can I put World of Warcraft leadership experience on my resume?

A reader writes:

I’m looking for ways to include my group leadership experience in World of Warcraft on my resume. Essentially, for the past four years I have been:

– Leading a twice weekly group of 10-15 people all with a single goal in mind (kill a boss).
– Watching videos and reading information on specific boss fights and then helping teach that information to the rest of my group.
– Reviewing the performance of the group members (who fall into 3-4 roles, all that have different meaningful goals to hit and ways to improve) and discussing with group members how to improve.
– Providing in-boss-fight play-by-play instructions to specific team members and improvising on the fly when things go unexpected. (For example, there might be a specific part of the battle where I’m saying “Jane, step on the stairs. Now Fergus, go to the stairs. Now Beth, go the stairs.” However, if Beth’s character died, I might have to go “Adam, go the stairs like Beth.”)

I’ve actually found a lot of the management posts on your blog to be helpful in running this group, such as when I feel someone is performing subpar. In a lot of cases, one person being subpar can be a huge detriment to the whole group, but you don’t want to be harsh with people who play for fun, so it’s important to be nice about it!

Do you have any suggestions or ways to phrase this that would be less likely to get this dimissed as “I like to play video games”?

Unless you’re applying for jobs in a gamer-heavy field, don’t do it. (And even in a gamer-heavy field, I’m not sure you should.)

The thing is, the vast majority of hiring managers aren’t going to be familiar with World of Warcraft. They’re not going to have the context you have, and it’s going to come across as childish or naive.

That doesn’t mean that it is childish. For all I know, you might be absolutely right that there are incredible transferable skills here. But without the knowledge and familiarity to know that, it’s going to read to an awful lot of hiring managers as similar to including a bulleted list of the skills you gained playing Frogger. (I’m a child of the 80s. It was a great game.)

The thing to remember is that we all have life experiences that build skills that we end up using at work, but that doesn’t mean they belong on a resume. It’s sort of the same as how skills built from stay-at-home parenting don’t belong on resumes either. It just comes across as not resume-worthy and a little eye-rolly. (There’s also no way to verify that kind of thing so it doesn’t carry much weight, even aside from the other issues.)

If you happen to get an interviewer who’s a gamer, they might totally get what you’re trying to say with these bullet points. But that’s a big “if.” You’re better off leaving it out.

{ 401 comments… read them below or add one }

    1. Falling Diphthong

      Oh yeah.

      Though one of my favorite ask the readers examples was an interviewee for an internship in the federal government, who explained that his role model for the job was a fictional character who had murdered his way up to the presidency. Yes, just what your new boss who is arguably 473rd in line wants to hear.

      Reply
        1. theangryguppy

          Hah, yep, I was the interviewer. The interviewee said, “I think of myself as a bit of a Frank Underwood.” As if that were a good thing.

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          1. Danger: Gumption Ahead

            I…uh…wow. And said that like it was a good thing. I don’t get left speechless often, but if an interviewee said that to me it might happen.

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          2. Corvid

            Anyone who tells other people that he’s like Frank Underwood is not like Frank Underwood at all.

            It would have been safe to hire him. ;-)

            Reply
          3. Liz

            I once worked for a woman who told me in the interview that she felt like Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada was based on her.

            I should have run screaming.

            Reply
    2. Alucius

      The comedian Jackie Kashian has a great bit on this. She asked her husband who is a video-game designer how he got his job and he said something like “well, I progressed through a number of levels…and then I killed the boss!”

      Reply
    3. Stephanie

      Yeah, I had no clue what that was. I assumed it was something innocuous, but the phrasing doesn’t sound great to those of us not in the know.

      Reply
    4. Amber T

      LOL I’m a gamer and did not make that connection right away. I sat here looking at your comment thinking “Why? That’s the whole point of a raid like OP… oooh I get it.”

      Reply
      1. LBK

        Yeah that one also did not occur to me – been around games and gamers for so long that I kind of assumed the definition of “boss” in a gaming context was common knowledge, but I guess not based on some of these other comments.

        Reply
        1. Pomona Sprout

          I’m not a gamer, and I have no clue what “boss” means in a gaming context. After reading these comments, I’m more confused than ever. You guys are making it sound like it has some secret, mysterious meaning, lol.

          If someone could translate “boss” from gamerese to plain English, I’d be very grateful!

          Reply
          1. Andraste's Knicker Weasels (formerly ancolie)

            A “boss” in video games is the main bad guy — you can break it down further and different areas have their own bosses.

            Like, say the game is how you’re stopping a mad scientist from turning all people into guinea pigs. The mad scientist is the boss of the game. But in order to fight him or her, you need to get through their big laboratory. You go though areas like the library, the supply room, living quarters. In each one, you have to beat a bunch of mean guinea pigs. But before you can leave, you have to defeat the roided-up mega guinea pig who led the others. That mega guinea pig is the area’s boss fight, because they’re bigger and stronger than the other ones.

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          2. Rat in the Sugar

            A lot of video games are broken down into smaller sections, and at the end of a particular section or mission there will be a final, unique enemy who is much harder than the others, and this enemy is called a “boss”. The idea is that all of the little monsters or enemies that you fight are kind of like the henchmen or the guards, and then you’ve got to take down the mastermind who is leading them.

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      1. Quiet One

        “We strategize ways to kill the bosses as efficiently as we can. A good run is quick, clean, and done. Once they’re dead we take whatever they’ve got on their corpses and divvy it up between the group. I got a nice ring the other day.”

        Reply
  1. JD

    I have to say that unless this is a job in gaming, as someone who has done a lot of hiring, your resume would go in my trash bin so fast your head would spin. This does not belong on a professional resume outside of the gaming field. It seems immature and silly at best and at worst like “this is the best job experience you can come up with?”

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    1. Hills to Die on

      Same. I love Hay Day and as someone who works with inventory management, there are some parallels. But still, no.

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    2. Interviewer

      If you organized an event where players came from all over, and you organized the volunteers, arranged for sponsors and set up equipment, that’s a different story.

      OP, I know you’re probably nowhere near this, but every time someone mentions WOW, I think of South Park’s “Make Love Not Warcraft” episode, where Cartman is playing in his basement, directing all the boys to take down the big boss. One of my very favorite episodes.

      I would chuckle if you put WOW on a resume, but I would never consider it relevant work experience.

      Reply
      1. Anon4ThisPost

        I play an Augmented Reality game on my phone. (Think Pokemon Go, but less kid-focused, and more strategy and teamwork involved.)

        A year ago, the company that runs that game announced an event in my city. I was one of two people who volunteered to plan the event for my team. This involved leading an ad-hoc volunteer organization of 20+ people, to make plans involving the following:
        -Merchandise design, production, and sales
        -Forecasting merch sales of ~$20k, and managing our expenses to stay within that budget so that we could provide all the other activities around that weekend.
        -Negotiate hotel accommodations/hotel block for >300 people (many others chose their own hotel or AirBnb)
        -Negotiate Travel discounts (Air + Train)
        -Provide sites of interest, food to eat, and other ‘tourist’ type recommendations for those visiting the host city
        -Coordinate licensing of City Tourism Board logo for design of some of the event activities
        -“Game strategy” for over 800 people on our team, competing with 800 people from the other team across 4 square miles of city
        -Team organization and preparation (sorting 800+ people into squads who each have their own responsibility isn’t easy!)
        -After-event party location siting, contract negotiation, and food orders
        -First Aid/Safety considerations and preparation
        -Marketing Efforts, including over 20 original designs advertising the event, across multiple social media platforms, targeting specific users in specific cities
        -Coordinating actual event logistics with the game company…

        …and we did all of this planning for a group of over 850 people in 48 days between when the event was announced and when it occurred.

        Am I proud of this? Hell yes. Is it an accomplishment, and something that speaks to my ability to manage, prioritize under pressure, delegation and empowerment skills, and organization? HELL yes.

        Is it something I can ever put on my resume? I can’t imagine how. I might speak to it as an example in an interview, but while much of that effort is absolutely transferrable to my work, there’s no way it stands the test of “is this what shows my best side as a candidate for $Job?”

        Likewise, there’s a story from last year’s flooding in Baton Rouge, LA. The “Cajun Navy” that responded to so many people who were unexpectedly caught off-guard by rapidly rising floodwaters…well, those rescuers were guided to those in need of rescue by a couple phone apps. And the people who knew how to use those apps to dispatch rescuers? They learned those skills while playing an Augemented Reality game.

        http://blog.zello.com/2016/10/10/the-cajun-navy-how-tech-and-boaters-joined-forces-to-save-lives/

        All of which is to say that while a game ABSOLUTELY CAN teach real world skills, whether for a white collar job or an emergency rescue operation, it’s pretty unlikely that the game is something that will be recognized as “legitimate” enough by most hiring managers and employers to make sense to put it on your resume.

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          1. Kate 2

            Agree. For instance I would be very impressed to see that on a resume and would hire OP as an event planner or department manager, say.

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        1. Optimistic Prime

          Ingress is also my guess, btw.

          And yeah, I’d think you could put this on a non-games resume. This is more about event planning and organizing people to carry out an enormous task in the real world (with real world consequences and considerations) than it is about doing something in the specific game.

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          1. OxfordComma

            I agree with Kate 2 and Optimistic Prime on this. Depending on the nature of the job for which you are applying, I can see how you could put this on either a resume or a cover letter and I certainly think you could talk about it in an interview.

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        2. Bea

          I have to echo that is event planning and impressive. That can go under a volunteer portion if your resume needed a bump or you wanted to work in events.

          Unlike organizing a video game raid…which reads way different!

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        3. I Like Stripes

          I would want to see this under volunteer category as event planner and coordinator/director of event planning. I work in higher ed and this shows me 3 things: one you can plan events and think from multiple perspectives (quality of programming, security, food, paying vendors on time, making reservations, communication skills, etc). Two, it shows me you are passionate about something outside of work which is great for building a diverse team, and three you’re willing to go above and beyond for something you care about. As a manager if I can get you to care, maybe you’ll go above and beyond for me.

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          1. Elizabeth West

            Yep yep yep. I would totally take this seriously as a volunteer / special thing–it’s not something you did in a game. It IS event planning and the skills are no different from planning and running a business conference.

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        4. Kriss

          You don’t have to put Cajun Navy in quotes their organization’s official name is the Louisiana Cajun Navy. They are an all volunteer group that specializes in water rescue. They were born out of Katrina & the are based in Baton Rouge

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        5. Dr Wizard, PhD

          I’d absolutely put something like that on my CV! In fact, I did: I’m very involved in live-action roleplay (LARP) and for two years in a row I devised and was in charge of organising an annual weekend charity LARP for teens with cancer. This was a ridiculously complex undertaking: twenty kids, as many volunteers (all who needed clearance to work with kids), huge safety issues given it’s a contact sport with ‘foam’ weapons, plot writing, costuming, months of lead in…

          It went on the CV, and you’d better believe I got asked about it! It always looked really good, though, because I could talk about all the planning, logistical and organisational skills and achievements it represented. It came up in the interviews for my current (government) job as well, as did my acting experience.

          I wouldn’t automatically nix something just because of its context. I think OP #1 is maybe overstating the management experience of being a guild leader, but if you founded and built up a guild of hundreds and ran it for years, that’s at least equivalent to running a book or sports club in terms of useful experience and you could probably frame it that way.

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        6. Sfigato

          There is a documentary called “Darcon” about live action role players (LARPers). They get together on weekends and dress in medievalish gear and bat at one another with foam swords.

          One of the subjects notes how he was able to get his management-level position in part because of his experience managing people in the game. I’m not sure if he brought up Darcon in the interview, but the skills he gained in play absolutely transferred to Real Life.
          Think of how children learn – through play. We may think grown ups playing role playing games is dorky or nerdy, but they are being social and learning how to solve complex problems in a group setting.
          Not that I’d put it on my resume…

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          1. Dr Wizard, PhD

            Yep. The events I go to also have a huge amount of people who volunteer as first-aiders (with proper certification), referees, battle marshals (in a fight with literally hundreds of people, that’s no joke), plot writers, monsters, office staff. Even catering and theatre tech (SFX booth). A lot of it is transferable.

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    3. The Other Dawn

      I agree. I haven’t a clue about video games beyond Atari and a little Sega Genesis/Play Station (child of the 80s, too!) and would be thinking, “Really? This is the best ‘experience’ he/she can come up with?” And even if I did know something beyond that, I’d probably still be thinking the same thing.

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      1. Wendy Darling

        I’m on the other side of it — I game enough that I’d be concerned because I know World of Warcraft raid leaders can be incredibly dysfunctional and I wouldn’t want to deal with any of that behavior in the workplace.

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        1. SomeoneLikeAnon

          Agree with you Wendy. I know a person who is a Guild Leader and she is the last person I would want to work with. Despite being able to supposedly lead online, her ability to lead and innovate in a real world environment is sorely lacking. Additionally, she in extremely immature in her professionalism and in handling conflicts. I know not all gamers or guild leaders are like that; but that would be one example of where a person’s online persona and their professional persona do not match.

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        2. Indoor Cat

          That was my first thought as well.

          My knowledge of WoW comes largely from Felicia Day (both her fictional show ‘The Guild’ and her memoir ‘You’re Never Weird on The Internet’), and I know more than a few people who’ve run D&D campaigns. While I wouldn’t say all raid leaders / DMs/ GMs are dysfunctional, there are enough who are that they color my perspective. And, more than that, assuming that a competing applicant has volunteer experience organizing a much larger group in real life (whether it’s through non-profit / community service things, Parent-Teacher Association things, or local / state political campaign things) — which almost everyone does– World of Warcraft just isn’t going to look as good.

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    4. AMT

      Even in the gaming industry, I imagine they have to weed out a lot of people who just love gaming and aren’t really interested in what the work entails. This resume might put OP in that category in the interviewer’s mind.

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      1. Naomi

        Agreed. It’s not that we don’t want candidates to be gamers; it’s that they’re all gamers. It will not make you stand out. So if you try too hard to spin being a gamer as a selling point, it makes you look a little naive and like you don’t have any stronger experience to offer.

        That said, I give a second look to applicants who play our game, so this might help you if you apply at Blizzard (or even somewhere that makes similar MMOs). For that matter, if you worked as a QA tester for Blizzard and led a team of players in that context, it would belong on your resume, but in that case how well you did in the boss fights wouldn’t really be the point.

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    5. Annonymouse

      Agreed.

      I have a black belt, part of which involves teaching to get it, and that takes dedication and some other transferable skills- leadership, teaching, group management, organisation.

      And it doesn’t belong on a non martial arts resume.

      If I’m applying for an admin job I emphasise that experience FROM PREVIOUS JOBS.

      Employers care about on the job or volunteer experience – very few will take into account what you do as a hobby and even fewer would have enough knowledge to understand beyond …. “so they play video games with others?”

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      1. Falling Diphthong

        Admin requirements: fluent in Office, familiarity with payroll reqs, fifth level black belt, can hit a 2″ target with a throwing star at ten paces.

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        1. Annonymouse

          Actually the conflict management and dealing with high pressure situations skills came in handy at one of my jobs as a receptionist when we had to call the police on a client.

          And I’m more a fan of the bo staff (purple ninja turtles weapon) and sai (red ninja turtles weapon).

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    6. Snark

      And even if you are in gaming….sorry, leading a WOW party is not management, is not professional experience, and it’s going to make you sound like a lunatic if you try to sell an interviewer on it. Just maybe don’t. Use real jobs.

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    7. Kathleen Adams

      The fact is that gaming isn’t unique in the way the skills one learns in participating, no matter how valuable, just don’t fit on most resumes. Alison’s example of being a homemaker is another good example of this – the skills one learns as a mother or caretaker for a sick spouse are valuable, too, but you just can’t put them on your resume – and so are like sports teams. But even serious business such as certain facets of military service aren’t always easy to fit on resumes. Military service, in and of itself, has a certain cachet with many employers, but even so, “Achieved X rank and oversaw a team of 12” would work on many resumes; “participated in the invasion of ____” probably would not.

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    8. Artemesia

      Me too. Along with the woman who has listed her housewifely duties as: Family CEO etc etc. People who put this stuff on a professional resume are demonstrating really poor judgment.

      Now the topic may come up in the interview, but even there I’d not be bringing it up.

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    9. Reya

      I never had this on my resume, but funnily enough it has come up at a job interview.

      Out of school I had a few temp jobs, but I also had some periods of unemployment in between those – so to fill the time I started playing an online game which involved, in large part, forming alliances with other players (official ones – you’d be registered as part of a team of up to 50 people). Your alliance would do battle against other alliances or, sometimes, form an informal coalition with several other alliances in order to go after someone else’s coalition. Long story short, I ended up co-running one of these alliances.

