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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

Take Every Possible Risk: The Career Rules's Amy Odell Swears By

You may not know Amy Odell by name, but chances are, you’ve read her writing. For years, she’s been your internet best friend—she told you what to wear as a founding blogger for New York Magazine’s “The Cut,” she made you laugh by penning listicles for BuzzFeed, and now, she oversees all the addictive content on As editor of the popular magazine’s website, she has helmed a total relaunch of the site, more than doubling its visitor traffic and making it the largest online community of Millennial women.

This digital media prowess has earned Odell a spot on Forbes’ 2015 “30 Under 30” in media list and Adweek’s list of young innovators changing the magazine business. On Wednesday night, Odell took a break from her internet domination to speak with the New York Women in Communications’ Young Professionals Committee. Here’s some of the best advice she shared about working in digital media—as well as that dreaded “having it all” debate (hint: she’s not a fan)!

Take Every Possible Risk

The advice Odell swears by: “If you’re not scared all the time, you’re not doing your job.”

And her career path definitely backs this up! From her role at “The Cut” to launching the BuzzFeed Fashion and BuzzFeed Shift verticals, she is clearly not afraid to try something new. In fact, she is such an advocate for risk-taking that, when asked about a time a risk she took went poorly, she was at a loss for words! Of course, it can be tough to face those career fears, but Odell’s success story is definitely a great motivator to make it happen.

Be Nice to Your Co-workers (and Yourself)

Despite’s huge profile, Odell swears the site’s offices still feel like a startup—and that’s the way she likes it. Having dealt with less-than-friendly bosses in the past, Odell says her goal is to create a fun working environment that inspires her employees’ creativity. Still, even working at Cosmopolitan can’t be fun all the time, but Odell says she makes it a priority to handle her stress in a way that will not negatively impact her employees. As you know, there are plenty of healthy ways to manage workplace stress. Odell’s method of choice? Venting to her husband or friends on Gchat!

Don’t “Have it All”—Own Your All

A self-identified feminist, it’s no surprise Odell is exhausted by the question of “having it all,” a concept she believes has become outdated and clichéd (and she’s not the only one). Odell noted that the most common issue young women write to for advice about is how to ask for what they want, whether it be in their relationships or their careers. So, she urges women to “own their all,” and focus on taking control of these aspects of their lives. As Odell put it, who really dreams of the vague “having it all?” Women dream of getting that promotion or that raise, something that is in their power to make happen!

Use Your Social Self to Your Advantage

When it comes to managing your online presence, Odell preaches sticking to your talents. For her, that means tweeting cool content from and all the funny links she can find, while avoiding other social media platforms. This is definitely a personal preference—if you’re as comfortable Instragramming artsy photos as you are live-tweeting the Oscars, you should absolutely do both! But Odell doesn’t believe it’s necessary to have a page on every social site as long as the ones you do populate show you in your best light.

Odell also admits to using social media profiles during her hiring process—in fact, she says candidates’ online profiles can be even more important than their resumes! So, what catches her attention (in a good way)? Profiles that show what you’re passionate about, whether you choose to express it via images on Instagram or relevant links on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Griffin /