The One Club's "Here Are All The Black People"

I’ve been to New York City just once before. It was with my family and it was only for one night and one day. Now, two years and a lot more college later, I went with VCU’s advertising club for an inspiring four days. The city has always called my name. New York is just the kind of place that people fall in love with before they even go there. You hear about it in movies, books and from those who have been before you, and I have to say that everything they say is true. It’s a place where nothing stops moving, life is fast-paced and dreams are closer than the nearest bus stop. But even though NYC captivated my heart and mind, it was the One Club’s event “Here Are All The Black People (HAATBP)” that really got me thinking.

HAATBP is a multicultural career fair catering to those in advertising. It’s a place where creatives, strategists and those in business or the communications field will find an immense amount of opportunity and potential employment. My group woke up at around 6:00 a.m. to catch the subway to Manhattan that morning, our brains craving coffee’s miracle powers. It officially started around 9 a.m., but we wanted to make sure to get there bright and early to get good seats and meet up with everyone else in our group. I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard incredible things about the event: inspiring keynote speakers, helpful portfolio reviews, career advice, internship opportunities and a great way to network with those in the advertising world. 

As a student, I felt a little out of place. I still have about two more years left of college, so I wasn’t as prepared as everybody else there. I didn’t have a stack of business cards, copies of my resume, or even a finished portfolio with me. I was easily overwhelmed by the vast amount of important and successful people there, but after a little while it became a lot easier to talk to the recruiters and I found myself actually learning about their companies and what they had to offer. I was also so inspired by those who had been in my position at one point and did exactly what they wanted to do.

I learned that networking is huge. It doesn’t come easy for some people, but practice helps. I remember my friend and I were asked by two professionals to take their picture, and that lead to us exchanging a few words. It just so happened that they both graduated from VCU’s brandcenter, making me realize just how small of a world we live in. In this line of work, how you present yourself as a person is way more important that what your resume says. You have to not only be impressive on paper, but your personality has to showcase your talents as well.

Photo credit: 1, 2.

 

I’m so glad that I was able to experience such a wonderful event. Not only did I get to hear from talented people like Ibra Ake, the producer and creative director of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” music video, but I was able to get a taste of what my future held. I know that next year I’ll be way more prepared having experienced a full day of HAATBP, business cards and all.