The esports industry has been developing a massive workforce over the past couple of years, with thousands of employed individuals in the industry worldwide; That number doesn’t just include players. It includes a multitude of occupations such as esports coaches, analysts, broadcast managers, shoutcasters, tournament organizers, digital marketers and the list can go on-and-on.
The question now is how do you get a career or job in esports, because we all know how fulfilling and rewarding it would be to land a job in the industry that you love. We won’t be getting into how to become an esports athlete (a whole different discussion).
To get a job in esports, you need to create a portfolio by volunteering your time for experience and building connections with professionals in the industry or professionals who are looking to get into the industry. There are other factors that can help you, but that’s the essence of getting into the esports industry.
What are the Job Opportunities?
Before we delve into getting a career in esports, it’s extremely important for you to know what those positions are so you can better align your goals with a target and have a crystal-clear understanding of what you are going to get involved in.
According to Hitmarket, the esports industry had 11,027 total positions which is an 87% jump from 2018. That’s a massive spike in employment and it’s only estimated to continuously grow as North America and Middle Eastern Asia further develop their esports scenes.
Hitmarket released this graphic showcasing the employment in 2019 and its changes from 2018
The options for careers have a large range, this is because there are a lot of aspects that go into esports. These aspects of the industry include, but not limited to, esports teams, esports events, esports tournaments, esports gambling, esports journaling and reporting, and esports products.
Within each of those aspects lie a multitude of career paths to choose from. Take a team for example, you could become the owner/CEO, the team manager, the team analyst, the team coach, the team marketing manager, the team chef and so-on. Esports events have their own project managers that work above department leaders, and each department consisting of several personalized jobs. Esports tournaments have opportunities for esports tournament organizers, digital marketers, competition coordinators, broadcasters, analysts, technicians, referee, etc.
The list is expansive, and as the industry grows so will the range of job opportunities available for individuals. Now that you have an understanding of what kinds of jobs lie in this industry, its time to get you going on the path of integrating into esports.
How Do I Get Involved?
To get involved, there is somewhat of a logical path you can take in order to get there. The issue with the path is determining how long you will be working on each, but you cannot stop until you make it.
1. Understand the Job You are Trying to Obtain
Too many people decide they want to go into esports and try to get into this space without actually knowing what they want to do professionally (including myself initially).
The first question to determine how you personally will get involved is what aspect of the esports industry do you want to get involved in? Are you interested in working for an esports team? Perhaps you are more interested in facilitating events. Or you could be interested in being involved with the competition of esports tournaments itself.
Once you have narrowed it down, you have to decide within that aspect of the industry, what position do you want. Its good to look at it as “What are my strengths?” and “What do I enjoy a lot about this aspect of the esports industry?”.
For me that looked like “I am well organized and love leading a team” and “I enjoy esports tournaments because I love the atmosphere they create and the experiences the players get out of attending”. Based on that, I can pinpoint that acting as a tournament organizer or project manager for the competition committee would be my preferred position.
Be mindful that you think you want to be involved in one career, but soon after realizing that is not the case. When that happens, re-evaluate and start working towards this new career. This happened for me, as I assumed that I would want to go into marketing with my background being in marketing, but I soon realized that tournament organizing fit myself better and was what I truly enjoyed.
I acted as the marketing manager for a friend’s friend’s startup company for month, which stemmed my initial interests in marketing.
2. Build your Portfolio
Building your portfolio is an extremely important aspect of getting involved in the esports industry. You can develop your portfolio in any way, but volunteering your time or working in a related job is the most logical and accessible method of doing this for many of the jobs in the industry.
Due to the scarcity of jobs in the industry and the ease of being able to host your own tournament or manage your own team for fun, when job opportunities do arise, you are competing with these very people with a strong portfolio to back them up. You need to take steps to make yourself different and stand out from the crowd.
Now that you see the value of building your portfolio, the question is how do I end up volunteering. Click here to jump to that part of the article or continue reading as it will come below.
3. Develop Yourself and Your Self-Brand
As you build your portfolio, you will want to start marketing yourself and show the world that you got what it takes. This starts off by building a comprehensive and professional LinkedIn account. HR members are always on LinkedIn and some job opportunities require you to share your LinkedIn account, this is the perfect platform to improve your presence on.
Make sure the pictures you use for your LinkedIn are professional and yell esports! You don’t need a suit and tie unless you focusing on a business-heavy field, esports has more of a casual feel to it.
The other social platform I would recommend is Twitter, as it allows for quick frequent effortless posts and it can be a great place to advertise yourself as a hard-working, experienced and passionate person. Make sure all your social media platforms do not have inappropriate graphics or words on them.
Another strong underestimated tool are business cards. Business cards are important because not only does it show a high level of professionalism, it also solidifies connections and provides the owner’s contact information (we will get into connections with the next point).
