How Gaming Builds Career-Ready Skills
Gamers have gotten somewhat of a negative reputation over the years. They’re often viewed as “lazy” or unproductive. But, gaming is more than just a relaxing leisurely activity. With over 3 billion gamers across the globe, it’s a hobby that’s hard to ignore. Yet, so many people still don’t fully understand the benefits.
Whether you’re an avid gamer, someone who likes to dabble, or even a “nay-sayer”, it’s important to understand those benefits, especially when it comes to career readiness.
Yes, despite common associations with laziness, gaming can actually build career-ready skills. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to drop all of your career plans for a gaming console. What it does mean, however, is that gaming can build a combination of hard and soft skills that a variety of employers are looking for in a candidate.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are the top skills employers look for when they’re considering applicants. Some of the other most desirable skills include:
Gaming can have a positive influence on all of those skills, but we’ll focus on problem-solving for the time being. On the surface, you might not see how the two relate. However, nearly every video game ever created requires some type of problem-solving to win or achieve certain goals.
Whether it’s an RPG, a puzzle game, or even a multiplayer battle game, players must come up with creative, innovative ways to accomplish things. Video games allow you to learn from your mistakes (even if you have to use “extra lives” to do it), and they encourage you to keep practicing.
If something doesn’t work the first time, you can get creative and try it a different way. Those skills can easily apply in real-world situations. Not only will you feel less discouraged when something doesn’t work out, but you’ll be able to take those “failures” and turn them into something successful through problem-solving and creativity.
One of the most common assumptions about gamers is that most will regularly waste hours each day sitting in front of a screen. However, research has shown the average gamer only plays about seven hours each week — not each day.
If anything, many gamers have wonderful time management and scheduling skills because they play with other people online. Some are on special teams or involved in guilds and groups that “log on” at specific times. It takes a lot of organizational skills and discipline to be in groups like these, but it also builds scheduling skills. If you want to be an active participant, you have to show up on time, set your priorities, and get the job done — no matter what your role is in the group.
Obviously, those are skills that are hugely important in the workplace. People with strong time management skills tend to:
It’s time to get rid of the “lazy gamer” stereotype. Not only can they manage their time well, but they prioritize it in a way that allows them to practice self-care and not let their careers control their lives, too.
As mentioned above, teamwork is also one of the most desirable skills employers look for. Being a team player means more than just going with the flow. It means offering ideas, helping others, and being able to work together toward the same goals.
Seasoned online gamers tend to have incredible social skills and are excellent team players because they offer all of those things. They have to work with their groups to come up with creative solutions and strategies while helping each other along the way.
Even kids are starting to jump into the world of digital socialization through gaming, rather than traditional social media outlets. It provides a virtual connection and teaches them how to work with others without the pressures of “likes” and comments. Don’t be surprised by future generations that have an easier time working with other people than ever.
Because gamers have to interact and work with others, they also become more aware of their strengths and skills. One of the most common interview questions is “tell me about yourself?”.
For some, that can be a hard subject to talk about. But, if you’re an avid gamer you can come up with a customized, unique answer that helps you tell a story about who you are and what you enjoy, while still keeping things professional. You can share the skills you’ve picked up through gaming with your potential employer, and they’re likely to be intrigued by such a unique approach to the question.
Whether you’re looking for a career change, preparing your kids for the future, or simply trying to find ways to build up your resume, don’t be afraid to hone in on the things you’ve learned and developed from your hobby. They could impact your success and career longevity.