Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Keep WoW Off Your Resume

I recieved a lot of interesting feedback on my previous post titled: Would You Put WoW On Your Resume?

As expected, non-gamers were absolutely unaccepting of the idea. There were a lot of "I would never hire an MMO player" comments and a lot of negative things to say about MMO players in general. Some of it is naive, and some of it is based on strong evidence of poor performance from employees who play MMOs. All you need is one bad experience...one Warcraft addict, and you quickly tag all MMO players as lazy addicts who only care about getting their gaming fix. This is also not surprising, since the majority of mainstream news coverage about Warcraft and other MMOs is about how the addiction destroys families and individuals. You very rarely see anything positive about these games unless you play them and follow them.

The argument that you should keep your resume strictly professional, and to leave out the personal endeavours is bunk. Your leisure activities say a lot about your motivations, your strategies, your work ethic; anybody who doesn't make these connections is blind. If your job requires any amount of cognitive thought, strategic thinking, or problem-solving (and it most likely requires at least one of these), then your personal activities influence your thought process at work. Sports players and fans think like sports players and coaches, as opposed to chess players who think like chess players, as opposed to martial artists who think like fighters. Each has their own strategies and principles of thought, and you can't help but bring them to the workplace. Ignoring these activities is a mistake, but it does get ignored. Keep it on your resume if the general public understands its value. Most people understand that coaching a football squad takes strategy, and that chess requires strong thinking skills, and that martial arts portrays discipline. Most people do not understand what leading an MMO takes.

Also as expected, many WoW players (especially guild leaders) were very accepting of the notion that WoW would be valuable on your resume. Is it because they know the hardships and challenges of being a guild leader or would they like to believe that they are spending their precious time on worthwhile endeavours? My belief is the former, and if you put a guild leader at the top of an organization, they will appreciate and find value in guild leadership on a potential employees resume. This doesn't mean that it is the only important attribute, but if you throw that in among many other accomplishments, it shows great versatility, time-management, and leadership skills.

However, only somebody who has had experience as a guild leader or understands what goes into leading a guild would understand this. There is such a strong disconnect between the mainstream world and the niche world of MMO players. Anybody outside the niche has very negative views on MMOs, while people inside might have very positive views. Here's the rub: 99% of employers are outside the niche, so the majority of people browsing your resume will see World of Warcraft on it and cringe, you don't want that. It is unfortunate but true that the general public does not understand the values associated with leading a guild. (Notice that I've been focusing on leading a guild, and not on just being an accomplished player. There's a big difference as one projects the skills that employers would be interested in and the latter just shows that you put in the time).

The conclusion here is to keep WoW off your resume for now, at least until it gains a more positive stigma in the public eye and becomes mainstream enough that the majority of people understand it.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

# Leading an organization of over 1000 active members.
# Organizing and leading groups of 50 people 6 nights a week on specific jobs.
# Managing resource collection to accomplish jobs.
# Keeping organization website up to date and moderating forums.
# Actively recruiting new members.
# Researching new challenges and formulating strategies to progress forward.

just modified a bit, but that is what I do on a regular basis as the president of a Little League...yet it is not given full value by employers either...my take is, you should present your game skills in a section of your resume that relates to skill sets...thus focusing these positive traits on action items you can relate to at a particular job.

Also note,you should have varied resumes for different types of jobs...not varied facts, just how you present the true facts...! Thus, if you were applying for a gig with a conservative company, you might play down the WOW stuff...but if you were applying for a gig at an online firm or entertainment company, they might find these skills interesting and compelling.

Nice post...enjoyed the discussion thoroughly

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