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Subject: Mentioning boardgaming/wargaming in a resume? rss

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Julien G.
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I was updating my resume and at some point, for some reason, my mind began to drift to boardgames. snore It got me thinking: is it a good idea to mention boardgaming and/or wargaming in the hobby/extracurricular/blabla section of a resume (US/Canada style)?

Would be pretty cool if the guy is a geek himself hu? All right, the odds are not too great though. shake

On the other hand, I would run the risk of being considered a geeky loony, which probably is not the way to go to get an interview... zombie

I probably won't do it but ninja... any thought? Any fellow geek that came out on his/her resume, for good or bad?
 
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Chester
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I put that I enjoyed boardgaming on my application to fellowship. I was asked about that by a bridge fan in one interview. Later, found out that one of the other fellows already there is an Advanced Civ fan. I got the position, too.
 
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Steve McIlhatton
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You're going to get a biaised answer here since we are all geeky loons but I can see it being more positive than negative.

Just put a Goo at the end of your resume.. that way any BGG HR folk will know to put you to the top of the pile of applicants to interview

goo
 
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Karen

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I worked in HR for a number of years--I know a lot of people would include a "Hobbies" or "Other Interests" section of their resume, but it was never anything we paid much attention to, unless it somehow brought additional skills that would be useful in the position. Usually, it was just something that might be used to make small talk or break the ice with the applicant.

I don't think it hurts to include it, but you might want to think about how your hobby has allowed you to develop skills that would make you a good for the job (for example, board gaming has developed your creativity, or your critical/analytic thinking, or your ability to plan strategically or resolve conflicts with others---there's lots of stuff here!)
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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I don't put hobbies on my resume, but if I did, I think I would call it "Strategy Gaming". I'm a programmer, so I doubt it would seem out of place.
 
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Chris Farrell
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I would never put gaming on the resume, not even chess or go or Scrabble. Especially not wargames (unless it's a DoD job, and it might actually be relevant). It's way too risky with no upside. You only put stuff on your resume that will directly pertain to your ability to do the job.

It's the same reason you should never discuss family or outside interests in an interview in any meaningful way ... it certainly won't help you get the job, and you risk mentioning something that will strike the interviewer as odd and lower your chance of getting the job, or rule you out in some way.

You would be stunned by the assanine reasons often given for not hiring someone. If you are married or have kids, you may not work the overtime - this is why they are legally barred from asking. If you like skiing, maybe they're afraid you'll get hurt and miss a lot of time. If you put first-person shooter computer games, they'll wonder why you think you need the filler. If you put your chess rating they'll think you arrogant. This stuff does happen. You really have to stay on-message.

If it won't directly bear on your job performance, keep if off the resume. After the interview, though, it wouldn't hurt to google the people you talked with to see if they're gamers. It might not be the best use of your time, though
 
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Aaron Potter
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Quote:
I worked in HR for a number of years--I know a lot of people would include a "Hobbies" or "Other Interests" section of their resume, but it was never anything we paid much attention to, unless it somehow brought additional skills that would be useful in the position.


And that's a good point. What type of position are you applying for?
 
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Depends
Depending on the type of position, it will be either irrelevant or marginally interesting to a prospective employer.

Employers do like to see that an applicant is also a human being with outside interests--because people who have lives outside work generally are happier and more stable. It can also be an asset if a hobby requires or has helped you develop skills that make you a better employee.

But so long as you're not into serial murder or cannibalism or something like that (and I assume you wouldn't mention it if you were), it doesn't much matter what your hobbies are.
 
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John O'Haver PhoDOGrapher
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After I was hired for this job my branch manager found out I played guitar. He said if he'd known that I would have been offered the job after the first interview.

I said, "Really?"
He said, "No."
 
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Nate Sandall
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If it's an entry level position and your resume looks nekkid without a space for your interests and such then sure go ahead. But if it's something more you need to focus on your experience, education, skills, and achievements. You should be able to fill up your resume with all pertinent information if you're applying for something highly specialized or in management.
 
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Mickel Knight
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I'm not sure if I mentioned it on my most recent resume, but I have in the past. I did bring up gaming during recent interviews for both my new job last year, and an internal transfer to my newer job in Product Development. In the first case the Plant Manager where I work used to play We the People. In the latter case when asked if I'm comfortable making decisions with incomplete information, I used my interest history and war games to discuss how it helps you make difficult decisions, gauge many layers of probabilities, and in general problem solve with incomplete information sets. In both cases I got the job. When presented in the right way, War Gaming can come across as quite scholarly.

To add my support to a previous post; the job your going for will have some bearing on this. I'm and Engineer with an R&D background. I'm supposed to be a little bit of a geek.

I decided a few years ago to not be embarassed by my being a boardgame geek. To be honest, most folks are intimidated by sitting at a table and matching wits with other people. They may find the hobby odd, but not worth anything more than good natured teasing.

Good luck on the job hunt/interview or whatever you goal is.
 
