Being a fan is an expensive hobby. DVDs, downloads, movie/theater tickets, and merchandise alone add up, and for a lot of people, this is on top of – or sacrificed for – the costs of traveling to conventions and visiting fellow fan-friends all over the globe. Suffice to say, for most people, all of this generally involves a good deal of financial finagling.
My friends and I have lamented, at great length, the fact that fangirling is not in fact a paid profession. That doesn’t mean, though, that we can’t put those fannish skills to good use when it DOES come to looking for jobs, applying to schools, and generally getting ahead in real life. I was 15 when I first watched Battlestar Galactica and in the time since I’ve applied for – and in many cases, been offered or accepted by – scholarships, colleges, and a number of jobs. Believe it or not, your identity as a fan can be a huge asset when framed the right way. Here are some tips for creating a great and (technically) true professional profile without raising any eyebrows.
- Truth: “Passionate, community-oriented individual seeks a position where I can utilize and advance my superior [writing/artistic/computer/critical thinking] skills.”
- TMI: “Passions include actress Mary McDonnell and her body of work, specifically [Battlestar Galactica/The Closer/etc.] and [insert favorite characters/relationships]. I am an active member in the fan community and contribute by [writing fanfiction/creating graphics or videos/engaging in discussion on social media/other].
- Truth: “Hard-working and dedicated; completes tasks quickly.”
- TMI: “Uploads GIF sets to Tumblr within an hour of episode airing; posts follow-up one-shot fanfiction within 24 hours.”
- Truth: “Versatile and prolific writer with excellent grammar/spelling; used to giving and receiving constructive criticism.”
- TMI: “You can find my Adama/Roslin fanfiction on SurvivalInstinct.net, and The Closer/Major Crimes fic featuring Sharon/Brenda and gen Sharon/Rusty on Fanfiction.net. I work closely with and serve as a beta reader.”
- Truth: “Proficient with Photoshop, video software, [and/or related programs]. Adapts easily to new programs and updates.”
- TMI: “Began making 100×100 pixel icons on LiveJournal but after switching to Tumblr started working more with manips and GIFs – a constant learning process given the ever-changing size and dimension limits.”
- Truth: “Well-versed and up-to-date with social media sites and trends, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, [and/or] other blogging platforms.”
- TMI: “Approximately 80% of my social media posts are tagged with some variation of #marymcdonnell, @marymcdonnell10, and/or #majorcrimes.”
- Truth: “Enjoys meeting and connecting with new people; thrives in a busy environment.”
- TMI: “Flew alone to a sci-fi convention with 20,000+ people, stayed in a hotel with people I’d never met, and left three days later with lifelong friends and a hell of a hangover.”
- Truth: “Other relevant skills: exceptional organization, [#] WPM typing speed, [basic/excellent] knowledge of HTML, close attention to detail.”
- TMI: “See: the Mary McDonnell Folder on my desktop complete with over a dozen labelled sub-folders; post-episode key smash conversations with friends; ability to identify the season and possibly episode of Battlestar Galactica based solely on Laura Roslin’s hairstyle.”
- Truth: “Other relevant personal qualities: patience, initiative, diplomacy, and focus on developing personal relationships.”
- TMI: “Survived [# of] hiatuses; active in the #MajorCrimesS5 renewal movement; avoids ship wars; writes regular essays on the development of the Sharon/Andy relationship.”
- List: [Fandom Friend] – Personal Reference
- Lie: “How did you meet the applicant?” “…Mutual friends.”
So tell us – have any of you used fandom experience to get ahead in the real world? What skills have you learned or developed as a fan?