17 May 2010

RPG Nerds Make Awesome Resumés

I've started doing resumé critiques at Michigan Works! recently. It's a local employability service whose goal is to help save Michigan from its monstrous unemployment rates. In the course of my work I realized something: playing D&D did more to prepare me for resumé writing than school ever did.

Resumés are all about listing your skills and experience in a way that makes them easy to find and decipher. There's also an aesthetic element, which is important. It's just like making a character sheet except that instead of being a level 7 ranger with +3 constitution trained in wilderness survival, you have to make it something like about how you have 7 years of experience as a ranger at Range Co. International, have incredible stamina, and hold a state certification in survival.

It's pretty important to quantify information on your resumé whenever you can, too. In a character sheet it's as simple as saying, "23,140 XP." On a resumé, though, you need to break it down a little further, so you could be, like, "Saved the town of Hallows Deep (pop. 2,408) from mature wyvern-- 10,000 XP. Stopped machinations of the evil witch of Kulhaven without using violence-- 13,140 XP." It helps to track that stuff on a character sheet, and it helps to keep if for a resumé, too.

Obviously, though, XP and experience differ in that one is an quantifiable abstraction arbitrarily designated for the purpose of a game whereas the other refers to something real. Except you might even say that job searching itself is a game, the goal being to land a job. One can show and quantify experience on a resumé using things like years of experience, sales, or dollar amounts. Just about anything with units that can be given a number can count as XP on a resumé. Work in large groups? Of how many? What did you accomplish? That can be an asset. Same for small groups. All depends on who needs to read your character sheet.

Knowing the target DM/manager is really one of the keys to writing a good character sheet/resumé. They all run different kinds of adventures (and probably have ideas as to a whole campaign they want to run) and need to know that your character will be a good fit. So, to an extent, you have to write your character to that DM and to the group. If the party already has magic-users, emphasize your rogue skills. If the DM plans on disabling Common Speech make sure you've got a guy with lots of language skills. Come up with some creative ways to make your +8 to Perform (Marimba) useful to the party.

Seriously, making a resumé is just like writing a character sheet. Bosses need to be able to look at that sheet of paper and find out what version you play, what your skills are, and where you're getting your AC mods from easily. You should also do your best to rules lawyer all the AC mods you can into the document. Stuff like that is what will gets people into the adventure and helps them survive the campaign.