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Julien G.
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Thank you everyone for the input, I appreciate it.

I'm looking - ideally - for an entry level position in airport management, preferably on the operations side, traffic analyst, airport manual maintenance, that kind of (good) stuff. I guess it's a bit difficult to draw a direct and meaningful link between boardgaming/wargaming and that kind of job. Anyway, at the very least, I'll still think about it more in depth, it might come in handy during an interview, "presented in the right way".

Thanks again!
 
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Dan Freedman
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I'd leave it off
A buddy of mine won a risk tournament in high school. He actually put that on his first resume. We still laugh about it to this day.

I'd agree with Chris for the reasons he mentioned. Leave it off, my guess is it isn't going to help in 99.9% of the interviews. And it could hurt you in 5% of them.
 
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Steve McIlhatton
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If I saw boardgames on someones resume here is the kinds of things i would infer from it...

1. analytical thinking skills (what Puerto Rico role will most help me next?)
2. maths/spatial ability (if I put this tile there will it help me or my opponents more?)
3. social skills (which of these people should I flatter and then stab in the back to win this game?)

now since boardgame geeks are the minority you need to go and talk to some non-gamers and see what they infer... quite possibly the list might be

1. dreamer (obviously this guy's trying to avoid his reality. Bet he takes drugs too)
2. immature (my god, I stopped playing games when I was 7)
3. socially retarded (why isn't this guy hanging out in bars trying to score chicks on a Friday night.. and what the hell is a Wallenstein?)

Try sending your query off to a couple of recruiting agencies and hopefully one of them will give you an answer. I'd probably listen to their advice over our completely unrandom slice of humankind here on the 'geek on this one.
 
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Matt Thrower
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Be careful what you mention
There was recently an open invite on a humour site I frequent (www.b3ta.com) asking people to relate tales of bad job interviews. One of the people who responded was an interviewer who saw that someone had put something about playing Lord of the Rings games on their CV. He clearly thought that this was grounds alone for not inviting the cadnidate for an interview and furthermore thought it "hilarious" enough to submit as an amusing anecdote.

So be careful what you write.
 
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Stephen Tavener
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I have just the one piece of advice when you go into a job, you should also have the attitude "Do I want this job?" - an interview cuts both ways. You are going to be working with/for these people, so if you don't get along it's best to establish the fact before you sign up to something you'll hate. Feel free to put anything on your CV that they're gonna have to know if they will be working with you.

This attitude will also make you appear more confident, and increase your chances of getting the job... or labelled as arrogant, if you overdo it!
 
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Lyman Hurd
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siding with the trolls
Quote:
put anything on your CV that they're gonna have to know if they will be working with you.


Speaking here for the US, as I am sure Eurpose/UK is different. I have to side with the trolls sauron. Sorry having been in the situation many times of having to evaluate resumes, I would look oddly at anyone who felt his or her hobbies rose to the level to something I had to know.

I also tend to take "skills inventories" with a large grain of salt if they are not tied to specific work experience. They seem to devolve into "things I have heard of".

Now as a further disclaimer I have interviewing people for technical jobs. I do not know if other areas such as sales and marketing would take a broader view .
 
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Richard Lea
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I recently came across the most impressive CV I have yet seen while nosing around on DeadHead sites (i.e. Greatful Dead fan sites). Click on 'Alex's CV'.

http://www.whitegum.com/
 
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Chris Palmer
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I interviewed a guy for a job a few months ago. He didn't list gaming on his resume, but somehow it came up (I honestly don't remember how -- maybe some question of what you like to do). He wasn't right for the job and we both knew it by that time, so we had a good time talking games for a while during the interview.

I used to help people write resumes as part of my job at a copy/typing/desktop publishing company while I was in college. The main thing I took from that was to tailor your resume (and particularly your cover letter) to the job and, if possible, the very person who would be reading the resume and interviewing you. I wouldn't recommend mentioning gaming unless you had inside information that there were a lot of gamers at the company you were applying at. If you know there are, by all means mention it.

There are exceptions to every rule. We did a resume package for a guy graduating from vet school. He wanted to work with race horses in Kentucky, so he somehow managed to get a list of *every* horse breeder in Kentucky (pre-web days) and did a mail merged form letter and resume to every single one (150+). This cost a lot to print and prepare and quite a bit to mail, but he got tons of interviews and probably 20 offers, so he was able to pick and choose the one he wanted.
 
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George Heintzelman
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Quote:

It's the same reason you should never discuss family or outside interests in an interview in any meaningful way ... it certainly won't help you get the job, and you risk mentioning something that will strike the interviewer as odd and lower your chance of getting the job, or rule you out in some way.


Interesting perspective. When I interview people (I'm not the hiring decision-maker, but I get input), I do ask (at the very end) what they do for fun, and I listen to the answer. Perhaps this is partly because at least in our company the default position is not to hire the prospective, and we're looking for reasons *to* hire the person. What they do for fun helps me get some insight into how their mind works. Gaming would be a perfectly reasonable answer, but I haven't gotten it yet, despite getting plenty of other answers.

