Stories of gamers “going pro” and retiring in their 20’s or pulling in $500,000 a month income are popular headline makers and fodder for social media legend, but let’s be honest, these are atypical examples of careers in eSports. As eSports grows and prepares to become a billion-dollar industry, we are seeing a commiserate rise in demand for support positions, new opportunities in design and development, and openings for jobs that are very specific to eSports such as “On-air/Shoutcaster” or “eSports Team Manager”. You definitely don’t have to be in your teens or twenties to consider eSports as a viable career option and you also don’t have to be a full-time, sponsored gamer. Read on to see how you can build your own career path in the growing eSports industry.Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats well before reaching out to prospective hiring managers puts you at a great advantage to fix problems and distinguish yourself from your peers... Click To Tweet
Start with a personal SWOT analysis
If you’ve taken any business course, ever, you’ll be familiar with this acronym. As a refresher SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis is typically applied to business organizations to root out problems prohibiting progress and to capitalize on opportunities to bolster success. When researching your prospects for a new career, it can be quite helpful to view yourself as a business entity. Yes, you are a living, breathing human with thoughts, feelings, and ambitions, however, when a company is considering you for hire, that company views you as an investment. By applying a personal SWOT analysis to your character, resume and current skills you’re simply conducting a similar evaluation to that which will be conducted by potential employers. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats well before reaching out to prospective hiring managers puts you at a great advantage to fix problems and distinguish yourself from your peers. Visit this helpful link from Mind Tools to learn how to conduct a personal SWOT analysis.
Survey the eSports jobs landscape
Now that you have your SWOT analysis in hand, start looking at the available jobs in eSports to see if you already have the skills being sought in the industry. One of the largest job boards for eSports is HitmakerJobs.com. Just scrolling through the listings provides a good overview of positions being filled by some of the biggest names in electronic gaming. Drawing from the data on their job board, HitmakerJobs.com published statistics from the first half of 2018 that job seekers might find useful as they start on their eSports career path:
- The top hiring companies include Blizzard, Ativision, Skillz, Riot and Amazon
- The top hiring markets are the US at nearly 46% followed next by remote (contract) hires at almost 29%
- In the US, the top 3 states for jobs in eSports are California, Washington and New York
- And the top 5 hiring sectors are: management, marketing, software engineering, content creation, and social media
Other places to look through job postings include: LinkedIn, Indeed, Upwork or even Reddit. In addition to online job listings add trade publications, gaming tournaments, and industry tradeshows to fully flesh out your research.
If after reviewing job listings you discover you don’t have any skills that are currently being sought by employers; seek out internships or even consider temporary volunteer work to gain needed experience. Referring back to the HitmakerJobs.com statistics, just over 19% of contract positions were filled by volunteers, with internships accounting for 5.36% of contracts.
Start reaching out
At this point you are armed with enough information to pierce the eSports industry veil to begin making contact with principles in the industry. Before you jump in, follow these nuggets of wisdom:
- Have your elevator pitch ready.
Remember your strengths that you discovered from your SWOT analysis? Take them and construct a 2-3 sentence introduction that describes why an employer would be lucky to have you. Here’s an example:
The elevator pitch gets its name from being brief, memorable, and something you could get out while travelling between 1 or 2 floors on an elevator. Use your pitch in your resume, in cold emails, when messaging prospects, and of course, when making real life introductions. Remember to mention the exact skills you have that match what the prospective employer is looking for.
- Start pinging 3-5 people per day. As with any other industry, sometimes it’s not all about what you know, but who you know. Networking early in your job search will allow you to make valuable connections that could just be the difference between getting a ‘no’ or a ‘yes’ on your next job application. When making connections, use resources like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to contact principles and find out if the companies you’d like to work for have job boards or job fairs. Also make sure you find out if your target company has multiple offices – more offices means more potential open positions.
- Apply, apply, apply. The worse anyone can do is tell you “no”. eSports is on track to be a $1.5 billion industry by 2020, somewhere there is space for you in this upwardly trending market. You have to be determined, diligent, and properly armed with a skill set being sought in eSports to secure your career.
And one more thing…
Even though it’s true, you don’t have to be a pro gamer to work in eSports, please understand that you do have to know the product. If you’ve never played a Blizzard game, and you have no plans to, don’t apply to Blizzard. For obvious reasons, a company likes to know that a potential employee is familiar with its products.
Study well Jedi and remember it’s eSports which is literally a competitive tournament industry. Put your game face on and go get ‘em. You’re in it to win!