Industry Guide: Getting a Job in eSports

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This conversation piece was recommended to us by several readers. Which is understandable as this is a question often asked by the readers of /r/eSports. Our readers asked me several questions within the subject so I’ll break some down and put my two cents.

You’ve probably read my articles floating on writing platforms for GAMURS, Stronghold, NowLoading, GosuGamer or here in our eSportsRDA Blog. For those who don’t know me, I’ll introduce myself in a couple of sentences. I’m a passionate guy who loves eSports. I love operating businesses and I married those two loves by forming my own eSports consultancy. eSportsRDA is my child. Hi.

We’re a small-sized team from all across the eSports landscape. Coaches, analysts, content creators, business devs and marketing gurus, and there's Chris, he's just good at talking.. In general we focus on making eSports a better place. For the fan, for the player, for the back-end industry colleagues. I’ve been doing this on and off for around 5–6 years until 3 year ago, where I’ve been fortunate enough to transition my experiences into a consultancy I could call my own.

Before that I took many odd jobs, working different industries, gaining experience by working with and for industry leaders. So now that you know a little about me I’ll start to talk about the questions sent to me.

Q) “I wanted to ask you some for some advice about getting my foot in the [eSports] door.”

A) I’m starting with this question as it’s very open-ended and open for interpretation. The best and straight-forward answer I could give you is this; Start networking. Meet new people in the industry. The more you introduce yourself, the better your connections will be when you start applying for positions.

It’s never a bad idea to network outside of your circle, even if you’re not necessarily looking for another job. It’s one of those ‘life things’ that people in personal and professional settings practice. For those confused when I say networking I really mean just connecting with new people and creating contacts for the future.

Q2) “How did you know eSports was the right industry for you?”

A) Growing up I would join small teams, running them internally. I was super competitive, a tad bit more committed and organized than my friends. I was an admin for GameBattles, helping them with ladders, disputes, and player support. For those who don’t know GameBattles (now MLG) was the equivalent CEVO/FaceIt/ESEA. At the time I was doing it for free, eSports in my eyes wasn't even a thing. At its infancy during the console days of Gears of War, Call of Duty 4, and Bad Company.

That drive and commitment was something that helped mold the first and only instance I needed that validated my certainty about gaming being a viable career for me.

I continued gaming and stepped it up a level by creating content for Machinima. Doing that for a couple of years I met great folks at Machinima who had the same mentality. Eventually helping them with affiliate scouting and then the rest is history. Those small key moments throughout my early years reassured me that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

Your instance may be similar to mine. You may like the numbers side of things. You may like the mechanical side of things. You may like the business side of things. If you don’t like skateboarding you're not going to just pick up a board and do it. You don’t just enter the eSports industry because it’s there, you enter it because it’s got integral parts that bring out your skill, passion, and altruistic love for it.

Q) “What would you recommend for an entry level position in eSports?”

A) It depends on the sub-field. eSports is growing and you’ll see more diverse outside fields integrated from within. If you’re someone who hasn’t had an official title working within the gaming industry or something of relevant experience I would work on applying for an internship, one of general duties and the easiest to sustain experience in small bursts. I know you’re probably upset about picking up an internship, but I’ll be honest about that further down below. For now I’ll sum it up.

Internships in all industries could lead to a part-time/full-time position. Not only does it give you experience, you meet and work with people within the industry of choice. Skilled and passionate people that can become a contact like I mentioned above. In addition, you fill your resume up that helps a potential employer vet you in for a position. A resume filled with companies of relevant experience and people who could refer you to employers.. Sounds amazing doesn’t it?

In addition you will absolutely come across a job offering that isn't a paid position. Again, depending on the sub-field like an eSports organization, they might be searching for volunteer staff writers, or volunteer social media. It's the nature of our industry for the current time, but it offers you an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional and a person. I started writing roughly 3 years ago for smaller websites.

I helped manage my school newsletter and on-air scripts. I wasn't the best writer then, and that's debatable to this day. However, it was a learning curve, I worked with awesome people, and learned a handful of things that I apply to this day. Ride it out, build your portfolio and build your skills. If you remain committed someone will recognize your talent and your patience.

All the sub-fields, gaming journalism, support staff (analyst, coach, manager), admin or op positions all have the concept.

Q) “How does one start up an eSports company?”

A) Not everyone likes to follow. I wasn’t comfortable working with people who didn’t have the same passion I had, or the same vision I had. It's all personal preference and it has a lot of underlining factors. Do you have a set plan? Do you have people who could help you? Do you have the funds to start up a basic company? What’s your infrastructure looking like? Any proof of concepts? Can you lead a small team of extremely hard working people? If you answer all of these with a simple and understandable answer, then chances are you’re someone who has that entrepreneur-bug and itching to take on a new challenge.

Starting any company is a challenge, but in eSports, it's a field filled with hundreds and hundreds of companies who are competing in a small knit-tight industry. It’s definitely hard so I would recommend joining a company or a brand first, then branching out on your own once you’ve got the capital, experience, and the connections to do so.

Prepare to ask for help. Whether you bring on partners or you ask lawyers, colleagues, old contacts. It’s okay. Don’t fake it till you make it. Get it done right or the next company will. In terms of legalities make sure you register your company, work within the scope of the law.. And properly disclose things please.

Now lets talk internships again

Why do I highlight internships? eSports is filled with a mixture of large companies who have a ton of capital, medium sized company that sustain themselves through partnerships, merchandising, and of course offering services. Then you have the little guys who start up a company, but have so much for expenditure so they budget enough for necessary employees. That means that many positions offered are freelance, per diem, unpaid or paid internships.

Be prepared to be offered a position that isn’t paid if you’re an inexperienced prospect. It sucks that some companies aren’t able to pay all their employees, even though they want to, but if you’re truly dedicated and your work ethic helps organically grow a company your hard work will pay off, the company will grow, and you’ll be there from the very beginning. It’s an amazing feeling and a feat that will help you out as you advance in your professional career.

It’s a double-edge sword in general. Certain companies have grown so much they never adjusted their infrastructure to reflect upon that change so there’s a lot of mismanagement, miscommunication, and so forth. That could lead to some terrible examples of bad recruiting that plagues a lot of eSports brands and businesses.

If the company isn’t a large corporation then you’ll most likely experience a different infrastructure of almost chaotic human resources. Hiring and on-boarding could be disastrous, but once you’re in, should be smooth sailings or you’ll experience the exact opposite.

Be prepared to wear many hats

You may apply for a job that requires you to coach a team, or a job that requires you to write 2 articles a week. No big deal, right? Wrong. Akin to traditional jobs, you are likely to assume many roles, especially if it's a small company you've been hired to work for. I've worked multiple freelance and contract positions in eSports where I've been hired for one thing, but I end up doing 3 more things.

If you can handle it, and you're ensuring you get paid, do it. It's my forte, it's part of my blood. I work hard and no one will stop me. I could be working on partnerships, and all of a sudden I could be orchestrating a weekly workshop. I could be handling emails while drafting up procedures and reporting. You should be prepared to accept the duties thrown your way, encourage it, show people that you are committed.

People who are genuine, hard-working, jack of all trades, are hard to come by. Make a big impression by showcasing your abilities in a versatile fashion. You'll score brownie points, build a legacy, and eventually climb up the company ladder. Then maybe you'll want to branch out and create your own product, brand, or business just like I did.

To sum things up; Getting a job in eSports: Be driven, have the willingness to start from the bottom up, be patient, and understand the market and where you belong in it.

What was your first industry job? Got a suggestion or feedback for next weeks Industry Guide? Let us know on the comments below or tweet us!

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