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How Pokémon GO Evolves Your Networking Skills

By John Kesaris, M.S.

I remember when I was a kid I collected the cards; watched the animated cartoon series; played blue, red and yellow on Game Boy Color; and ran to the movie theater to see the first movie. I am talking about my childhood obsession with Pokémon. Truly a phenomenon in the day, Pokémon captured the imagination and competitiveness in every fan. We had to “catch ’em all,” battle to improve our team, and be the very best trainer. We all wished a world like this existed and today, thanks to a company called Niantic, we can live our dream of a world full of Pokémon. I am talking, of course, of Pokémon GO.

What is Pokémon GO? For those unfamiliar, it is an app where you walk around and capture creatures called Pokémon. You can level them up and battle gyms claiming it for your team (Go team Mystic!). Popular back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the app has reignited a generation of couch potatoes and Xbox gamers to take a walk outside and even more impressively has re-energized people to interact with each other face to face.

For the past week of having the game, I have taken walks along a boardwalk, a haunted area of Staten Island and other various neighborhoods meeting people doing the same thing I was doing. Thinking about the personal engagement, there are similarities to interacting with other Pokémon GO users and networking in a professional setting. Here are three similarities that I found.

“Hi, Playing Pokémon GO?” = Hi My Name Is
All of a sudden the shyest person in the world has come up with the nerve to say hi to people and ask if they are playing Pokémon GO. If we can make an introduction because someone else is playing a similar app game, then we can do the same with people in our industry. Don’t be shy, make an introduction, you are playing the same game and that is the game of having a career.

“How’d you Get that Charizard?” = Get Information and Advice
Boy, would I kill to have a Charizard! Someone I had never met showed me his on the boardwalk and said, “I used 10 great balls and 10 razz berries. I also held the ball until the circle highlighting Charizard was at a point where I could aim and hit it directly in the middle.” After hearing this, I felt prepared for what I could be in for if I came across a Charizard. Networking is very similar as it gives you a chance to obtain information. Learning from other professionals about what they did to get where they are will better prepare you for your journey. Ask questions, get information and you will be prepared to get your career Charizard.

“Look How Good my Vaporean is” = I Am Confident and Passionate
My Vaporean is amazing! I remember when it was just a little Eevee and I evolved it into a great fighter by feeding it candy. Together we’ve won gyms for team Mystic. I tell everyone, “Check out this Vaporean”. Do the same when you network. It is important have confidence and own who you are, what your accomplishments have been, and what you are willing to do to succeed. Have positive energy, be enthusiastic and show pride. People will want to connect with you more if you show the same level of passion they have.

John Kesaris, M.S., is the PRSA Coordinator of Corporate Development and Industry Partnerships. A mentor at heart, he has several years of experience working with college students and professionals guiding their careers. John commits himself to making sure that everyone who uses the PRSA Jobcenter (employer and jobseeker) has a positive and productive experience. On his time away from his work, he enjoys watching, playing and coaching sports. Go “Goodfellas”! LGR.

Follow me on Twitter @johnny_kes