Finding a Job in Esports - Video Games & Career Paths
Finding a Job in Esports - Video Games & Career Paths
We are writing this to tell you that it is okay to chase your dreams, it is okay to be crazy, and it is okay to think that video games & esports offer legitimate career paths - because they do. Here is how.
Note: The Oxford Dictionary defines esports as “a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.”
The Current Problem with Esports and Why We Write This
A mere 13% of the U.S. workforce feel passionate about their jobs, and according to a recent Gallup survey, 85% of the world's full-time workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their jobs.
These statistics hit hard. Why is it that so many people find themselves in jobs that they don't love, at companies they don't believe in, in industries that they are not passionate about?
We asked ourselves these questions over and over again and came to the only logical explanation: people lack the support and guidance to help them find a foothold in their dream industry.
In this blog post, we want to clear up several misconceptions about how to enter a new and booming industry such as esports with or without previous experience in a related field.
Let us take you on a journey that not only explores an exciting new world of jobs but one that also encourages you to take a leap, to chase your dreams, and to be yourself in a job that you are passionate about.
The Esports Industry
Here at ReKTGlobal, we are passionate about gaming and esports. That is why we created a job board dedicated to the esports & gaming industry. Early on we recognized that what this industry needed was a platform where organizations of all sizes could attract endemic talent, and job seekers had a place to check-up on the most recent opportunities near them.
According to Newzoo, there were more than 2.2 billion gamers in the world in 2017, fuelling an industry that is expected to make over $140 billion in revenues by 2020 – for the first time overtaking the global sports industry. And while esports (competitive gaming) is “only” predicted to reach revenues of $1.5 billion in 2020, it is the hottest and fastest growing niche of the gaming industry.
Non-endemic brands are jumping on the esports hype train en masse from FC Bayern Munich to Mercedes, BMW, Coca-Cola, RedBull and even the Formula F1 – nobody wants to miss out on this unique opportunity to connect with the most difficult to reach demographic of millennials.
And while esports has been a niche industry for a couple of decades now it only came to be a legitimate career path over the last 10 years. It is an industry led by Generation Y (Millennials) alongside a few esports veterans from Generation X.
Therefore, it is not uncommon to find yourself working with CEOs, and General Managers in their mid-twenties and in organizations where working remotely may not only be an option but a requirement.
But don’t be fooled into thinking esports Is just about bootstrapped start-ups and young people playing video games. You will find large and established esports organizations with several offices around the world just the same. Esports is booming, and esports is diverse.
How To Get Into Esports
On our Twitter, we constantly get asked “How can I find a job in esports?”, and the answer is that it’s not all that different from finding a job in any other industry. For 90% of the positions out there experience trumps professional degrees. “But what if I am just out of college and/or don’t have any experience in this field at all?”
If you don’t have any experience, then your best course of action is to stay in your current job or apply for a traditional job that can keep you above water. Once you can pay the bills, spend every waking minute of your spare time on esports.
Write articles in the evening and publish them on your blog, create audio podcasts on your way to work, voluntarily manage the social accounts of an up-and-coming esports team, or hit up event organizers such as the Esports Arena to volunteer as Event Staff. This will help the organizations to grow and give you the opportunity to gain some much-needed experience in the industry.
At this point, we would also like to clear up some misconceptions about what qualifies people to get a job in esports. A job in esports is still a job, and jobs come with requirements, deadlines, responsibilities, and hours upon hours of work.
Just because someone watches every match of the LCS or reaches 4000SR in Overwatch doesn’t mean that they are more qualified for a specific job than a casual gamer or anyone else.
Yes, you might bring more in-depth gaming and community experience to the table, but what’s more important is that you can bring the right skills, knowledge, time, and dedication to an esports job – maybe even more so than with other jobs.
Now that you know the basics of how the industry works let’s dive a bit into the details of how you should go about finding a job in your field of expertise. Our data tells us that the most sought-after jobs in esports are in Writing/Journalism, Graphic Design, Event Management, Social Media Management, and General Management of Teams/Players. Here are some ideas on how you can get started in some of these positions:
If you can’t get enough of League of Legends, know all the match-ups and scores of the past major Overwatch tournaments, or simply love going over the latest team news – but you lack the experience to apply for a full-time position: start searching for volunteer gigs.