      Fast forward to my second interview for Assistant Teapot Designer, at which I was asked what felt like the same question over and over again – ‘tell us about a time when you had to tell somebody something you didn’t want to hear’; ‘tell us about a time when you had to be diplomatic in the workplace’ etc. I cycled through my standard interview responses to these…until I finally cracked at yet another very similar question, and explained about The Internet Alliance and how I was refining my excellent diplomacy skills by convincing other people on the internet not to attack my villages with catapults, and instead team up to help me attack someone else’s villages with catapults.

      Weirdly, I got the job. I still work for that company.

      Reply
  2. H.C.

    AAM’s response was a lot more generous than my “Ha! No.”

    But seriously, at the end of the day, WoW is at best a hobby and should be treated as such (a.k.a. don’t put on your resume & don’t bring it up during interviews) unless you’re applying for a job within that niche; otherwise, all of us would be putting down whatever transferable skills we derived from our leisure activities.

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    1. 5 Leaf Clover

      * efficiently sort candies by color and shape
      * develop complex strategies to cross gaps using striped candies (or, as appropriate, fish)
      * implement successful programs for eliminating licorice with minimal inconvenience

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        1. Annonymouse

          Don’t forget:
          sunlight budget forecasting
          product/produce implementation
          expanding to new locations
          successful defence against hostile takeovers.

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      1. Just Jess

        This is jokingly inappropriate for a resume, but I’m not shy about bringing up HR blogs when asked how I stay knowledgeable about the field. I’ll mention HR blogs right alongside SHRM credits, Lynda.com, and ad hoc events in my city.

        The comments in this post literally just taught me something oddly specific to my industry.

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    2. Annonymouse

      *recruitment of new team members from a selection of 151-400+ available options
      * held effective team training for groups of up to 6 members at a time
      * up skilled team members through use of rare candy, TMs and HMs
      * team management including demoting and firing team members
      * took down animal stealing mafia
      * indego league champion at age 10

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    3. Bea

      I feel like if we allow this to be a thing every woman who hosted Bunko party has been let down not knowing it was resume material all this time…

      Reply
  3. Hey Karma, Over here.

    Suggestion: turn your experience into a blog.
    Make it specific to leadership matters and target it that way.
    Write guidelines for successful missions; write about your successes and failures.
    Integrate work experience with game experience. It’s something you can discuss in an interview in terms of your web presence and understanding of social media/modern communication. You can explain it’s evolution from a professional standpoint, “I realized that I was using techniques from my professional life in the game. I thought sharing with other people would be helpful for them and useful to me because…”

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    1. Mayati

      Ooh! I like this idea. It’s also got a built-in user base of nerdy people (like me, hi) who go from rank-and-file jobs to management and have no idea how to deal with the totally new skillset it requires. For programmers and engineers, this is especially hard, because a lot of these types get into the field thinking they don’t need strong people skills and don’t realize the only way to advance is to learn to manage others. You don’t just get promoted for writing really good code.

      I’ve been in a similar position to OP, and while I didn’t put my experience on my resume, it showed through in the work I was hired for and I was a candidate for internal promotion. Too bad the recession happened, but still — skills like these show through readily enough once you’re in a job, so it’s not like there’s zero benefit to your career.

      Reply
    2. TC

      I did something similar — I’m a developer and I once wrote a guest blog post for my company about the similarities between website development and sewing. I enjoyed writing it, and it does demonstrate how I approach some problems, but it’s a bit wordy for a resume.

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    3. Mike C.

      This is at least as useful as those millions of business leadership books that get thrown around everywhere, and at the very least you’ll be talking about something you know about.

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    4. Sherry

      That’s a great idea. You can guarantee that, if you are considered a finalist for the position, they will Google your name. Why not have them find your intelligent, well-written thoughts about your hobby, and how it relates to the working world?

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    5. I Like Stripes

      Oh I really like this! If it were well written I’d read it and see how you’ve got great writing skills, can reflect on your professional development, and any other skills you choose to write about. You’d be surprised how HARD it is to find candidates who reflect and want to improve AND are also good writers.

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    6. Tealeaves

      This is absolutely helpful. Being a WoW raid leader may be impressive but remember, there are literally hundreds or even thousands of others like you out there. This solves the “so what?” question. So what did you do with the experience? How are you using it to contribute to the community? What makes you different? It’s a lot more tangible proof of your leadership mindset as well. I mean, showing people a screenshot of your raid stats doesn’t actually prove anything special except that you spend a lot of time in the game.

      However, you can only really use this experience for applying in game-related fields, especially those with a community focus. And if those are the types of jobs you hope to get, getting involved with players outside of the game (like the blog) will help. Think organising fan events, running a fansite (with the blog), maintaining a good rep on the forums as a knowledgeable and helpful member, contributing good and regular feedback to the developers (e.g. a breakdown of what was good and bad about their latest in-game event). Being good at WoW only matters to people who play WoW or similar games. But you can use this experience to polish your other skills.

      tldr; +100 on the blog idea

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    7. Fishcakes

      This is such a fantastic suggestion! People are making fun of the LW, but really, leading a gaming group is difficult and involves the same kind of skills as managing people offline.

      Reply
  4. The Rat-Catcher

    Fwiw, I’ve known guild leaders who were far more demanding than any supervisor I’ve ever had. If you told me about your role, I might focus extra hard on making sure you understood work/life balance if I wanted you to manage anyone.
    Biased, yes, but just pointing out that even that familiarity may not do you any favors.
    That said, if you did it right, it probably does mean transferable skills.

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    1. Bad Candidate

      True. That MOAR DOTS video still gives me the shivers. Of course you can up and /quit a raid or guild whenever you want, harder to do with a job.

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    2. Bryce

      That was my thought as well. Even my best raid leaders would be terrible managers. Everything needs to be handled in the next few seconds, if you’re not up to their standards you’re expected to work in your own time to fix it, near complete radio silence for most of the week and then a lot of “you should have known you needed to have this ready” when the event comes around…

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        1. Auliya of KhazModan

          I’m a warlock and I approve this message. Too bad I still need two of you to CLICK THE PORTAL ALREADY!!!

          Reply
            1. Perse's Mom

              Ah, helping farm shards outside Gruul’s Lair so we could summon people to the raid because they were too lazy to get on a flightpath.

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            2. General Ginger

              Oh, man, I haven’t played WoW since the vanilla days. No more soul shards for summoning? The kids have it so easy these days :)

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      1. seejay

        Interestingly, one of my best raid leaders was a manager in real life.
        The only drawback was he had a hard time benching people that were underperformers and were friends of his because we were also somewhat “family friendly”, which led to a lot of wipes to stupid stuff.

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        1. Bryce

          This was my group’s issue as well. We were a social guild not a raiding one, so while about half of us were focused on the game and prep the other half came as something to hang out for, or were putting in the effort but stuff just didn’t click for them like it did for us.

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          1. seejay

            We were *mostly* raiders with a handful of casuals that wanted to raid, and we were able to carry them for the most part but when it would come down to boss fights that required personal responsibility (I’m looking at you Gorefiend in Black Temple *evil stare*), things would go pear-shaped really fast. We managed to struggle through a lot of raids despite this but it was demoralizing over time. I kind of had a sad resignation at the beginning of WoD that our raiding days were done, despite being around since vanilla and made it clear I wasn’t going to raid with anymore pants-on-head players again. I pretty much retired from any serious raiding after that.

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            1. Jessie the First (or second)

              Years later, my husband and I STILL talk about that sweet, really nice but very oblivious player we raided with sometimes who always – and I mean *always* – would just stand in the fire. If there was an avoidable AoE somewhere, he would surely be in it, not moving. (As you could perhaps imagine, he was never able to survive Heigan in Naxx, but thankfully at least in that one, we could do it just fine with him dead. Trickier raids and he was an obstacle.)

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              1. seejay

                My current raid group pugged a few people for one of the current raids and we had a rando rogue named “Randy” and somehow he *always* died on every single boss. He was pleasant otherwise and we were over-geared so carrying him along was no skin off our nose, but we were dying of laughter in voice chat and it’s now become our goto line… “WHO INVITED THE RANDY TO THE RAID???” “Who’s being the Randy tonight???”

                We’ve had our share of guildies that were super pleasant people to have around but were absolutely headdesk to have in raids. Killing themselves was fine. If standing in fire was the worst, go for it. It’s when they stood in the puddle of black goo that made it expand and fill the entire platform that would then kill the rest of us… and then do it five times in a row… I started to lose my patience.

                Although I have to say, my favourite scene was watching the super nice hunter trying to kite Kargath in Highmaul (first boss) around the arena and *not once* ever going through the fire, despite us telling him every time. The healers just stopped healing him after the third time he’d get targetted because they got fed up with trying to heal him through the focused attacks and would just let him die. And of course, it never failed that every time we brought him in, he’d get targetted and then would run around like a chicken with his head cut off until he’d finally die and we’d just leave him there until the fight ended.

                Reply
                1. Bryce

                  We did 10-person raids, which while they had the reputation of being easier than 25s (and gave worse gear as a result) were very tight in terms of personal competence. If someone went down, there usually wasn’t any way to cover for them either due to tight dps requirements or mechanics that needed people in too many places at once. It got frustrating.

                2. Geoffrey B

                  Back in the WotLK days, I used to tank for 25-man PUGs. It was a great* way of learning patience and resilience. My wife and I still remember spending half an hour completing Safety Dance after all the DPS died in the first minute of the fight.

                  But I wouldn’t try putting it on my CV, no.

              2. Falling Diphthong

                When my son was small I tried to learn to play video games with him. He would hand me the controller, and instantly Lego Robin would be in a bubble. And I would just stay there throughout the game, as he tried to explain to me how not to instantly die, but it just didn’t take. Were I to try playing games with him now I am sure I would be just standing in the fire, or the zombies, or something.

                Reply
        2. Bad Candidate

          In my old guild we’d say it wasn’t a party until the third wipe. And we’d /roll for blame. All in good fun. Never did get Kingslayer though.

          Reply
  5. Jessie the First (or second)

    OP, I play WoW and love it, and my husband and I founded and ran a Guild for a while and led raids, doing real progression back in the day. I get that it takes a TON of preparation, and it takes real people skills if you want to be good at it and if you want to actually build a real team, and you need to be able to see the field (so to speak) and adjust on the fly.

    So I get that you are proud of it, and I get that you see value in it. But it does not belong on a resume, or near a resume, or in the same room as resume. I’m sorry.

    Reply
    1. JD

      I think this also brings up that if someone plays it then it can hold a lot more value than to someone like me who frankly yes, would laugh. That is why, since you don’t know this info about the person reading your resume, much better to keep off. I mean to me video games are things kids do. I know many think differently than that and if I knew more or played I would too but all I see is some video game kids play since I don’t play video games or have any interest….well, maybe original Mario Brothers…dang I wish I had that game.

      Reply
      1. Jessie the First (or second)

        I play and I *still* don’t think it is valuable. I see that leading a raid takes skills, and I guess on paper you can make it sound as if they are transferable skills – but they aren’t. They really really aren’t. The context of those skills is so specific and that makes all the difference.

        As a player, I see daily people who take the game OH SO SERIOUSLY and frankly, I would be nervous as all get-out that a person who puts this on her resume is one of those people, and they’d be….less than ideal to work with. Just no.

        Reply
        1. shep

          Yeah, I’m a gamer but I stay well away from MMPORGs because I know that it’s incredibly time-consuming and requires a ton of dedication and planning. I have friends who raid and literally take WEEKS to learn different skillsets and re-specs to fit into the raid party (TALK ABOUT TEAMWORK). I’d rather grind solo on other things, because that is just not fun for me.

          But for all that it can definitely be a full-time, skill-demanding job to organize and facilitate, I’m also in your camp: It should never go on a resume.

          Reply
    2. Quinalla

      Agreed, I’ve played MMORPGs in the past and ran guilds/groups/etc. in various games including WoW and yup there is a lot of things you can learn from leading a group of people in a group/raid, but it does NOT belong on a resume and I wouldn’t bring it up in an interview either unless the interviewer brought it up first for some reason (highly unlikely). I definitely get it, but yeah, don’t put it on your resume ever.

      And I’m glad I played the MMOs I did, but I don’t miss the time-suck of them. There is no way I could play one seriously now, no time!

      Reply
    3. General Ginger

      One of my best WoW guild experiences ever was in a guild run by a couple. I am so nostalgic now. Not putting it on a resume-nostalgic, but nostalgic nevertheless!

      Reply
      1. Jessie the First (or second)

        I’m nostalgic too!
        We had a good guild, and some of our guildies were just great – fun, smart, and strong players to boot. There was a core group I really miss playing with. (I play now, but we stepped out of the game for 2 or 3 years, so our guild exists only in name, sadly, and many of the players are off doing Other Things now!)

        Reply
  6. CaliCali

    I think it’s like anything that’s a team sport. There’s lots that you can apply from general management best practice to managing a club, sport, or gaming group, but it doesn’t really count as work experience. Additionally, it’s not particularly unique — lots of people organize leagues, clubs, and other extra-work activities. You’re not being held to external standards of performance and the stakes tend to be low. And when you treat those things with the same gravity as work experience, it comes off as naive.

    Reply
    1. Antilles

      +100
      This is a perfect comparison. Leading a guild is absolutely useful at learning skills to deal with people and manage people. If the interviewer asks some general “what do you do in your spare time” question, it can be a great thing to toss out there if you can succinctly explain it and highlight things you’ve learned.
      …But unfortunately, you can’t put it on your resume, no more than you could list “church softball league”, “chess club”, or other similar activities.

      Reply
      1. AnitaJ

        And yet…people do…all the time. Recently I’ve seen special interests lines that include hiking, ballroom/salsa dancing, rowing, or cycling.

        Reply
        1. Kathleen Adams

          Personally, I think a special interests section is kind of a waste on a resume, but in any case, that’s not what the OP is asking. The “special interests” section is for is listing your hobbies – not your work experience. So yes, you could put anything you want there, including WOW, knitting, competitive kickball, whatever. But it won’t count as work experience, and you wouldn’t list your hobby-related leadership experiences there.

          Reply
    2. Princess Carolyn

      Agree, this is a perfect comparison. I worry that OP will feel like the specific activity — gaming — is what Alison’s taking issue with, write her off as out-of-touch, and throw this WoW experience on his resume. Plenty of gamers do get some unfair blowback because their hobby is perceived as a kid/teen thing, so I get it. The real issue is simply that extracurricular leadership generally isn’t resume-worthy, for the reasons you list.

      Reply
    3. bmw

      Yeah, this was my exact thought as well. I organize a group to participate in a trivia league on a weekly basis, and while I’m sure you could see in it some transferable skills from a logistics or administrative standpoint, it feels like a bit of a stretch when there’s no stakes and no standards for performance.

      And I totally agree and would emphasize that these are also things that people do in their life all the time – I think there was a question here a while back about a maid of honour (or bride?) who wanted to include that party-planning experience on a resume – to me it’s all the same principle. Different levels of commitment and work, but the same principle nonetheless.

      Reply
    4. Danger: Gumption Ahead

      Exactly! I lead a volunteer search and rescue squad that is part of our county’s search and rescue team. I would only bring up this experience in an interview if I was angling for a wilderness EMT or park ranger job. I would not put it as work experience, but might list it under “Other”

      Reply
        1. Emi.

          Yeah, it’s different because you’re accountable to some kind of a boss in a way that you wouldn’t be as captain of the co-rec badminton team.

          Reply
        2. Danger: Gumption Ahead

          I agree that it is resume-worthy, but not as “work experience”. I have it under “other experience”. Actually, I stick all my EMT experience under there because I’m in a totally different field now, but it is definitely a skillset I earned and maintain and am rather proud of having.

          Reply
      1. HannahS

        I think this is different because volunteer work is usually structurally more similar to having a job. When I volunteered at a museum, I had an interview, received training, was supervised, and was held to a standard of service and code of behaviour (and since I was in historical costume, a very amusing dress code). If I had not complied with them, I would have been fired, but when I performed well, I was given additional responsibility and excellent references. Hobbies and interest groups rarely have that kind of accountability or structure, because they’re grounded in social/recreational needs; ultimately the goal is for the participants to enjoy themselves. In volunteering for larger organizations, the primary goal is often to provide a service effectively to the public.

        Reply
        1. Danger: Gumption Ahead

          Oh good point. In my volunteer work I can be fired because bad volunteer=possible death and we have pretty strict performance standards

          Reply
      2. Mmm Hmm

        This is very different. It’s real world. It’s under local government. It’s serious business. It shows leadership and the ability to keep a cool head. It shows the ability to do difficult & sometimes dangerous work. It can be life or death. This should be on your resume under “other” or “volunteer” but it should be on your resume. And thank you for doing this work.

