Raiding On Your Resume

By Jim Rossignol on May 12th, 2008 at 4:36 pm.


Cameron Sorden over on Massively.com has written a piece arguing up the pros of putting hardcore gaming on your professional resume. He argues that gaming has all the qualities you might want for business. He’s not the only person who thinks that, I’d wager.

Every active member of a raiding guild routinely practices time management skills, conducts personal research outside of the game environment, self-manages to optimize their contribution to the group effort, learns effective communication skills, demonstrates patience and persistence in the face of adversity, and proves that they’re willing to be a team player to advance the goals of the guild. These are exactly the same attributes required of business professionals in a structured work environment.

If I were ever to apply for a job (unlikely) I suspect I’d put something about running my Eve corporation. CCP are certainly pushing it as a business-learning tool in the mainstream and their friendly economist doesn’t hinder that reputation too much either.

Anyway, on the subject of games being good for books, I expect you to all explain to your prospective bosses and life partners that gaming is good for you. In fact, here’s a quote from MY FORTHCOMING BOOK you can use in defense of your gaming lethargy:

A report published in October 2006 by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) concluded that contemporary educational systems lacked the capacity to assess the kinds of skills that videogames taught, meaning that they ultimately went undetected. The FAS paper concluded that: “video game developers have instinctively implemented many of the common axioms of learning scientists. They have used these approaches to help game players exercise a skill set closely matching the thinking, planning, learning, and technical skills increasingly demanded by employers in a wide range of industries.”

The range of cognitive skills found to benefit from time spent gaming continues to widen – researchers at the University of Rochester in New York have been examining the plasticity of human visual processing by using videogamers as test subjects. The Rochester team wanted to see whether habitual game-playing improved visual skills, and their report explained that “video game players were found to outperform non-video game players on the localization of an eccentric target among distractors, on the number of visual items they could apprehend at once, and on the fast temporal processing of visual information.” This kind of research – the cognitive neuroscience of videogames – has only really been undertaken in the past couple of years, but it is nevertheless a rapidly expanding subject. The work so far performed in the field has consistently demonstrated improved spatial cognitive skills, enhanced visual attention and the ability to process multiple tasks with greater efficiency among habitual gamers. Games, it seems, change gamers’ brains for the better.

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46 Comments »

  1. arqueturus says:

    Maybe in a couple of generations time but not now.

  2. That Happy Cat says:

    it’s a whole lot more beneficial than putting “hardcore porn” on your professional resume

  3. Phil says:

    Saying you’re a ‘hardcore’ anything on your CV will generally speed you towards the bin. Try it, ‘hardcore’ footballer, ‘hardcore’ care giver, ‘hardcore’ chartered accountant – you might get away with ‘hardcored’ apple growing specialist, that’s about it.

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    Hardcore Chartered Accountant would be awesome.

  5. Butler` says:

    I think this guy needs to wake up to the real world for 10 consecutive minutes and think about what he’s saying.

  6. Jay says:

    Didn’t you used to work in accountancy?

    Also: I’ve studied a fair amount of psychology, so I’d like to see more long-studies (I forget the actual term) before we jump to conclusions based on early research

    EDIT: Longitudinal study. That’s what I was looking for

  7. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, loads more research is needed, clearly.

  8. James G says:

    I actually brought up gaming back when I was inteviewing for university places (I just realised that this was six and half years ago now.) I was interviewing for a place on a Natural Sciences course, and mentioned that I was particularly interested in genetics. I explained that it was the game ‘Creatures’ by the then Cyberlife, that got me interested in the subject. Of course it helped that the developers were literally a few hundred meters down the road (pure co-incidence) and had used the college as a base for a few confrences they had organised; something that my interviewer seemed aware of.

    However I don’t think gaming is something that would be seen in a positive light by most companies. Even if I felt it demonstrated relevent skills, I’d be wary of bringing it up unless I knew more about my interviewers. (Of course, were I to make the field switch into games development or journalism then I expect my experience would be relevent.)

  9. Hunty says:

    I have to say, I work as a recruitment consultant (sigh) and it’s a sad fact that if you have more than about two lines about yourself on your CV, you’re wasting your time. Hard, quantitative facts about money you’ve saved/made the company and what you’ve achieved, with enough newspeak to make Orwell’s eyes water. That’s what the people want, sadly. Go automaton!

