Careers

Can You Find Your Next Job By Playing Video Games?

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Our world is becoming increasingly digital where all our activities leave a digital trace — a bit like in a video game. Merging our real worlds and video games gives recruiters new opportunities to test someone's skills, recruit, and train new hires through gamification.

In case you're not yet familiar with the term, gamification is the application of game design elements and principles in traditionally non-game contexts. Psychologically, it's been shown to motivate people in ways that traditional tasks do not. People love getting points, going on quests, and leveling up, and these strategies have been applied to everything from wellness and weight loss to recruiting and training.

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Take, for example, the Marriott corporation, which designed an online game in the style of Farmville or The Sims; in it, players are faced with the challenges of running a hotel restaurant — everything from choosing employees to shopping for ingredients and getting meal tickets out to the dining room quickly.

While it may not sound like the next app store blockbuster, the game was designed as an experiment to both try to interest Millennials in a hospitality career, as well as attract candidates through a social gaming platform. In theory, the game could also be used to prequalify candidates who have an aptitude for the skills necessary to run a successful hotel restaurant.

Gametize is a gamification platform that is helping companies quickly and easily gamify recruiting, training, and marketing through a WYSIWYG game-building app. The app allows companies to set up challenges, set the rules, and publish the game quickly and easily. In a YouTube video, Gametize shows how the game can be used to prequalify candidates and create a leaderboard and friendly competition among candidates for a position.

Companies are also using video games and gamification as training portals. Even the U.S. Department of Defense has gotten in on the act, creating virtual games and simulations to train employees and candidates for important tasks that would be too difficult or too costly to do in the real world — say, building a spaceship or practicing fraud detection.

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But do video game skills translate to workplace skills?

It may seem silly to some of us to list video game skills on a resume, but it's not totally out of the realm of feasibility. In fact, it's worked in some prominent cases.

The University of Michigan's School of Information hired a director of marketing and communications after she listed her experience leading World of Warcraft campaigns on her resume. As dean Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason told the Wall Street Journal, "I knew that [she] could 'talk geek' and that she would get where many of our students were coming from."

In another widely lauded case, British teen Jann Mardenborough qualified and won a contest to find new race car drivers by playing racing games. The game and contest were designed to uncover new racing talent — and it has, by all accounts, worked brilliantly. Mardenborough is thought to have a promising career ahead of him.

But before you start including your favorite video games on your resume, keep a few things in mind:

  • List your game skills under leisure, hobbies, or volunteer activities — not as direct job experience.
  • Don't assume that a recruiter or hiring manager will be familiar with the game in question. Give enough details so that they can understand the relevancy.
  • Explain clearly how your game skills will translate into real-world skills; connect the dots for the hiring manager between "leading a campaign" and real leadership skills.
  • Consider the audience. While a technology company or startup might be a good place to show off your gaming skills, a more traditional company or industry might not.

Some hiring managers might be concerned that you'll be playing games all day if you emphasize game skills, so approach including them with caution.

Barnard Marr is a Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Leading Business and Data Expert. His free eBook, "Big Data in Practice," is out now.

This piece originally appeared on LinkedIn.