        Reply
        1. Danger: Gumption Ahead

          Thank you and exactly. I’m not an EMT anymore professionally (but maintain my credentials), so I stick all my EMT stuff under “other”. Are they valuable, real world skills? Hell yes. Just not for jobs that aren’t EMT jobs. Since I now have professionally relevant experience, I don’t want to clutter my “work experience” section

          Reply
          1. starsaphire

            It does say a lot to a prospective employer. Like, “probably can keep a cool head in a crisis” and “probably good at defusing an angry client.”

            Also, “probably the person I want to be sitting near when Bob from Accounting turns into Michael Douglas from Falling Down.”

            Reply
        2. Falling Diphthong

          It shows this is the person you want in Teapot Spout Testing if the zombie apocalypse starts during work hours.

          Reply
    5. JJ

      This. It is definitely like managing a team sport – that’s probably the best allegory I’ve heard. Except less kicking more clicking?

      And while I admit I learned a lot about how to herd cat… I mean people manage by guild running/raid running in WoW. And I will tell people that .. but in conversations at work that happen to be about gaming and I can start them with ‘I kid you not …’. But not on a resume. Not enough context and not enough people who will get it.

      Though I will say that I did once use a story about coordinating a 25 man raid when asked about challenges in coordinating people working remotely. I may have just referred to it as a large team virtual exercise vs. explaining that we were trying to kill a naga though. ;)

      Reply
    6. LAI

      I agree that this doesn’t belong on a resume. But I think there could potentially be room to mention transferable skills in an interview, if the appropriate question came up and OP had more relevant experience in their extracurriculars than in their work history. I once interviewed an internal candidate and when we asked her about her experience with event planning, she said she didn’t have any. Except we knew she had *just* gotten married and planned her own wedding at home. We actually all thought it was weird that she didn’t mention it, as it certainly would have been better than saying nothing.

      Reply
  7. Jaguar

    It’s such a weird thing. I’ve been a raid leader in WoW (and some private MUDs back in the 90s). The management skills required are massive: you have a group of people who have a low tolerance for a lack of progress, a heightened fear of making a mistake (since it directly and immediately impacts everyone negatively), and all the flakiness and flight risks of the most extreme volunteer positions (since this is, despite how intense some people get about it, a leisure activity). And yet, I would never even consider mentioning it in an interview even though I think it’s done far more to make me a better manager than actual management experience.

    But yea, OP, you really can’t bring it up. It will straight-up make you look out of touch. You’ll have to be satisfied with knowing that you have those skills and can demonstrate them when you get in that position. But also know that there are large, meaningful differences between it and real management. In a job, people are working for a paycheque, not an elastic goal they personally want, so their investment in the outcome can be a lot lower. It’s also their livelihood, so they’re going to fight for their rights and position a lot harder. etc. It would be a huge mistake to think raid leading gives you good management experience: it gives you some very good individual skills but a seriously incomplete toolset and you don’t know what tools you don’t have, so if you get into a management situation, I would only take so much confidence from this background – don’t assume the experience you’ve picked up will give you the tools necessary for a given situation.

    Reply
    1. Jen RO

      I’m jumping off your reply to say that, to me, raid leading in WoW was way, way harder and nerve-wracking than managing actual people at work. It’s probably a fairly unusual point of view, but that’s how it was for me. I turned out to be a crap RL but a fairly decent manager!

      But, unless you were *my* RL/GM and I actually saw you in action, I wouldn’t know if you’re like my former RL (super calm under pressure, always polite, not afraid to make tough choices) or the Onyxia raid guy. I’ve been playing since TBC and I really, really don’t recommend you putting WoW on your resume. But you can absolutely use that leadership experience at work! Just…without mentioning where it came from.

      Reply
      1. Jaguar

        Yeah, that’s the other thing. The stereotype of raid leaders are petty tyrants who kick and scream at people at the drop of a hat. Even being someone that can see the value in raid leading, if someone put that down, I would immediately think, “Uh oh, possible anger issues.”

        Reply
    2. oranges & lemons

      Yeah, I think there’s a distinction to be drawn between things that make you a better manager, and management experience. You could become a better manager through WoW leadership, or from reading a management book, or hosting a knitting bee, or reading Ask a Manager, but none of those things belong on your resume because they aren’t evidence of your ability to manage. They’re useful to you, but not to prospective employers.

      Reply
    3. Cat

      This is really well put! That being said, my very favorite guild that I was a part of was run like a small company. We had ~50 people from around the world, tons of different ages, backgrounds, etc.. It was run well, so we were one of the top guilds on the server, but we had an awesome culture too. We had a guild charter that talked about our goals, philosophies, etc., that the guild as a whole collaborated on and agreed upon. We interviewed candidates before “hiring” and made it a policy that cultural health and positivity were more important than just getting people who played really well. When people were having performance problems we would talk with them one on one to figure out what was going on, what we could do to help, and if needed provide a warning that improvement was needed by XYZ. We had team leads within the different roles, who all reported up to our guild leader. There was no yelling at people, shaming people publicly, things like that that tend to get associated with video games; we had a policy as a guild not to be shitty to other people in the realm, and you could be expelled from the guild if you were; and it included a strict rule against using some of the most common video game slurs (which sounds like it should be obvious, but in a video game community this was kind of a big deal to disallow).
      I ended up working with our guild leader in real life and he honestly did learn a lot about managing people and running an organization, and is one of the best team leads I’ve ever worked with.
      But yeah, don’t put it on your resume ;)

      Reply
  8. KatieKate

    Is there a way to list it as volunteer leadership experience? Or “other experience”? I know that’s a stretch, but if you cut it down to two bullet points, and put it in a section with other non gaming experience (any actual volunteering experience, etc) it could help flush out a light resume. My in college resume had tons of volunteering experience….from doing filing at my mother’s office.

    But if your resume has great experience as is, I wouldn’t bother.

    Reply
    1. INTP

      I think the risk there is that someone might find it offputting for you to label something you do for fun as “volunteering.” Volunteering is supposed to be things you do to benefit your community or an organization or people in need, whereas this is a hobby for personal enjoyment. It could come across as having an inflated sense of self-importance to treat it like volunteer work. (I’ll admit I have zero experience playing this game or anything similar so maybe I’m off base but most managers will have the same perspective as me, I think.)

      Reply
      1. 5 Leaf Clover

        I also think there’s such a common knee-jerk response like “video games = lazy” that regardless of what’s right, the LW is going to hurt their chances much more than help with the vast majority of managers.

        Reply
      2. kittymommy

        Yeah, I waver on this side as well. While I find my volunteer work* fun there’s something about the hobby/ volunteer work being gaming that will likely make people not take it seriously.

        *I volunteer at the local humane society. 70% computer work for them, 30% kissing kitten noses and smooshing their little fat bellies.

        Reply
    2. Anonymous Poster

      I know people that have founded groups dedicated to their hobbies, like 3D printing or Scouting, or have moved into leadership roles into already established groups. I think there’s a distinction here, since these are things don’t have the ‘video game’ stigma here. They’re both leisure activities, and volunteering in them takes a lot of time, but saying you’re an adult leader of a Scout troop or leading a 3D printing meetup group is really different than saying you’re leading a WoW guild.

      I get it doesn’t sound fair. But a lot more weight would be given to an in-person, non-virtual leadership role than a video game one.

      Reply
      1. Lars the Real Girl

        I think it does sound fair – if you take the “ugh everyone just thinks gaming is dumb so THAT’S why they don’t see that this is REAL experience” mentality out of it. (We’ve had a few questions like this on the site and I know a bunch of gamers who will express the same gripe constantly.)

        Organizing or stepping into a leadership role within a hobby or community function, like hosting regular public meetings for 3D printing CEOs, community outreach about basketweaving and it’s effects on the environment, whatever, all have to do with asking real people to do real world things. There are higher stakes involved than losing a game and more responsibility to others.

        If he had said, for example, that he organized a non-profit event around a WoW and managed volunteers and secured donors, etc, that would be resume worthy.

        The difference is: “I can sew really well” and “I started a chapter of the national sewing society and serve as their treasurer”.

        Reply
    3. Amber T

      Fun fact – a recent hire (HIRE, not just a candidate) listed Game of Thrones on his resume. So… anything’s possible.

      Reply
        1. Cat

          Law schools tell kids to list interests on their resumes, so it could have been that. It leads to all sorts of bizarre things. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but I have seen every possible variation on almost everything else.

          Reply
          1. Amber T

            Yep, it was under “Outside Interests,” which I was never told to put on my resume, but all the resumes I’ve seen for his kind of position has them. Common themes are “sport I enjoy watching, sport I enjoy participating in, my favorite charity ‘nerdy-but-popular’ thing to show I’m well rounded.” (To be fair there are a couple of ridiculous GoT fanatics so that actually may have helped him! I was not involved in the hiring process at all.)

            Reply
      1. Ramona Flowers

        And I’m guessing he didn’t work on it? (A girl from my school has GoT on her resume, but that’s because she actually did work on it…)

        Reply
  9. Snarkus Aurelius

    Similar to the stay-at-home parent issue, you have no independent assessment of your skills or accountability. Yes, you can say that you achieved goals X, Y, and Z, and that you told people what to do and when, but there’s no way to objectively examine your overall performance and interactions.

    If you fall down on the WoW management job, there are also no substantive consequences. Sure your character might die, but s/he can come back. Gamers might not want to play with you, but you can always find more. You can always quit with no notice, and nothing will happen to you. Gaming is not like getting fired or demoted or being put on a PIP.

    The risks, rewards, and consequences don’t even compare.

    Reply
    1. Iris Eyes

      In most games there are leader boards either official or unofficial if you need measurable metrics and accountability.

      Some people invest thousands of dollars in the characters and guilds, creating websites, hosting events, etc. And they also pay the price in lack of time that could be spent in traditional employment. For some guild leaders it is a 60+ hour a week job. The emotions are real, the stress is real, the commitment is real, the social consequences are real. The only thing that is missing is a financial payoff to differentiate itself from say a home based business.

      Reply
      1. mrs__peel

        “For some guild leaders it is a 60+ hour a week job.”

        If I was hiring, it might give me pause that someone was committed to something that’s essentially a second full-time job. I’d wonder if their daytime work was going to suffer.

        Reply
      2. Cyrus

        “For some guild leaders it is a 60+ hour a week job.”

        This is true, but doesn’t apply to the OP. Based on details in the post, there’s a 90 percent chance that their guild is raiding on Heroic or easier difficulty, not Mythic. Mythic requires far more skill and organization. In one recent raid tier, 47 percent of players completed the raid on Heroic or easier difficulty levels while it was still current content, only 2 percent completed it on Mythic. (A raid tier is a bunch of bosses released at the same time, usually with a unifying theme and storyline. The most current one is basically always the hardest one until it’s made easier by people getting better gear. The company releases new ones every few months to keep things fresh. The current raid tier, on the hardest difficulty level, is the most important kind of player-versus-environment content in WoW at any time. Think of it as a season of sports or something.)

        If someone actually is raiding on Mythic, that could be noteworthy. If they aren’t just one of the 20 raiders but actually have a leadership role in their Mythic guild, and if their guild isn’t just clearing the content but is one of the first to do so, I hope there’s some way to put it on a resume. The difference between that and the OP is the difference between a Boy Scout troop leader and an Army Ranger.

        I’m not trying to brag here or put the OP down, I’ve never even completed one on Heroic. (I’m optimistic about the current one, but I can’t claim to have got it yet.) I’m just trying to put things in perspective – raiding definitely is an accomplishment comparable to a job for some people, but that’s not really relevant here.

        Reply
      3. Snark

        Parenting, caring for sick or disabled family members, and caring for foster animals and children are all also high time investment activities which involve significant investment of money and time, and which involve real emotions, stress, commitment, and social consequences.

        They all also have absolutely no damn place in a job interview or on a resume, even though they all come with high real world stakes – higher than those of hobbyist gaming guild management, not to put too fine a point.

        Reply
        1. Salamander

          Yup. This says it all.

          In a job interview, I know no one wants to know about my feral cat trapping skills and adventures in rehabilitating cats, and I sure don’t want to be pegged as the crazy cat lady. It would never occur to me to even bring it up.

          Reply
    2. Wee Sleekit

      > you have no independent assessment of your skills or accountability.

      I wouldn’t expect any non-WoW-player to know this, but there are websites such as WoWProgress that do track guild performance and relative rankings. So if you’re leading a world-top-ten type guild, there is in fact independent documentation that you are performing this task at the, say, the 99th percentile. For those few people it could possibly be worthwhile to add (especially if you’ve gotten coverage in the gaming media); but for the average guild leader applying for a non-gaming job–as everyone else as pointed out, the value of your experience will be highly discounted.

      Reply
      1. Yorick

        Even if the interviewer knew this, it isn’t super worthwhile as a metric. You could be effectively leading your team but not performing at a very high percentile.

        Reply
    3. Marty

      What do you mean “no independent assessment”? Raiding is a multiplayer activity, the are typically 20 or 40 participants, any of whom could easily provide an independent assessment of your performance, and all of whom have to be kept happy. If you fall down on the guild leadership job, then players leave and your guild disintegrates. If you perform poorly as a raid leader, you will eventually be replaced. The only real difference here is that your livelihood may not be at stake, and you might not have a ‘boss’.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        References: Leroy Jenkins

        But seriously, no, your guild is not capable of independently assessing you and the stakes are pretty low. This is like running, say, a stamp collecting club.

        Reply
      2. seejay

        Dude, you’re reaching. Guildies are not valid candidates that are going to stand up as valid assessors of your performance anymore than your family members are going to be able to say you’re a good event organizer or CEO because you can keep the household running. There’s no real world consequences if you fail as a guild leader and disband your guild. If you disappear in a puff of smoke and stop raid leading, no one is going to suddenly be unable to manage their day to day activities, you’re not going to have serious repercussions and fallout because you didn’t honour your commitment as a guild/raid leader.

        I can just see someone putting their guildies and raiders down as references on their resume and saying “give them a call, they’ll totally be able to give a good assessment of my skills and leadership qualities”. And then be laughed at all the way into the nope-pile.

        Reply
      3. Snarkus Aurelius

        I’m trying to envision how I’d react if I saw such references from a job candidate. I don’t think I’d respond well.

        Reply
  10. Naptime Enthusiast

    My fiance is a big WOW/MMO gamer and feels the same way. He is a first responder and actually, a lot of what happens in a game can be applied to his job. The goal in the game is to kill the boss and everyone has a specific job to accomplish that; the goal at work is to contain the threat and you have to direct people to do specific things like secure the area, clear out civilians, determine the correct resources and methods to eliminate the threat, call in more support as necessary…

    HOWEVER, the stigmas about gamers are there, and he knows he would be ridiculed for drawing that parallel at work. Is it fair? Not necessarily. But he instead employs those skills when he can to demonstrate his leadership skills. If you have a real-world application of those skills like planning a professional event or lead a team, it will carry infinitely more weight because it’s something tangible that everyone can at appreciate more easily.

    Reply
  11. k8

    honestly, if i saw this on a resume, my first thought would be of that south park episode about WoW– which isn’t exactly a flattering portrait of the game. imo, not only will people think you’re naive and/or out of touch, they might also assume you look like this.

    Reply
  12. Iris Eyes

    I total get where you are coming from, and I think that it is silly that this type of experience is taken less seriously. You could frame it as volunteer experience (under the category of competitive sports, in this case like you were the coach for a rec league) if you don’t have a lot of other qualifications for management and need something the bolster yourself there. If you received financial compensation I could see you putting it as a contract position (like tutoring or freelance whatever.) Either way is going to be stretching it, and unfortunately anyone who hasn’t been a witness to guild/raid leadership even people who have played otherwise, don’t often comprehend the grueling work and commitment that it can take. Just as many people discount how difficult moderating and creating content for social media pages can be.

    **Yes, video gaming is a professional and competitive sport, you can get a college scholarship for it these days or compete internationally as your primary source of income. If you don’t realize how a MMO is different from Tetris or Mario you should probably treat yourself to a few hours of Google searches to familiarize yourself.

    Reply
    1. Falling Diphthong

      If you don’t realize how a MMO is different from Tetris or Mario you should probably treat yourself to a few hours of Google searches to familiarize yourself.

      This advice is not going to go over well with any hiring manager who is not hiring for positions that directly rely on that knowledge.

      Right now my son is playing a video game (looks to be an online military one) and I am piecing an impressionist art quilt. If either of us were to apply for a job as, say, a landscaper, telling the head landscaper that they should go research those topics so they could see how they might be relevant to stuff that was relevant to landscaping would not be a good idea. Even if it’s true that there is some relevance–if I can’t get that down to an explanation that makes sense to someone who never quilts and thinks it looks easy, it doesn’t belong an the resume or in my explanation of why I would be qualified for the job.

