(The series keeps rolling on – believe me, I've got a lot of these).
So you want to help out present and future professional geeks to live their dream careers – so start helping them connect.
Yes, I'm charging you with the task of creating a Geek Networking Event.
So why do this well . . . er, well let's be honest, if you don't see the value of a kind of professional geek networking event, then I should probably point you at a few of my other columns and then yell at you. But let's repeat the usual:
- Networking helps people find mentors and mentees.
- Networking helps people pool skills.
- Networking helps people pool job searches.
- Networking helps people find jobs with/for others.
OK, that wasn't too painful. So you know why you should do this, the puzzle . . . well that's how. Because though it's a great idea, implementation can be a little different among people, locations, events, and your taste for running events.
So here's a few suggestions:
- Try this at a convention. This seems obvious, but make sure that A) it happens after another career event so people are in the right mood, B) try and get some pros there who can and will help out, C) consider adding food/drink/etc. to make it more social.
- Try a regular meetup (go to www.meetup.com if you want) and see if you can throw one as part of another event or group. I know several meetups i'm part of don't mind suggestions. Or make this part of some other group (say, a local sci-fi or gaming group).
- See if you can host this at some geeky establishment like a bookstore, comic shop, game store, etc. They may like the business.
- Try it at a restaurant – people bond well over food.
I'm sure you can think of quite a few locations to try.
Now as for what to do there, try this:
- You can make it social – have food, hanging out, etc. You may want to have some specific event or speaker to get it started.
- Make sure people all have business cards, portfolios, resumes, contact info, so they can exchange it.
- Divide people up my hiring, searching, and helping. It'll let people know who is doing what (I recommend colored badges if its a big group).
- Keep it fun. If it gets boring, it gets less productive.
- Keep it geeky – so people connect over what they like. Have quizzes, themes, whatever it takes to keep the mood right.
So there you go. You've doubtlessly got people who need to network job-wise and they're progeeks present and future. Stick 'em together and have them help each other out.