First question in the community, and I know it's very contextual, so I'm trying to ask it as concisely as I can (to where it might benefit others).

I volunteer as a moderator for a pretty popular online game. The game’s still relatively young - it’s five years old now; I’ve been a player since it opened and a moderator for over three years.

I’m really interested in working professionally for this game. I’m incredibly passionate about the game itself, I really enjoy the staff as people, and I've (over the last year) discovered that I have a professional interest in Community Management / Player Support. I’ve found myself refreshing the game’s employment openings page several times a day in hopes that I’ll see a Community or Support position open up!

However, I’m very concerned that my position as a volunteer moderator is actually hindering any chances that I would be considered for actual employment. This game’s staff is very firm about the fact that volunteering as a moderator is “not a gateway to employment or an extended interview for a future job.” I'm concerned that my volunteering is going to be seen as a way to get close with the staff and, underhandedly, make myself stand out.

I also don’t have any professional experience. My education is in Computer Science and I don’t have any job history that directly relates to Community Management / Player Support - this is my attempt to try and get a start somewhere. I have many years of experience moderating for different games voluntarily, that’s pretty much it.

Between the lack of experience and the fact that I’m a volunteer, I just fear that my application is going to seem like a joke, when I very much desire an employment position. So I guess my questions are:

  • In this situation, volunteering is actually harmful? Should I maybe consider stepping down?
  • What makes a professional Community applicant stand out? What can I do to prove that I'm serious about a professional position with this game?

If the company is well run it shouldn't hurt your chances, as long as you do a good job. A badly run company might ask themselves why they'd bother paying you when you are already contributing for free, but that would be a bad company you don't really want to work for anyway.

A good company is going to see the job you are doing as a volunteer and if you have interest in doing it full time, should want to embrace a known good choice because they've seen what you will do. Using Stack Exchange itself as an example, they have volunteer moderators, but in at least a couple of cases, really good moderators have ended up transitioning to full time community managers because they were interested and Stack Exchange could see exactly what they'd be getting with the hire.

The exception to this is that if you do a bad job as a volunteer it could certainly hurt your chances. If a company doesn't like the job you are doing as a volunteer, they are going to be less likely to hire you as you have demonstrated you don't do the job well.


Volunteering won't hurt your chances, as long as you are persistent, motivated and hard-working. From my personal experience, if you show them that you are ready to learn, and give relevant and fresh ideas about some projects or problems, they will definitely like it and will give you a chance. It's also in their interest to have someone who's very passionate about the job!


Volunteering isn't going to hurt your chances. I know people who made free work for quite a time in an anime official community/board and later got employed as administrators, community managers, webmasters (that's what you are looking for) but also marketing, producers, etc. The problem with volunteering and I know it as personal experience, it's you can do a lot of work for nothing. Sometimes it can give you chances and many times it is going to be a ton of free work for nothing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.