Lastly, you will want to work on your resume and cover letter. With all the portfolio building you are doing, you want to highlight the largest and most impressive situations to sell yourself when you apply for jobs.
4. Build Connections
Building connections is arguably the most important part about getting a job in the industry, and without successfully fulfilling this part, your journey of achieving your goal will become a lot more difficult. In some occasions, having the right connections allow you to not have to worry about building your portfolio or developing your own brand (although this is very rare).
You build connections by interacting and communicating with people. When you do, it’s important to show your passion for the industry and mention that you are actively looking for employment.
There are many good places to find these connections. LinkedIn is by far the easiest yet a very effective tool to get the opportunity to first-hand talk to these hiring managers and owners one-on-one in a professional digital platform.
Another method is just sending out emails, which is not as effective as LinkedIn messages, but that’s still a great way to spark a conversation and the possible discussion of employment.
Not to mention the very pricy option of attending esport networking events like the esports summit. These places aren’t always where esports hiring managers may be lurking but connecting with professionals may result in that professional referring you to the company.
The Esports Business Summit are one of those professional networking events. Also very expensive (but thats because its not catered to individuals who are looking for a join in the industry)!
5. Handing Out Your Resume
The last yet very important step is handing out your resume. When positions are open and actively being looked to be filled, just like in any industry, you should apply in hopes of getting in. You may need to keep repeating this process, but you need to be diligent.
If after several resume submissions you don’t get any calls back, it’s likely that you are applying for very difficult jobs, don’t have the experience or your resume does not reach professional standards. If that is the case, I recommend getting it checked over by a professional or even a friend.
How Do You Volunteer Your Time?
When I say volunteer, I am defining it as investing your time into something that will enhance society and the community without actually receiving a return on your investment.
One way to volunteer is by volunteering or interning at an esports company. There are so many windows of opportunities to volunteer, many companies (especially online ones) would be willing to take volunteers for their upcoming tournament or event, but you are going to need to be the one to email and ask. Many of esports companies’ websites have a section explicitly for people like yourself to signup.
For example, I reached out to volunteer for a company in November on their website, I didn’t hear back so I emailed them in January but I only got a volunteering opportunity this March, but now they have me referring a number of their events due to me taking the time of emailing them and being patient.
Another way to volunteer is by creating your own events and tournaments. For me, this started by creating a club at my high school and expanding to renting external venues, but it doesn’t have to be that way either. You could start by hosting online tournaments or renting out a room in your local library.
This is something I thought was worth sharing, through the company I waited about 5 months to volunteer with, I got the opportunity to referee a game with Redmercy’s team. Waiting was worth it!!
You don’t have to be the one running the tournament or event itself, if you can get friends to back your idea up and lead it, you can handle the broadcast, marketing, refereeing or whatever you wanted to do.
In the end, there are so many different opportunities you can opt into, you just need to put a bit of work to find and start them. Doing and failing is always better than doing nothing at all.
How Long Will It Take for You to Get a Job in Esports?
This is a tricky question and in short, it depends on you and your luck. Trying to get into the esports industry is risky, but if you put in the effort you will make it. The amount of effort and the amount of time you need to invest will really vary based on your luck and where you invest your effort.
If you focus on only building your portfolio but don’t build any connections, it’s going to take a while before you get a job. If you just keep sending out bad resumes without building your portfolio, that will hurt you as well. You need to make judgement calls on how you will invest your effort.
But in the end, if you get lucky with a job interview, you may just get that job. Or if you get lucky with a good connection, you may fast track your path into the esports industry.
Other Things to Do to Help You Land a Job in Esports?
One thing is being a girl. Seriously, the esports industry has a lack of females employees and in the pursuit of creating diversity at the workplace, being a female gives you an edge. According to Hitmarket, females make up only 18% of the worker base in esports in 2019.
Also, having a formal education or certification definitely helps. Typically, you want education related to your interested field, such as a marketing background for a digital marketing job. For tournament organizers or people associated in business, it’s a bit harder, although with the growth of the Esports Entrepreneurship and Administration programs in North America, it may be doable. Regardless, any bachelors also help increase your credibility and some employers require you to have a bachelors of some form to hire you.
Another thing is that you may want to expand your brand beyond what I listed previously. For example, this blog has landed me a lot of emails and traffic from different people interested in different things. Not only does this give me the opportunity to share my experiences and help people (building a connection), but its also having opportunities knock on my door. You aren’t limited to creating a blog, it could be a podcast, a YouTube channel, even a Twitch stream works.
Regardless of what you do, as long as you are doing something, that’s always better than doing nothing and you are already beating 80% of the competition. Stay faithful and keep on working towards your goals.
Leave in the comments what job are you trying to obtain in the esports industry!