Recruiters, be honest please: What would be the first thought that comes to your mind if, when scanning a candidate’s “Skills section” of his/her resume, you read, “Video gaming expertise and skills, especially with World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto”?
Would you A) laugh at the idea of someone actually including “gaming” as a skill B) still consider this person’s resume for the selection process or C) toss the resume in the “reject” pile?
I am not a recruiter, but when I recently read about job seekers adding gaming skills to their resumes, I imagined most recruiters’ responses would be a combination of both choices A and B.
But, according to a few articles, listing one’s gaming skills may not be such a bad thing—and bypassing an applicant who does may mean a recruiter is missing out on quality talent.
Writing for Yahoo!, Aaron Pressman explains how gaming skills relate to many of the skills needed in business. In his article, “World of Warcraft may soon be a job-related skill,” he says that “to succeed at a multi-player game like World of Warcraft requires skills that are also relevant in many business jobs in fields such as finance and IT.”
Pressman believes that there are two ways gaming skills can come into play in a business setting:
Hard & Soft Skills
1. “…succeeding at video games can require some of the same teamwork, real time analytics and composure under pressure that many jobs also require,” he writes. “Reigning supreme in a fantasy sports league requires statistical analysis, trading acumen and focus.”
2. “…sales people who bond with customers over golf or drinks might add some new pursuits,” Pressman explains. “It’s even more likely to become common as a team-building exercise in fields that are closely related to digital play, such as IT or finance.”
Pressman also references MIT Researcher, Michael Schrage, who believes modern, digital pursuits—like fantasy baseball and Minecraft—should eventually become appealing to hiring companies because they signify modern skills.
I took a look at Schrage’s Harvard Business Review article where he compares the benefits of video gaming skills to those found in poker and bridge (two games currently accepted as leisure activities). Schrage writes:
The cognitive and social skills demanded in complex multiplayer games can be every bit as subtle, sophisticated and challenging as stud poker or bridge. Indeed, I know Silicon Valley and (admittedly younger) hedge fund quant teams who bond and boost morale through their Minecraft bouts. I may not fully understand the details of what they’re doing but there’s no doubt that these interactions are building relationships as well as protective structures. These teams —and the organizations that employ them—would likely welcome colleagues and candidates with authentic video-game passion and talent.
Now, all of this sounds like assumptions, right? Simply people who have analyzed video gaming skills and have come to the conclusion that they can be just as beneficial for an employee as other technical skills, yet no hard evidence or concrete examples. Yet, in his WSJ article “Can ‘World of Warcraft’ Game Skills Help Land a Job?” writer Adam Rubenfire offers a real-live example of someone who included video gaming skills on her resume—and landed the job.
According to the article, Heather Newman included her Warcraft experience on her résumé when she applied for director of marketing and communications for the University of Michigan’s School of Information. And Newman currently holds this position.
The article explains:
In the “Leisure/Volunteer Activities” section of her résumé, Ms. Newman noted that she has managed guilds of as many as 500 people and organized large-scale raids of 25 to 40 players to complete tasks for several hours four to five days a week. These tasks, she said, “directly apply to the kind of job I hold.”
Ms. Newman, 43 years old, said she knew some people wouldn’t be familiar with the game, but she wanted to highlight how her experience leading volunteers online showed her abilities as an effective communicator and manager in the workplace. Plus, she believed that administrators who make hiring decisions at the technology-focused school would view her game expertise as a sign she would fit with the culture.
The article even quotes the dean of the school, saying he knew Newman could “talk geek” so she’d know where many of their students were coming from.
The idea that playing World of Warcraft for hours could enhance your skillset and make you an even better job candidate (and future employee) may sound farfetched, but in the technology-driven world we’re currently living in, maybe not. We’ve all witnessed just how far technology has taken recruitment, hiring and even the definition of work in such a short time. Recruiters have certainly had to adapt to keep up with the latest technology trends to stay competitive in the war for talent. Who’s to say consider skills sets outside of the norm won’t be the latest trend?
So, maybe gaming skills aren’t so farfetched. Remember, just a few, short years ago I’m sure no one dreamed that the leisure activity of posting to Facebook and Twitter would develop into high-paid, full-time positions….but look where we are now.