Many students that I talk to are always looking to get an esports job. How do you get an entry level esports job?
To get an entry-level job in the esports industry, you need to actively search for and be involved in grassroots organizations in your local area. Colleges and high schools are the prime places to be involved in esports, but there are other options in your local community.
In this article, we will be running through exactly what can be defined as an entry-level job in the esports industry, the different esports jobs you can aspire to obtain and how you can take that portfolio and land yourself further in the esports industry faster than your competitors.
What is an Entry Level Job in Esports
A popular influencer on Twitter tweeted out a poll to see what is the average income for people that work in the esports industry; the results were resounding. The majority of workers were in the $0 – $20,000 category, which is around the minimum for a select for US states. It’s not a perfect science, but it’s very telling of how the industry operates. So what is an entry-level esports job?
An entry-level esports job is a grassroots position such as volunteering in a tier 3 team, tier 2 team, volunteering in a leading role of a small tournament hosting organization, volunteering at a larger tournament hosting organization or volunteering in an esports community. An entry-level esports job is almost always required to qualify and obtain a paid position in the esports industry.
This doesn’t mean that there is no money in esports, far from it. In fact esports made over $1 billion in esports revenue in 2020. With that said, esports is in a very unique situation.
For most Americans, Canadians, British and Australians (just listing everyone this applies to that frequents this blog, that isn’t an exhaustive list), their local esports infrastructure is very limited. Meaning, the esports industry is in the adolescent stage of its development and there are a very limited number of esports organizations versus other industries.
Basically, the number of jobs (the supply) is low. But, the demand is very much there. It seems like everyone student and their dog wants to get into esports and who can blame them. As someone who has worked in esports for a number of years, I can tell you that the industry is a blast.
But there is another factor to be cognizant of, that the barrier of entry in grassroots esports is so low.
If you want to run a tournament, you can run a tournament with a budget of $0-$20, a few hours of your time and an Battlefy post. Want to make a team? Just make a post on Reddit and just signup for a tournament.
This means that now paid positions require applicants to have a large portfolio of grassroot events to stay competitive in the application process.
Sure, if you have a background in that specific profession already (let’s say business development or graphic designer), then you still have a good chance to get hired. But most employers want someone with at least some esports background and interests (as the industry is so reliant on culture).
They cannot afford for their graphic designers to make graphics that feel foreign to esports, or their business development representative to not know the business or its unique ecosystem.
That’s why in esports, truly entry-level positions are grassroots positions. That is how you will start building your portfolio to start your journey into getting a real job in the esports industry.
Below, I will outline all the different entry-level esports job opportunities and how you can acquire them. At the end of the article, I will outline how you use your time at a grassroots organization to expedite your ability to obtain a paid job in esports much faster than your competitors.
Different Entry Level Esports Jobs
The biggest one, and the one that started my route into esports, is tournament organizing. Tournament organizing is most often how individuals start into esports (including myself).
The reason being that most players, good or bad, that play a game competitively want to participate in tournaments. It doesn’t matter to them if it’s in their local school or local community, although accessibility is always the better option. The demand is extremely high, but the supply is usually very slim.
As a result, a small amount of these students that want to play in a tournament decide to host a tournament instead, either through their school or by starting a separate organization (usually the former, that is lead into the latter).
These clubs and organizations require others to get them running (it’s difficult to do alone), and that is why tournament organizing is so frequent as a starting point for people in esports. How do you become a tournament organizer?
The easiest way to start is by finding a local esports club in your local community or school. When found, you can ask to be a volunteer at the organization. 9 out of 10 times, if it’s a nonprofitable organization, they will take you in and allow you to volunteer.
In this position, you want to show your hunger. You want them to give you more work and the ability to make your own decisions. Show the team you can be an asset quickly, and this will really build up your experience pool.
Another route would be to start hosting your own tournaments. I won’t go into too much detail here as I have explained it many times in the past (click here to read more there), but you just need at least $10 to your name and you need to research what game you want to host and the format you are interested in using.
This also seems to be a very frequent one. Becoming a grassroots team owner has also been the ignition to starting a real professional and profitable esports organization if done right.
