What will you get out of the Convention? Well, I got a job

Hannah_BaeBy Hannah Bae, AAJA-NY

“You came all the way from Seoul?!” I heard this line of disbelief almost every time I introduced myself at last year’s AAJA National Convention, my first ever.

A lot of people couldn’t fathom flying halfway across the world for a convention – but for me, the experience was literally life-changing.

I wasn’t job-hunting last summer when I showed up at convention.

I had a job I loved working for the State Department in Seoul, where one of my many duties was social media. Live-tweeting press conferences and shooting YouTube videos of our ambassador gave me a rush. Without a doubt, social media was my favorite part of the job. I’d often wonder how I could do it full-time.

But job-hunting was the last thing on my mind at the convention. I was all about connecting with other AAJAers, a rare opportunity for me since I was way out in Korea. One person I was particularly thrilled to meet was Henry Moritsugu, a veteran journalist at Newsday, a tireless AAJA advocate and the father of my AAJA-Asia role model Ken Moritsugu.

I finally got a chance to talk to Henry one-on-one while I was taking a break from panels. While wandering aimlessly, I spotted Henry manning Newsday’s booth at the career expo and made a beeline for him.

During our chat, I happened to look down at Newsday’s stack of fliers. “SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR,” read one advertising a job opening.

“Hey,” I thought while skimming the details. “I’m actually qualified for this!”

Upon returning to Seoul, I sent in my application. Within 24 hours, I had an email from my current boss asking to set up a Skype interview.

Throughout the hiring process, multiple AAJAers – Henry included – talked me through everything from living in New York to the ins and outs of Newsday’s work environment.

I’m now seven months into the job, and I love it. My team is smart and diverse. My managers are supportive and motivating. I am learning more than I ever thought I would about social media and online journalism. I LOVE living in Brooklyn.

And I know I have the AAJA convention to thank for all of this.

So what’s stopping you from registering? Sign up today.

Hannah Bae is a social media coordinator at Newsday and social media chair for AAJA-NY. Follow her at @Newsday and @hanbae.