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How to get into esports in 2018

This is our overview piece for the broad topic of how to get into esports. You'll find everything you could ever need to know about how to get a job in the esports industry in this detailed guide article, and there's additional pieces to cover some of the key areas in our career advice hub.

There’s no industry as exciting as esports. It’s the global entertainment phenomenon that has attracted investment from celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Shaquille O’Neal. As a result, we’re seeing more people than ever asking us how to get into esports. This is a tricky question in any industry of work but gets trickier still when looking for a job in esports as there are no obvious entry routes.

In truth, though, there are more opportunities appearing in esports than ever before. We post hundreds of esports careers each month on HitmarkerJobs.com, so you can take it from us that there’s a wealth of great jobs to be had in the scene.

Before we delve into our main advice, here's something essential to remember if you're new to applying to jobs. Make sure you're sending applications with a professional email address. That means if you're applying for jobs as "cooldawg69@gmail.com", you need to change it now. Something simple like your name or your name with a few numbers from your date of birth will come across much better.

In this article, we’re going to list some steps you can follow to improve your chance of landing a professional career in this wonderful scene, before expanding on them and providing you with all the information you could need to become an exceptional esports candidate.

Here are our golden seven rules for how to get into esports

  • Hone skills related to your core strengths
  • Attend tournaments and events
  • Explore opportunities close to where you live
  • Spend time perfecting your resume and cover letter
  • Be proactive in your spare time
  • Utilize social media
  • Check HitmarkerJobs.com frequently

Those are the key points we think people looking to get into esports should focus on. Now let’s dive deeper into each of them...

1. Hone skills related to your core strengths

This might be the most complicated point on our list, but it’s actually fairly straightforward and will really assist you in finding a job in esports. A lot of the companies hiring in esports are startups with low budgets, and even the established organizations in the scene might have to be more conservative with their hiring budget than a company in a more established space.

Because of this, many esports jobs will require a candidate to juggle multiple roles within in a company as there aren’t enough dedicated employees to cover everything. If you can get ahead of the game and prepare your skill set for this sort of scenario then you’ll really boost your odds of working in esports.

We’ll use the graphic design sector as an example as it’s a popular one on HitmarkerJobs.com. A company might be looking for a graphic designer to work on their visual presence, but might also need this candidate to be able to create motion graphics and edit videos for them. If you’re applying but can only meet the graphic design responsibilities of this job, then your application will likely be less valuable than that of someone who can produce all three forms of visual content.

A good tip for getting into the esports industry is to identify your core strengths (in this example it was simply “graphic design”) and try and build up skills related to it. Then, when you see esports jobs that suit you you’ll either meet the requirements they have of you or exceed them. And both of those are great outcomes!

Examples of other sectors where you can build up related skills are:

  • Marketing - explore digital marketing, influencer marketing and social media
  • Social media - look into creative writing and learning basic Photoshop skills
  • Writing - research SEO and content marketing

2. Attend tournaments and events

You’ll hear this suggestion quite frequently when asking industry professionals how to get a job in esports, and while it’s becoming a bit of a cliche there is certainly value to attending events. Tournaments are the lifeblood of esports and are where this digital world meets up in the flesh to celebrate the beautiful sight of competitive gaming. As such, it’s a great opportunity for you to introduce yourself to key figures in the industry.

If you want proof of just how far attending esports events can take you in your career, check out this inspiring video from compLexity Gaming that details how one of their organization members joined the company from his sheer hustle.

If you see an esports event pop up close to where you live then seriously consider attending. Aside from having a great time, you can also print off business cards ahead of the event to give to any professionals you might meet or try and arrange meetings through Twitter or email prior to it. Just bear in mind that the people working there will be operating on very busy schedules, so don’t feel disheartened if they can’t make time for you.

3. Explore opportunities close to where you live

We think this next point is an untapped way of gaining esports experience that could ultimately lead to you landing a paid career in esports. One of the many great things about esports is that a lot of the people working in the scene are more than willing to guide others into it. Indeed, we respond to a fair few people on Twitter and our email each day asking for our advice!