    That said, replace money saved/made with healing/dps done, and you have your average hardcore raiding guild. Go figure. I still think I’ll be keeping my WoW habit to myself until the day I bring myself to start applying for industry jobs.

  10. Shon says:

    He might have a point. Being a regular Raid member means you are willing to do time sinking work for the chance of very small gain. It’s that mindless drone quality of infinite work for negligible gain that companies love in a worker.

  11. Acosta says:

    Jim, werent’t you leader of a Quake team before getting into videogames journalism?. I think that skill is even harder and more stressful than being raid leader (but everyone who knows about all this would agree about these skills being good for any company, I have no doubt about that).

    The reference of your book in Edge was really interesting, hope I can get it from Amazon.uk (would be nice some postmortem about your experience writing it here in RPS if such thing is possible).

  12. Rook says:

    Now all I need is for them to recognise flaming on internet forums as a positive thing and I’m all set.

  13. voma says:

    Yeah, I think everyone agrees that bringing up videogames in an interview is suicidal if the interviewer is over 30. But, you have to have some kind of pastime or you’re a freak who spends all day staring at the walls – you also won’t get a job if they don’t think they can have a conversation with you. What fake stuff do you claim you do when you have to appear respectable? I usually go with reading (true, although I’ll probably downplay the fact that it’s 90% SF and all my favourite authors have mental illnesses) and films (which I watch sometimes but wouldn’t honestly say I’m into),

  14. subedii says:

    Internet flamewarring is a job all in itself Rook.

  15. dhex says:

    i’m sure arguing about sports includes quite a bit of rhetorical skill and the ability to memorize relevant statistics, too. but that’s not a resume-worthy accomplishment.

    i would probably toss an otherwise decent resume in the “probably not” bin if they listed their hobbies on it in general; listing how their time in warcraft taught them to be a team player would get pinned up on the wall for mockery with an undercurrent of fear towards “generation veal.”

  16. Subjective Effect says:

    The problem is that gaming is optional and supposed to be fun. So a guy can have fun. Wow. How many times have you arranged a clan match or some such and then something in RL has come up (like a woman, some beers, some RL pals) that stopped you from doing it? Loads, that’s how many.

    Being a guild member or leader does not show commitment because you WANT to be there. If the job was playing games as and when you felt you’d be the man for the job. The only transferable gaming skill I can think of is hand-eye co-ordination – which is beneficial to surgeons, as shown by the Japanese.

    Working on a successful mod.. now THAT would show something.

  17. malkav11 says:

    Mmm. I just got hired based on an interview where I mentioned that I game (or I think I did, anyway). But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because of that particular item.

  18. theleif says:

    @ Shon:
    Spot on! But, unlike in WoW, if you’re a corporate drone, you actually get paid.

  19. Abe says:

    I’ve never been in an interview where the interviewer cared in the slightest which (if any) games I played. And I work in game development. I can’t even imagine a case where a regular employer would care.

  20. araczynski says:

    worth a shot as long as the job he’s applying for doesn’t require being ‘on call’ :)

  21. Jim Rossignol says:

    “Working on a successful mod.. now THAT would show something.”

    Yeah, that ties into the overall arc of my book. Much of the latter part talks about modding, and also the “virtual infrastructure” business of the ISS project in Eve, which I regard as a kind of social modding.

  22. Mike says:

    IBM were dishing out research pamphlets at an event they invited Imperial students to. In it, one of their research studies suggested that MMO Gamers exhibit almost all of the characteristics necessary to survive in a business-like workplace or a managerial role. They predict that in about a decade or less these people will be quite sought after indeed.

    Plus they have the added bonus of already being desensitised to human suffering.

  23. Masked Dave says:

    Surely it would have to be past tense too.

    Otherwise you’re basically admitting that you’re going to spend your every moment thinking about your other ‘job’ where you’re a wizard.

  24. Mike says:

    Well, if they could make managing a team of accountants anything like managing a WoW clan, I think people would give up a graphical user interface for a £50k paypacket.

