Staff Applications [What to write, advice, samples & more!]
[tl;dr sections II, III and IV are super important]
With years of experience analyzing multiple applications, I feel confident to pass on this information to the community of PMU. Do know, the decision of being accepted in the Staff Team is not solely based on your application. Other factors such as in-game presence, past records and the interview, constitute a major chunk to the final decision. A good application is an index of the candidates beliefs, achievements, philosophy and overall attitude both in-game and on the forums, discord, other groups. It is in the best interests of the team to make decisions that will encourage development and positive work ethic.
Even though this guide is really just my opinion, it’s based on thorough observations, and a lot of hard work was put into it! Read carefully.
Table of Contents[b]
I. How to apply
II. Overview Questions
III. Sample Responses
IV. Reasons for 90% Rejection
V. The Interview
VI. I was rejected. Now what?[/b]
I. How to apply
Before you rush in to send your application, carefully consider - do you meet the requirements? That is:
• 1. Are you of age? It’s important to be at least 13 years old in order to try out for this position. Being a staff member requires dealing with all sorts of people and all sorts of situations, so this precaution is in your interest alone. 12 and 2 months aren’t okay, you can wait!
• 2. Make sure your playtime is at least 500 hours. Ideally, it should be much more, just so borderline requirements aren’t a problem. Either way, you’re required to attach a screenshot of your playtime (which can also be verified by other means), so ensure you have the bare minimum.
• 3. Have a clean record! Most people in the team are those who have absolutely no record of breaking the rules, but even if you do, make sure it’s been at least six months, and try explain your actions, especially if you haven’t already. We believe in change~
So, you’ve finally decided you want to apply. That’s great, it can take a lot of courage to summon the strength to apply. You’ve taken a step in the right direction! (…hopefully) In order to apply to be a part of the staff team, you have to fill out a form (here, on the forum) that helps the team gauge your skill and potential. Think of the application as less of ‘questionnaire’ and more of a ‘resume’, where you get a chance to perform and demonstrate your motivation. Unfortunately, you don’t get to ask questions or receive answers (wait for the interview!) on your application, purely because of how many applications there are.
The resume questions can be found here.You submit your application by posting it on the Staff App forum, here. Remember that only and the staff team can view your application, so you need not worry about other candidates seeing your application.
II. Overview Questions
01. What is your in-game name? (If you have had any name changes, please mention them.)
Pretty simple, name changes are important so you don’t get confused as being some else or a newer member.
02. When did you join PMU? (Please attach a recent screenshot of your in-game playtime, too)
Not too hard either, most applicants do fairly well for this question too. Mention both: (i) when you joined (DD/MM/YYYY) and (i) your playtime hours +screenshot. A contextual background (for e.g, 'around summer HC 2012 or similar sort) is lovely because it helps understand which part of PMU’s journey you joined in, but its not really required. However, in some cases, failing to comprehend the question gives the impression of being someone who has trouble following instructions, so make sure you’re not ‘that one person who…’.
03. Which job are you applying for? And why do you want the job? (Jobs you may apply for are: Discord Chat Mod | Moderator | Designer)
Do you see Admin up there? Or Developer? Or anything else? I don’t either - which means you may not apply for those positions. An application trying out for, say, developer, will automatically be ignored (unless, of course, we’ve opened those apps).
What the positions mean (it’s possible to write an entire book on this, but a quick overview will suffice for now)
Discord Chat Mod: Technically not exactly a ‘staff position’, more so a community helper (think back to Graphic Artist or Music Composer). Any candidate accepted for this position isn’t really added to the Staff Chat, nor has any special privileges in-game. But if you want to taste what it means to be a staff or want to help out moderating the Discord Chat, this is perfect.
Moderator: Most people apply for this position, and is therefore very competitive. Remember to link each answer to the position you’re applying for. You will most likely be accepted as Jr. Mod (apprentice/trial run role) before you can move to Sr. Mod. Do not apply for Moderator if all you want to do is help other people or show off your staff privileges.
Designer: A Designer helps create the over world, maps, dungeons, and generally content as whole. You may apply for this position if you have experience or feel that you can map well or have a knack for creative development. Remember, applying for a designer means you may also have to moderate at times, and your critical thinking/decision making skills are also fairly important. Knowing how to map is awesome, but not enough.
04. Why do you feel that you are fit for the job?
This is arguably the most important question and one where most applicants fall short. This is your chance to show the team why they should accept you, what makes you so different and why you’ll be a productive contribution to the Staff Team.
• Leave this blank
• Ramble on about why you have strong morals/beliefs (SHOW, don’t TELL!)*
• Repeat what you’re saying at point 5 or 8 (If I had a dollar for each time that happened, well … PMU would have a better server)
• Give a generic, irrelevant and redundant response
• Write two lines
• Mention what sets you apart from everyone else (Answer: Why should you be hired as opposed to all 23721 applicants!)
• Prove you’re enthusiastic and motivated
• Talk about inspiration (Add in an anecdote if you think you can pull it off!)
