As a new blogger I’m learning that coming up with things to write about that haven’t already been well covered in the extensive WoW fan universe is really difficult. It’s a “Simpon’s Already Did It” situation. Whether or not to put WoW experience on your resume is no exception — most recently I heard it discussed on The Instance Podcast in response to a listener question. But usually the discussions focus on guild leadership skills. The podcast made me wonder if gold earning skills deserve at least the same level of consideration in this regard.
Forget the resume for a moment.
Do we gain skills or experience gold earning that could make us more effective in an actual job? In some very niche cases we do for sure — if you modify or write addons for gold earning and want a job as a lua programmer for example. I’m a bit more skeptical about specific marketing or sales skills however. The way most gold earners sell in WoW, using the auction house, does not require the same sensibilities that real life sales jobs require. We do perform market/product evaluations and set prices, but we don’t have to deal with distribution issues or promotion in the same way you do outside the game.
One exception to this might be if you sell items using the trade channel. If you are persistent and participate in many conversations with “random people” over a long period you will likely learn how to steer a nibble PST conversation into a sale. It’s hard to learn — my guess is that most people that aren’t born sales people don’t sell this way in WoW. I generally don’t.
Outside of these specifics, I do think by undertaking serious, goal oriented gold earning you quickly internalize some general market principles that, if recognized, considered and applied, could aid decision making in a real world situation. For example, you learn the factors to consider in make/buy decisions. These general principles would likely be best utilized in a real entrepreneurial endeavor as opposed to the more typical situation of working “for the man.” Play WoW — start a business!
So back to the resume.
Suppose you have learned something while gold earning that would make you better at a job you are applying for. Should you mention WoW, and if so, how? The general consensus seems to be that this is difficult and you should proceed carefully. The biggest barrier is that many or most of the people you need to communicate with will not have a clue about WoW or MMOs in general. Also gaming and gamers can have a negative reputation with some as violent (at worst), addictive, and worthless (at best).
But don’t forget that putting something on your resume is not the only way to “take credit” for knowledge or experience during the job evaluation process. Cover letters (which I believe should be one page only please) offer more flexibility. Usually interviews contain some question about how you spend your leisure time, you can craft a verbal answer to fit there. You can also talk about your professional values, decision making process, market philosophy and other general knowledge without mentioning WoW. If they ask you how you developed your philosophy, then you have an opening to discuss it more specifically.
Try this — imagine how you would tell your mother, or her mother, about this skill and why it would make you better at the job in question. Assuming your mother isn’t a gamer, If you can effectively convey the skill and its connection to the job to her, then that method of communication is probably safe to use in a job evaluation process.
One final thought — It’s hard to find a job, believe me, I know. Sometimes we just need one and we can’t afford to be too terribly picky about it. But in an ideal world, would you want to work for someone or someplace where you couldn’t discuss your WoW experience? Even though you apply for jobs and they make offers, don’t forget that you should evaluate the opportunity as carefully as they evaluate you. Maybe mentioning your gold earning experience in WoW is a good way to test if this is the right job for you.