    Although if they could make managing a team of accountants like managing a WoW clan, then we’d all be playing Accountant Wars II right now, so I guess there are a few barriers to overcome.

  25. Heliocentricity says:

    Clan leader- translation

    I’ll be late in, and tired because i was up til 4 am “grinding mobs”.

    Don’t phone us, we’ll phone you?

  26. Kadayi says:

    I’ll be late in, and tired because i was up til 4 am “grinding mobs”.

    Exactly. This is where the argument falls down. Hardcore gamers are just that, hardcore. Which in reality translates as more likely to give a shit about their gaming than their career (unless their career is directly game related). Work is a means to and end, rather than the be all and end all of their existence.

  27. alphaxion says:

    an ex-boss of mine actually heard that I attended LAN parties and began to use it as a question when interviewing.. tho negatively, he would reject anyone who had even heard of them.

    Mind you, the guy was a total knob jockey and was trying hard to get me sacked, he was even heard saying “I don’t want a geek in the department”…. it was a frigging IT department!!

  28. Nick says:

    Bah, raids in EQ were far far harder than WoW.

    It should get you better jobs.

  29. Zonderic says:

    I disagree that just because gaming is something that is supposed to be fun, that it is not relatable to work. Sports clubs and other collegiate organizations are often used on a resume, even if it is president of the rock climbing club, or something that doesn’t seem to have relevant corporate applications. Running a guild is extremely equivalent to any of those clubs. Gaming just isn’t accepted as social activity that requires any work or skill.

  30. elle says:

    Yes, time management skills, research skills, self-management, communication skills, patience and persistence are all skills a company wants. But showing up for a Naxx run no more than half drunk, twinking, yelling at 13-year-old Priests casting Holy Fire, and doing it 4-6 hours a night, once or twice a week for 10 weeks to get one piece of valueless digital ephemera – and spending $15 a month to do this worthless mess – do not demonstrate those skills. If anything, it’s a sign of a productivity-dragging sap who’ll fall for slick production over practical value.

    Hours spent gaming are hours not spent in professional development. Unless your goal is a job organizing large groups of people using online tools, I wouldn’t mention this on a resume, and not in an interview unless asked.

    Otherwise, you’ve got an employer who knows that, instead of studying Useful Skill X, you’re goofing off. That’s what WoW is to the vast majority of employers. You might as well be playing a timed game of Solitaire. (Logical problem solving, decision-making, time management, pattern recognition – see, it’s not so hard!)

  31. Mark says:

    As if we needed any more proof that raiding is work.

  32. Cameron Sorden says:

    After reading the comments from everyone, thinking about it for the afternoon, and reading most of Everything Good is Bad for You, I chatted with Kendricke for a while about the topic over the phone. I think I probably erred in slanting my article towards placing raiding or gaming on your resume. I mean, I wouldn’t do it (for no reason other than the social stigma), so I probably shouldn’t be recommending it.

    However, I think that the point I’m trying to communicate and the spirit of the article is not that playing online games is great resume fodder (since obviously your resume is a place to list skills and an interview is a place to make a good impression), but rather that games can facilitate the development and internalization of skills that businesses would find valuable.

    As many people pointed out, discussing games in an interview shows poor judgment even if it does illustrate relevant skills — probably the biggest reason to avoid mentioning it. Will that be the case in 10, 20, 30 years? Maybe. Maybe not.

    However, even if you shouldn’t bring it up in an interview or stick it on your resume (and my apologies to anyone who quickly added their guild position to their resume in the last 12 hours), I do stand by my assertion that being involved in an online social community of any sort can help you develop skills that will be beneficial to your long-term personal success and is not a waste of time, even if you have to find other ways to demonstrate those skills to an employer.

  33. Krupo says:

    Hardcore Chartered Accountant *is* awesome.

    And gives me a new idea for a tagline for my site.

    “Well, if they could make managing a team of accountants anything like managing a WoW clan, I think people would give up a graphical user interface for a £50k paypacket.”

    Hee hee, little do they know that’s exactly what it’s like!

    No, I lie. There’s much less drudgery in CA firms.

  34. malkav11 says:

    Yep. I will say that my years on the internet MUDding have developed a rapid typing speed that was very helpful in getting clerical job interviews.

