When (If Ever) To Put Gaming On Your Resume

When (If Ever) To Put Gaming On Your Resume

Honing your skills in a video game is hard work. It takes practice, patience and creativity. These are all assets that could help you land a real job, too. But do they? Have you ever emphasised your gaming background during a job search, and did it help?

One notable success story that's often brought up in articles asking if gamers should identify themselves as such on their resumes is Stephen Gillett, who played up his experience in World of Warcraft when applying for a position at Corbis. The risk paid off handsomely for him: he went on to become the chief information officer at Starbucks, where he claims he applied lessons from WoW to spiff up the coffee chain's "suffering technology assets."

There are a lot more gamers, and a lot more jobs, than there are executive leadership positions at Starbucks, however. I want to hear from the rest of you about how gaming has helped or hindered your job search. Have you put your gaming skills on a resume or job application? Let us know in the comments, following this template:

The game you mentioned: What were the specific skills you'd developed in a game, and how did you go about highlighting them? Did you mention it in a specific cover letter or application, or include it in a resume blast?

The job you were applying for: Was there a direct relationship between the position you were applying for and something you'd done in a video game? What was the case you were making?

How it worked out: Did you get the gig? Was HR intrigued, or scared off? Any surprises, pleasant or otherwise?

Recommendations: Any tips for others to keep in mind on their own job search?

When (If Ever) To Put Gaming On Your Resume

Gaming is becoming an ever more ubiquitous part of our lives, and it's high time that all the gamers-turned-job seekers out there can get a clear idea of whether or not their preferred hobby is an asset or a hindrance. Tell us about your own experience on the job market, or about anybody else's if applicable. And, as always: remember to have fun!


    IMO someone who has managed high end 10/20/40 man RAIDS in MMO's has technical skill in how to effectively manage skillets and people in a fast paced environment.
    Top tier FPS/RTS gamers would have excellent hand eye co-ordination and memory.

    these skills can and should be moved over into your work (obviously dependant on your job) but unfortunately the stigma of gamers = lazy/unmotivated/anti social basement dwellers is still pretty prevalent in today's society

      Let's not forget shit tons of patience in getting together and dealing with 20 strangers who have no motivation to work together and can jump ship at the first sign of trouble =P

        Yeah i didn't go into details, anyone who's ever tried to or successfully managed a RAID knows the pitfalls and what needs to be overcome before during and after.

        I personally think it makes me a better TL/Manager in my career, im able to react to situations better, i can manage skillsets and head off issues before they cause a wip.... sorry issue in the workplace :P

    I was asked in the job interview if I played games online. However that was probably in reference to the fact that the company I was applying to was an online poker company, so they were probably asking if I played online poker. I responded that I'd checked out their software in the previous days and that I played on steam. I got the job. Months later I learnt some other employees had been caught playing WoW at work I still wonder if they were trying to check if I had a WoW addiction.

      If you're going to play an MMO at work, it has to be EVE Online. Your boss will just think you're in Excel.

    I had been selling paint for 8 years and i wanted to sell videogames instead, but JB and EB said i had no "games selling" experience, so I made up a resume about my gaming experience for a job that JB Hi Fi was offering.
    They were a little suprised by it all (the sheer volume of games I had put for the previous years playage) but ultimately, i got the job.
    Then i ended up working for GAME till they went under

      Why would JB want games-selling experience anyway? No offense but it's not exactly rocket surgery to scan a barcode and ask for some moneys.

        I'm certain it was for the 'media advisor' type role.

        They're the guys they call for when a customer asks questions like:
        "What's this game about?"
        "What game should I buy/buy for my friend/child/etc?"
        "What cool new games are coming out?"

        etc. etc. They have roles like that for movies and music too.

