Now that you’re working from home, there’s time for that vegetable garden. For craft projects. For building bonfires. You pause to look around and take it all in: The cherry blossoms are blooming. The sea is calm and soothing. You hear gentle waves blend melodically with light jazz. You decide to buy some fresh fruit and go for an idyllic walk.
If this doesn’t sound familiar, you’re probably not playing ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ on Nintendo Switch. Considered the perfect escape for the widespread anxiety being felt by many these days, the game has sold 13.4 million copies since its debut in March.
Animal Crossing isn’t the only game-breaking sales records. Gaming has exploded since COVID-19. It was been recently reported that gaming during peak hours has gone up 75 percent since the pandemic began. While some see this as a distraction from the news cycle, it can also be viewed as time well spent developing critical – and marketable – soft skills.
Look at it this way: When gaming, you must navigate a dynamic environment that requires you to learn and adapt. You have constantly evolving social systems. You have to combine tools and resources to learn new ways of working. You have to convert new knowledge into action. And you have to explore radical alternatives and innovative strategies in order to learn. The common thread? These are all highly marketable skills.
The skills cultivated while gaming can be closely correlated to job performance. Games are constructive, situated and experiential learning environments. They require active experimentation. They also require a ton of patience and persistence. Did you just fall into a pit of lava? Go back and rehearse what happened. Learn and adapt. In fact, learnability is a strong predictor of career mobility, and the best way to learn is from experience.
Work is always changing. Projects shift. Deadlines get moved. For many, every day is different. Employers need people with agility to maneuver those changes. It would have been unthinkable in early 2020 for companies to imagine the majority of their employees working from home. Yet that’s exactly what happened. While no one could have prepared themselves for a global pandemic, gaming does set you up to manage the unexpected with ease. Complex simulated environments require constant decision-making – an important skill, especially for workers who are confronted with change and need to adapt for their teams to succeed.
Games can also offer insight into a person’s persistence, risk-taking, problem solving, mindfulness and attention to detail. If the types of games you play have the potential to give vast insight into the types of soft skills you possess, the question is why aren’t we using it to further identify your talents and match your skills to the right positions? Because most of us don’t know that gaming can be time very wisely spent. Even if we do, we don’t know to articulate its advantages on a resume or in a job interview.
In a recent study, ManpowerGroup analyzed more than 11,000 games across 13 genres – from action adventure to role-playing to music and indie – to identify the top soft skills developed in each gaming category and then mapped the skills that gamers were building to work skills. ManpowerGroup’s proprietary online Skills Translator allows candidates to input specific games, experience levels, and the amount of time spent gaming. The tool then provides guidance for how gaming experience translates into workplace skills. Finally, it’ll connect the candidate to potential job matches.
Those cognitive and motor skills you rely on while playing Tetris are highly desirable in machine operators. Mastery of a game like Fortnite is invaluable to collaborative teams because it brings the unique skills of individuals together to solve a challenging problem. Are you more of an old-school arcade player? Games like Pac-Man improve decision-making, planning, concentration and persistence.
Use ManpowerGroup’s free online Skills Translator to help you understand how time spent playing your favorite games may just lead you to your best job ever. By better understanding how your specific gaming experience has sharpened your workplace skills, you’ll be more prepared to express your full value to future employers, both on your resume and at your next interview.