World of Warcraft on a resume

A recent article on caught my eye: would you list [World of Warcraft] experience on your resume? Previous musings on the subject and the recent hullabaloo on RealID have pushed some introspection on the subject in my head, and the article reminded me of it.

Silmarien after learning she got the job

Silmarien after learning she got the job

Playing in a social capacity in World of Warcraft entails talking to people, managing people, and organizing people. Oh, you can play without ever talking to other people, but a good number of people also employ quite a number of interesting skills while in-game:

  1. The ability to manage people’s expectations–and, well, people–in a raid group
  2. The ability to analyze a fight to pick out what went wrong and how to improve on execution
  3. The ability to successfully mediate between people regarding all kinds of issues
  4. The ability to “sell” a guild’s reputation and “brand”

Those are only a few of the things that people pick up as they progress into the game. You have people developing and practicing everything from leadership skills, marketing and brand management, team buildup, analysis, financial acumen…you name it, somewhere in the world (…of Warcraft) a player will probably be enhancing his skills on a certain work-related (or work-enhancing) skill.

The ongoing stigma

In a lot of industries and communities, being a gamer has a lot of negative connotations: this is one of the reasons why there was strong resistance to Blizzard’s initial RealID designs that required you to reveal your real full name on forum posts.

WoW players are seen as losers and no-lifers; people who sit in front of the computer and eat chips scattered all over the keyboard; people who scream, swear and throw tantrums at every little thing (link NSFW due to language); people who stay up all night and show up half-asleep and zombied out at work. With a lot of people, it won’t matter if you look very dapper in a coat and tie, that you graduated top of your class: you just get crossed out because you’re a wildcard. “Ha ha, he plays WoW, must be a loser.” *toss*

And that’s a shame. Oh, there must be “losers” in WoW, there are plenty of those in my humble reckoning. But there are losers everywhere. Some guy might play tennis but he parties all night and subsequently always shows up half-asleep and zombied out. Some guy might be your average joe, but he sits on the couch five hours a night and fifteen hours on weekends and eat chips all day. You don’t scoop out the crud by ignoring WoW players: you just might be passing up on someone who applies himself really well to the job.

Not all hope is lost

I remember this one time (no, not at band camp) when a colleague and I had to interview a couple people for an opening at our company. We went through the short stack of resumes as we went along, and came across this one resume which boldly announced “World of Warcraft Guild Master” in his extra-curricular activities, along with guild size, responsibilities taken, and improvements done (like, “raised guild recruitment levels up 15%”, how cool is that?).

My friend and I both play WoW and, of course, mentioned it in the interview. Cue ten-minute animated discussion about his guild and how being a guild master was like (and possibly, uh, other things too).

You know what? We were able to shortlist only two from over a dozen resumes given to us. He was part of that short list. He was conversant, alert, he knew his languages, and his experience was solid. We could see he didn’t take himself too seriously, that he knew how to work hard and stick to his guns while not turning into a monster in the process.

So, would I?

I’ve already mentioned World of Warcraft in my resume, but honestly have not thought of expanding that to include actual activities within WoW: space is at a premium and I already have it relatively full. Maybe if I ever am foolish enough to start my own guild and stubborn enough to stick with it ;)

Its inclusion was a very deliberate action on my part, however: I don’t want to be in a company that would look down on me because I choose to kill Internet dragons with friends.