    @dnr has it covered pretty well. Your accomplishments in a game might be a great representation of commitment and preparation and research skills and team work etc (world first kills in raids etc) but, for the most part the people who will be reading your resume will take one look and go "meh, plays video games" and have no context for the information. If I myself were reading a resume that said Server first Sinestra kill on WoW I would get it and know what it took to pull that off, but most people wont and it is safer to not put it on there because of what society views gamers as

    tl;dr No

    I had a nice lunchtime chat with my department heads at work about this whole MMO thing. They don't understand it, considering they're in their 40s and 50s and I'm under 30.

    I talked about my experience as a guild officer and raid leader for Rift (10m and 20m), about managing roles, attendants, class leaders, training, equipment, scheduling, building teams and the like... and that's just preparation for the actual raiding. For the gaming proper, it's about quick thinking, on-the-spot problem solving, delegating, observing phases, giving direct commands, exercising patience, etc.

    Then I mentioned about how these skills bleed into everyday life, and how it augmented my workflow and teamleading. Needless to say, I scored many brownie points and got made project manager soon after.

    Last edited 14/08/14 3:07 pm

    I mentioned some amateur game development that I did when applying for a few software positions while at and just after leaving university. It stood out enough that several of the people that interviewed me were interested and thought it was pretty cool. I got job offers & jobs out of those interviews so I don't think it hurt, but it's also obviously relevant experience.

    I had a friend who got a job because he mentioned playing WoW to an interviewer, struck up a conversation and turned out they played on the same server and had raided together...

    I went for a job interview at HES a couple of years ago, and partway through brought up the old unlicensed carts they made for the NES back in the day, and commented how I still had a pair of them. The guy laughed and said "well, you've got the job then". Dunno if it actually affected the outcome at all, but I like to think it helped :P

    I don't list games that I've played even when I apply for games industry jobs.

    For my last few jobs I've been removing my hobbies section from the resume almost entirely, though I will still list "Game Development", as much to highlight to them that I have no intention of not doing programming in my free time as for any brownie points it may score.

    When we did get around to discussing games in interviews (about 8 years ago), I used to find that I was playing "the wrong games". I have almost no interest in the vast majority of AAA games, and being a poor(er) student at the time I wasn't really able to buy games just for research purposes.

    In one interview, after them asking what I though of various titles and having to admit that I'd never tried them, the interviewer asked me "Do you actually play any games?"

    Apparently playing indie games (even top-tier ones like TellTale's adventures) didn't count as being a gamer.

    I once had a woman in her early-mid 40s ask in an interview: "It says you program computer games in your resume. That's a bit juvenile, isn't it?" It didn't say that, in fact. It was a listing of a previous job that involved doing some programming work for a gaming studio. I find that attitude still pervades much of the thinking of the gen-x/early 40s types who conduct interviews, in my experience. I've found that, when I've had that role listed and someone younger, or someone who games questions me on it, they really want me to go into detail. I think the generational ignorance levelled at this kind of thing is more telling of how the interviewer operates, and that, if they don't want to know, there's a fairly high chance that they'll be a pain to work with or I'll otherwise not want to work there.

      I'd walk out of an interview or ask to speak to that person's manager if they said something like that. You didn't mention if it was a programming related job... In any case, very stupid behavior on their part.

        Yeah but if you walk out of the interview, there's no chance you're getting the job.

          That's kinda the point. That kind of attitude is an indication that they're likely to be people who you don't want to be working with.

            So I used to work for Telstra. They have something like 20000 employees. you'd judge the whole company on one grumpy HR person? You realise jobs pay money right? You don't do it for the ppl, you do it for what it can do for your life. I can tolerate all sorts of rubbish for the right amount of money or the opportunity to move forward in my career.

              I used to think that. But then I worked for Telstra. ;)
              There are definitely limits.

                Hahaha. I quit Telstra. After 2.5 years I was just totally over the place.

              I would say (at least at some point) your interview should include your direct supervisor/manager. That's a person you'll likely interact with every day.

              An interview is as much for me to assess the company and it's staff as it is for them to assess me.

              Btw, I'm talking about career type jobs not casual stuff at maccas or coles.

              There's a significant difference between working for a faceless conglomerate and working in a small production art studio. Personalities and culture count for a lot. This is particularly true in games and moreso in Australia where if you don't heed the warning signs, you might wind up working at Figurehead.

