Would You Put WoW On Your Resume?

Somewhen, somewhere I read about employers encouraging applicants to list their gaming achievements on their resume. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not sure writing that you neglected feeding your cat in order to complete Super Mario Bros back in ‘86 or that you can absolutely destroy your son at Tekken is really going to guarantee you an interview. But MMORPGs are different. They actually do teach you important skills which could be useful in a job. Right?

I think so. Being a guild leader is tough and actually teaches a lot of important skills like managing staff (your guild mates), the art of negotiation (player conflicts), resource management (loot distribution), time management (finishing the raid before your main tank’s bed time) and how to fire your staff (turning down people for raids). In fact, being a guild leader is a heck of a lot like being a manager in an office (a cross between a Drill sergeant, a school teacher and a babysitter) and ironically most guild leaders tend to manage bigger teams that a lot of real life managers do. 60 people in your guild? 25 people on your raid? We’re talking department level heads here at least.

A couple of years ago my office was hiring a new developer and I remember filtering through several resumes to try and find the right candidate. One developer in particular caught my eye because his resume stood out from the crowd – he had actually listed his World of Warcraft hobby and achievements on it, immediately making his CV a lot more interesting. I was impressed by his candor and honesty and, sharing a common interest, figured he might be the guy we were looking for… Well, he didn’t get the job which kinda makes me wish I hadn’t started this story but hell, you get the picture, right?

I used to be embarrassed about my gaming hobbies but I’m not any more. You see, gaming is cool. We’re cool. And we’re the guys hiring now. All of those 30 something middle managers you see in offices are the same guys who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, hooked on Mario, Sonic and Doom and now they’re your potential new boss. I think any gamer could appreciate the hard work required to organise a raid or lead a guild and given how much of a global phenomenon World of Warcraft is now, it’s not like MMORPGs are a small and unknown niche. Chances are your new boss plays WoW already.

So would you list your WoW achievements on your CV? I say what the heck, go for it. But don’t quote me on that.

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29 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    I definitely advise against doing this in Germany. Especially if your CV is otherwise rather empty this will portray you in a very bad light. Basically, it is all fun and games, and there is not much more to say about this guy.

  2. ogrebears says:

    I think it really depends on what you are applying for. A lot of managers will look at you putting WoW or some video game and think that your addicted to it and won’t put your full effort in to work.

    Unless they them selfs play Wow, or your applying for a game studio.

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah, it’s definitely possible that the people interviewing you may think it’s a liability. I wouldn’t think so if I was hiring but I would ask the guy a lot of probing questions about his gameplay habbits to find out if wasn’t going to work late before a deadline because he had to go home and do a raid :)

  3. Rivs says:

    I sometimes put gaming as a hobby, but thats it. If I look to obssessed about something I’m worried they might think of me as a freak. Funny though one job I did have we all played WoW, even the bosses, even had our own guild. Made for a great work enviroment.

  4. Ninjeroo says:

    When I last job hunted in 2008, I ended up getting an interview with a UK publisher/developer based on a tiny line in my “interests” stating that I liked MMOPGs. It definitely opened doors for me. (On the other hand, in my present job I had one of my producer colleagues [jokingly] call me an “uber-nerd” because I said I played EVE Online ;-)

    But I think it still depends where you apply for a job. It’s sounds so corny but a good deal goes into researching your target market. A very conservative industry may still not appreciate it on people’s CVs whereas a younger/creative etc industry may historically be more open to unconventional experience – if you can make a case as to why it is applicable. When I last hunted for jobs, I had about four different CVs each with a slightly different emphasis depending on what position I was applying for.

    • Gordon says:

      I think having different CVs for different applications is definitely a good idea. I don’t think I would put my gaming habits down on a resume if I was applying for a banking job but I’d certainly put down my MMORPG and blogging interests if I was applying for a web development or SEO job.

  5. Stabs says:

    It depends to some extent where you are working and who is going to be considering your job.

    Usually it’s a bad idea.

    I’ll explain why from the perspective of someone who has done some hiring in the past.