  35. AbyssUK says:

    Hobbies : Sitting on ass, jumping around Ironforge aimlessly for hours on end, dancing naked in the Inn with friends, looking for groups

  36. Andres13 says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love gaming … but after working in HR for over a decade and seeing thousands of resumes cross my desk I can say with certainty that except in a few niche job markets, “gaming” on a resume is the kiss of death.

  37. Paul Moloney says:

    I’m not sure which is worse; to have a gaming hobby which is so tedious that it’s considered work, or to be so deluded as to think that non-gamer prospective employees are going to be impressed that you can arrange groups of little cartoon figures to beat other groups of little cartoon figures.

    P.

  38. Jochen Scheisse says:

    You mean, like chess players miraculously manage to do.

  39. Paul Moloney says:

    “You mean, like chess players miraculously manage to do.”

    I don’t think iconic gamepieces count as “cartoons”, but anyway… chess has a long and established history. Even people who’ve never played it are familar with it and the fact the game requires a certain intellectual rigor. But _even then_, a mere mention in your CV (“My hobbies include chess…”) would suffice. Banging on about how you are great at it in an unrelated job interview and would be pointless.

    I’ve never reviewed a CV to look for clues on whether the person is social or not, since the best way of deciding that is to meet them; I check their CV to see if they have the technical qualifications and experience to get the job done. Anything else is filler.

    I play WoW casually, so would probably understand more about the game than 99% of interviewers, and I have to say that anyone who considered playing it to be a a job qualification would end up as an amusing anecdote at parties.

    P.

  40. Jochen Scheisse says:

    I did not question that putting anything about gaming into your CV is a rather bad idea. I just thought it’s funny how your last sentence almost perfectly described chess, and how I could much more imagine a chess grandmaster mention his hobby in a CV with more success.
    And while the optic of the gamepiceces may differ, without an understanding of the game mechanics that’s a tad deeper you won’t push out a green branch in both games.

  41. kadayi says:

    @Cameron Sorden

    I hear what you are saying. To a degree though if you say were generating real money through your hobby either through Gold Farming or some such (not that I advocate such things tbh) then that might be the sort of thing an employer might look upon favourably. It’s one thing to say ‘I run a clan’ it’s entirely another to say ‘Last year my clan made $xxxxx, by doing Y’ . One shows commitment, the other shows commitment and ingenuity. Plenty of people play WoW, very few of them make real money at it.

  42. Cameron Sorden says:

    Hah. You’re right — and I think it’s a little amusing that the aspect of online videogames which is probably most directly related to actual work experience and can demonstrate real world value is the activity that’s fairly universally condemned by gamers.

  43. Kadayi says:

    Now you need to take that info and stick it to the idiots in your own comments section purporting to be International business Jetsetters. ;)

  44. Ted says:

    I’ve played a fair amount of WoW myself, but if I saw someone list it on their resume, I’d toss it in the garbage immediately. No, wait, actually I’d pass it around to all my coworkers so we could laugh at someone being such a moron, then toss it in the garbage.

  45. zima says:

    I wonder if the thing that I generally do singleplayer (even in games with big multiplayer) means…I’ll be forevell freelance (read: unemployed)…something? ;P

    Well, singlepayer + purelly cooperative multi (against AI; too bad there isn’t much of that kind of gameplay)

  46. Crispy says:

    I have to dispute Hunty’s claim that more than 2 lines about yourself on your CV is worthless. True, it’s worthless if your CV is with a rec agency (I, too, have worked in recruitment). But many assessors do want an idea of a person’s character, since often it is the one thing that differenciates them from the other 50 applicants. With recruitment agencies and big HR departments, keywords are more important. But when you go for more important, longer-term jobs, often employers will want the person they are to be working with closely to have a compatible character.

    I think this is more something to talk about in the interview so you can educate and justify. Right now the general public have no freakin clue about playing videogames. I have a friend in HR who is the same but once I started explaining the skills involved in overcoming obstacles as a commander in Natural Selection (RTS commander rallying human FPS soldiers), she was astonished. I do think there are valuable skills being learnt here, but without a common ground any would-be employer is unlikely to be able to relate to game skills and believe your claims. Maybe in a few generations with the benefit of casual gaming bringing games into the mainstream.