Though I’m comfortable working a room, I don’t regularly attend networking events, never mind ones geared toward Millennials. At the Hustle Summit I had a chance to observe Millennials in their natural habitat: an ubercool music venue with dark lighting and plenty of cell phone charging stations. Here’s what I learned:
- Dress like you’re going to a normal networking event. People wearing more conservative attire actually stood out more than the girl wearing a full tulle skirt and glitter shoes. Who do you think the people at L’Oreal took seriously? The lady who’s been busting her hump at Bank of America in a suit, or the one who has a fashion blog and works at a cafe? While being a self-starter and a go-getter will get you points, if you want a position at a big company, then playing it safe and conservative is actually best.
- Go to a Millennial networking event even if you aren’t a Millennial. If you are a little older and have a little more experience, but are willing to start at the bottom, then a Millennial networking event is the perfect place for you. I talked to several 30-somethings who were looking for a career change. They were the most serious people there. They’d done their research and they knew exactly what they were looking for and who they wanted to speak to. They were self-starters, but they also had experience at real grind-type jobs.
- Ask for people’s twitter handle. This was a big mistake I made. I met lots of really cool people, but I only got one twitter handle. I realized that my business card has my phone number and e-mail, and those forms of communication are way too personal for networking. Twitter is the perfect way to keep up with people you meet at these events without seeming like you’re stalking them.
Know how to take a selfie.
Seriously, I wish I had practiced taking selfies in my bathroom mirror instead of making fun of the people who do that. When I was live-tweeting the event I felt clumsy taking pictures with my phone. My best selfie of the night was taken by @adamdeanwozney with his polaroid camera, and as you can see, it’s not exactly a great shot of me. (Remember, chin down, Rachel, chin down!!!)
- Please don’t grind on the dance floor.
Yeah, people did that. There was a great DJ, DJ 4our 5ive (he has worked with Jay Z and Little Wayne), and he was KILLING IT! But… that’s still no reason to grind. Have fun dancing in a circle around your purses, but if you feel the need to *exchange feeds* with someone then at least find a dark corner!
- Travel light. (use the aerial picture of everyone there)
- This event was PACKED! Getting through the crowd was difficult and I kept hitting people with my slim backpack. Looking back, all I really needed was my cellphone, some business cards, and a granola bar. I would have been better able to navigate the crowd and I would have looked way cooler if I hadn’t been bogged down by bags.
Rachel Rojas is a freelance writer out of Springfield, Massachusetts. She writes local interest stories for The Westfield News, business articles for Lioness Magazine, and dabbles in short novels in between assignments. Despite the fact that she loves all things intellectual, she has a soft spot for trashy romance novels and pretty clothes.