Getting started in the esports industry can seem quite daunting, and volunteering is one of the many ways you can begin career development.
Whilst volunteering may not be everyone’s cup of tea, here are a few of the reasons why it can be beneficial.
It’s the most obvious one, but by volunteering you are able to gain valuable experience in the industry.
If you are new to a specific role or just working in the esports industry in general, getting experience in the sector will allow you to get a feel for how things run, as well as what that job is like on a day-to-day basis.
Starting out, you may have some clear perceptions of what working in esports is like, but it’s not until you actually get hands-on experience that you can establish if the role is something for you.
Even though you can gain this experience through volunteering, potential employers will see that you have taken the initiative to get started, and this will show your interest in the position.
Many events like Insomnia Gaming Festival and epic.LAN are always looking for volunteers to help put on the events, and this can be a great way to gain more practical experience in the logistical side of esports.
On top of this, a lot of companies that take on volunteers will be looking through their pool of individuals for more permanent hires, so make sure to promote yourself as a potential employee whilst gaining experience.
If you volunteer for an organisation, you are likely to meet and interact with a range of people during your time there.
This is key for getting yourself out there, as networking with people in the industry can lead to future opportunities.
By speaking to someone and developing a good relationship with that person, you are opening up a lot of doors for yourself – especially if you are starting out in developing your esports career.
As well as this, by having a good relationship built up with those already established in the industry, you can potentially reach out to them for advice. In the majority of cases, people will be more than happy to help if you reach out to them – hence why it is important to use volunteering as a networking opportunity.
Going into a volunteering role, you might already have prior experience in the specialist area you are going to be working in. However, be prepared to try new things in order to progress your skills even further.
Say you are volunteering as a video editor – you are able to develop your skills further in this area, but you may also be given the opportunity to dip into a different specialty.
Doing this allows you to widen your horizons and evolve in the sector; potentially providing more opportunities for yourself in the future.
To volunteer in a specific area, you do not have to be an expert – but some experience (personal or voluntary) is sometimes necessary to get started.
For example, if you want to volunteer as a content writer, having a blog and portfolio of your own content going into applying for the role will show you are passionate and willing to grow.
Therefore, getting yourself started with the basics can make all the difference, whilst showcasing your desire to develop your skills further.
Volunteering Vs. Freelance
Most people will be put off volunteering due to it being unpaid work, but it can be an effective way to get started in such a competitive industry.
Freelancing always looks like the more favourable option, but without experience you may struggle to be booked by organisations.
Building up a portfolio, developing your skills and knowing your own worth are some of the most important things to consider when getting into any industry – especially if you are considering starting out as a freelancer.
Regardless of the fact that volunteering is not paid, it provides invaluable experience that can help put your best foot forward if freelancing is something you are interested in pursuing.
As well as this, volunteering opportunities can also turn into paid roles, so putting yourself out there to learn is a good starting point – especially if you are new to the industry or role.
However, it is always down to personal preferences, and everyone got into the esports industry in different ways – so keep your options open.
On top of everything else, volunteering is a great way to make yourself more employable on your CV.
Having experience where you were willing to develop your skills in an unpaid role shows your passion and dedication to the sector, and employers will pick up on this.
If you have participation in esports in a variety of forms (including voluntary), potential employers are more likely to take notice of you over individuals with no experience at all.
As mentioned before, voluntary experience can sometimes turn into a paid job – so showing on your CV that you are willing to put your everything into a role can make all the difference.
Overall, volunteering is all about getting yourself started and known to people in the industry.
So keep your eyes out for opportunities, and give them a go – you never know where it could take you.