Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hire Me, WotC! Part II - Doing Some Research

I hate to admit that, while I did spend a Saturday evening a few weeks ago getting ahead on the D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge, I let work creep up on me and missed a week in my "Hire Me, WotC!" series. It can be really difficult to balance "work life" and "fun life" sometimes, and fantasizing about working in a field where the two meet is a big part of why I'm doing this series in the first place. As much as I love the kids I work with, the bureaucracy of public education doesn't allow for as much "fun work" as I would like.

Side Note: If this "working in the gaming industry" idea doesn't pan out, I wonder if there are any charter or private schools that emphasize learning through games? I would probably enjoy that too... maybe I should start my own school if I can't find one somewhere.

Before I get too sidetracked, let's get back to the matter at hand and put my guidance counselor hat on for a while. When I talk to students about what careers they want to pursue, the first question I ask is, "Why do you think that would make you happy?" I think I've already covered that answer in previous posts. The second question is, "What do you already know about that career?" Regardless of their response, I always suggest that they do some research. That's where we pick up the journey today.

Side Note #2: I keep referring to this series as a journey. It might be cool to structure this series as an adventure. The childhood dream post may have been the "Background" and "Getting the Players Involved" sections of an adventure. The path I take could be represented by the winding corridors of a dungeon. I wonder how a Wizards of the Coast interview team would feel about being cast as the boss monster at the bottom level of the dungeon? Knowing how many of them have probably been DMs themselves, I bet they would like it!

Research is an important part of the job hunt for many reasons, but the most basic is finding out what jobs are out there. Luckily, I subscribed to the Hasbro job notification emails a long time ago, so I have a bit of a head start, but for a list of all Wizards of the Coast jobs, just click here. As of today, there are 18 jobs listed. A quick glance at the list reveals that while there is a lot of overlap, most of the jobs fall into three categories: art, marketing, and digital resources.

Unfortunately, for any of those categories I would need either another degree or a lot of work experience in areas I've only dabbled in thus far. Would I call myself an artist? Maybe, but I'm an amateur at best. Have I done any programming? Does HTML count? Have you had any experience in marketing? I once got a job at a magnet school in its first year, and our survival depended on recruiting students, so I guess you could say I helped market the school. Still, that's only one facet of the marketing field, and I was a fringe contributor at best.

So what can I do? Is there any job on the list that I qualify for already? It looks like there is only one...

One key phrase that I tell my students to look for when they are job hunting is, "entry level position," and this job listing has just that. That phrase means that I'm less likely to be hindered by my lack of experience in the industry, and any related experience I may have from other fields may actually make me look like a stronger candidate than a recent graduate. Another interesting point I noticed as I scanned the job description is how many communication skills listed are skills I've had explicit training on as a counselor.

Only one potential position might sound discouraging, but there is more to the story. There are other positions that are close.
  • Content Manager - While I wouldn't label Outsyder Gaming as wildly successful, I do have experience creating and managing online content. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to get some experience working for another fan-focused site and then using that experience as a selling point on my resume. I do think this is a job I can do, but I will probably need more experience proving that I can do the job before Wizards would ever consider hiring me.
  • Human Resources Business Partner - Counseling and human resources have a lot of overlap in skills, and given the list of job responsibilities, there are only a few that I feel I would need a great deal of training to do. However, getting certified might take more formal schooling than I want to deal with right now. As I've said before, with eight years of college under my belt, I'm a little burned out at the moment!

Fortunately, I have some time before I actually apply for positions, so the list of jobs available right this second is not as important as knowing what kinds of jobs can be found at the company and what kind of skills they're looking for. 

Next time we'll continue the journey with some research of a different kind...

Look out, Wizards. I'm coming!
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