• Maintain an observant, reflective, analytic tone
• Demonstrate you’re an mature and sophisticated individual with intellectual curiosity
- I can’t stress on how important it is to show and not tell. Consider the following responses:
A: I’m a friendly, kind and helpful person who’s a great leader and someone you can depend on.
B: I enjoy helping new players in my guild. Dungeon-ing together to gather items and expand our every-growing family has taught me…
Who sounds better? If you ask me, I’d choose B over A any day. Candidate A makes assertions (which, honestly, come off as being overconfident and possibly even pompous; blunt =/= immodest). It’s good to have a strong sense of voice and individuality, but calling yourself friendly and a good leader is obviously lacking humility (at the very least, it’s debateable). Even if you do say it, reference to examples to help substantiate your claims. On the other hand, B implies how he’s a good guild leader and friendly as well, and links it impressively to what he or she ‘enjoys’ (a very believable motivation: strengthening his/her guild). Choices such as ‘Every-growing family’ shows me how me has principles of inclusion and works hard towards teamwork. The guild reference also ties fairly well to PMU. Overall, I ‘figured out’ that they were friendly and hard working.
(But B also displays a few weaknesses - can you figure them out? -wink wink-)
5. What previous skills or experience do you have which may be useful to the team?
Easily the most misunderstood question. It’s important to understand the question before we move on, being ‘kind’ is not a skill. Knowing how to design, use PS/make banners is a skill. Feeding your pet on time is not an experience. Working on a role-play forum is an experience. The word ‘previous’ should be a cue about how this is about actual contributions and not an opportunity to sprinkle more generalized assertions about your character/personality.
You aren’t being asked about your ‘qualities’ (go back to question 4), you’re being asked about technical experience that may help.
I personally refuse to believe that an applicant has absolutely no experience or skills (there are exceptions of course, and if there’s a special reason why you had limited opportunities, you might want to present it). Quite frankly, you can mention anything, it all boils down to how well you can link it to how it’s ‘useful to the team’. Fortunately, most staff are usually very forgiving about what skills you have. Even if you can speak another language, were once a group leader for a school project, wrote an article or even actually worked/interned (paid or unpaid) anywhere, it’s worthwhile mentioning. You’re giving subtle hints how you’re someone who enjoys spending time productively and has a knack for adventure and exploration.
Tip: Instead of settling for whatever pops in your mind first, carefully examine your past, rattle your thought-bank. What can you really talk about? What was a significant experience that holds meaning and has relevance to you even today?
6. What is your current opinion of PMU and its community?
A relatively easier question and one that’s often surprisingly well answered. This is essentially meant to check for a lot of things, maturity and developed reasoning being the key objectives. No two people will have the same opinion on PMU or its community, so this is your chance to demonstrate your individuality and voice. Your opinion is obviously respected but why you feel what you feel really matters. So your ‘justification’ is what helps create an air of authenticity, giving the impression you’re a well researched & well informed player who’s concerned with PMU’s development.
Possible things you could talk about…
• Your journey so far: How has it been? If you’ve been playing for a while, step back and think how PMU has evolved: is different from what is was previously and what it is now. What positives can you see? Are there any negatives? Why do you think so, give examples!
• Has there been a development in your thought process? Did you originally have an opinion that has changed/evolved? How and why. What do you feel a problems that still plague the game?
Tip Something that immediately grabs attention is a distinct and unique opinion. You don’t want to sound like everyone else who feels PMU’s greatest problem is crashes and lag. Go deeper! Think what’s a consistent core issue, as opposed to scraping at the superficial surface.
7. How well do you think you can work in a team environment?
A somewhat straightforward question that usually invites the more uninteresting responses. This isn’t a yes or no question. Rephrase it to, ‘To what extent do you think you can be classified as a team player’. ‘How well…’ should stimulate both sides: (i) how you can work in such an environment and (ii) how you cannot or what you feel is the greatest vulnerability of working as a team. Reference to your experiences again: when you’ve worked in a team and how it went. Do you enjoy working in a team? What is task delegation to you? What is a good team?
A more advanced and thoughtful analysis would probably also focus on problems with teamwork, going beyond the black and white: how it might take time to open up, how timezones might cause communication lapses, so on. An even more successful response will go ahead to slide in potential solutions too. I’d personally avoid saying that I’m brilliant at team work in case it comes off as being over-confident.
8. What does it mean to you to be a staff member on PMU?
► How you view the staff team
► Responsibilities of the staff, according to you
► What you think is the ‘purpose’ of the team
Notice the you, you and more you? That’s there because this, once again, is all about what relevance the position has to you. It’s also a way to hint towards what you plan to do as a staff member if accepted. The staff team already knows it’s supposed to make dungeons, moderate the chat and prevent time from breaking, so mentioning that probably isn’t helpful.
Some of the best responses I’ve read to this focus on a very emotional approach, such as a staff member helping a player in time of need and how it was a turning point experience, or how being ‘someone who’s always there’ is an inspiration or archetype. Wanting to replicate a sense of ‘giving back’ might help your case, the motivation really has to come through.
