond lucky to attend the conference and are reporting back with the biggest lessons we learned from the day.

1. Take Risks and Embrace Disappointment

We all knew the day would be life-changing when Girls Who Code's Reshma Saujani took the stage as the morning's keynote speaker. Though Saujani faced a series of life challenges - she was consistently bullied and was beaten up as a child because of the color of her skin, and she has lost several New York political campagins - her speech taught us to embrace the failures that come our way and continue to be led by our ambition.

"Getting up after you're knocked down makes you stronger, allows you to enjoy the wins that much more and helps you develop those coping skills," says Liz Kaplow, president and CEO of Kaplow PR as well as president of NYWICI.

So maybe you didn't score that awesome internship, and that's okay! Instead of rethinking your major, all the extracurriculars you lead on campus and your life's path, learn from that letdown. You never know, practicing your interview skills or polishing your resume may make you an even better candidate for another stellar position. 

2. Ask for Help

As collegiettes, it's easy to think that we can do it all. Ace all your midterms? Check. Juggle several extracurricular activites? Absolutely. Cook a delicious and nutritious dinner? If Ramen noodles count, then consider it done. But once we enter the "real world," we may be in for a rude awakening. Whether you're trying to collect funds in order to build that start-up or meet a deadline, doing everything yourself may not be so easy. When Saujani was starting Girls Who Code, she learned to ask people for help. Fortunately, some of the tech industry's most powerful individuals were eager to join her cause. Though reaching out to others may sound a little intimidating, Saujani noted that you'll build a strong support system.

3. Follow Your Passion

Sounds pretty obvious, right? Though it's no secret that some parents wish their children turned into successful lawyers, doctors or the next Oprah, Eva Chen's afternoon keynote speech enforced how important it is to do something you're passionate about. If it wasn't for her passion for magazines and an amazing internship at Harper's Bazaar, this editor-in-chief would probably be a doctor right now. We know what you're thinking: whose Instagram account would we gush over if Chen traded her Proenza Schouler threads and L.K.Bennett kicks for a pair of scrubs? Even when the editorial superstar was working at a law firm, she jumped at the first chance to re-enter the fast-paced world of magazines when an assistant position at Harper's Bazaar was calling her name.

"It's a long day and a long career," Kaplow said. "Try to think of what your strong suits are and what you enjoy doing."

While a Devil-Wears-Prada-esque job may not equal a corner office and a salary that allows you to purchase several large mansions, it's important to follow your dreams. If you're passionate like Eva, success is just around the corner.

4. Do Your Research

While networking seems like a piece of verbal cake, it can be a little nerve-wracking when you don't know what to say. You didn't go to the same high school as your career role models, and you definitely don't want to admit you stalk them on every social media platform imaginable, so how are you going to make a lasting impression? Like in any of your college coures, getting an A+ in networking is all about doing your homework.

"Whatever they're doing, learn it," says Kaplow. "You may come from different orientations, but they'll see your passion."

Read up on your favorite career women and learn everything you can about the industry you want to work in. And let's face it: devouring the latest issue of Vogue or watching every film your favorite director created sounds much better than working on problem sets. 

5. Expand Your Personal Brand Outside of Your Social Media Accounts

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know very well that it's important to create a personal brand. Though most collegiettes think "personal brand" is a sneaky way of saying "how you're perceived on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn," instilling a professional reputation goes beyond your favorite online platforms.

"The branding comes from combining the two, both from socal media and the real world," Kaplow said. "It's very important to think about getting face time with people and presenting yourself in a professional manner."

We encourage you to continue being a social media guru, but don't forget to think outside the box. Whether you ask your favorite PR heavyweight to sit down for an informational interview or you attend a networking conference (shameless plug: Her Campus's National Intercollegiette Conference is always inspiring), going beyond your computer screen will bring your personal brand to life! 

Passionate about a career in the communications industry? Join NYWICI to meet other driven individuals and receive great career insight!