For content creators, it’s important to just get out there. Create yourself a blog page and start writing short/mid/long-form copy. Record yourself and share your audio esports podcast with the world. This way you have something to show for when you do apply for a paid position in this field.
For Designers, maybe even more so than for Writers, it is incredibly important to have a portfolio to show your skills. You don’t have any volunteer or paid gigs lined-up? Create a couple of social media revamps for players and/or teams and @ them (make sure you watermark your designs so they can’t just be copied).
If you’re lucky this can land you a position with one of the most prestigious organizations in the scene. Otherwise, it will still add to your continuously growing portfolio which will become your most important resource when you apply for full-time positions.
Keep your eyes open on social media, especially Instagram and Twitter, so you don’t miss any contests or community-driven design challenges (this happens more often than you think!).
Did you study event management? Great, but have you run your own booth/stall at a sizeable event? Have you recently been to a live tournament?
In the best-case scenario, you can answer all of these with a strong Yes! but we know that this is not always the case. If you get to the interview and are being asked “You have no event management degree & have never run an event or booth yourself, why should we hire you?” imagine the looks on the recruiters faces when you tell them that you’ve been to the last dozen big esports events in the country and have analysed the most common mistakes that companies and brands make.
Be creative, spend your time wisely (you can’t be everywhere), and know your strengths. This is just one example of how you can go from “I have no experience” to “I have the type of knowledge, experience, and dedication that you are looking for”.
A tip: many events offer volunteer opportunities for fans to help them run a smooth show. Keep your eyes peeled on social media for related posts! Here is an example.
Social Media Managers
Every team - no matter how small or large, no matter how successful - needs to have a strong presence on social media. The reason being that sponsorships and partnered content are often the single biggest revenue streams for esports teams.
Thus, you will often find organizations looking for dedicated, witty, and professional social media managers who can boost the organization’s social performance and connect on the right level with the right audiences. You will have the best chances to land the job if you have previously been part of a community because you will be more likely to know what works and what engages fans the most.
Comcast & Philadelphia Fusion, for example, hired a “Meme Specialist” not too long ago. Yes, memes. You don’t learn about that in college or university. This is what you learn when you spend time on Discord servers, browse gaming subreddits, and play the games.
This should give you an idea of how the esports job market works, what’s most popular, and how you can get started. If your dream job is not listed above, don’t worry. The esports job market is evolving much faster than we can type.
We have seen job posts for esports make-up artists, personal fitness trainers & physiotherapists, mental fitness coaches, nutritionists, legal counsel, biz dev & sales, broadcasting & live production, tournament referees, chefs & kitchen staff, UI & UX developers, and many more.
“That’s great, but I live in the middle of nowhere, I’ll never find a job in esports!” This might have been true 10 years ago, but now you qualify for an esports job pretty much as long as you have a stable internet connection.
Almost a third of the jobs and volunteer opportunities that we see are remote/work-from-home positions. There have also been more and more full-time positions popping up around the world from Sweden to Germany, France, the UK, Turkey, Russia, Indonesia, Australia, Korea, China, Japan, India, and more.
Not every type of job may be available near you, but if you want to keep up with the latest opportunities in the scene, you know where to look.
Resume Tips for Esports Industry
- Focus on your achievements rather than your responsibilities. Tell the recruiter about how you had an impact in your last job, and how that relates to the role you are applying for.
- Make sure your social handles reflect your professional interests in the industry. Yes, gamers can be geeky and esports is no different. And you will find many of the pro players, casters & commentators, and even CEOs use their in-game names as their social handles. However, make sure that your social handles and your email address are media friendly.
- Thoroughly read the application requirements! This one is really important in the industry. Some companies put a big focus on hiring gamers and people who have spent time in the communities that they want to manage.
- You might find that these companies ask you to show your “Gamer CV” or your “Gaming History”. This is your time to shine. Don’t write a 2-pager about how you led all of your World of Warcraft raids but instead show in which games you were active, what rank you reached, which teams you played for and which tournaments you’ve played in. Make it short and sweet and relevant.
Now that you know about esports and that this industry has a lot more to offer than just video games, let’s find you a job in 2 easy steps:
1. Create your own gaming/esports resume & Cover Letter
2. Check what’s available for you and apply on esports job portals.