                Yeah that's true, but in my mind, it's always better to get the job. Then you can get some money, some experience and if it's not for you, you can leave. But to complain at the interview and ask to see a manager just means that you've cut off all of your options and have only succeeded in wasting your time.

    I was offered a job at a mine from a person in my guild (WoW) - I didn't know them at all in real life, but we raided together for some time and they obviously rated my efforts. Normally rather than saying "gamer" on my resume, I will detail something around my interest in new technologies.

    My current C.V. actually has "Unbeatable at Mario Kart 64" craftily placed in my skills section.

    ..No one's actually questioned me about it thus far..

    Last edited 14/08/14 4:17 pm

      I want someone to call you out on this, and your getting the job comes down to an epic 1 on 1 round of MK.

    I've actually had a job interview fall apart because I hadn't played one game in particular, but that was for a games job.

    I think it's a good idea to always list your gaming skills and experience... but do it in a way that's applicable to business, and more importantly, applicable to the specific job you're applying for.

    Don't say "guild leader in wow"

    Experience organizing 10-20 people to work together and achieve complicated tasks over (X) years
    Experience in problem solving
    Experience in solving interpersonal and social issues in a 10-20 person team
    Experience in time and resource management
    In the top 5% of our competitive environment

    You can elaborate further during the interview.
    Things like being on a sports team or being on a club/association committee are looks upon favorably so make things like guild leadership sounds similar to that.
    Use words like President, Officer, Coordinator etc.

    As far as FPS games go I don't think those are as applicable to business unless the job specifically requires good hand eye coordination or quick reflexes. Perhaps things like Warhammer painting would be good to note for a job that requires fine motor skills like small detail electronics assembly for example.

    The key is to be specific to the job you're applying for but use terminology that's understandable by non gamers.

    I'm a pretty enthusaiastic and progressive gamer, but if I saw reference to gaming on a CV (for a job that wasn't in the VG industry at least) I would file it neatly in the rubbish.

    Personally I think it would be a terrible idea. I remember when my department was hiring some junior admin staff, one guy who applied had just finished his time in the army, he wrote about his experience being a fire team leader, managing soldiers under him etc. I thought that was pretty impressive (being from a military family and all) but the middle aged women in charge of the hiring thought it was irrelevant and went on to hire the two young girls who were the most charismatic at the interviews. One was a fantastic hard worker, while the other was lovely to talk to dumb as dogpoop and couldn't organise her way out of a paper bag.

    If you put that down applying for a job in the auto industry you'd never get to a single interview.

      Out of curiousity, why is that? Is there some sort of stigma in the auto industry about gamers? I'm curious because a lot of the biggest petrol heads I know are pretty hardcore gamers too.

        That below comment should have been a reply. Guess i can also strike off commenting correctly from my resume.

    I think the stigma exists across a lot of industries, not just the auto industry. But it's also a matter of tact. If you're padding out your CV with gaming in an industry that has no connection to it, you're not doing yourself any favours.

      I don't think that's the point here. It's about life skills you get from gaming not about the gaming itself.

    I work in the IT industry and from what I've seen over the years, a sure-fire way to make yourself attractive as a developer is to have game development experience (even if it's your own game) since games tend to require a wide variety of knowledge and skills, especially in the areas of optimisation, data management and network communication.

    Of course, fart apps and Flappy Birds aren't really going to impress anyone, you have to show something that proves you have technical knowledge and ability. If you aren't going for a dev position, a lot of places I've worked at have hired me not only for my skills, but because as a geek and a gamer, I fit into the culture of the company and teams I'll be working with.

    It's only very, very rarely that I've seen anyone get hired that had gaming related skills as part of the deciding factor. Even then, it's only because they were able to prove themselves in an interview or used those skills as a complement to their job-related skill set. As the article briefly mentions, relying on game-related skills to get you a job is a huge risk and you're better off saving it for the interview if you feel it's appropriate.

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