32 Things I Learned at the AMA International Collegiate Conference

This past week I had the opportunity and privilege to attend the American Marketing Association’s 36th Annual International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans. The conference is a gathering of over 1,300 AMA college students and marketing professionals connecting, sharing and learning. From insightful sessions led by highly regarded marketing professionals to networking opportunities, the extended long weekend inspires students and gives them the tools they need to start their career as young marketing professionals. I was asked to join the Ithaca College chapter board at the conference as a sophomore two years ago, and enjoyed it so much I chose to join them again as a senior. Some sessions I attended were focused on jobs and careers, and others were about branding and innovation. Here are 32 things I learned at the conference:

Opening Kickoff and Keynote by Dave Delaney, “Your Network is More Important than Your Resume”

  1. Find and follow your passion. Passions lead to paths. This is something I feel very strongly about (hence Passionately Paige!). If I just loved marketing, how would I stand out from every other marketing student? When I combine my passion of Judaism with marketing, I am presented with so many different opportunities that are exactly what I want to do. Same goes with traveling and cooking as other passions. What’s yours?
  2. Your network is more important than your resume. This is so true and I’ve learned this quickly during my job search. When you attach your resume to a job application on a big company’s website, there is very little chance you are going to hear back at all. However, when you know someone at the company, you are put at the top of the list. Whether it’s a strong connection or not, your network will be your only way to get in the door at a bigger company.
  3. Build your personal brand online. That means keeping a marketing blog (check!). Write about what you know, what you want to know, what you’re learning in classes, anything!
  4. Find like-minded people who share your passions. This is one of the best ways to network. It’s exciting to connect over something you both feel strongly about. If I meet somebody who also went to overnight camp, chances are we are going to have a lot to talk about and they’ll remember me.
  5. Future employers are going to research you. Create your own landing page. In these days, everybody has so many social media sites that it’s hard to keep track. Get an about.me (check!) or any other central site.
  6. Networking is a two way street. Helping others and paying it forward is the best way to grow your professional network. Why should someone help you? What are they going to get out of it? If you help someone out first, they may be able to do something great for you in the future.
  7. Use facebook as a powerful search engine. This also goes for LinkedIn. With Facebook, you can search for friends who work at certain companies or in certain areas, or even friends of friends and get introduced! Networking!
  8. The best way to network is to attend and organize networking events. I strongly agree with this, as I am always attending events or conferences to network and meet people (just like this one!). When it’s not required of you, it shows you are stepping out of your comfort zone and are motivated. I’ve never organized one before, but maybe I will in the future!
  9. Networking is quality over quantity. Don’t just hand out business cards, engage in meaningful conversation. One good contact is better than mindlessly picking up 15 business cards through a job fair. Taking the time to have a conversation with someone will go a long way.
    IMG_6182College2Career Advice Panel
  10. In a skype or phone interview, employers are looking to feel out enthusiam and energy. They can’t see you in person, so they must rely on your presentation through how you speak to them.
  11. As a recent grad, be ambitious, confident, enthusiastic in interviews. Even though you may not have the number of years on paper, you have so many experiences through studying abroad, internships, clubs, etc. that can help you to show your story.
  12. Employers aren’t necessarily looking for hard skills, but more soft skills. Have a minimum of three soft skill stories that show your strengths. I couldn’t agree with this more, and I am already doing it. For skills that I’ve gained from be a leader at my camp, such as “working in a fast-paced environment” or “Ability to work in teams”, I have stories prepared that I can share with employers.
  13. Spend more time on your resume or LinkedIn than your cover letter. While you should definitely have one, chances are employers are probably going to glance at them or not read them at all. In the time you would be writing a cover letter, improve your resume or LinkedIn because that’s what they are really looking at.
  14. Post articles on LinkedIn to stay relevant in connection’s minds. If you pop up on their LinkedIn homepage, an employer might be reminded of you and check out your page. It also shows you are being active and interested in today’s trends.
  15. Never say “I know you are very busy, but…” in an email. Everyone is busy!
    How To Find The Invisible Job by Tom Martin
  16. Propinquity is the science of relationships. Create relationships and connections through propinquity points on social media sites and content zones.
  17. Aware –> Know –> Like –> Hire. These are the steps in building relationships and ultimately getting the job.
  18. If you’re waiting for the interview to interview, you’ve already lost the job. Don’t wait until tomorrow, talk to people today!IMG_6303
    The Era of Innovation and Business Personalization By Alexandre Honagen, VP Latin America & US Hispanics, Facebook
  19. Connections: In today’s world, we are able to find information literally at our fingertips. Take advantage of it.
  20. Empowering people: Share your story and invite others to do the same. Social media is empowering people in way that was never imagined 5 years ago. How are you taking control?
  21. Personalization: The internet is being redesigned around people. And it’s changing every day to fit our needs.
  22. The future of marketing: Decades ago, people simply sat around the television and watched. Today, there are so many other mediums and everything is interactive. How often do you talk about your favorite show on Twitter? (I apologize to anyone who follows me and doesn’t watch Pretty Little Liars!). Tons of ads are only shared online, not even on television, and reach millions of people, all through sharing.
  23. The P&G Thank You Mom ad had me tearing up in a matter of seconds. That’s powerful. And there was not one product shot. Watch the video here.IMG_6242
    About to Graduate.. What’s Next? By Kelly Rock Gomes, Marketing Director, Burger King
  24. Create a brand list of where you want to work. Reach out to those brands or companies and regularly check their career openings online.
  25. Make job hunting your job. Simply applying to jobs mindlessly isn’t going to work. Devote yourself to it and put in effort. Don’t forget, years of experience could be from school and internships!
  26. Big companies have leadership programs for recent grads that could eventually lead to jobs.
  27. Save $5,000 for building your new life when you get a job. You’ll thank yourself later.10169210_2544203688519_4554016702444068919_n
    The Power of a Brand by Gene Lunger, VP of Sales at Ashley Furniture/City Furniture
  28. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  29. Whatever you want your external customers to feel, your internal customers must feel first. People who work at your company should be closely connected to the brand and love to work there. Ashley’s brand success wasn’t the stores, signs or same day delivery deal, it was the people who worked there along with their presence and commitment to the brand. Their commercials aren’t big flashy signs and sales like most furniture stores. Their commercials feature only employees in the comfort of Ashley furniture.
  30. Failure is an option! Promote risk.
  31. The power of a brand starts with brand awareness. Then comes brand preference, and eventually brand insistence (that’s Apple for me).
  32. Consumer confidence: Your spending power today is based on where you expect to be in 6 months from now.

In addition to some of the sessions I attended that are listed above, I also learned a lot from just being at the conference. I connected with so many different people from all over the country and heard their stories and aspirations. In a workshop, I practiced networking with 50 other students by perfecting my elevator pitch. I gained experience attending conferences and dressing professionally. This has been an amazing learning experience and I now feel confident to graduate and find a job!