Everyone tells you that the key to landing a job is networking, but does anybody actually tell you how to network? Game Studies Industry Outreach Manager Rob Coble and Game Studies Department Chair Michelle Wess realize this, which is why they’re hosting the upcoming Networking Boot Camp, a series of three workshops aimed at helping students learn how to market themselves during the job hunt without leaving any negative impression.
“Most people are afraid of networking when you call it networking, but it’s something that everybody does constantly throughout the days,” says Rob. “Hopefully we can take away some of the mysteries and uneasiness.”
The Boot Camp series (you should do your best to attend all three, as different topics will be covered at each) won’t just be sitting around listening to lectures: interactive elements, exercises, and real industry case studies will be included as well. The first Boot Camp is next Tuesday, September 25, at 6 p.m. in the EB Auditorium, with the other two boot camps happening on October 2 and October 9. We asked Michelle what students could expect to learn during the series, and here’s what she had to say:
- Becoming Aware of Who You Are. “This is about personal branding, figuring out what your goals are, and figuring out what exactly motivates you as an individual. We do an exercise where you visualize selling yourself as a commercial and you have to figure out what your tagline would be. A lot of people don’t know what they have to offer, and these sessions force people to think about those concrete items. You’ll look at the concrete characteristics of yourself, so you can begin to sell them.”
- Digital Hygiene. Michelle and Rob will look at what the benefits of networking are, and all the different ways to network via the web. They’ll break down a few online networking tools [like Facebook and LinkedIn] and how they work. But students need to be aware of their digital footprint, too: “Everything you write and every picture you post leaves a footprint that can always be linked back to you,” says Michelle. “People have actually lost their jobs because of things that they have posted online.” Students will learn how to create positive social networking and how to clean up social networking messes.
- Selling Yourself. Once you’ve figured out all of your characteristics, talents, and skills, you have to aim them. In the ‘Selling Yourself’ session, Michelle will put students in role-playing situations where they’re on an interview, at a conference walking up to an employer’s booth, and at a meet and greet. “We’ll also cover how to think on your feet and how to be responsive in the moment,” says Michelle.