      Reply
    2. Danger: Gumption Ahead

      Sports and other non-work activity do not belong on a resume as examples of work experience unless this is your very first job and have nothing else to offer. And if that is the case, it is only appropriate for no/low skills entry level, not management positions.

      Reply
    3. mrs__peel

      “If you don’t realize how a MMO is different from Tetris or Mario you should probably treat yourself to a few hours of Google searches to familiarize yourself.”

      No one should feel obligated to spend hours researching anyone else’s hobby if it doesn’t interest them. You can get college scholarships for pretty much anything these days, from bowling to playing the bagpipes, but those aren’t things I necessarily want to devote many hours of study to.

      Reply
    4. Trout 'Waver

      It’s really not the same thing to compare a job to a leisure activity, regardless of how many hours are put in.

      Reply
    5. Observer

      If you don’t realize how a MMO is different from Tetris or Mario you should probably treat yourself to a few hours of Google searches to familiarize yourself.
      =============================================================================

      Anyone who comes into an interview with that kind of attitude is going to have a hard time getting hired. And anyone who expects an interviewer to do ” a few hours of googling” to discover why my skills are so awesome is not getting anywhere, unless it’s for a job that’s stupendously difficult to hire for. Why would any non-gamer hiring manager take the time?

      And, I’m not sure that “grueling commitment” to something like WoW (or any fantasy land) is going to really impress any employer outside of the relevant niches.

      Reply
    6. Allison

      You could also earn a nice chunk of change as a competitive ballroom dancer, or playing online poker, but that doesn’t make either one a “job” with skills applicable to an entry-level office job.

      And no interviewer wants to be told to look something up to see how it’s relevant to the job they’re looking to fill, you never want to imply the interviewer is ignorant, and it shifts the onus to “sell” your background off of you and onto the internet.

      Reply
    7. seejay

      It doesn’t matter how much of a grueling work commitment it is, or how difficult moderating and creating content for social media is when it’s entirely voluntary and a hobby and can be dropped at any time with zero repercussions other than a hit to a personal online reputation (which can be avoided by changing a user name and avoiding the online areas where the reputation may be sullied*). In these particular examples, there’s no job or payment associated with it, no contract, no professional requirement tied to it.

      *yes there can be online bullying and harassment that can spill over into real life, but this doesn’t always happen and if people are careful, this can be avoided, or dealt with.

      Reply
    8. BananaPants

      Sports and hobbies don’t belong on a resume unless the job is in that specific area. Like it or not, hardcore gamers typically have a negative stereotype. In my personal opinion, gaming is a waste of time, and there are enough hiring managers who feel the same way that I wouldn’t risk putting it on one’s resume.

      Reply
      1. Rebeck

        Unless you are in Australia, particularly regional Australia, where you totally put your current sport-related leadership responsibilities somewhere on your resume (coaching, committee membership etc). Especially if it’s football, netball or cricket.

        (I speak with equal parts tongue-in-cheek and bitterness).

        Reply
        1. Planner Lady

          Oh god. I’m moving to a VIC regional town when I finish my current reskill to change my career… Do I need to play some form of sports?

          Reply
          1. Ruralpsych

            I know this is late, but as someone who has grown up in remote NSW and just escaped from regional VIC: If you want to be accepted in regional VIC, you need to be into AFL, cricket, netball or dancing.

            Reply
    9. Snark

      “I total get where you are coming from, and I think that it is silly that this type of experience is taken less seriously.”

      I don’t. It’s not serious experience, in a professional sense. It’s not taken seriously because it’s a hobby, which means there’s no independent evaluation of your performance. I don’t mention my mise-en-place or renowned pack organization skills in job interviews for the same reason.

      “If you don’t realize how a MMO is different from Tetris or Mario you should probably treat yourself to a few hours of Google searches to familiarize yourself.”

      They’re different, but it’s a distinction without a difference.

      Reply
    10. Susanne

      “If you don’t realize how a MMO is different from Tetris or Mario you should probably treat yourself to a few hours of Google searches to familiarize yourself.”

      No. Not interested. I’m also not interested in the finer points of Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, or Star Trek, or Dungeons and Dragons, or World of Warcraft, or any of that. And since it’s not remotely relevant to what I do for a living, nor is it remotely needed to converse with 99% of people I come across, I’m not going to spend “hours of googling” on any of those things. At all. And it comes across pretty poorly that you think your own particular set of hobbies is so important that we all need to be conversant on your acronyms. Just … no.

      This resume with World of Warcraft would have gone in the trash at my work, and we all would have had a hearty laugh.

      Reply
  13. Student

    No. You will likely be stigmatized for putting a video game down as professional resume-worthy experience, even by other WoW raid leaders.

    I raid-led in WoW once, too. There are some great opportunities to learn people-management by doing that. However, not every skill you pick up gets to go on your resume. I can do quantum mechanics, I’m pretty good at calculus, and I’m really good at min-maxing in D&D – math skills, analysis skills. I’m good at planning vacations, which takes organizational and people skills. None of those go on my resume.

    There’s the verifiability/references issue. This is an achievement most hiring managers can’t effectively vet. You can’t realistically use your raiders as a professional reference, so how am I going to tell if you’re, say, a great healing lead or just carried by great tanks? Are your raid strategies great, or are you over-geared for the content you run? Your gear score means as much to the average hiring manager as my GPA does – nothing.

    There’s the social stigma and the very real detachment from actual professional life. Jobs aren’t organized like raids. Real people in jobs are a lot more resistant to taking directions from someone essentially arbitrary. Objectives in jobs aren’t as simple as in raids, and there’s almost never the same unified agreement on a common goal. WoW raiders are not representative of a normal workforce on a lot of axis – age, gender, technical capability, income, interest level in a specific goal. And I can promise you that some employers do look down at anyone who plays video games, even as a hobby, and they’d outright reject you for putting it down as professional experience on a resume.

    Reply
    1. Ramona Flowers

      This is unintelligible and stupefyingly boring to someone who doesn’t play these games. Or maybe it’s just me.

      Reply
    2. Ramona Flowers

      Sorry if that sounded a bit abrupt. I just didn’t understand what it was about and whether you linked as an example of a way to write content about this or an example of someone talking incomprehensibly about MMORPGs?

      Reply
      1. J. Siever

        It’s a blog written by a person who applied his experience leading a guild in World of Warcraft to his career.

        I thought it was well written – I suppose is it incomprehensible to people who have never played computer games before.

        Reply
        1. Ramona Flowers

          I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound rude. I have played some games and edited a lot of content about them, but not MMOPRGs. And it’s not a given to me that you need to meet people or level up for a game to have payoff.

          Reply
  14. Allison

    I love video games, and for years I’ve been working in the world of tech where there’s lots of nerdy people who also like video games, but if I saw video games listed on a resume, I’d be turned off. If “competitive gaming” is listed in a hobbies section, maybe that’s fine, and if you’re a recent grad, having run a successful gaming club in college might be impressive, but definitely don’t pass it off as a job or anything with transferable job skills. It’s a reach, it looks desperate, like you don’t actually have the skills the job requires so you’re trying to compensate somehow, like housewives listing themselves as CEO of their homes (look, running a home is hard work, but it’s not the same thing as working for a company that makes money and pays you some of it to do a job you’ve been assigned to do). And it looks like you lack awareness of professional norms, and don’t know the difference between gaming and working on a job somewhere.

    I’d give you the benefit of the doubt if you otherwise did have the job skills we were looking for (having the job skills means having done those things in an office setting, NOT having done something you think is similar in a video game does not count in my mind) but if I passed it off to a recruiter or hiring manager, they might reject you based on the WoW stuff.

    Reply
  15. breadandbutterfly

    Someone posted a resume in a group I’m in and the first thing they have listed for experience is “President of ‘Magic: The Gathering Club.'” They just graduated from college so I’m trying to be kind/helpful, but I definitely was filled with JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE when I saw that.

    And now I just noticed their senior dissertation was also on Magic: The Gathering.

    Reply
    1. Small but Fierce

      To be fair, leadership in a recognized student organization is different than what is being asked here. Especially if they don’t have internship experience, that is the kind of content one can expect from a new graduate’s resume.

      Reply
      1. Here we go again

        Assuming it was in the form of a structured club at a college, I’d have to agree. If it was just a casual social group, not so much….

        Reply
  16. JTS

    I think it depends on what job the OP is trying to get.

    If someone is new to the world of work and it’s an entry level position, as a hiring manager I’d be more receptive to “alternative” forms of experience.

    If it’s someone with limited management experience wanting to leverage this to gain a management job…well I’m significantly less receptive.

    Now to play a bit of devil’s advocate here, if the OP had instead advised that they helped lead a local sports team to reach optimal performance and had experience in dealing with underperformance of team members…would everyone be so quick to dismiss the experience? What about a volunteer organisation? Online gaming is growing in popularity, I’d question the assertion that most managers would not understand the references or examples given, particularly if they were explained in an interview context.

    Reply
    1. Falling Diphthong

      What are the metrics by which you would show that you led everyone on the sports team to achieve their optimal performance level? As Student notes above, there’s a real problem with how one verifies the analysis.

      Arguably even greater for online things, where it’s possible everyone in the guild, and possibly the opposing guild, is actually the applicant under a different name. (Maybe there is a reason this is impossible. Unless the job is directly related to online guilds, spending the interview explaining the intricacies of how they work and are verified is not going to do you any favors. Even if you are technically right about the question.)

      Reply
      1. Perse's Mom

        There are websites that track the data for guild raid progress – everything from which boss was killed when and how quickly to how much of what kind of damage every character in the raid dished out or took. The data may be effectively meaningless to someone who isn’t already familiar with the game concepts, though.

        The only possible scenario I can imagine this being worth mentioning is if OP is leading a world first guild – at that level, you’re not multi-boxing (running multiple characters at a time with one player). It requires 20 individual players concentrating on playing their best on one character for hours at a time for days to weeks at a time… and that’s just the actual raiding, not all the prep that goes into getting ready to step into the raid in the first place.

        And even then, it’s not going to belong on most resumes.

        Reply
    2. Danger: Gumption Ahead

      I would dismiss sports, clubs, etc. for sure. Those are hobbies and don’t belong on a resume unless they are relevant to the job and never belong in work experience. Volunteer would be acceptable-ish for specific skills (e.g. fundraising, budget management), but I would not want to see it included in the work/employment experience section. It belongs in other relevant experience.

      If someone wants to leverage some sort of management experience for a managerial job, I’d go with a project done for pay where you controlled budget, timelines, assignments, etc. even if you had no direct reports

      Reply
      1. Chinook

        I agree. I was president of a local women’s church group (150 members) and the only reason I would list that is if I was applying for a job that required me to chair meetings, do media interviews, put together & present a budget, etc.

        I would never mention the other committees that I was involved in with the same group because I had no direct reports, no outside metrics to show success/failure, and no direct reports. The committees were as much or as little work as I chose. President, on the other hand, came with a requirement to meet deadlines and other real duties that were my responsibility whether or not I wanted to do them at that moment.

        Reply
      2. breadandbutterfly

        That’s what I was taught about sports/clubs! It’s great to have hobbies, but you don’t need to have everything on your resume. I think we’re in a weird time in society where if you’re not monetizing 100% of your waking hours, you’re wasting them.

        For this particular person, they stated they had “strong leadership skills particularly for an entry level applicant.” However, the only indication of leadership skills was their role as President of the college’s Magic: The Gathering club.

        Reply
    3. Lucius

      Probably not so quick, although I think that could easily end up being overemphasized on a resume in a way that would get people rolling their eyes and listing transferable skills from a rec league to anything like the degree LW has done for WOW would probably do it. But whether they are analogous or not, the reality on the ground is that there is more of a stigma for one than the other and anyone considering putting that on a resume needs to take that into account.

      Reply
    4. MissDisplaced

      I wouldn’t put much faith in it from sports, church, volunteer organizations, etc., either. Maybe it is a nice little sidebar under “Volunteer Activities” or something, but most of that is still not very relevant for actual work experience. I could possibly see talking about it (briefly) if you had one of those off-the-wall interview questions.
      “Tell me about something fun/crazy you do outside of work” or again, if you’re interviewing for a gaming-type job. But even then, very sparingly.

      Reply
    5. breadandbutterfly

      That’s just it! I recognize that I’m judging this person rather unfairly because it’s “Magic: The Gathering.” Would I be as judgmental for someone on a sports team? Probably not because Society has told me that it’s an “acceptable” way to spend your free time. Same with playing an instrument.

      Maybe it’s because, technically, those endeavors can eventually lead to a career or an opportunity to make a profit? So, the time spent on those hobbies isn’t seen as a “waste” because there’s some earning potential.

      This realization about my internalized capitalism is depressing. :(

      Reply
  17. seejay

    Considering a lot of people see video games as childish and a waste of time, you also come off as alienating a lot of people who’ll think you’re immature. Also MMOs such as WoW have the reputation for being addictive and a time-suck and people might assume you’ll be putting in just as much time in that as you will work (or even more time into it than necessary).

    I read the “Boss Fight Books” for WoW and the author of that even came out sounding out of touch with a lot of things in real life, and that’s speaking as someone with 10 years of WoW under her belt, and having formed a lot of real life friendships with people from the WoW community.

    I’ve never once considered putting video games as a skill or even a hobby on my resume, it has too much of a bad rap, and that comes from someone who’s been a gamer for 30+ years, including the headaches of herding kittens as a raid leader.

    Reply
    1. Falling Diphthong

      There’s a link in my name to the EDS herding cats video.

      Which also works here–the commercial takes something that many people can’t picture and analogizes it to herding cats, which is both simple to visualize and understood to be challenging and involve mastery of many moving parts. If your job is hard to understand and you’re looking to move to something new, coming up with a way to explain it that’s easy for people to grasp is a big help. But this isn’t something you should be doing to explain your hobby.

      Reply
    2. mrs__peel

      “MMOs such as WoW have the reputation for being addictive and a time-suck ”

      Very true. I’m not a gamer myself, and I’ve mostly heard of these games in the context of “my significant other spends all their time online playing WoW and never does any housework”, etc. That’s probably not an unusual perception for non-gamers.

      Reply
  18. LQ

    I’m curious if your opinion would be different if they had been professionals? So if the op was a professional player and the leader of a team would you tell them to put it on their resume?

    Reply
    1. JHunz

      Well, if you’re a pro, it’s actually a job that you’re getting paid for. And it’s almost certainly your only employment during that period, given the amount of practice required for any serious commitment. So I think it would have to go on your resume regardless of whether you were the team lead or not. Additionally, a large percentage of ex-pros tend to transition into careers that are directly or tangentially related to gaming (casting, event support and coordination, etc.), where the previous gaming experience is more relevant than at your typical teapot production company.

      Reply
    2. Girl in the Windy City

      I think this falls into a different category, though. In this case, you’d be leading a group as it applies to the real world. I don’t know what all it entails, but I’d imagine scheduling practices, booking travel, networking, possibly looking for sponsors, etc. Knowing how to acquire a sponsorship is a transferable skill, whereas knowing the best tactics to approach an enemy in a virtual world doesn’t quite feel like one.

      (I should add a disclaimer that I have little to no experience with video games in general, and I could be misinformed on this point. Similar to what Alison said, there may be real transferable skills in the actual game play, but many people won’t know or pick up on that out of context.)

      Reply
    3. Danger: Gumption Ahead

      If it was done for pay and you could be removed from your position for poor performance, then yes, it is OK to include. However, don’t expect people to see it as relevant experience outside something gaming related. If I got a resume from someone who coached football for pay, the experience would count for less because it is a totally different industry and the managerial skills and professional norms would not directly translate in the way ones from the same or an adjacent field would.

      Reply
    4. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

      That’s a set-up for an interesting question! How do professional athletes, musicians, or artists — (i.e., people who pay their bills primarily through playing a sport or performing as an artist) transition into a more traditional career?

      My husband has this background. He was a classical musician and when a health problem sent him into early “retirement” he first shifted to music education and then eventually took a super-entry-level data-entry job at a big mutual fund company. He got lucky — the company had a strong culture of developing and promoting folks internally, so he was able to work his way up over the course of a few years and then left to go to business school (and now works in corporate strategy).

      Reply
      1. Orchestral Musician

        I am a professional classical violinist who sometimes does other part-time work in other fields (development, marketing/social media, grant management). I actually never mention my music work on my resume. I worry that it doesn’t translate well and that enough people don’t understand the profession that it might hurt my resume on first glance. (I do list my degrees in music, and I’m quite open in interviews about the fact that the reason I’m seeking part-time rather than full-time work is because I am mostly focused on violin.) All the places I’ve actually ended up working did understand that there’s such a thing as “professional orchestral musician” — but maybe that’s because I’ve self-selected into jobs where I felt I’d be a good fit!