    When I had to hire we had about 200 cvs. As a middle manager it’s often hard to get extra time to pay the recruitment process the attention it deserves, it certainly was for me. I picked the ones I wanted to interview as follows:
    - I asked a junior member of staff to go through them binning every cv that wasn’t on plain A4 and one or two pages long. One cv was 8 pages long, one cv appeared to be printed on 1980s dot matrix paper, one looked like a handmade valentines day card. All straight into the bin, although we did chuckle at some of them first.
    - I skimmed the employment section to see if they’d worked anywhere similar. My plan was to go back to the rest if I didn’t find enough who had worked in television before. In fact we had about 20 with good experience.
    - next I skimmed them for “professionalism”. I didn’t want someone who can’t spell and figured that one spelling mistake on a cv translates to about 50 spelling mistakes per A4 page when working fast and under stress.
    - we had a core of people who looked good and the process had produced a bunch of candidates with similar experience and qualifications.

    So far WoW wouldn’t have mattered unless they’d made a spelling mistake or given it more than a line or two. Someone who wrote a whole paragraph about it would have got laughed at and binned for being “wierd” even though I play WoW myself. It’s not weird to play WoW, it is weird to think that it makes you a fantastic worker.

    However at the next stage the interview stage, we are looking at these very similar young people with very similar cvs and trying to think of something to ask them. Now if you have WoW on your cv you almost certainly will get asked about it at interview, it’s pretty much our job to ask. And your answer better be damn good.

    An example of someone I’d hire is Ferrel from Epic Slant. He is a mature experienced raid leader with superb communication skills – he was brilliant on Shut Up We’re Talking.
    http://www.virginworlds.com/podcast.php?show=5&ep=55

    So if you’re thinking of putting WoW on your cv listen to that show and appraise yourself honestly – do you think you sound great like he does or do you sound like a dork? Because the reason you put it there is because you WANT us to ask you about it and you KNOW your answer is great.

    • Gordon says:

      Great advice and I think you’re absolutely right.

      I remember interviewing one guy who was obsessed with pigeon racing and we discounted him for the job (not solely but heavily) on the fact that we didn’t feel he could commit to the role because he would be too busy looking at his racing stats all day to focus on his work. I totally agree that you need to be able to justify yourself during an interview. If you come across like an obsessive geek, forget it. But if you sound like a really interesting and intelligent person who can articulate his or her hobbies then it could be a very good thing.

    • Crucifer says:

      Stabs has it right.

      If its on your resume, it may be brought up for discussion, and you have to make your explanation *shine* within the space of about 10 seconds.

  6. Well, yeah. Then again, I’m a professional game developer, so I’m probably not the norm here. ;)

    That said, I’ve heard others say that leading a raid does help give practical lessons in leadership. Given that gaming is slowly becoming more accepted (given the mainstream knowledge of WoW and the rise of social gaming), putting gaming probably isn’t quite the black mark it was several years ago. But, as pointed out, you probably don’t want to come across as an obsessive gamer who would abandon professional responsibilities to go raid more times per week.

  7. Ferrel says:

    I’ve usually mentioned I’m a guild leader in a line item on my resume. If the interviewer asks I explain and if they don’t I just let it go.

    One of those “halfway there” approches I suppose!

  8. Snafzg says:

    I certainly wouldn’t make a big deal about it on my resume. If your cover letter has a paragraph detailing your uber raid leader status, Stabs is right, many employers will think you’re weird. If you simply list it as a hobby or interest it might catch someone’s eye in a positive way.

    A year or so ago there was a big story about this guy nearly getting recruited only to be denied a job after describing his WoW prowess. The recruiter basically said that the company had warned them against hiring MMO players because they were too unfocused at work due to their gaming addiction.

    • Gordon says:

      I can understand that point of view by the employers but, if I was the interviewer, I wouldn’t hold it against someone without talking to them first. If they came across like someone who was too obsessed with it to do their job, then I wouldn’t hire them, but if they could hold a good conversation about it, then it’s not a problem for me.

  9. Well, if we are talking about that topic I would definitely not mention any MMORPG in my CV. I never had the idea yet to do so but if I would lie little about the circumstances and create a nice illusion so nobody would recognize I am talking about a virtual guild its for sure not a bad idea! I would describe it like that:
    More or less I would speak about a spare time club with members of different culture background for skills in communication and social handling. Also I would describe the “raid loot” as fee to be member of that club which I have to look after and handle. Time manage skills I get from organising a date where most of the members are able to join our “clubbing”. (That would be raiding)
    At the moment I have no answer how to name such a club and what we are actually doing there but with more time to think about that I am sure I will find a sneaky way to solve that! ;)

