Role-Playing Games and Your Resume
Generally useful corporate skills can be gained from online games. Seriously!
In the interests of spending some time with your significant other, you’ve picked up one of those MMORPG (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game) things and realized you’re reasonably good at it. You and your significant other have helped with, and later taken over, a guild from its former leadership. You’ve also decided to look for another day job; you’re wondering if anything you’ve learned from your MMORPG experiences would be useful in your job hunt. Answers vary on this one, since it’s a relatively new phenomenon and various corporations have very different cultures.
Here’s where I have to step back a bit and confess that I’ve played many hours of MMORPGs, from EverQuest to Neocron to City of Villains to World of Warcraft, and have watched my significant other play those games plus Eve and then the beta-testing the Warhammer 40K MMORPG that was released last week. In each of the games I’ve played, I’ve gotten to see the inner workings of guild leadership from an outsider’s view, from a member’s view or from a first person perspective.
Generally useful corporate skills that can be developed from playing an MMORPG include:
- Problem-solving abilities, including quick analysis and decision making – Killing that mob is not as easy as it first looked. What are you going to do to avoid that breath weapon? Is there something that triggers that weapon? Is there a safe place to have your support people to minimize the risk of losing a vital member of the team? Will they stay in that spot, or succumb to running closer to have a more active, and thus more dangerous role?
- Flexible and creative thought – How do we handle this situation in order to accomplish what it is we’re trying to do? Is there something that seems totally insane that might just work? Suggest it – at worst, you’ll end up finding a new and exciting way to kill your character.
- Ability to work in a team to advance larger group goals
- Time management skills – Am I going to make it to the raid on time, notwithstanding the work project I need to finish, the dish I need to start working on for dinner later this week, and the laundry and the gym visit?
- Personal research skills – seeking information outside the game environment for in-game issues
- Dealing with adversity – You know you’re likely to die at least once with anything new. Failure doesn’t kill the game; it just shows what doesn’t work. After that, it’s back to the drawing board to develop a new way to approach the problem and utilize what you’ve learned is effective in dealing with the problem.
- Risk taking/aversion – Trial and error play a big role in accomplishing game tasks. Failure is accepted as a frequent and to-be-expected precursor to success. You’re virtually guaranteed to die at least once to a new raid target. In the guilds I’ve been in, keep analyzing and changing the strategy to figure out just how to get the target from alive to dead.
- Information transparency, rolling back to the quick analysis – Players can receive data ASAP, and act upon it with quick analysis, etc, without having to wait for an order from a leader. Granted, you will always have those that don’t need to be acting on their own initiative, but those one does want doing so will have the information they need at their fingertips.
As to whether or not you should put your MMORPG leadership experience on your resume, well, that’s a roll of the dice. Some hiring managers may be able to relate better to you as a result, while others may be totally confused by the relationship between MMORPG and corporate life. More technologically based and less conservative companies and industries may be more open to serious consideration of MMORPGs as a training ground for managerial abilities.
Either way, whether or not you share your experiences within your game of choice as tools in your job hunt, whether via resumes or in interviews, realize that the potential to develop important skills for working in the corporate environment is literally at your fingertips. What difference does it make if you’re having a great time while you do so?