        I’m glad to hear your husband was able to transition out of music into a corporate strategy career btw! I am always excited to hear about people changing careers from classical music to something else, largely because I worry that if I ever want to do the same, my skills won’t be seen as transferable.

        Reply
        1. Lars the Real Girl

          I think you’re selling yourself short! I think putting “Professional Violinist – xyz orchestra May 2015-present or something like that would completely fit into a resume. People understand what it takes to be a professional musician at that level – so if nothing else it shows your dedication and commitment, probably some awesome hidden math skills, etc If your work tends to be in other areas, putting your resume into functional format msay work better.

          Reply
      2. One of the Sarahs

        For professional athletes, there are things like working with sponsors (and finding them), promoting the team, building and running a website that are skills to transition into the workplace.

        For artists, there are things like organising, running and promoting solo or group shows etc

        It can be so hard though, as for pro athletes, for example, very few organisations provide good exit strategies. In my old job there was a ton of retirement classes, for example, but for pro athletes, nothing like that. BUT there are some great online resources that help people re-frame their experiences.

        Reply
      3. Cyrus

        “How do professional athletes, musicians, or artists — (i.e., people who pay their bills primarily through playing a sport or performing as an artist) transition into a more traditional career?”

        To some extent, just the fact that you managed to do it for years says a lot. Not repeatedly getting bored and flaking out, or butting heads with teammates, or failing to show up for practice. Being part of a team/band/whatever that wasn’t infamously bad for a long time shows that you have a certain amount of focus and perspective. Not all skills are transferable, but some are. Beyond that, a lot of people with non-traditional careers have more traditional credentials in their background. Look up some actors and athletes and it’s interesting to see what they went to college for. A degree, plus a few years of holding down ANY serious and demanding job, says a lot right there. It’s not enough to get into any job, but it’ll get into many.

        Reply
  19. HRish Dude

    This is the sort of thing that would make your resume legendary, but not in a good way.

    I think the simplest rule of thumb is: don’t put non-work experience on your resume as work experience.

    And not that you’re doing this here, but I’ve seen it tried, don’t try to disguise non-work experience as work experience (For instance, working with a recruiter to find your own job does not make you a “Recruiting Consultant.”)

    Reply
  20. Polymer Phil

    This kind of thing works much better in an interview, where you can discuss how you managed a group of people and the transferable skills you learned. On a resume and out of context, it looks idiotic.

    I often see fraternity leadership positions on resumes, and the same thing applies. It would be a great thing to discuss the leadership skills you learned in an interview, but when I see this on a paper resume, I have a mental picture of college kids doing kegstands and throwing up.

    Reply
  21. Database Developer Dude

    Regarding the stay-at-home parenting thing, if you’re a nanny, running someone else’s household, that gets counted as real work experience. If you run your own household, no matter how successful you are, you don’t get credit for it. It seems like a double-standard to me. It’s the same work experience, but it only counts if someone else pays you for it?

    Reply
    1. Stephanie

      Others with more hiring experience can chime in, but if someone’s paying you, you’ve got outside vetting (i.e.,they didn’t fire you).

      Reply
      1. HRish Dude

        I may have said that shorter than I need to. What I mean is the nanny is getting paid to manage someone else’s life (in addition to his or her own).

        Reply
    2. Allison

      Because if you’re a nanny, you’re doing a job, you’re accountable to someone who is managing you and paying you for a service, and you’re being held to a certain standard, if you don’t perform to that standard you get fired. And it may be a job, but it only makes you qualified for similar jobs in childcare.

      Reply
    3. Myrin

      It doesn’t count because someone else pays you for it but because someone else can evaluate you based on it. If you’ve worked as a professional nanny for the past five years, that means that someone else was happy with your work for five years, continued to employ you, refer you to friends and neighbours, sutff like that; if you were a SAHP for five years, that can mean anything but probably most notably that you did what you thought best, not necessarily what anyone else would call “best”.

      Reply
    4. Falling Diphthong

      I could refer you to both my husband and my children about how super awesome incredible I was in my stay-at-home mom years. But you might view them as a bit biased, maybe even more concerned with maintaining their future relationships with myself than with presenting a truly honest and objective picture to you.

      It’s like being an above average driver, a self-descriptor 90% of us use with utter confidence. Only even moreso, because it’s not like you can insist on seeing my mom license or clean police homemaking record.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        Yeah, how do I know you’re not leaving off your resume the three guilds you crashed and burned and used to salt the earth, and only including the one you joined under a new username that hasn’t yet had a chance to spectacularly flame out along the same arc as the others?

        Reply
    5. fposte

      I think you’ve put your finger on the problem when you say “no matter how successful you are.” What metrics for success are you thinking of?

      In general, unpaid experience is of limited value; the more common and the less quantifiable the unpaid experience, the less value it has.

      Reply
    6. Observer

      Actually, in many ways it is VERY different. Not that the skills of a SAHP are not transferable, but it’s a very different experience. You not accountable in the same way, you get to manage your own time in ways that a nanny can’t, you get to set priorities at a level that a nanny can’t, nothing is really verifiable, and you don’t report to anyone.

      And, to be honest, there are very few jobs where being a nanny would be a useful piece of work history. Even a housekeeper, who actually generally DOES run a household (most nannies don’t) wouldn’t be that useful. Better than no job, and at least indicates understanding of things like showing up on time, though.

      Reply
    7. BananaPants

      Everyone has to run their own household or they live in squalor. Everyone with kids – working parents included – has to parent or CPS takes your kids away. You don’t get to quit, and you don’t get fired. Your performance isn’t evaluated by anyone.

      You don’t get brownie points in life for doing what you’re SUPPOSED to do.

      Reply
      1. Observer

        And, some people live in squalor, some people have their kids taken away, and some people SHOULD have their kids taken away. So, well beyond no evaluation.

        Reply
    8. Student

      If you’re a nanny, that professional experience also counts for… very little. It’s not going to get you hired to manage people or big budget projects. It’ll get you another nanny job, probably entry-level customer service jobs, maybe a day-care job or a housekeeping job. Being a homemaker probably counts for just about as much in those jobs as prior nanny experience, except that the nanny has the benefit of an independent boss for a reference, whereas the homemaker has no independent references outside of obviously-biased relatives.

      By itself, being a nanny won’t get you hired to even many other jobs working with children, like teaching or tutoring. It’s not exactly a golden ticket to middle-class life. Not exactly a double-standard worth getting worked up about. Truth is, most people can raise children and keep a household running – it’s not an impressive set of skills to have. Hiring managers have no real way to verify that a homemaker is really great at it or just barely managing.

      Reply
    9. Essie

      It counts because you’re doing it for someone else and you’re accountable for the success or failure thereof.

      We give someone credit for saving another person with CPR, but we don’t cheer people on just for walking around breathing.

      Reply
    10. Snark

      It’s not a double standard because you can’t independently evaluate your own performance and there’s no accountability for failure. This week, I totally crapped out on going grocery shopping. I wasn’t fired. I wasn’t put on a PIP. We went out for burgers. If burgers are your reward for missing a deadline, it’s not work experience.

      Reply
    11. Susanne

      Yes. You’re correct. Just like when I make my own eggs and bacon, it’s just part of life, and when I cook up eggs and bacon as the short-order cook in a diner, it’s called a job. Because there are no consequences if I do a poor job in my own cooking, but there are consequences (I’ll be fired) if I don’t meet certain standards. That is how life works. We all don’t get to take the everyday tasks of living and call them “jobs.” I’m not an accountant even though I balance my checkbook. I’m not a chef even though I cook my meals, and I’m not an interior designer because I picked out wallpaper.

      Reply
  22. Girl in the Windy City

    In looking at what you outlined here, I would leave off this off a resume. It *might* be different if your experience involved planning and coordinating a big event or a running a large-scale organization outside of game play, but even then I would probably recommend leaving out specifics to the game itself, if only because of the initial reaction it might get from most people. (Think, “Planned and managed a tournament for 100+ attendees, including venue selection and negotiation, registration, marketing, and onsite logistics.”) As Alison said, just because it may come across as childish doesn’t mean that it *is* childish, but you’d really want to highlight the job-specific skills you’ve used in the real world versus a virtual one.

    Reply
    1. Falling Diphthong

      I think a critical question for including this sort of stuff is “How easy is it for a person outside the guild to understand and EVALUATE what I did?” Things like organizing a conference fall under this umbrella; organizing raids really don’t. Not unless the person to whom you are presenting it as valuable experience happened to be on the raid and has formed their own opinions on the leadership skills displayed.

      Reply
  23. Princess Carolyn

    OP, this sounds like potentially valuable experience. Alison and the others are correct that putting it on a resume would not be helpful. But you may find you’ve developed skills that come in handy once you’ve landed a job, and that can help you perform well and get the kind of on-paper experience that does belong on a resume (plus fabulous recommendations). Don’t let these answers discourage you!

    If writing and social media are up your alley, I like the idea someone had upthread about starting a blog. If that’s not something you enjoy, or something that will be useful in your field, don’t sweat it.

    Reply
  24. Foreign Octopus

    Although OP is right that this does have relevant practical experience to applying for roles as a manager, if I saw it on a cover letter I would shy away from contacting the applicant. I can’t even properly say why.

    Reply
  25. BRR

    I use Alison’s advice all the time in Marvel Contest of Champions, a mobile game. While I wouldn’t put it on my resume, other officers in my alliance have complimented me on my language for dealing with players who need to improve or when we have to kick someone from our alliance. Now that I’m really thinking about it, I’m mildly disappointed that I can’t reference it. But I get what Alison said, “we all have life experiences that build skills that we end up using at work, but that doesn’t mean they belong on a resume.”

    Reply
  26. LadyProg

    I’m a lead programmer in the video game industry and reading this on your resume would make me cringe. Please don’t do that.
    If you wish to go into management just show these skills on your current job and ask your boss about taking that path. You could do a great job right from the start as you’re kinda doing it already, but don’t talk about how that came from your video game experience, people will not take you as seriously as you think they would.

    Reply
    1. seejay

      Except I wouldn’t hire Leroy… he doesn’t listen to directions, runs off on his own and does his own thing, and gets everyone killed.

      It was a spectacular wipe and made him famous, but he’s still a royal d-bag and I wouldn’t want him in my party. I’d vote-kick him in a nanosecond if I was in a PUG with him. ^_^

      Reply
        1. seejay

          True. There’s no way to get rid of Leroy at this point. That jerk keeps showing up, he’s almost as bad as Milhouse.

          Reply
  27. Bobert

    Different advice for OP: Apply to Blizzard :) I’m sure they’re one of the few, few places that would look favourably on this experience.

    Reply
  28. Antilles

    Here’s a question: Would people have different opinions if the OP asked “can I bring this up in an interview?”
    I think the answer to *that* would actually be a cautious yes. Obviously, you don’t want to respond to my question about work experience with a story about guild leading. But I think you could find a way to work it into “tell me about yourself” kind of open-ended questions. Or at the end of the interview when I ask you about what you like to do for fun, you could describe it while also squeezing in a description of just what the ‘hobby’ involves.

    Reply
    1. MegaMoose, Esq.

      I think there’s still too much potential stigma unless you’ve got some pretty clear signs the interviewer would get it, like a BlizzCon t-shirt or something. I mean, I lie when interviewers ask what kind of books I read, and it’s not like science fiction isn’t pretty dang mainstream these days.

      Reply
      1. Erin

        Haha I don’t think you need to lie about what books you read! Unless it’s erotica then yeah, maybe don’t bring that up.

        Otherwise, I agree. It could potentially be brought up at an interview but you’d have to play that by ear.

        Reply
        1. MegaMoose, Esq.

          Yeah, I probably am being overly conservative there, but I’m a lawyer, and even the least conservative of us tend to be risk-adverse.

          Reply
      2. Allison

        Yes, I remember interviewing for my first job and connecting with an interviewer over a shared love of the game Portal, which I was really into at the time, but I forget how it came up in conversation.

        It’s like being on a first date, if you’re super into video games you may want to feel out whether your date likes them before launching into a whole schpiel about your achievements, guild leadership, fan club activities, how many conventions you’ve attended, panels you’ve been on, etc. That’s not to say you should date someone who thinks video games are dumb, but if the person isn’t that big on them, it’s best to wait until you already have a connection before you mention it, otherwise they might run away screaming.

        And whatever you do, never show up to a first date dressed like a knight, unless you’re actually going to Ren Faire.

        Reply
        1. mrs__peel

          “never show up to a first date dressed like a knight”

          Oh God!! I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this since I first read about it. I’m glad someone else has, too…

          Reply
    2. Falling Diphthong

      Yes, but the interviewer has to give you the cue that they will know what the heck you are talking about. And you have to be good at reading what level of depth is going to work in an answer, rather than seize the first fig leaf that allows you to relive every detail of your last raid while their eyes glaze.

      Reply
    3. Statler von Waldorf

      I agree that it can be used effectively as part of an interview. For my current job, I used parts of my raid leading experience to effectively to shore up my complete lack of management experience, and I did end up getting the job. I should point out that the person interviewing me had never played Wow either, so it wasn’t a mutual geek-out experience either.

      In my case, I was clear about what transferable skills I had learned (dealing with personality conflicts, motivating people who you don’t have authority over, scheduling events involving dozens of volunteers in multiple timezones, etc.) and how I had found them transferable to real jobs. If I could demonstrate something using an example from an actual job, I used that instead. I was very clear that I didn’t consider the two experiences equivalent, just similar. However, there were at least a couple of interview questions where the best example I could give was a WoW experience, so I used them rather than come up empty.

      I just got a raise this week after hitting the two-year mark working as a manager here. So in my case, it worked.

      Reply
      1. MicroManagered

        I slightly disagree. Imagine OP goes into an interview and sees some telltale sign that the interviewer is into WoW. There could be some situation where it makes sense to use the gaming experience an example or to illustrate a point. It would be extremely situation-dependent and OP would have to have already really her merit and be otherwise on a roll. But I don’t think it’s something OP could never bring up.

        Reply
        1. Property Manager

          This would totally be appropriate if you were on a job interview at Blizzard Entertainment. In fact, their application process requires applicants to list games they are currently playing.

          Reply
    4. GermanGirl

      I think bringing it up in an interview can work if you need to explain how you’d manage a conflict or something and don’t have any other experience to draw from. Or you can bring it up when they ask about hobbies. But it can still go wrong.

      Both of the managers who hired me have at this point had trouble with an employee who played a MMO on the job, so they’d probably be wary of hiring you. At the time I was hired, one of them didn’t have that experience yet and would probably have taken it favorably.

      Reply
  29. MegaMoose, Esq.

    Chances are, the things that make you a good raid leader are qualities that apply in other parts of your life as well: maybe take the list you included in your letter and try to figure out what skills you developed/honed for each of those achievements (pun intended). Then take those skills and see where they show up in your work. Example: I was an assistant raid leader back in vanilla and was largely responsible for keeping track of buffs, getting people rezzed, managing DKP, and all sorts of stuff that the game mostly does automatically now because it was a bear to try and keep 40 people in line that way. I was good at it (and more, enjoyed doing it) because I can keep track of a lot of minutia and keep multiple tasks going at once, and I could talk about plenty of more relevant work experience to illustrate that.

    Reply
  30. Erin

    I understand and agree with your reasoning, but no, you just can’t do it. At best, maybe, *maybe* you could bring it up in an interview.

    Enjoy Destiny 2 coming out today.

    Reply
    1. LW

      I’ve been playing WoW since 2004. I wonder if *any* MMO could pull me away at this point. Hopefully this won’t have too big an impact on my raid comp on Sunday….

      Reply
  31. Fronzel Neekburm

    Hey OP,

    i”m actually taking a class right now where we’re studying the rhetorical impact of video games. See if you can find somethign like that, because it’s interesting how games work like that.

    Reply
  32. Nonsenical

    I was the leader of a large group of 300 people for over 2 years, before that was in a role that specifically was about being a diplomat and managing a team internally as well as training them, I did this for 3 years.

    None of this is transferable to a resume, but it did prepare me for jobs and joining student government (which I could list on a resume).

    Reply
  33. Mike B.

    Even the people who might be impressed by the experience would be unimpressed by the decision to include it. Professionals need to observe professional norms.

    You could potentially make a tongue-in-cheek reference to this in person at the interview, after feeling out the situation. But you can say all sorts of things in an interview that wouldn’t fit in a resume or cover letter.

    Reply
  34. Detective Amy Santiago

    OP, I feel for you so hard. I’m a moderator for an online community and I often wish I could figure out a reasonable way to include it on my resume because it entails: conflict resolution, tracking data, and other skills that I also use in my career. BUT I also understand that if I say “I manage a group of 25-30 individuals who pretend to be fictional characters on the internet” 98% of people are going to look at me like I have two heads.

