Adventures in Job Hunting: How to Put D&D On a Resume…

When your weekly schedule included cat herding a bunch of players through the depths of Mordor, it’s fair game to ask if you can put it your resume.

Because seriously, that’s as much actual “work” as many of your coworkers are doing right now. The dungeon master gig just happens to involve smacking people about the head with a broadsword…

So… how to put DnD on a resume?

Make It Relevant to the Job & Culture

First and most important part of translating your D&D character sheet into an effective resume: understand what your skills bring to the job.

For some gigs this is super easy, especially if you’re talking companies which are focused on the gaming community. Those hiring manager(s) are typically looking for people who understand their audience, are interested in their product, and are connected in the gaming community. For example, one of my friends was hired to organize events for a cell phone accessories company that was targeting gaming buyers. Not only did she know the market, she knew many influencers on social media and was already a content creator in that group… so her calls got returned, quickly…

If you’re talking to non-gaming companies, you need to translate your work into terms they can easily understand. They not have a clue what a dungeon crawl is, but they probably organize a ton of events. The same applies to content: you published something and got 10,000 people to pay attention at it? You’ve got my attention…

Things that will impress a potential non-gaming employer:

  • Leadership Skill(s): did you help organize a large event (convention or similar meetup), especially one run by volunteers (who can be very challenging to manage)…
  • Project Management: Looking at you, convention staff. Totally transferrable skill…
  • Digital Marketing: Did you publish a blog or social media channel? Did people read it? Share your statistics… every business wants to build their audience…
  • Designing & Publishing Things: Shipping products, even a game campaign or fan fiction, is always impressive. Especially if they’re listed or available on a major site.
  • Technical Excellence – Did you create software or any mods for a video game? How many people downloaded or used it? Depending on the technology, this could be a significant accomplishment…. it takes talent to ship good software.
  • Making Money: Did you find a way to turn your passion into a profit, either through advertising or creating / selling something? This is always impressive – since that’s the goal of nearly every company in existence.
  • Competitive Success: There’s always glory in being the first, the largest, or the reigning champion within your peer group.

Translate your adventure experience into a corporate setting. An interviewer may not understand what being a dungeon master means, but they know about managing complex schedules, herding cranky volunteers, building audiences, and getting a product shipped out the door and paid for…

Here are some examples of how to pitch your accomplishments:

  • Organized <topic> event track for annual fan convention, recruiting and leading a team of XX presenters and volunteers through a weekend of activities.
  • Managed logistics and scheduling for a 500 person gaming convention.
  • Launched a gaming related blog and built audience to over 75,000 visitors per month. Recognized as a top voice in <specific topic> on <social media platform>.
  • Published the first mod covering <interest area> for <specific game>; mod has earned five star reviews on <leading distribution platform>….

When in doubt, look at the job description. Ask yourself what parts of your Dnd experience or video games experience is potentially relevant to the role. Work that into your resume and cover letter.

Pick The Right Section

Now that we’ve figured out how to make your DND experience relevant to the role, you need to find an appropriate way to bring it to the table.

With one exception, I would avoid listing your DND experience or video games as part of the official “work experience” listing on your resume. The exception: running a legitimate, long term, profit generating business focused on gaming. Because in that case, gaming truly IS your job…

So unless you’re the CEO of a small gaming business, I recommend considering adding one of the following three sections to your resume:

  • Level 1 – Hobbies and Interests: Generally intended as conversation starters and a way to show culture fit. You’re name dropping that you’re interested in gaming if anyone wants to chat. Keep it short (“table top games” or “DM at DnD group”)
  • Level 2 – Volunteer Experience / Side Projects: A more intense way to show involvement; you can include some basic statistics about your involvement or key accomplishments. (“organized over 30 volunteers for event at annual convention”, “published top ranked fan fiction at a leading website”)
  • Level 3 – Entrepreneurial Experience: Good if your involvement reached full “side hustle” status. At this level, you can speak to it on the same terms as a regular job.

This may evolve as you level up. I built a gaming-related side hustle to the point where it contributes half of our household income. My resume evolved accordingly. I added it under “hobbies & interests” a few years back. It moved to a “side projects” section after we started getting traction, enabling me to showcase the technical accomplishments. As the business grew, I moved everything to an “entrepreneurial experience” section and provided statistics about audience size, growth rates, and process improvements.

Align It to Your Personal Brand

In the end, like any good DnD campaign, you’re assembling a story about your value as a candidate to tell at your job interview. Think about how Dnd (or video games) should play into that story? What does your DnD experience add to your value as a candidate? Focus on that piece of the story.

And like any good story teller, consider your audience. I’m not going to tell the same story to a bank president that I would pitch to a scrappy startup team. Tell the tale which will bring your adventure to a happy ending…

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