Video games have been in high demand since the first console — the Magnavox Odyssey — was released in 1972. Since then, games have largely been seen as either recreation or a waste of time. However, researchers in ludology (the study of video games) increasingly find that gaming builds a wide range of soft and hard skills that have real social and professional value.
This is great news for any avid gamers who are looking to land a new job. All those late nights spent grinding for XP and queuing in lobbies can actually be leveraged during your next job search — you just have to be tactful.
Employers are increasingly aware of the benefits of hiring gamers. In the UK, the Royal Air Force has publicly commented on the value of gamers. Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson stated that the RAF values, “the ability to assimilate information, react swiftly and coordinate actions whilst remaining calm under pressure” and that these skills “are often attributes of people that are good at gaming.”
The skills you develop as a gamer are somewhat dependent on the game you play. If you’ve invested hundreds of hours into games that require teamwork — League of Legends, Rocket League, Apex Legends — then you’re probably an adept communicator and who can perform specific tasks well within a larger team of people. Likewise, if you’ve spent time gathering materials and creating maps on games like Minecraft, then it’s fair to believe you’ve developed skills associated with creativity and critical thinking.
However, just because you have gained skills in a gaming context, don’t be fooled into believing transferring them into professional life will be simple — you can’t treat your coworkers in the same way you treat your teammates. The key to successful skill transfer is intention + focus. Experts in skill acquisition and transfer find that those who transfer their skills most effectively know how and why they are doing it — particularly when transferring more complex skills (cognition, communication, critical thinking).
Imagine that you’re adept at leading your team in CS: GO. For those same leadership skills to transfer into an office environment, you must deliberately consider the ways that you lead. For example, when gaming you might notice good players suddenly lose their motivation to help the team. To remedy this, you can give them extra responsibility and rewards that help them stay engaged. Likewise, in an office management environment, you will eventually manage talented, but underutilized employees who have become disinterested in their day-to-day work. Again, you can solve this motivation problem with appropriate responsibility and rewards.
By deliberately considering the skills you gather as a gamer, you can successfully transfer your skills into a professional environment. This will help you become a valued member of the team and will show future employers that you have the drive to grow as an employee.
The demand for gaming content has skyrocketed in the past 5 years. Since 2016, Twitch has grown from an average daily viewership of 604,000 to 2,567,000. Players from all backgrounds have started streaming their favorite games, and are finding a steady viewership ready to watch them play.
As a gamer looking to land a new job, streaming allows you to leverage your passion for gaming while gaining resume-boosting experience. This is because many of the skills valued by employers are necessary to make progress as a streamer. For example:
- Affiliate marketing
- Video production
- UX design
Each of these skills is essential for all streamers who are looking to build their streaming brand. As a streamer, you must offer creative and engaging content to keep viewers interested. To grow your viewership, you need to clearly communicate your streaming schedule and provide direct links to social media channels and Youtube pages. If you want to land sponsorships, you must provide a simple, engaging user experience for viewers, as this will professionalize your offering and improve your appeal to prospective sponsors.
However, just telling a prospective employer that you stream is unlikely to gain you any favors. Instead, you need to tactfully present streaming in the same way you would prior work experience:
- Statistics: for your streaming experience to have credibility, you must include key statistics. Include your total number of unique viewers, the revenue generated from streams, or any other stat which you think might impress employers.
- Growth: employers want to see how you can help them. Include phrases like “Implemented a new loyalty badge which increased stream revenue by 27%” as this will show employers that you are adept at adding value to the bottom line.
- Professional Connection: highlight any professional connections or sponsorships you’ve landed. Do not name-drop during this process, but do provide contextual information like the industry they are in and the way your stream helped them.
The job application process is filled with dos and don’ts. As a streamer, you have to be tactful about the way you present your stream as a professional experience. By highlighting key statistics and pointing towards the value you add, you show employers exactly why they should hire you.
The future of video gaming is social. Developments in virtual reality increased access to high-speed internet, and an increased focus on inclusivity means that more people are getting their game on.
As an experienced gamer, you can take advantage of the trend towards sociability by networking through video games. You can actively make career connections with people through gaming — particularly if you’re looking to work in tech of any kind. Additionally, if you’re eyeing up an internal promotion, you should put the feelers out and see if anyone in management plays video games. If they do, you can easily share details and start connecting online.
Landing the Job
When applying for jobs you must sell yourself. Employers are looking for talent which can help them deliver a better service and improve their bottom line. Leveraged correctly, your video game experience will raise the right kind of eyebrows + show employers that you could become a valuable asset in the future.