    I have made vague references in interviews to “moderating an online writing community” and also mention that I create spreadsheets with vlookups for fun, but you really have to be super careful because a lot of people just aren’t going to get it.

    Reply
    1. Ramona Flowers

      I actually put being a Reddit mod on my resume, under volunteering. But that’s because my job includes some online moderation and it was super relevant to include.

      Reply
    2. Katniss

      I know this feeling! I own and moderate an extremely active Disqus channel and it can be a ton of work. I always wish I COULD put it on my resume but it just doesn’t apply.

      Reply
  35. Tiny Moon

    Agreed that you shouldn’t put it on your resume, but what about drawing on it in interviews? I’ve gotten non-work answers to scenario questions in interviews, and as long it a) addressed the question and b) didn’t give me cause to believe they lacked the professional experience I was looking for, I appreciated the variety.

    (For example: “Can you tell me about a time when you had to give someone feedback that they didn’t want to hear?” “When I volunteered as a coach for a swim team…”)

    Obviously, games are treated differently by a lot of people, and you’d want to assess whether your interviewer is likely to be weirded out by it–but in an interview you have the opportunity to gauge that before bringing it up.

    Also, I’ve been reading AAM obsessively for over a year and this is the first time I’ve commented, which probably says a lot about me.

    Reply
    1. Trig

      I had a similar thought, it could be useful for those behavioural “tell me about a time when…” questions, but OP would have to be really careful not to get bogged down in game terminology. It’s really easy to do when talking about a niche subject you are immersed in!

      If, for a ‘time you disagreed with someone on your team’, you told the story of the time you told Bob to be doing more DPS but Janet protested because his class was more for AOE attacks and you resolved the problem by, I dunno, getting Alice to look compare their skill trees or something and agree that it was for the best, that’s going to go right over nearly everyone’s head. (Including mine, I have only the vaguest of experience in MMOs and am probably mixing up my terminology.) You need to explain it in layman’s terms while actually referring to the game and its mechanics as little as possible. So it’s going to be very tough to craft the answer in a way that makes sense and answers the question in a concrete and concise way.

      Reply
      1. Amber Rose

        “So, this one time right, we were going into a 24 person raid and Bob and Alice started arguing about BIS chest for a heal-spec paladin, and it got heated when Alice accused Bob of face-tanking everything and losing aggro on adds, and Bob said it was only a problem because Alice sucked at MP management and kept letting everyone die, but I managed to get them to chill out by reminding them that gear doesn’t replace mechanics and they both knew all six stages because we’d done it before.”

        Tried to get as much terminology in as I could. How’d I do? :D

        Reply
        1. Perse's Mom

          Too much proper spelling, not enough verbal shortcuts.

          None of which matters because prot pallies don’t die, I know this because I watched a friend effectively solo a heroic dungeon boss – at level, early in this expac – on hers. (I – the healer – was busy being dead on the floor, wondering morosely why she even invited me along while the boss went through several phases and she skated through it and then rezzed me.)

          :p

          Reply
    2. Amber Rose

      See, I think you could.

      There is this game called EVE Online, where you fund your cool game stuff by getting a job and working for a paycheck. Or you can start a corporation yourself. One dude became famous for starting a bank. It had repayment plans, interest, all kinds of real-bank stuff, despite the game not having a framework for such a thing. He built it from scratch.

      I feel like if you really accomplish something interesting or extraordinary in a game like that guy, and your interviewer isn’t one of those “games are for kids” folk, you could probably bring it up conversationally. And I mean, you still need real world examples for “tell me about a time you…” questions, but most interviews have room for a little casual chat.

      Reply
      1. Amber T

        Was this where he was trading in game currency for real currency, then closed up shop (in game) and ran away with everyone’s (real) money?

        Reply
    3. Allison

      That would probably only fly if you were new to the workforce and didn’t have any job experience to draw from. If you have a few years of solid work experience under your belt, draw from those first, and then if you have another story from your personal life, add that after.

      It’s important to demonstrate 1) that work is a priority in your life, and in your mind, and 2) that you can differentiate between your personal life (which includes most volunteer work) and your career.

      Reply
  36. Stephanie

    I definitely wouldn’t include it as job experience. At best, you could spin it as a community or extracurricular activity if there were some broader skills you gained (like if you ran the WoW meetup group for Northeastern Ohio or ran a really successful blog). Otherwise, it just sounds like you’re overestimating the importance and relevance of it to a hiring manager.

    Reply
  37. Coily

    Q*bert specialist:
    -Works nimbly within workplace pyramid
    -Finds efficient shortcuts to avoid lengthy detours and obstacles

    Reply
  38. Esme Squalor

    I’m fairly familiar with WoW, but if I got an otherwise good resume that listed raid leader as professional experience, it would go straight in the trash. Sorry, LW.

    Reply
  39. Kinsley M.

    I actually just saw a resume yesterday that did this. I immediately tossed it to the ‘no’ pile. Maybe you’re right that skills are transferable, but as a gamer/blogger/fanfic writer myself, I just don’t agree. And I think including it on a resume shows a lack of knowledge around professional norms and boundaries which give me great pause about a candidate.

    Reply
    1. Esme Squalor

      Yes, that last point is exactly it for me too. Including that kind of detail indicates such an extreme unfamiliarity with professional norms that I would worry that the person applying would cause big problems down the road or behave inappropriately at work. It’s like the M&Ms rider Van Halen sent to concert venues. They didn’t actually care about brown M&Ms, it was just their way of checking that a venue was trustworthy enough to handle their pyrotechnics. Similarly, WoW isn’t a big deal, but including it on your resume tells me I can’t trust you to represent my company or exercise good judgment in the course of your job.

      Reply
    2. Danger: Gumption Ahead

      To me it says that the person has no relevant work experience for the role and is stretching in ways that don’t look so good. I might give it a pass if it was a no skills, entry level job, but anything that required experience? Nope.

      Reply
  40. Bea

    My partner is a gamer, goes to cons and I readily support his love for gaming and comic books. However this is over the top and as a hiring manager you’d end up not being interviewed. Save the quirks like this for your interview, then you can feel the person out.

    I would be happy if this came up in a formal discussion kind of way so I see you’re not bullshitting me tbh. If I see it on a resume I would think you were not being serious despite knowing gamers myself.

    Reply
  41. Princess Peach

    As someone who is a hiring manager for a gaming company, even *I* would roll my eyes at this. I know what World of Warcraft is (played it for years) and what skills you develop from guild and raid team leadership (I was both a guild officer and a raid lead) but it has no place on a resume. If you do interview for a job in gaming, you could bring these items up in the job interview, but I wouldn’t bring it up in any other industry (unless you happen to know for a fact that you are interviewing with another WoW player who still feels warm and fuzzy about the game).

    Reply
  42. FCJ

    So ages ago NPR was doing something about MMORPGs, and they were interviewing some CEO (not of a gaming company, IIRC), who said that if he knew a candidate had led a top-tier raiding guild he’d hire them on the spot. (I tried doing a Google search for the interview, but I remember so little else about it that I couldn’t come up with specific enough search terms). This was back in vanilla, or at least not long after the first expansion, so it wasn’t unheard of for serious guilds to do eight- or ten-hour 60-man raids several times a week, which is a huge deal if you’re in charge. I never raided, but I know enough about the game to know that while it isn’t exactly the same as being a manager at most jobs, it takes incredible organization, planning, and leadership skills to do well.

    The problem, OP, is that few enough people understand what leading a raiding guild entails, and most people see “video game” and think “childish” or worse, so even if there are bosses in the world like the one from the interview (and, frankly, me, if I were ever in a position to hire managers), you have no way of knowing which ones they are and you’re more likely to run into people who have no idea what kind of experience you’re actually bringing to the table and would instead judge you negatively for it. It’s not worth the risk. If for whatever reason it happens to come up in an interview–if they’re asking about hobbies or something–you might be able to squeeze it in there, but you still want to gauge how the room might feel about it and if they’re likely to hear it for what it is, or just, again, hear “video game” and think you’re an antisocial geek.

    Reply
  43. MuseumChick

    I took a resume seminar once where the speaker said “When a hiring manager looks at resumes there are four piles they go into: 1) I want to interview this person 2) Maybe interview if the first pile doesn’t work out 3) Nope. 4) This is so funny I have to tell my friends.”

    Putting WoW on a resume will most likely result in you being put in the 4th pile. Doesn’t matter if it’s fair or not. It will come off and silly, immature, and lacking in understanding of professional norms. It would be kind of like a stay at home parent putting something “Negotiating deals, in highly compressed time frames with demanding clients” AKA Telling the 3 year old that, yes they have to put on a shoes and a coat to go outside when you are already running 15 minuets late.

    Reply
    1. Allison

      No, no hiring manager is that organized when it comes to resumes. Most recruiters aren’t even that organized. Where I’ve worked, there’s no such thing as resume piles because we don’t deal with physical resumes (except maybe at career fairs, maybe), we have statuses in an ATS, and most of the time, either they want to interview you and you get put into whatever status indicates that, or they definitely don’t want to interview you and you’re (ideally) rejected, but if they’re on the fence about you, your status remains unchanged, probably until the job is filled.

      Reply
  44. Ramona Flowers

    I’ve had a different experience, which is that I’ve needed to put stuff about videogames on my resume even though I’m not much of a gamer. In my previous life as a journalist I worked for two games magazines. I leave one of these jobs off my resume for various reasons including amount of time passed.

    The other, as a chief sub (that’s like head copy editor), was recent enough and for long enough that I needed to include it when I last job hunted, even though I’ve completely changed fields. So I’ve seen how people react in non-gaming fields, and this is to professional not leisure experience. It’s… not great. In interviews, it’s been the thing people went to when I asked if there was anything I hadn’t addressed. People made assumptions. And I didn’t even play the games!

    You can say this shouldn’t be so, but it is so. You have to work with the world you’ve got, not the one you wish you had.

    Plus material like your example with the stairs just isn’t that compelling to be worth risking it.

    Reply
    1. Perse's Mom

      The stairs example was… not great, but it would be tricky to explain an actual raid mechanic without having to go deeper. “Bob’s still got the debuff so Sue, you’ll have to soak the next beam for him.” Whereas it could be converted to relatively simple normal-job terms – an unexpected absence means workload shuffling to meet deadlines.

      Reply
  45. Lady Phoenix

    It might be something nice to mention in conversation if they interviewer happens to be a gamer/works at a gane company — since it would be a great way to keep them engaged beyond the usually interview questions — but please leave it out of your resume and cover letter. It is not an actual job and it is not volunteering.

    Reply
  46. Observer

    You’ve gotten a lot of good feedback. There is another risk you would be taking as well. Gaming has a reputation of being heavily dominated by a certain type of personality. And while some of that is unfair stereotyping, the reputation didn’t come out of nowhere and it’s not completely unearned.

    A hiring manager or recruiter who is familiar with this is likely to look at a resume with “WoW Guild leader” on it as relevant experience and think “Do I really need someone who thinks the work world operates like WoW? Why would I want someone who thinks that gaming norms work in a normal office?”

    Reply
    1. seejay

      One of my guild/raid leaders told me he only used cheap head sets for voice chat because he had a habit of throwing them across the room and wrecking them out of frustration whenever he PVP’d.

      Yeah, like that’s a person I’d like to work with in an office. Sure, that might not be how he acts in “real life” but I’m not going to chance it. Ever.

      I’ve grown a thicker skin with the online vitriol that comes out of the random strangers I’ve had to interact with but yeah… there’s a reputation there for a reason and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t really talk about being an MMO gamer in public with people. Playing with pleasant strangers is a rare occurrence. The quiet ones are more common and I’m thankful for those.

      Reply
      1. Bea

        My mom used to make me take a walk when as a kid I would throw the controller in an outburst of frustration….bro wouldn’t destroy headsets if his mom made him take a walk O.O

        Reply
    2. LadyPhoenix

      Not to mention WoW was notorious for the multiple cases of game addiction, one of which a child died from parental neglect because their parents got too addicted to tend to the child’s needs.

      Reply
  47. candy unicorn

    The thing is, the vast majority of us have skills from our personal lives, hobbies, sports, and relationships that help us develop and grow and ultimately become more productive and smart. But we keep our professional identities a bit seperate from our personal identities, because different rules apply in each sphere. Unless you have an abnormally high accomplishments in your personal sphere (like a major recognition), it’s better to rely on the “show, don’t tell” approach ie. if the skills are that great, they’ll show through in your professional life and translate to professional accomplishments eventually.

    Reply
  48. Amber

    I work in the game industry. This is ok to add on your resume if the job you’re going for is entry level and don’t list it as a job. List is as volunteer. I did something similar when applying for customer service (Game Master) jobs and I did get hired. However if I was applying for engineering or art game jobs then no, I would not list it.

    Reply
    1. SamKD

      I’m a boss in the healthcare industry and although I’d be okay with it as Volunteer I think it fits better as Hobbies or Other Interests. As mentioned upthread Volunteer connotes more direct physically-based community service. In contrast to other upthread comments I do like a Hobbies section in resumes/CVs. As someone who enjoyed WoW expansions up to 80, tried to like Cataclysm, quit after the cross-realms thing and recently found a Lich King server I’d totally use “Online computer gaming (WoW guild/raid leader)” as a conversational opener but if there were any more than those 7 words I would think “padding” and if it were listed in the body of the resume it would be a huge “nope” even if you were applying for an entry level position. Sure those skills might transfer but see upthread comments about what constitutes “professional.”

      Reply
  49. SWGl

    I agree with leaving it off a resume, but could she/he use that experience in answering interview questions? There’s a question my company asks engineers to gauge interest in project management that’s along the lines of “tell me about a significant group project for which you were the lead.” We’re asking new grads, so usually they talk about a school project, but the kind of thing OP is describing might fit the bill.

    Reply
    1. KellyK

      I think it’s a perfect fit for that particular question if they don’t have either paid work or formal volunteer experience that would fit. But there’s still the risk that the interviewer will have a negative perception of gamers in general.

      My advice would be to go with it if it seems like the strongest answer at the time.

      Reply
  50. KG, Ph.D.

    I’m a professor, and I once interviewed candidates for a particular scholarship in our department. I was also given their personal statements to read. One of the students had written extensively in his personal statement about how his experiences in gaming made him a good candidate for the scholarship. And look, I’m no stick in the mud – I would have been more open-minded than most people, I think, about this line of reasoning. But he did *not* make a compelling argument. It was pretty half-assed and sounded like he was even being a bit sarcastic at times.

    Luckily, he didn’t even show up for the interview, so it was an automatic “no.” :)

    Reply
  51. Bri

    I run a theme camp at a local burning man event. I basically run my own small business. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean it belongs on my resume. It comes across as strange and has negative connotations for people who don’t know it’s more then a drug filled orgy.

    Reply
    1. INSEAD alum

      “Organized non-profit business at prominent nationwide music festival with 10000+ attendees. Increased revenues by 5x over a 3-year period.”

      Reply
  52. KTZee

    I can completely understand where you’re coming from, OP, and if someone listed that as a single line in the “hobbies/other activities” section of a resume I saw, I would be tickled pink and look forward to talking to them. However, I think I’m safe in saying that many of my colleagues, be they older, or more conservative, or less nerdy, or some combination thereof, would find it to be off-putting, unprofessional, or socially awkward (due to the prevailing social image of gamers). So you might have a 1/100 or 1/1000 chance of someone like me seeing your resume and having a positive reaction, but those are pretty terrible odds.

    Reply
  53. KellyK

    Like everyone else has said, this is a no-go for a lot of reasons—stigma about gamers, the difficulty of translating what leading a raid means to someone who doesn’t play, and the lack of anybody formally evaluating your work. I want to acknowledge that it sucks to have those skills and not have a good way to talk about them.

    If you don’t have that kind of leadership experience from work or volunteering, what can you do to get that experience? Since you already have some of the relevant skills, you might be well-suited for a volunteer position that would give you a better way to put them on your resume. It could even be gaming related, like being on staff for a con or volunteering for a gaming-related charity like Extra Life or Child’s Play.

    As long as it’s a formal volunteer position for an actual organization, where someone is supervising your work and could theoretically fire you, it should fit in the “Other Relevant Experience” section of your resume.

    Reply
  54. INSEAD alum

    I respectfully disagree that there’s no way to turn this hobby into a resume line.