  10. Elleseven says:

    I would never put on my resume but its great convo for boring corporate meetings.
    You know that part where there are 20 of you at a huge table and none of you want to be there and then they make you say your name and say something interesting about yourself. (Gagg!)Then every Tom, Dick and Harry says I’m Tom and I have a cat. I’m Dick and I have 2 kids who play soccer. I’m Harry and I like to read books. And then I go I’m “J” and I play video games and raid. (more shocking since I’m female) And then all the heads perked up. The Ops Leader is all interested. And I explain how in WoW we raid dungeons (in layman terms). And there are 3 parts to the group and all are important and the only true success is through teamwork. Lots of questions follow. The Ops Leader was very impressed as gaming could be a great Team Building exercise. Needless to say I went from a nobody to the “cool” nobody who has since being recommended by that Ops Leader for 3 special projects that I’m positive they would have never thought of me for before. Yes – I owe it all to WoW. Lmao.

  11. Kal says:

    In the US, there are several examples where a company will outright refuse to consider anyone they know is a WoW player. The small gains you might be able to get from demonstrating leadership skills or organizational skills via WoW are hugely offset by the negative stigma it conveys and the potential for addiction/missed work/drama that may ensue.

    I think that unless you’re applying to a game company that understands the context, you’re best served removing it and trying to keep it as far away from your real world knowledge as possible. Demonstrate your leadership skills in other ways if necessary.

  12. Vett says:

    I’d have to say its a bad idea here in the states as well. I have read a few articles were recruiters were told flat out to no consider resumes that had video games listed on it.

    See link to an article I found in the NY Times. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/23/world-of-warcraft-players-need-not-apply/?partner=rss&emc=rss

  13. Jen says:

    Hmm… I don’t think so, unless I didn’t care about the job/s. Let me explain: if I really wanted/needed a job, I wouldn’t mention gaming. Many people feel that gamers (especially WoW players) can’t focus enough on their tasks (and I guess they’re right, since I’m posting here from work…). If I was just idly browsing for jobs, then I might (in the hobbies section, just a few words) – who knows, maybe someone sees it and I end up with the perfect job in the perfect environment :)

    So far, I’ve put a WoW wallpaper on my work computer, but no one’s asked me about it. I’m still hoping though…

  14. Vixsin says:

    Just like I wouldn’t put the fact that I have two cats on a resume (even though I’m sure I could spin it into an example of how I’m responsible and able to juggle multiple priorities), so too do I omit anything that isn’t relevant to the position I’m applying for. Resume real estate is precious, and every bit counts (as Stabs aptly illustrated) so I won’t waste it on anything other than my professional qualifications. However, if in an interview a potential employer/client asks for an example of my conflict resolution, strategy development, or team management skills, I will oftentimes interweave professional and WoW examples. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how many times a WoW story, correctly phrased, can elicit a smile from people in my typically conservative and stodgy industry. (Obviously, I’m not in a tech-related field!)

    • Gordon says:

      I’m not sure if I’ve ever used a WoW scenario or situation to help explain conflict resolution or strategy development at work, at least not consciously. Definitely the other way around though :) Working has certainly given me a lot of experience to be able to better deal with people in-game :)

  15. luvy duvy says:

    do that in nyc they will think you are a addicted retard that has no life and might be thinking of a game instead of your real life work job.

    you minus well tell them that your great at monopoly! lol

    if you were working on a game developing company or something like art and game design but then again they might think your addicted to a game and your allways thinking about it. cause everyone thinks when it comes to wow they will think of addiction. so i personaly wouldnt recomend it.

    and i love wow this is my opinion and i respect everyone elses opinion even if they disagree with me

  16. Capn John says:

    If you were applying for a job fresh out of college and you had zero-to-no job experience (assuming you didn’t do any charitable or non-profit work) then you need to pad your resume/CV as much as possible BUT you need to do so while being professional.

    Zanderfin/Leiandra demonstrates the right way to do it here: http://zanderfin.blogspot.com/2008/07/wow-on-resume.html

  17. [...] Of course, it’s not all hatred. A lot of people have made life-long friends through this game. If you play with the same people for five, six, seven years, you’re likely to find you get along. Some people will tell you that putting guild management on your resume (that is, you’re in charge of a group of people all acting toward a similar goal, and you often work together in numbers sometimes as high as 40 at once) is actually a good thing. [...]

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