You can use this to your advantage by doing some research into the esports/gaming companies that exist near you. If you’re living somewhere fairly remote then unfortunately this might be a struggle, but if you’re in one of the hotspots for esports companies then you could definitely make some valuable inroads.

California and Texas in the United States, for example, both have a plethora of esports companies situated there. The likes of Cloud9, Immortals, Counter Logic Gaming, the NA LCS studio and even the arena of the Overwatch League are located in California, while Texas plays host to the offices of OpTic Gaming, Team Envy, compLexity, and Mavs Gaming.

Through emails, Twitter or LinkedIn, you could try and reach out to companies like this around you and inquire about ways to get involved in what they’re doing. Be honest, explain your passion and tell them how you’re trying to work in esports and see if anything stems from it. Just remember two things...

Firstly, explain your talents and what areas you can excel in when contacting a company. Vaguely saying that you want to get involved with them won’t make a great first impression. Secondly, remember not to bother people repeatedly. If a company or employee doesn’t respond to your communications, don’t pester them with constant follow-ups. Respect their privacy and look elsewhere.

4. Spend time perfecting your resume and cover letter

It’s no secret that esports is a coveted industry, with heaps of people trying to work in the space. For that reason, jobs - particularly those in esports teams with strong fan bases - can sometimes receive a staggering number of applications. Among such a crowd of talent, you need to make sure that your cover letter and resume leave the best impression possible on an employer.

Try and create a unique and stylish design for your resume, especially if you’re applying for jobs in creative sectors like marketing or graphic design, and pore over it to make sure there are no spelling errors or unnecessary waffle on there. We could talk for hours on how to perfect your application materials, which is why we’ve written separate articles for both esports resume advice and cover letter help.

If you think your resume or cover letter aren’t quite up to speed, be sure to check out the above-linked articles for some pointers. The level of competition in entering esports means you can’t afford to get either of these these things wrong.

5. Be proactive in your spare time

While this is a difficult point to quantify, there definitely is merit in being as proactive as you can in esports. You’ll see professionals calling this an industry that never sleeps or a 24/7 industry, and that’s because it’s true. Because of this, a certain level of hustle is required to excel in esports. The easiest way to show this? By showing how proactive you are.

This could be in the form of designing graphics without prompting and then sharing them on Twitter. We see quite a few people doing this, and occasionally their designs get used by professional players if they’ve been tagged in them.

If writing is your forte rather than graphic design, consider starting your own blog. As well as teaching you valuable skills, it will also show that even in your spare time you’re trying to contribute to esports, which is a valuable thing for a hiring manager to see.

Whether it’s graphics, blogs, YouTube videos or websites, think about working proactively on your own projects when you’re able to. It’s something that could be very valuable in your cover letter or resume.

6. Utilize social media

This next tip might sound bizarre to someone just starting to look into working in esports, but few communities have a stronger presence on Twitter than esports. It’s actually at a level where we see jobs advertised solely through Twitter if there’s not enough meat on them to be put into a full job description.

We retweet all of the paid opportunities we find that aren’t listed as jobs, such as this one, this one, this one, and this one, but there are more benefits to being on Twitter than just that. You can connect with like-minded people and commentate on industry movements. People even get reached out to directly on Twitter regarding paid esports work!

Twitter is a big platform to be on, but for anyone looking to take esports seriously as a career getting on LinkedIn is a smart move, too. Most of the same benefits exist between LinkedIn and Twitter, but it’s advisable to be on both all the same.

7. Check HitmarkerJobs.com frequently

If you’ve been able to tick off the previous six pointers on how to get into esports then the only thing missing is an esports job itself!

We pride ourselves on collating the most thorough database of careers in esports there is on HitmarkerJobs.com. We post hundreds of careers every single month, so we’d strongly suggest using our site to locate opportunities in the scene. Finding a job comes down to casting your net as widely as you can, so if you’ve addressed our previous points in this article then we’d say you’re ready to start applying.

Good luck, and go get ‘em!

Image credit: DreamHack / Jennika Ojala

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