GeekGirlCon ’15 Programming Highlight: Doing it for Ourselves

As well as celebrating the amazing accomplishments of women in geekery, GeekGirlCon has always had a strong focus on helping women and other marginalized geeks find the tools, contacts, know-how, and resolve to achieve their own goals. In addition to our GeekGirlConnections room (we’ve already highlighted some of the organizations who’ll have tables there this October), we have a range of awesome panels and workshops lined up where you can pick up tips on everything from cosplay to community building to content creation.

Winter Downs
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlConnections: Cover Letters 101

by Terra Olsen

The dreaded cover letter, it instills more fear in job seekers than any other part of the job search experience. But it doesn’t have to be so scary or terrible. I have broken down a few helpful tips to help make the cover letter experience more bearable.

But first I would like to take a moment to stress the importance of a cover letter. Time and time again I have talked to hiring managers who are dumbfounded when they get a resume with no cover letter. Not sending a cover letter does two things: Firstly, it sends the wrong message to the employer. You are basically saying that your time is more valuable than theirs, or that you simply don’t care enough. Secondly, you are missing a valuable opportunity to sell yourself. A cover letter helps an employer get to know you beyond the resume. Cover letters are really a wonderful tool that can help differentiate you from the completion.

So now that I have clearly convinced you to write cover letters, on to the tips!

1.) Formalities
Be sure to write your cover letter in a proper and formal fashion. Always have a formal salutation. Address your letter to the hiring manager (e.g. “Dear Ms. Lastname” or “To Whom It May Concern”). None of this “Hi” nonsense. Make sure to close your letter formally as well (e.g. “Sincerely”). In addition, do not use abbreviations or internet/text lingo—I cannot stress this enough. Seriously. (And that includes emoticons!)

2.) Proofread x12
It is essential to have a flawless resume, but it is even more essential to have a flawless cover letter. If you have spelling and/or grammatical errors in your cover letter, the reviewer might just toss your application without even reviewing your resume. So proofread your work. A good rule is to set it aside once you’re done with it, and then proofread it a few hours or a day later. It is hard to see your own mistakes when you just produced something, so taking a step back will help you clearly see where you might have misspelled something. Again, just slow down and take your time.

3.) Know who you’re addressing
Make sure you address the right company. I have seen cover letters that have had the correct company in some sentences, but then a different company in other sentences. Big no-no! Make sure you know whom you’re addressing, and how they spell their name (e.g. GeekGirlCon, not Geek Girl Con). In addition properly addressing the company you’re applying to, make sure you stress why you want to work that particular company. Hiring managers want to know how you will help their company succeed.

4.) Do Not repeat your resume
You should use your cover letter to tell the employer more about yourself, not to reiterate information that is in your resume. This is an opportunity to show your personality, and interest in their company and the industry. Try to tell an interesting story about why you’re interested in the industry, or why a particular strange job was actually a great way at developing x and y skills.

I hope these tips help you create the perfect cover letter and land your dream job! Happy Hunting!

“Rock On!”

GeekGirlConnections: Creating a Resume

Hi everyone!

Our Manager of GeekGirlConnections, Terra Olsen, has some fantastic tips in store for the geek on a mission to network and take advantage of a new career! Take a gander at her advice.

Writing a resume, be it your first or your twentieth, can be a daunting task. I have compiled my favorite tips for resume building in the hopes of make it more manageable.

1.) Style Properly
* Use an easy to read font.
* Use a proper format. Chronological formats are popular (experience first, then your education and skills), but it also works well to use a customized format (where you address the job to which you are applying at the top).

2.) Know your Audience
* When building a resume, it is extremely important to know your audience. For example, if you’re applying to a graphic design firm, then it’s appropriate to build a creative resume that stands out. On the other hand, if you’re applying to an engineering firm, then it’s appropriate to have a straightforward and clean resume.
* Try to put only relevant experience on the resume. There is no need to list every single job you’ve ever had. If you’re new to the working world, list the jobs you’ve had, but be sure to make them as relevant as possible for the position to which you’re applying.

“Rock On!”

Live Blog: Expressing Your Creativity Through Audio

Hey again! Shubz here, still kickin it in Room 202 live blogging at Expressing Your Creativity Through Audio with Julie Hoverson, Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard, and Rhys Torres-Miller!

Note: They’re speaking to this from the audio drama perspective, but it can be applied to other genres of podcasting.

Learn to do the tech work yourself.

It is time-consuming. If you want to get it right and share your creativity, take your time, and invest your time.

You can podcast inexpensively. You need (at least) a laptop and a mic.

Find your audience. It will be slow unless you want to pay for advertising. Keep in mind, that paid advertising doesn’t not guarantee more listeners and fans.

Network with other podcasts. Offer to do a review of their show. Be a part of the community.

Voice acting:
Reliability: Don’t over-commit. Commit to what you realistically can do.
Find out how much work you ACTUALLY need to do to complete it.
No one goes into voice acting because you love to entertain.

Check out Kevin MacLeod’s Incompetech

Be sure to note artists’ creative commons notice.

Sound effects
Sample Swap is a free sound sample library.

If it is something you love, you find the time to do it.

Internet Archive:
Sample Swap:
Audion Drama Talk:

“Rock On!”

Live Blog: How to Do Your Own Kickstarter

Hi everyone – Shubz reporting! Come through to Room 202 for How to Do Your Own Kickstarter with Caytlin Vilbrandt and Tristan J. Tarwater!

Planning your campaign: decide if your project will happen “no matter what.” It will determine how you write your pitch and your donation tiers.

Kickstarter vs. IndieGoGo

About 10% of your audience will be willing to donate.

Have a budget. How much will it cost to make product, ship product, etc. Plan for the worst case scenario.

Figure out your tiers. The main price point that most people hit: $25

Treat the people who are backing you as patrons. Give them great incentives for donating.

Make sure you have enough time for your campaign. Check shipping times for people giving things to you.

Communicate with your backers. Stay in contact.

People want to give! If you have a great project and are good to your patrons, they will be excited to be your fans and give you feedback.

Learn from prior kickstarters – what works and what didn’t work.

Promotions: Word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook, Website

Stretch goals: Create them! What will you do if you’ve exceeded your initial goal? If you had the money, what would you do?

Tell people to buy your stuff! Be direct about your promoting, be excited about it, and DON’T BE SHY about your project. Cross-promote with friends that have other projects going.

How crucial is video?: DO IT! Get your face on the video. This creates a human connection.

Points to take home
Take it seriously
Treat your patrons well. They are your customers.
This is taxable income. It is NOT free money!
Do NOT cold message people about your project. Create rapport first. It is also against Kickstarter TOS.

For more information, check out:
IRS website (RE: reporting gross profits):

“Rock On!”

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