    1. First off, as a general matter, the point of a resume is to demonstrate a track record of accomplishments, and not all of them have to be directly work-related. I would strongly disagree with “Danger: Gumption Ahead” who says community activities and such don’t belong on a resume. The absolutely do, *if* they demonstrate a track record of accomplishment or leadership. So for example, you would not write “avid amateur photographer,” but you could write, for example, “Amateur travel photographer; sold 5+ prints to travel magazines, 2010-17. Won 2nd place in Conde Nast Traveller juried amateur photo competition, 2013.” (This is exactly why comparisons to listing child-care responsibilities on resumes miss the mark.)

    2. It doesn’t belong in the work history section of the resume. It should go under a section called “leadership,” where you would list community/extracurricular activities that demonstrate a track record of leadership and accomplishment. The World of Warcraft line should not be the only item you list.

    3. For this line, I would say something like “led top-tier competitive gaming guild consisting of 15+ members; benchmarked team performance against nationwide league data and provided feedback on performance of individual contributors, resulting in an X% performance in ranking tables.” You don’t even necessarily have to mention WoW.

    4. Do not, under any circumstances, discuss “killing a boss.” That makes you look unhinged to anyone who isn’t into WoW.

    5. I second the suggestion above about creating a blog or publishing on the subject, which is another way of showing leadership.

    6. Some career advisers at top MBA programs recommend including a one- or two-line concluding resume entry listing hobbies or personal interests. I personally keep going back and forth as to whether this is good advice; it doesn’t particularly show personal accomplishment, but it can humanize an applicant. Ultimately, I don’t think it hurts. It may be a more prevalent practice in Europe. At any rate, this might be an alternative place to include the above, although I’d personally put it under the leadership section.

    Now, with all of this, you do run the risk of running into a killjoy hiring manager who equates gaming with all that is evil in the world. (For the record, I’m not particularly a gamer, and certainly not into MMORPG-type games, and I think the posters above who take this view are misguided, but folks like this exist.) My own view is that this is a case of “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” You may find a hiring manager who wants to focus more on strikeouts than homeruns who reacts negatively, but then again you may find precisely the opposite (cf. the CEO referenced above who said he’d hire a top-tier gamer on the spot.). The latter is the kind of organization you want to work for.

    Reply
    1. Snark

      “Now, with all of this, you do run the risk of running into a killjoy hiring manager who equates gaming with all that is evil in the world.”

      Or just the most of us who don’t recognize a hobby with no independent evaluation or accountability to be the same as work experience, for Godsake.

      Reply
      1. INSEAD alum

        @Snark, so if I set up my own business and bootstrapped it — and therefore had no “independent accountability” — that isn’t work experience in your book?

        Reply
          1. Anonymous for this

            You’re stretching the concept to a point where it’s meaningless. Everyone has stakeholders. LW has stakeholders too — his other team members, the gaming community, and so on.

            I would argue that managing a team effectively where you don’t have much to offer in the way of incentives or sticks is in some ways a bigger challenge than in the context where you have “independent accountability.”

            Reply
            1. One of the Sarahs

              But people are gaming because they WANT to game – they might not like this raid leader, but they really want to game that night. This rarely translates into work scenarios.

              Reply
              1. Perse's Mom

                Progression raiders – the ones trying to be on the cutting edge of the game – treat it like a job. They have to. There’s no other way to keep up and be competitive. They are, effectively, subject matter experts in class/spec/role.

                Reply
            2. Snark

              “LW has stakeholders too — his other team members, the gaming community, and so on.”

              Those are not actual stakeholders, because they don’t hold actual stake. Come ON. You’re accusing me of stretching the point while insisting that one’s cred with the guild is the same as being responsible to your customers and investors, both of whom have actual money riding on your performance?

              Reply
              1. Nonsenical

                Games do have money invested in it. I played a text game where it was politics, and people enjoy smashing the snot out of each other. People played nations that were in ‘alliances’ and mainly you wanted to be the best at politics and NOT get rolled in the process.

                Trying to convince people to do things that they aren’t being paid money to do can actually being more challenging in some ways than when you’re working on a team where you are being paid to be there. You have to create incentives. \

                I feel like both sides of the argument spun-off are getting too caught up in analogies that are derailing from their main points.

                To summarize: in most cases, I do not advocate adding this experience to your resume. In some scenarios, it can be worth it.

                No one has argued that there aren’t transferable skills being learned here; it is the connotation that is the problem. There is no ‘stick’ in the mud manager problem, it is general CULTURE. Gaming can teach leadership just as much as girl scouts and many various activities can. However, putting it on your resume is a risky dice and it is not the hill that I would recommend dying on unless you have a pretty confident reason to believe that particular company may be more open to it and do not put it as work experience.

                This is not a person issue, this is a general ‘gaming’ is not going to be seen as professional. It is going to be seen as out of touch with culture and that is why it is going to be thrown in the bin. Lack of what is seen ‘common sense’ is not going to be a good fit at many places.

                Reply
      2. Perse's Mom

        Have you seen ANY comments suggesting it’s appropriate for OP to include his WoW leadership experience under Work Experience? Because I haven’t, but I’ve seen a number of people indicate it MAY fit elsewhere.

        “…a hobby with no independent evaluation or accountability…”

        Are you aware that e-sports is a thing now? For those winning tournaments or otherwise playing at the top of their chosen game, their fellow players, their teammates, their sponsors, and the game company are all certainly evaluating their performance and holding them accountable. At that level of play, it’s not all that different from traditional sports.

        Reply
        1. Snark

          “Are you aware that e-sports is a thing now?”

          Sure, and if you’re an actual professional e-sports player, you have sponsorships and actual money is in play – just like how a professional athlete is accountable to their team owner, sponsors, coach, and so on.

          Reply
        2. Student

          I don’t give a crap about a job applicant’s Gold-medal level skiing, or championship-winning basketball performance, or Call of Duty performance – unless I am hiring them for something involving exactly that.

          Unless you’re being hired to moderate the WoW forums or design WoW-type raids, it’s just not applicable.

          Lots of my experience, even my professional experience, is just not applicable to every job. A resume is not an eternal list of every major accomplishment of my life. It’s not for ME. It’s a sales document to market myself to a job. It’s for the HIRING MANAGER. I cut everything I don’t think is relevant to the hiring manager’s decision, whether it’s my server-first kill of a raid boss or my favorite data analysis work project. I cut hobbies that are hard to generally relate to. I cut work experience that isn’t applicable. I cut volunteer work that isn’t flattering to my application. And, when I hire, I do not take kindly to candidates who decide to use their resume space on telling me about their artisanal bread-making hobby, though I’ll tolerate a small dose of it.

          Reply
    2. GermanGirl

      I like the way you wrote point 3 and I think that’s an ok item on a resume when you don’t have any professional leadership experience.

      Reply
      1. Student

        No. List out your jobs in chronological order, most recent to older. Put some bullets about job accomplishments under each job – designed an award-winning teaspout, managed a team of 7 on teapot paint design.

        Then list your education – place you got a degree, what degree. GPA if you’re a recent grad and your GPA was good. If you’re a recent grad, maybe awards, major projects that might have job relevance, school-related activities that might have job relevance.

        Then, if you haven’t filled 1-2 pages, maybe a hobby or volunteer thing or two at the end as conversation-starters, humanizers, that are hopefully also something you can talk about as relevant to work if called upon to do so in an interview.

        If you get exotic or are in technical industries, you might have a skills section that tells people you’re experienced in specific programming languages, specific technical skills – nothing vague like “leadership” or “creativity”. More like “C++”, “metal lathes”, “cryogenics”, “FPGA programming”, “high-voltage electronics”, “Excel”

        Reply
  55. Baska

    Corollary question (from NOT the original poster):

    This summer I helped organize a 3-night live-action role-playing game (LARP). There were 60 players, and I was one of two assistant head storytellers out of a team of 14 storytellers. It was a HUGE amount of work — I estimate I put in about 450 hours of work even before we arrived at the event. I wrote over 200,000 words of character backgrounds, spent hours in online and offline meetings with the other storytellers (brainstorming characters and plots, ensuring everyone was on the same page with regards to the meta-plot, planning logistics, etc.), prepared props and other printed materials, ensured consistency of content and style, was the go-to person for questions regarding meta-plot consistency, etc. And that’s all before getting to the event itself, where I ran several prep meetings for the storytellers, was the point person for certain types of questions, and did all the “normal” stuff you might expect of a roleplaying storyteller (i.e. actually running the game for my group).

    I feel like this absolutely can go on my CV as volunteer experience, but I’m still looking for the best way to phrase things so it comes off professionally. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions?

    Reply
    1. KellyK

      The first question I would ask is what kind of jobs are you applying for, and what are you looking to show off with this experience. The writing? The collaboration with team members? The admin/organization tasks?

      In general, I think a lot of what you’ve written here is pretty professional already, but I’d try to focus it in on the specific skills you want to highlight. If I were interviewing you as a tech writer or copyeditor, for example, the biggest thing I’d want to hear about is working with 14 other people on a giant writing project and keeping the content and style consistent. For other jobs, it might be the meeting running or the logistics organizing that would matter.

      Reply
    2. MuseumChick

      I think you could frame this as event planning experience. Would probably make the most sense to put it under volunteer experience or just mentioning that you have coordinated and planned events for 50+ people.

      Reply
    3. Student

      I think you should use the skills you learned, but keep it off your resume. Maybe it becomes a nice ice-breaker to discuss, or you can pull up a specific incident as an example of how you handle problems.

      Not everything you do goes on your CV. It’s for work-relevant experience. You can do important and valuable things because they’re important and valuable to you, not so you can list them on your CV. Yes, it’s impressive! No, nobody can relate!

      It’s just not going to resonant with the vast majority of hiring managers. They’d have no sense of what you’d actually done, because it’s too far away from what they already know about. They aren’t going to take the time to google “LARP” to figure out what the heck you’re talking about. They aren’t going to check in with your LARP group to see what kind of quality you put into those character backgrounds. You will look out of touch, possibly weird, hard to relate to. If and when you try to describe it to somebody at an interview, they’re going to concentrate on adults dressing up like fictional characters and telling stories – not on the skills you applied to organizing it. Don’t give it a cutesy cover like “event planning” either – once they start digging, you’ll be in the same boat.

      Reply
  56. DissentingViewpoint

    I’ll dissent to the majority opinion here.
    It depends on the culture of the industry you’re in, would be my initial take.

    I don’t have my WoW raid leading experience on my resume, but that’s because squeezing 30 years of IT experience into 2 pages doesn’t leave a lot of room for much else. Tho I do mention my many years of voluntary work in various open source projects. And that has led directly to several *EXTREMLY* well paid and highly sought after positions.
    When I interviewed in my current role, my wow raid-leading experience was a perfect response in the discussion for my relevance to skills desired etc. The interviewer (CTO), and in a later interview CFO, were a little taken aback at first, but as I expanded, the relevance was clear.

    For those who don’t understand: in the workplace there is always a stick. A *good* raid leader does not have any stick[1]. At the end of the day these are volunteers paying money to play a game; and yet you have to organise and lead them to work together under *strict* instruction while under immense pressure to solve the games most difficult challenges. It doesn’t matter how bad a player (worker…) someone is, you have to work with their strengths and help develop their weaknesses for the good of all. Which also means managing expectations and the drama that brings of around 15-25 people of varying ages (~18-70) and life experience.
    ie. You have to succeed with the team you have. Go.

    Sure there will be those who will bin your resume if you put it in; I look at that action as a filter – I wouldn’t want to work in such a narrow minded company. There will be others, who will see the pride & passion in an external activity and see how that could be a huge benefit that you’d bring to the workplace. It’s a powerful insight into a person beyond the bland listing of skills and experience that so many resumes only have.

    In my view, any external activity on a resume won’t get you the job on it’s merits alone, but successful demonstration of it’s relevance to the skills required in a job – either hard or soft – will emphatically tip the edge your way.
    I’ve hired & worked with too many people over the years that had … quirky additions on their resumes, and then later marvelled at those same people who are now writing the code for the systems that power so much of the internet; to so cavalierly dismiss a resume.

    [1] Outside of mythic with set group sizes, benching should *never* be an option, imnsho.
    PS. I wouldn’t mention killing bosses either. “..the games most difficult challenges” usually covers it!

    Reply
    1. LBK

      I think the one problem with this thinking is that it assumes your resume is being compared against someone who has no experience that’s more relevant than your WoW experience. I don’t know that I would necessarily hold it against someone for putting WoW experience on their resume especially if they were early on in their career, but if I were comparing a resume with WoW experience on it vs one with leadership experience in a job on it? I’d definitely value the latter more than the former, because it means the person has experience with the same type of performance standards that they’d actually be expected to do in the job.

      And there’s also a lot to be said for having to manage someone face to face vs online – even if you’re doing stuff over voice chat, it’s just not the same as having to look someone in the eyes and have a difficult conversation with them. That’s why it’s also not necessarily better to have experience leading without the stick; sometimes as a manager you have to use the stick, and doing that in a fair but effective way is one of the biggest things many managers struggle with, especially early in their careers. The performance management tools in an MMO are a lot more passive than you need to be in person; you can’t just click a button on a menu to kick someone from your guild at the office.

      Reply
      1. H.C.

        +1 to this & more power to DissentingViewpoint for being able to articulate WoW experience as a bonus *in addition* to established work skills & professional experiences, but it’s certainly not a substitute for either.

        Reply
        1. Tealeaves

          The fact that they are considering including the WoW experience means their resume has space for it. i.e. There likely isn’t much work experience overall, let alone leadership positions. Based on a) having time to play WoW regularly, and b) even considering this idea in the first place, I’m guessing probably the OP is young or new to the workforce.

          Reply
  57. TheWidgeon

    I think a large part of the problem comes from accountability and oversight.

    As an online instructor, part of my job is to moderate discussion forums and take care of issues ranging from plagiarism, namecalling, racism (it’s an ESL class and pejorative language is a learning process), and general rudeness (along with the awesome high-fives!).

    Is it on my resume? You bet! I am accountable to students and my supervisors. If I screw up, it can have direct ramifications on me as an employee.

    With WoW, you’re not necessarily viewed in the same manner as it’s a hobby. IMO I don’t think it’s so wrong to put on a resume but I would integrate it into some sort of technical/computer skills section rather than try to present it as a job role. It’s like putting commentator on AskAManager and detailing it… at the end of the day, you can disappear behind a screen without ramification.

    Reply
  58. Hiring Mgr

    I was thinking the OP meant she would include this in a “hobbies” or some similar section, such as where candidates might put that they were captain of their college baseball team, etc.. which would be fine (imo), but listing this as work experience would be comical

    Reply
  59. Ruh Roh, Raggy!

    Oh, man. I feel you. Back in the day, I was the recruiter for a top tier guild (hint: our guild leader invented DKP). I wanted to put the skills on my resume, too, but ultimately I decided that it was unlikely to have the desired results. The good news is that even if the skills don’t work on a resume, you can apply those skills to your job, and then you can put the results of that transfer on your resume. While gaming is much more socially acceptable these days, there are still a lot of people who associate it with GTA or whatever. And think about your average gamer even in a MMORPG – most players are frankly pretty awful and don’t understand what goes on to be successful in a raid. (I could go into a rant here about how instancing ruined the genre and how you kids these days have it so easy, but …)

    It didn’t occur to me until I just glanced through the comments that if I’d described my guild commitments in detail, it would have become obvious that I was putting more time and effort into the guild than I was into my paying job.

    And I think that’s part of it. I was spending so much time and energy on the guild and the game – I wanted to be able to monetize it somehow; to feel like I hadn’t wasted all that time. And I’m not saying you have been wasting your time. But I think that was part of my motivation.

    Reply
  60. EvanMax

    Again, with the caveat that for a job in gaming this may be reasonable (such as, my coworker mentioned that she assisted a friend in filling out an application to Blizzard, the makers of WoW, on on their application they ask for a writing sample with a topic about how your in-game roles translate to your real world strengths) I would keep this off of your resume, and instead save it as a potential topic to bring up mid-interview if your interviewer seems like they would appreciate it.

    I once got a job at a particular firm where, during the interview, I brought up recent experiences with table-top gaming. The job had nothing to do with it, and I had no vibe from the interviewer that he was a particular aficionado of D&D or it’s ilk, but he asked about my hobbies, and I saw an in to tie a recent hobby (and something I was feeling passionate about that month) in with some of the specifics he had brought up during the interview, in order to show how I was passionate about the pieces of the role that he had been emphasizing.

    WoW leadership experience may be good for this. I’ve used production work for a team in the 48 hour film project in the same way. Sure, it’s technically high-pressure project management experience, but it’s not a job, and it only lasts for a single weekend a year, so it’s not going on my resume, but it might make for a good relateble story that shows my skills.

    Reply
    1. Observer

      I think that there is a big difference in what you mention in an interview and in a resume. Partly because the interviewer now has more information about so something potentially odd doesn’t have to be as off putting. Also, because there is more context so you have a better chance of making sure that the nuance is correct – if you come off thinking that gaming is the same as a more typical office job, you’re going to sound very off, because it’s not. In an interview, you can make it clear that you know that it’s different, but it still makes a good example of using or learning skill X.