Myself, I certainly wouldn't conceal it, but (unless it is job-relevant) I wouldn't put it on the resume itself, and I wouldn't volunteer it unless it was asked or there was a good reason to mention it.
 
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Gord Mackenzie
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I've had the opportunity to hire a number of folks for software development roles.

Programmers and techies are notoriously "geeky", and I'm a gamer myself ... however, I didn't look favorably on resumes that listed RPGs, war games or board games as interests.

I can't say why, exactly. It so happens that lots of the people I hired _were_ gamers (and I still game with some of them), but they didn't list it on their resumes.

I think it more likely to do harm than good and I would advise you not to add it to your resume.

In general, no resume I have ever seen has benefited from a "hobbies and interests" section. The fact that you like Star Trek novels, sky-diving and long walks on the beach doesn't interest me as a decision-maker looking to fill a position (no matter that you think sky-diving shows you're willing to take risks, having Spock as your personal hero shows you're logical and not overly emotional, etc.).

Now, if you are applying for a job as a computer programmer, and you list your hobbies as contributing to Open Source software projects, writing enhanced C compilers, creating new programming languages in your spare time, developing 3D engines for your cellphone, etc... well, I'm likely to be interested.

If your hobby does not have a direct, non-debatable and obvious correlation to the position applied for... then DON'T include it.

Just my two cents.
 
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Chris Farrell
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Interesting perspective. When I interview people (I'm not the hiring decision-maker, but I get input), I do ask (at the very end) what they do for fun, and I listen to the answer. Perhaps this is partly because at least in our company the default position is not to hire the prospective, and we're looking for reasons *to* hire the person. What they do for fun helps me get some insight into how their mind works. Gaming would be a perfectly reasonable answer, but I haven't gotten it yet, despite getting plenty of other answers.


You have to be really careful about how you do this, for a few reasons.

Firstly, there are some personal questions you simply aren't allowed to ask (are you married? do you have kids? How's the family?), and you could, theoretically anyway, get in trouble.

Secondly, for the interviewee, this is an incredibly loaded question. I certainly won't get the job based on my hobbies, but if I give you an answer that you don't like, even though it will have absolutely no bearing on my ability to do the job, I can get myself ruled out. Almost any hobby can be construed negatively by the wrong person.

I think the only way to ask this question as the interviewer is to offer up some of your own hobbies and just see if you can talk to the candidate. Tell him or her about some movie you've seen, or your last vacation, or try to talk about last night's sporting event, or whatever, and see if they can engage. Never directly ask them to offer up personal information that isn't going to be directly job-relevant.

Honestly, though, I think this stuff has no place in evaluating a candidate. I've never used it; you can get everything you need about their personality by asking specific, job-relevant questions. If you can't tell whether the applicant is going to be a good employee and co-worker this way, knowing their hobbies is not going to help.
 
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Steve McIlhatton
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I have just the one piece of advice when you go into a job, you should also have the attitude "Do I want this job?" - an interview cuts both ways. You are going to be working with/for these people, so if you don't get along it's best to establish the fact before you sign up to something you'll hate. Feel free to put anything on your CV that they're gonna have to know if they will be working with you.

This attitude will also make you appear more confident, and increase your chances of getting the job... or labelled as arrogant, if you overdo it!


Couldn't agree more. My aim in any job interview where I actually want the job is to make the people with the job sell the job to me. It's amazing how often a question like "What is it about your comapny that makes it a good place to work?" or "Can you explain the reasons why I would want to work here" can turn the whole thing around. Suddenly they are trying to convince you to joj them rather than you begging for a job.

Also I have walked away from jobs where people were unable to answer questions like "What makes you jump out of bed on a Monday happy that it's a workday?".
 
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Ava Jarvis
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I used to unnerve interviewers by bringing a set of carefully researched questions that I came up with after looking at the company website, their financial reports, any news articles of interest I could find in the business section, etc. etc. etc.

Speaking from experience on the other side of the table (as an interviewer myself)... please don't put hobbies on your resume. It's irrelevant and most people are able to put enough on their resume to fill more than one page.

I would rather that people spent their space on doing summaries of what they accomplished at their previous jobs, and how well they worked with other people. And I would like them to do it *concisely*. The last thing I want to see in a resume is wasted space---and that includes hobbies.

Just because you say that you game as a hobby doesn't automatically grant you an "is sociable and works well with others" status. We all know gamers for which the above does not necessarily apply....
 
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Ed Sherman
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I would say no.
In my experience, hiring people look for reasons to exclude people, not include them, and anything potentially risky should be avoided.

Unless you play RPG's. Then list your stats at the bottom of your resume.

Example: Gnome Fighter/Illusionist. 7th/8th level. Experienced in slaying kobolds and trolls.
 
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