Convention Idea: SPECIFIC Career Tracks

Continuing my series on ways conventions can provide more career-oriented events for attendees, let's take a look at specific career tracks.  You can find earlier posts on the subject here and here.

I've mentioned career tracks earlier, but want to focus on the idea of the specific career track.

Most implementations I've seen of this take several panels/workshops related to a particular career or skill, and ensure they take place in one location at different times.  This allows people to attend all or most of them, since they don't conflict with each other, and are easy to locate since they're in the same location.

This doesn't work for every event, and is probably best targeted for ones specific audience: a voice acting and/or animation track for an anime con, a writing track for a Science Fiction convention, etc.  Only large conventions could have the time, space, and need to do a large amount of tracks.

Targeting career tracks brings in several advantages and possible techniques:
* You reach a specific audience of interest, and maximize attendance while minimizing cost.
* You can "rank" the events/workshops/panels by experience of attendees – thus do the more introductory panels earlier and the more "senior" panels later.  This allows people to attend events fitting their experience level, or attend events in order, learning things from the basics to deeper knowledge.
* You minimize cleanup and equipment for events – you'll at least know what cleanup to expect, and can leave media equipment in the same room.
* You can "re use" guests/panelists and allow them to speak on multiple panels, leveraging their knowledge better.
* This can easily become a yearly event at the convention, constantly improved and tweaked.
* It's a reputation-builder – you show specific career support.

Specific career tracks are something I'd pay attention to convention-wise.  I think for many conventions they're just the prescription to maximize panels that people will want to attend, and build something long-term to educate attendees.

– Steven Savage

Convention Idea: Career Tracks

My original column on how conventions could invite more "career" guests (legal reps, marketers, special effects teams) along with their "name" guests generated a good deal of feedback from various people.  After some though, I've decided to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and flesh out other ideas on how conventions and similar fan/geek events can encourage professional development as well as fun.  There's no real endpoint to the series – and I'm always looking for new ideas.

For this column, I want to focus on another way to make conventions skill-and-career building as well as social and fun – a career track at a convention.  I've seen a few ideas like this implemented from con to con, and wanted to discuss my ideal version of how they could be done.

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