How Dungeons & Dragons can land you a job
You might not believe me when I tell you, but I list Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) on my resume.
You may be thinking; wait, what? And I wouldn’t blame you.
D&D is a role-playing game where you and your friends tell a story together. You each create a character and guide them through a world that the Dungeon Master (DM) creates. These stories, or ‘campaigns’, can last for months or even years.
Every group has a different way of playing D&D. Some like to role-play as their characters and speak in different voices, whereas other groups might focus more on the storytelling or action side of things. There’s no right way to play, so there are a multitude of skills you can learn and improve on by playing.
Now, how does this in any way relate to job searching?
D&D is filled to the brim with a range of transferrable skills. Transferrable skills are skills that can easily translate from one activity to another (e.g. learning teamwork through sport which will help your teamwork at work). So by playing D&D, you are actually practising a lot of valuable skills that can be used throughout your career.
Skills you can learn from D&D
Keep in mind that D&D itself may not always suit your resume, but the skills you develop through playing will help you in your working life.
D&D is all about communication; communication between party members (both in and out of character), Non-Player Characters (NPCs) and friends. The game is ‘played’ through narration and conversation, as there is no physical board or screen to look at.
This might be a strange concept to wrap your head around, but in essence, D&D is like having an extended conversation with your friends, where you also happen to fight some baddies and solve puzzles.
By practising your communication skills in an environment like D&D, you get to see the reactions of other people as well as the consequences of your actions. You get to test the waters and see how your communications skills can hinder or help you in any given situation. Your ability to communicate effectively will grow as your character grows.
You can all see where this is going – work is also all about communication. Communication between your colleagues, your boss and external stakeholders. I’m not saying you should speak in-character to your manager (though it would be entertaining), but through learning to communicate better you can also more effectively run meetings, liaise with colleagues and deliberate on large decisions.
2. Teamwork and problem solving
Teamwork is key in almost any job you can think of, so developing this skill in a safe and creative space like D&D can be incredibly rewarding.
D&D is a group game, so it relies heavily on teamwork. If there’s no cohesion between group members, the game can fall apart and become a negative experience for everyone.
There is a constant barrage of problems and challenges presented by the DM that you and your party need to solve. As you progress through the game and go up levels, these challenges generally get larger and more difficult in scope, thus creating a huge range of issues that require different solutions.
How does this help you? Well, it’s a never-ending teamwork exercise. Your group will constantly be challenged, so you will need to work on your teamwork and problem-solving abilities to overcome each obstacle.
3. Creativity and innovation
If you struggle with creativity, D&D is the perfect place for you to get those cogs turning. Whether you’re a player or a DM, your creative abilities can be practised and explored in the game.
As a player, you get to decide what sort of character you want to create. You can go wild with your imagination to create a character with whatever characteristics, traits and backstory you want. Even if you’re overwhelmed and can’t think of anything ‘exciting’, you will inevitably create something that is uniquely yours.
Your creativity will be challenged as you play too. You’ll need to think outside of the box to solve puzzles and enact plans and hijinks as you travel through the world. Sometimes, the crazier the better.
This in turn helps you to develop your creativity and innovation skills, which are valuable in a workplace. Using this ability to think outside of the box can help you in many aspects of your life and is something many employers look for.
4. Empathy and interpersonal skills
Ok so this one is a bit of a curveball, I know. How could a fantasy game about imaginary characters possibly help you with your interpersonal skills?
Well, dear reader, when you create a character that is uniquely yours and make choices on behalf of said character within the world, you are inherently showing some degree of empathy. You are making a connection with someone other than yourself and trying to understand how they would react to then act accordingly.
The more that you connect with your character and practise making decisions on their behalf, the more you will be developing this skill. You will be practising the ability to empathise with another person, no matter that they aren’t real.
This type of interpersonal skill might not be your first choice to put on your resume, but it will help you greatly throughout your career. The ability to connect with others and attempt to understand their reactions and decisions will help you to form stronger bonds within the workplace and approach situations from a point of empathy.
So, how do I put this into practice?
If you have created a character, made a decision on their behalf and have worked together with the rest of your party, you’re already putting these skills into practice! By playing the game you are already practising these skills, which you will then bring with you wherever you go.
Get stuck with a big issue at work? Maybe you will be the one that thinks outside of the box to find a creative solution.
You and your colleague disagree on something? Maybe you will take a second to think about where they are coming from and act in a more empathetic way to resolve the matter.
Nervous about asking for a pay rise? Maybe you create a plan and speak to your boss more confidently than before.
These changes don’t need to be dramatic, nor will they be when you first start out. But over time and through practise, you will start to see positive results.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Hayley Sherwood is the Operations Assistant at UTS Careers. With a musical theatre and an anthropology degree under her belt, she strives to bring a creative and positive perspective to her work. She is passionate about helping students reach their fullest potential and is always happy to help answer any questions they have.