Chances are your organization won’t, but I’d recommend your strive for it and if you fail, you will learn a lot along the way. At least, that’s’ what happened with me and my first esports business.
How do you become an esports team owner?
- Build your brand
- Start developing assets, including graphics, socials, platforms and staff
- Start hunting for players if not acquired yet
- Construct your business plan for your next 3 to 5 years
For more details on this, we have created an outline on how to start your grassroots esports team (COMING SOON).
To become a grassroots team manager, you either want to found a team with a team owner (as outlined above) or look for a team online and ask to volunteer.
Teams that are looking for members are usually promoting on sites like Hit Marker. However, I recommend upon applying to a team of people you aren’t personally acquainted with, you want to vet the team yourself.
Many of these teams have poorly functioning staff, unmotivated members, poor management or no reason business plan. You want to vet the teams yourself and avoid being apart of bad teams.
The better the team is, the better it will look on your resume.
The same items mentioned in the manager section apply to being a coach. The only additional thing I’d add is that as a coach you should know the game well, versus as a manager you don’t even need to know the game to be successful.
The knowledge as a manager is always a plus but for a coach it’s definitely a must. Being good on the competitive ladder is a great way to make yourself out further.
Both of what was mentioned in the team management section and team coach section apply to this section as well. The key distinction is really the analyst needs to be good with numbers, stats and watching frame-by-frame players be of value to the team.
This means the analyst doesn’t even need to be good, just good at breaking things down and understanding the game and it’s metas.
Tier-3 and Tier 2 Esports Player
There are enough guides on how to become an esports player, so I won’t get into that here, but if you wanted to get a job in the esports industry, starting off as a player who can experience the backend from there is always an option.
I know that many retired professional players just work in esports organizations, a lot of times in the organization they were playing for. That said, if your objective is to work a business-type job in esports, they isn’t the smartest route.
Social Media Manager
A Social media manager is in high demand by grassroots organizations. The admin staff really don’t want to have to continually post on their socials, but they know the tremendous need for it in esports. That’s why people are always in the wants of having a dedicated person do that.
Hit Marker has countless unpaid and even paid positions for this role. Be sure to vet the team as well, outlined in the team manager section above.
Graphic designers have a unique skill of having creativity and the ability to put thoughts into drawings. If you don’t know how to make graphics in esports, you can’t make anything visual that’s appealing (which kills your branding).
So, they either have to pay to outsource their designs to paid designers or you have a dedicated volunteering graphic designer. I know many organizations that struggle when they have no cash flow or don’t have a dedicated graphics designer.
Hit Marker once again is perfect for a position like this.
How to Get a Paid Job in Esports
I’m sure your thoughts must be “but I want moneyyy!” Yes, we all do, but if you also want the enjoyment of being in esports, there are tradeoffs. But, I will run you through a tactic that almost everyone in grassroots esports overlooks until later in their career and it really slows them down to get a paid position.
This thing will help you expedite your process of getting a paid position in esports.
Man, I can write an entire article on networking. This is one of the pillars to getting a paid job in esports (click here to see the other pillars and a full outline to getting a job in esports).
To keep it short though, you NEED to network. Esports is really about who you know, way way more than what you know.
I will likely do an article on this topic alone in the near future, but I’ll write some quick tips here. First, build a LinkedIn. LinkedIn is literally designed to network, use it.
On LinkedIn, reach out to other professionals already in the space (not limited to entrepreneurs or employers, but those are always good to target), talk to them and even ask to talk over coffee if you are confident enough. Make sure your profile clearly indicates that you are looking for work.
Once you talked enough with people, you can also mention that you are looking for a job and ask if they know of any companies that are looking to hire. They may not have an open position at the company they work for/own, but they know another that does.
Additionally, go to networking events. You will be nervous the first time you go, I very much was and still am some times, but you will improve over time. These networking events should mostly be comprised of gaming, technology and esports networking events, but they shouldn’t be limited to that.
By networking correctly, you will have yourself positioned a lot further than your competing applicants. That said, you need to have a portfolio and a set of skills to help you sell yourself.