Finding a career is challenging, especially now. The sweeping work-from-home adjustments made last year were a catalyst for well-needed changes in the job market, but they can be confusing to navigate.

In a Microsoft survey of 30,000 people from 31 countries, results showed that 73% of workers want to continue working remotely, even after pandemic restrictions are fully lifted. These results make sense. After all, most office work can be done from home. 

Working remotely provides a lot of flexibility. After all, we work to live, not the other way around! Remote work provides flexible time for employees to get things done around the house, spend time with loved ones, and take day trips to cool locations. Most importantly, remote work opens us up to opportunities we would not have had access to in the past due to location barriers.

When it came to finding work in the gaming industry, I thought I was going to have to uproot from the east coast and reposition myself in a major gaming state like California, who is home to more than 900 gaming companies. A move like this was not something I was prepared for as a young professional with thousands in student loan debt. When broken down, the cost of moving and living was just too damn high. I had to find another way. 

My journey to finding a career in the gaming industry while situated in Philadelphia was a challenge. Before the pandemic, I was working as an admission counselor for a 4-year college. I started volunteering with the student gaming organization on campus and took on the role of their advisor. Little did I know at the time how this volunteer opportunity would unearth the gaming realm for me.

Today, I am a freelance writer and contract worker who specializes in esports and gaming. I work 100% of the time from home, set my own work hours, and have the flexibility and freedom to live my life. It was no easy task getting to this point, and I made many mistakes along the way. 

If you’re looking for a career in the gaming or esports industries, below are some tips that I compiled after reflecting on my own journey. Working flexible hours in an industry that you love is an attainable goal if you really put your mind to it!

Write down what you truly want. 

There is a special kind of magic that comes from writing things down. What kind of job or career are you really looking for? Be honest with yourself. Jot down what your ideal career looks like. You don’t have to share this with anyone else! 

Some thought-provoking questions you can ask yourself to stimulate your writing are:

  • How many hours do I want to work in a day? A week?
  • Do I care about benefits?
  • How much money do I need? 
  • How much time off do I want?
  • Do I want to work remotely all the time? Some of the time?

Learn how to market yourself.

Doubts, fear, and anxiety come flooding into the mind when we think about talking about ourselves. What if nobody listens? What if I say the wrong thing? However, learning how to tell your story is one of the most important and crucial components to finding your ideal career. 

At the end of the day, despite how rigid and professional a job opportunity may seem, we are all human beings. Find a way to bring your unique concoction of humanity to your job search. You matter!

When it comes to finding a career in the gaming or esports industries, calling upon your in-game experiences is a great way to start marketing yourself. You can use your in-game experiences (such as developing teamwork skills through Overwatch, for example) to display your character and work ethic in real life. 

Some questions you can ask yourself to craft your own unique marketing strategy are:

  • What are my skills and how can I apply them to this ideal career? 
  • What event(s) shaped me into who I am today?
  • What mistakes have I learned from in the past? 
  • How has gaming helped or harmed me?

Start connecting with other people.

Social media is a double-edged sword, but can be a great tool to market yourself if used wisely. In gaming and esports, a lot of industry professionals stick to LinkedIn and Twitter. Create an account, fill out your profiles, and start sending out invitations to connect with people in your preferred industry! 

Once you’ve made some connections, the most important step is strengthening them. To do that, you can ask your new connections for a phone or video call to hear more about what they do. It’s just like making friends in gaming or real life. 

One thing that helped me make strong connections was being casual and being myself.  It’s important to be professional, but I would argue it’s equally, if not more important, to be yourself when making new connections. Pretending to be someone you’re not will cost you in the long run, and oftentimes, it costs us our happiness.

Obtaining your ideal career is possible! That doesn’t mean it will be an easy route, but there are dozens of resources available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because that’s what life is all about.