How to develop skills employers want
Esports and gaming are highly competitive industries. The barrier for entry is high, and it can seem daunting coming straight out of education or other employment.
There’s a chance the roles you’re applying to have over a hundred other applicants, especially in entry level openings. This means you need to catch the eye of whoever is reading your application. The best way to do this? By developing skills the employer wants to see.
We’ve seen hundreds of applications, and the most impressive have a tailored set of skills that the company is looking for.
Before you get to be able to do that though, you need to put the time in to develop them. So how exactly can you do that? Well, in this article we’ll be tackling the best ways to level up your professional skills, and what you should and shouldn’t include in your resume.
Identifying the core skills needed in your line of work
What kind of skills should you be looking to highlight in esports and gaming? Well, this depends on the role you’re applying for!
Carefully reading the job description of your dream role, even if it’s too senior for you right now, is a great way of finding out what companies value in those positions.
If you want to be a marketing manager at an esports organization, take the time to see what companies typically look for in marketing manager vacancies. We’re talking going into job descriptions with that exact title, and looking at what skills the company asks for. Once you’ve found that, you’ve essentially got a blueprint for how to become the perfect candidate.
Skills in job descriptions are often split into categories: required and preferable.
Required skills are what you want to focus on. These are the must-haves that you’ll struggle to land a similar position without.
Preferable skills are the bonuses; additional weapons in your arsenal that are great to build so that you stand out, but hold less weight than the required skills.
We want to take a minute to mention there are some skills that you should never include on your resume. Having ‘passion’ for esports or gaming isn’t a skill, nor is it something that will set you apart in an application. This is a passionate industry; you’re listing what everyone has!
Proficiency in Word or Google Docs is another one to stay away from. You can certainly find better skills to shout about than that (which we’ll help you do), and it may cause a hiring manager to think you haven’t got enough skills to fill a resume.
Instead, you want to showcase how you can add value to the company, as well as how you can excel in the specific role.
With all that said, where do you get the skills you need to succeed?
There are several great options you can use to grow your skill set regardless of your circumstances.
Free online courses
Sites like Coursera offer free courses in business skills that can set you apart from the competition — especially in junior level jobs.
If you’re looking to learn a specific online tool or piece of software, often these platforms will have their own free tutorial courses (such as the ones available on Google Digital Garage in fields such as digital marketing, organizational design, and machine learning).
It is always worth checking places like YouTube for guides as well, since software will often have video tutorials available for it. But make sure it is an up to date video, so you’re not learning about how the software worked in 2017!
Paid online courses
If you have some money to invest in your professional development, and are looking for more in depth—or tailored—guidance, then a paid online course may be what you need!
Some providers, including universities, offer courses taught by expert instructors, which you can use to build your resume further. Other options include Skillshare, a partner of ours, which runs on a monthly subscription that gives you access to thousands of courses covering everything from Adobe Premier to interpersonal skills. You can make use of a 1-month free trial by signing up with our link. Skillshare's courses genuinely cover everything you could wish to know, so it's worth checking out!
Working on personal projects
Working on your own projects can set you up strongly for the job hunt. This could be a YouTube channel or a blog you run, where you develop your professional skills further.
Not only does practice make perfect, but it also creates a portfolio that you can use to backup your resume.
This is especially important in creative applications, but even for roles like marketing or social media, having examples of your work could be the thing that sets you apart.
A few examples of what this might look like for you are:
Video editors: A public YouTube channel featuring compilations from games or other productions that show off your skills.
Social media managers: A social media page where you collate the latest news, memes, rumors or anything else that can be used to flex your knowledge of the main platforms.
Data analysts: Reports or trends that you’ve picked up on and analyzed presented in a public domain, or behind a private link that you include in applications.
Internships are an excellent way of learning new skills in a professional setting, especially with a reputable and well-known organisation.
Only take an internship if you can afford to work for what they’re offering (unpaid or otherwise), and make sure you’re getting as much as you’re giving in the role.
Internships can be especially viable and productive for students over summer. They're competitive to land, so check out our advice on writing a cover letter tailored to internships so that you have the best chance. They can even lead to full time job offers at the end of the placement, so ensure you’re working with your school (if applicable) to keep your ears open for such opportunities!
If you’re struggling to find opportunities to gain experience and skills, networking and asking around within circles you know can help find you opportunities.
There are many Discord servers in the gaming and esports industry with supportive communities that can help you grow as a professional — we even have one! With a vibrant community of over 4,000 people, the Hitmarker Discord server is a great place to network and meet like-minded people.
If you’re in education, speaking to a career guidance counselor or someone in a similar position at your college or university can open new opportunities for growth. They might know of local companies that can help you develop as a professional.
We go into more depth about networking in this day and age in our 'networking in video games and esports' article.
There are a lot of options to buff up your resume’s skills section, and it’s all about choosing the one that’s right for you.
Ultimately, obtaining new skills and presenting them effectively in your application will go a long way in setting you apart from the competition and landing that dream role.
While you’ll need more than just the raw skills, having the ones a hiring company wants is a key part of success!
Good luck out there,
The Hitmarker Team