      Reply
      1. kfkfa

        True – I could see saying something in an interview like “this may seem off the wall, but a lot of my approach to management actually comes from skills I’ve learned in gaming” and then giving a direct example of a transferable skill.

        Reply
  61. Optimistic Prime

    I work in video games and am quite familiar with World of Warcraft, as is everyone else on my team (we’ve got a couple heavy players too). I would still not put this on your resume in our context for a video game job. Like Alison said, some of the skills are transferable, but there are important gaps, too. For example, the play-by-play instructions that you’d be giving aren’t nearly as nuanced as the group leadership skills you’d need in a management situation where there may be gray areas and such; you also don’t have any incentives or real punishments to dangle over people (it’s not like you can fire them from WoW. If you kick them off your team, they’ll just go find another one).

    In an interview, I could maybe see using one very specific and very good example of a time – say – you solved a conflict or something, but a professional example would always be better.

    (And if you apply at Blizzard, they will specifically ask you for experience playing their games, so you will get the opportunity to talk about it anyway. I know a lot of folks at different companies across the industry and we always ask you about playing our games or some games at least.)

    Reply
  62. Jennifer

    This reminds me of the time when in a job interview when asked about her accuracy of typing, the lady talked about how accurate she was at crochet.

    I’m a crafter and even I thought that was weird.

    We didn’t hire her, but another area of the office did and then she didn’t make it through probation.

    Reply
  63. LBK

    I’d definitely say no to the resume but depending on the field you’re in, I think you could get away with mentioning it very briefly and generally in your cover letter. For instance, if you’re talking about showing leadership, you could say something like “I find myself naturally falling into leadership roles even in my personal life – I often end up directing teams of up to 40 players at once during challenges in an online game I play.”

    Reply
  64. Abby

    Oh man, I used a WoW raiding scenario as an example of “managing through influence” at an interview once, but only after I prefaced it with “this is kind of a stretch, but do you play World of Warcraft?” Turns out the interview did, and I was able to continue with my story (I didn’t get the job, and I suspect the WoW story didn’t help my case).

    I spent the better part of my college years raiding 20-30 hours a week and I absolutely ADORED my raid leader and everything he did for us. It really does take a phenomenal amount of management skills to herd the egotistical cats that are hardcore WoW raiders. Unfortunately, most people don’t know this, and video games still have a rather negative stigma attached to them. I’d argue that the stigma is unfair– captaining an intramural volleyball team seems to be legitimate leadership in the eyes of employers, but leading hardcore progression raids? Loser.

    Reply
    1. Observer

      It really does take a phenomenal amount of management skills to herd the egotistical cats that are hardcore WoW raiders.
      ==============================================================================

      I think that if you look at this sentence a second time, you’ll see where a lot of that stigma comes from, and why it’s not that unfair. It’s not just that you, a gamer, characterize gamers that way. But you see that as normal, even ok, even if a pain to deal with.

      It’s not hard to see why an employer would not be impressed by someone who sees the world that way.

      Reply
      1. Abby

        I’m not sure I see your point, or if you’re taking a jab at me as a gamer.

        The negative stigma I was alluding to is the stereotype that gamers are non-productive members of society who bum around in their parents’ basements doing nothing but farming level 5 treant seedlings in the Forest of Doom, with no translatable skills, not that they are egotistical.

        My comment regarding ego was actually meant to highlight the fact that managing a raid is extremely difficult when you’re dealing with people who must work as a team, but are not actually good team players (e.g. those who will stop at nothing to top DPS/healing charts)– not unlike a workplace. Being able to get those personalities to work together and achieve something is a testament to leadership skills.

        Reply
    2. Rafflesia Reaper

      I’m a static leader in FFXIV and yeah, the folks I’ve raided with who came from WoW, well… egotistical cats is the right word for it.

      That said, running a raid group is an amazing sandbox for leadership skills.

      Reply
  65. Mrs. Fenris

    It’s really too bad things like this are not resume-friendly! My husband was a Very Big Deal on Throne Wars, and is now a Pretty Big Deal on another strategy game. (His username is Fenris, and he occasionally tells people “gotta go, Mrs. Fenris wants my attention for awhile”…hence my AAM name). He really does have some major experience motivating a group, looking out for others’ strengths, and keeping a goal in mind…it’s very similar to his real life mangement skills.

    Reply
    1. LW

      Ha, this is very common in my guild! We’ve been interrupted and cheered by “Mr. Eyrell” (the husband of one of our main tanks), and the kid, Eyrelett.

      Reply
  66. Fafaflunkie

    I couldn’t help but chuckle about Alison’s response about using her skills from playing Frogger as a kid from the 80s. As a kid from the 80s myself, I wonder if I could leverage my skills playing Donkey Kong to impress potential employers? Seriously, I don’t think that’s going to fly.

    Reply
    1. GermanGirl

      Yeah, but the difference between “I played Frogger every day for five years.” and “I’ve been a successful raid leader in WoW for five years while successfully navigating highschool and university.” is about as high as the difference between “I went to primary school” and “I was both trainer and manager for my college soccer team.” At least the way college sports work over here, which doesn’t involve a lot of fundraising or budgeting or scholarships but does involve a lot of organizing and motivating.

      Reply
    2. Cherith Ponsonby

      I have 25+ years’ experience in a fast-paced environment, making time-sensitive decisions on how to best orient and position resources to take full advantage of their individual characteristics while always remaining sensitive to the bigger picture!

      That is, I’m really good at Tetris.

      Reply
  67. Argh!

    Hobby or volunteer work have to be really close to the nature of the job for me to consider them relevant. I mentioned using photoshop for volunteer work in the interview for my current job (not the resume) because it was a job skill my employer was interested in. It wasn’t essential to my job, so my level of activity fit the bill. I have also been a moderator for a message board. It was tricky work because we got trolled a lot, and I worked with a team of mods. Nobody at my job knows about this! Just totally not necessary for the job and not really their business how I spent my free time.

    Reply
  68. Nathaniel

    I propose a simple experiment. Make two resumes – one with WOW achievements and one without. Let’s see what happens.

    Reply
  69. kfkfa

    This is a pretty interesting issue to read about!

    I actually had a similar concern about some outside-of-work experience I mentioned in an interview. The interviewers asked me about my experience with anti-racism organizing and engagement with communities of color (it was a job for a progressive org) & I honestly didn’t really have any professional experience I could mention because my only organizing experience was in an extremely white area.

    Instead, I mentioned a community Facebook group I run that has been really active in advocating for anti-racism issues in progressive circles. As soon as I brought it up, I felt like maybe it was inappropriate or came off as unprofessional – even though in that case, the skills are definitely directly transferable and online organizing work was very relevant to the job. But I was worried “I admin a FB group” could come off as a little trivial. What do you think?

    Reply
    1. GermanGirl

      Well, better than coming up empty I’d say.
      Maybe preface it with “I grew up in a very white area so I don’t have any real life experience but I run an anti discrimination facebook group. Would you like me to answer your question in that context?”

      Reply
      1. kfkfa

        That is kind of what I did! The thing is, I do actually have a decent amount of experience with anti-racism advocacy outside of my career (I’m not white myself & have done community/volunteer work around anti-racism) – it just happened that when I was working as a professional organizer, I was in a 97% white county in a very white state, and they were asking specifically about organizing w/ communities of color at that job. I did preface my answer by saying that when I was working on the campaign, I was in a really white area.

        Reply
    2. mrs__peel

      I don’t think it’s inappropriate at all– lots of political organizing these days is done via social media! That seems to be the main way that younger people get involved.

      Pretty much every non-profit that organizes events these days has a social media presence. Even if the job they’re hiring for isn’t social media management per se, they probably expect employees to have at least some familiarity.

      Reply
  70. Rebecca Richards

    As someone who actually works in the gaming field, this should never be in your resume. Ever. Even if you apply to work at Blizzard!

    It’s something you might bring up in a job interview if they ask about your hobbies or something. If you actually were applying to a gaming company, this *could* be something to reference in your cover letter but only if it’s for a position that requires familiarity with MMOs (or you’re applying to Blizzard in which case they’d want to know you’re really into their product.)

    Reply
  71. AB

    I worked in the games industry. When we were hiring placement students (university students on some course work in industry for a year as part of their degree) we had a few people use WoW guild leader experience for examples of working as a team, or leading people. The interviewers all love games and play WoW but it still didn’t go down well, because the interviewers have jobs and realise that work is different, you look out of touch for not realising that too,

    If you don’t have work experience then use examples from Uni/College where you have collaborated with people to meet deadlines etc.

    Reply
  72. Redundant Department of Redundancy

    For my first ‘real’ (aka outside of temping) job I put my MMORPG experience on my CV. I was a guild leader but also a ‘GS’ who helped out players (and got paid in game currency).

    When putting it on my CV I put it in with my other volunteer work, and changed the language so a none gamer could get it. ie a Volunteer admin for an online community. The job was for an IT company, and in the interview I was asked about it and we chatted about games for a while.

    Important to note that I took it off my CV after that job, as it was essentially a ‘filler’ bit. I think if you have paid work/other volunteer stuff then that should take priority.

    Reply
  73. Kellecky

    I would actually disagree with the advice of Alison to a certain extent.
    As a video gamer, I do believe that there are hugely transferable skills that should be on a CV. However, I think that the way you phrase it makes a huge difference. You could be really cheeky and replace WoW with say ‘painballing’ or if you wanted to keep it nerdy (because you work in a digital industry or gaming related industry) perhaps say LARP or MMORPG. It’s all about phrasing. Think about it generically. You could say you are the leader for a team based activity where you lead a group of 10-15 people in a weekly activity for a common goal. Honestly, I think if you are able to replace WoW with something less nerdy you’ll be alright. I mean it’s no different than paintball or football other than it’s an online activity; It still requires skill, dedication and coordination.

    Reply
    1. Argh!

      No offense, but the point of view of a hiring manager is more relevant. It may be true that you gain important skills through a hobby, but hobbies in general don’t belong on a resume or c.v. unless there’s a more direct correlation to the job at hand. For example, if you are applying to be a receptionist and have volunteered as a receptionist at the local shelter, that would be relevant.

      Reply
    2. Shadow

      Ha . I think I’ll try to use my awesome transferable Monopoly skills to find a job as a commercial real estate broker.

      Reply
    3. Rebecca Richards

      As a person that works *in* the gaming industry *and* a gamer… no. None of this.

      You wouldn’t put paintball or football on a resume either. It’s interview filler (what are your hobbies?), it’s not job skills. You wouldn’t tell the interviewer how awesome your football team is.

      MAYBE if you were applying to Blizzard themselves for a community management position on WoW and they wanted to know how familiar you were with the game. But that’s it.

      Reply
  74. DG

    If LW had run a large guild, for quite a while, it would be a reasonable accomplishment. Managing guild activities, and, well, keeping guilds from self-destructing because of awful gamer politics and awful gamer drama, is actually a pretty big deal. I *probably* wouldn’t want to see it on a resume, but it’s something that would be worth bringing up in an interview if asked about hobbies or non-professional management experience.

    However, leading a 10-15 person raid twice a week is not on the same level as running a major guild. I don’t think I’d give it any consideration when evaluating somebody’s management skills. It proves that LW isn’t deficient in communication or organizational skills, but that should be evident by the time they get to the interview anyway.

    Reply
  75. Cactus

    Ex-WoW guild/raid leader here! Yes, leading an intensive guild and raid schedule definitely gave me skills that I’ve transferred into my profession. Heck no, I’d never put it on my resume. I agree with AAM that it would look out of touch.

    Reply
  76. boop the first

    This is probably right up there with new mothers and “managing” a household. It may be TRUE that life requires and practices relevant skills, but it would be weird to accept this one minute and then condemn “my kids have 800 extra-curriculars therefore I am _______” the next.

    Reply
  77. Chris

    I too gained a lot of management skills from running a guild and running raids (but back then it was Ultima Online). Sadly you should not ever mention gaming in either a resume or an interview. I say this because let’s say the hiring manager knows exactly what you’re talking about: Guess what! They also know how time consuming it is AND that it could interfere with your work life (late night raids, playing will “working from home”, etc.) You simply leverage those skills when you get the job that is now benefiting from what you learned from the game. It’s interesting to me in that when I finally started leveraging my skills “in real life (aka a job)” I lost interest in leadership in my games (DAOC, WOW, etc.). Thankfully I’m done with the grind of mmorpgs, but the memories of truly great leadership will never die.

    Reply
    1. Cactus

      Yes! I too lost interest in leading a guild and raids once I started my profession and started leading people. I used to exclusively tank and now I only play background DPS/support classes. Don’t need that responsibility anymore. :p

      Reply
  78. It's A Wedding, Not a Project

    Lol! I’ve been planning my wedding for almost a year, and I’ve “managed contracts, facilitated meetings, managed budget, kept detailed spreadsheets, etc etc”. But I am not going to put that on a resume and say that I project managed my own wedding. It just seems silly, childish, and out of touch with professional norms.

    Reply
  79. Green

    How about this: leave it off the resume, but in the interview, once you’ve established rapport and if the interviewer has said they’re into gaming as well, you could bring it up then — once you know that your audience is someone who’ll understand the skills required to do what you’re describing.

    Reply
  80. Wintermute

    From a fellow former raid leader, I think that the SKILLS can be transferable, and you can absolutely dress up some anecdotes in some neutral language when asked “tell me about a time” questions.

    Something like “well I’m part of a hobby club and one of our members was having trouble meeting their obligations to the group, so I scheduled some time to talk to them in private and I brought some evidence of the problem that we’d gathered, I asked them about what was going on and I found out that they were having some personal issues with their equipment and finances that made it difficult for them to contribute like we expected them to, so after a brief conversation we decided they’d step down into a less demanding role and continue to be an active member, I felt really good about the conversation and they did too, they’d thought there was a problem for a while and were worried we would be mad.”

    No one has to know the hobby club is a heroic raid team, the obligation they were having trouble meeting was not eating knockback blasts to the face on Lich King phase 2 or the fact their DPS is sucking lemons on Sisters of the Moon and they need to figure the fight out better, the personal issues they were having was their computer’s old graphics card couldn’t handle the particle effects and they couldn’t afford a new one, or that the less demanding role you stuck them in was leading alt farm nights. the point is the conversation, how you handled conflict, etc.

    I’ve absolutely taken things from management training and applied them to the guild, and vice versa, and I think the guild is better for it. I’m just a raider now, haven’t lead in a while (cue the “back in my day! raids were 14 hours long, uphill, both ways, and you needed out-of-combat rezzers, and people with waterlords reputation!”) but I lead raids through Wrath of the Lich King and I did learn a lot about leadership… but games are also very short-term, you have one goal and few competing priorities, you have set roles and while you might have to do some coaching or leadership, as well as have a keen eye for encounter mechanics, it’s not such a relevant thing I’d make a bit deal of it.

    I wouldn’t list it on my resume but if I have some great examples I’d absolutely use those!.

    -For the Horde!

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  81. Little Blue Bard Runs Fast

    Never put it on a resume Game Name Here Guild/Raid Leader. No, no, no!

    While I have talked about video games at job interviews. Only because it’s a good example of the fast way I can learn to use new computer programs and ability to use several programs at once. because I needed an example of that and basic tech abilities.

    I only know of one person that ever mentioned their EQ Guild Leader status at an interview. It was near the end and very minor mention. Most of us had ADD and she had learned a lot about it and how we did in school that she was able to apply it to her teaching. Thus explaining just a tad about it was a good thing for the very specific point.

    With all that said, it is an extremely situational thing. because if you do get a gamer interviewer they will know how to look you up. They will find all your deep and dark internet doings and they will see peoples reactions to you. You do not ever want to give out any identifying info for bosses or coworkers to find you online. why the hell people use their real names online will never not bother me. XD

    EQ was the game of the devil long before Wow. But this Little Blue Bard is all for the Hoard. >^..^<

    Reply
  82. Xie

    I work in the gaming industry and have seen a fair amount of resumes that have this kind of information on there. I’m not sure if you’re specifically applying to this industry, but I would agree that you shouldn’t use it on a resume in a completely unrelated industry.

    If you are looking to work in the gaming industry, my recommendation would be to absolutely make sure that your previous work and experience takes the majority of your resume, as normal. Any mention of raiding with a group or running a guild should be an aside way at the bottom of your resume, in a single sentence or two. I would also recommend make sure to write about it in a thoughtful way, as you’ve mentioned above. Comments such as “Three level capped characters” (though I know that’s a bit moot for WoW) or “600+ hours total game time” will not help.

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