Using Gaming Conventions to Build your Career

Seattle is a hub for Gaming Conventions

Whether it’s 70,000+ gamers at PAX West, or the intentional, empowering, and transformative Geek Girl Con, Seattle is a mecca for gaming conventions large and small.  These cons are big business, too.  Emerald City Comic Con brings millions of dollars to Seattle, and many local companies sponsor events, panels, or workshops.  Gaming cons are of course a ton of fun, but are also a great chance to showcase your talent, network with fellow geeks (and professionals!) and even build your resume. By volunteering (or even working!) at cons, you’ll be boosting your career as well as your gamer cred.

Employers are paying attention:

Employers values commitment, hard work, flexibility, and the ability to succeed under pressure.  Gaming conventions are a great way to build these skills. One local employer recently commented, “We hired new staff members specifically because they had worked as Enforcers at PAX.  That’s a tough job, where you have to be courteous and enforce rules.   Plus the sheer scale of the role—long hours, interacting with thousands of people—it shows commitment and fortitude.” Looking for a role that’s more suited to an introvert?  Try working as a Panel Host, or assisting companies at event booths, or even work behind the scenes, in registration, marketing, or social media management. A UW Aerospace student commented, “convention work got my foot in the door in the gaming industry.  I started off as a Minion at Emerald City Comic Con, then started hosting and running events.  I met my future employer when I hosted their panel session on Diversity in Gaming in 2018.  They could see my customer service and communication skills, and when I applied for a few months later, them remembered me from the convention.

Start from your interests:

Not sure where to start?  Think of the skills and passions you have already, and take time to explore and ask questions the next time you’re at a panel, event, or convention.  Like to draw?  Chat with folks in Artists’ Alley.  Want to design games?  Whip together a prototype to play-test at a local convention.  Are you super passionate about a particular fandom, game, or genre?  Write a blog post or make a video, then share it with people you meet to build connections. And if you want to start smaller, try exploring local events at your FNGS (Friendly Neighborhood Game Store), join (or volunteer with!) a gaming MeetUp, or visit the UW’s Gaming Arena (Basement of the HUB) to meet fellow gamers.

By Michael More
Michael More Michael More