9. Do you have any record of breaking the PMU rules and regulations that you would like us to know about? If so, please elaborate.
The staff team maintains a close observation of all players breaking the rules on Trello, and every message typed is recorded, so it’s probably don’t a great idea to say you never broke a rule when you were clearly muted a week ago. This question is essentially asking you to take the stage and justify your actions. If you did break a rule, narrate what happened and explain how you’ve changed (hopefully you have). On the contrary, if you feel you were punished unfairly, you could also talk about that (perhaps link this to how it’s motivation for you to streamline PMU’s moderation guidelines?) consistently breaking the rules won’t help, but very much like the entire application, it comes to how well you justify yourself. The staff team understands its moderation shortcomings and wants to improve that. Similarly, it also recognizes your flaws and wants to see if you’re like minded and want to improve as well.
As a player, I believed the staff would never accept someone who had been muted, but this isn’t true, not anymore at least. So keep trying!
[★] What are other things do you like to in your free time? Do you have any hobbies that you would like us to know about?
The optional question focuses on you as a person. You have a life outside PMU (hopefully) and we want to know more about you! What do you like to do in your leisure time? Do you play the violin? Do you draw art? Tell us! The team knows you play PMU in your free time, so talk about other things, ideally completely unrelated to PMU. This is also your chance to connect with the team and accentuate ‘relatability’.
…I’m probably more likely to give your application another read if I know we watch similar anime or love the same animal
[★] If you are applying for the Designer job, please provide us with a few samples of your work.
While the question tells you to ignore it if you’re applying for moderator, I beg you not to.
If you’ve ever made a map, ever done something creative, made art, drop links here. This is your chance to show that you’re a creative person. It also slightly hints towards a ‘growth’ prospect, how you might progress in the team or might even be helpful as a Designer/Deve eventually.
[★] Do you have any personal information that you would like to tell us about? (Age, gender, timezone…etc)
Also pretty straightforward and usually well answered.
As monstrous as I sound saying this, this is not an opportunity to get sympathy or talk about how sad and sorry you feel for yourself. It’s important to address this because it happens way too often. Do, however, take initiative! Give us your skype, discord, link to your blog.
If I were you, I’d probably toss in some random cool facts about myself. (Also brings a close to the app on a humorous note).
III Sample Responses
For a comparison and to extend standards expected, consider the following sample responses. These are ‘actual’ applications.
The following candidate applied in 2014 and got accepted in the Staff Team. The format is so of the old staff application, since the purpose of this response is simply to give a general idea on what sort of information is accepted.
Candidate A -> ACCEPTED
[SPOILER]1. What is your in-game name?
My in-game is –insert unsername-.
2. How long have you been playing?
I have been playing this game for almost over a year now. I joined last July. I currently have more than 1000 hours of play-time hours.
3. What job are you applying for?
I’m applying for the moderator position
4. Why do you want this job?
I want this job, because I feel that I am qualified to handle the duties that come with it. I feel that the PMU community has grown larger with the passage of time, with not enough moderators. I feel, that my PMU playing experience has come to an end, I can use that time which I spent endless hours in dungeons to help do something for the welfare of PMU. I want to make PMU a safe and enjoyable game for new users and inspire others to help PMU grow as well. I have learned a lot from PMU as a player, and I feel that on the Staff team, I can learn even more.
PMU has helped me to develop beyond the mere strength of words and influence. It has been successful in helping me establish strong links, and friendships with people all around the world. I, -username-, by coming on the staff team, would like to work with different people, with different ideas and bring out the best of PMU. I am inspired by PMU staff members, who selflessly committed and dedicated themselves to this online community. I too, want to help further better PMU for a bright future. I see an intensely brilliant future for PMU with more players, and more staff devoted to their work. I wish nothing but to be the same.
Moreover, I’m aiming for Gallery Moderator position on deviantArt, however I lack a few years of educational qualification to apply for that position. I want to use that time efficiently, and take part in projects that would help me gain experience; this is where PMU comes in. I hope that PMU will help me in achieving my aims. We currently don’t have many active in-game moderators at the moment, which why I would like to volunteer to become part of the staff team.
Lastly I would like to reason what I would want to adhere to the PMU staff community is that the staff team consists of wonderfully inspiring people whom I would like to get closer too, and further get to know them better. If I do not get this position, then I suppose its fine by me, for I take your decision as final. However, I would like to mention that I am in confident in myself and what I write. Whether accepted or rejected, I am proud to propose a staff application to the staff members of PMU.
5. What previous experience/skills do you have that may be useful?
PMU will be my first experience of a major staff position in an online game. However, if it’s worth mentioning I was the moderator on several Xat chats of TPL (The Pokemon League) which was an online game which has been shut down for false affiliation to Nintendo and hasn’t run since a very long time. I am capable of monitoring players during game-play. Most of these experience are minor ones which involve small communities and groups that have come together to accept a few leaders to decide what goes and what doesn’t.
I fully understand and comprehend the duties of an in game moderator. Team work, is an essential ingredient in co-operation towards a common goal. I can cope up with my surroundings, and am able to adapt to unpredictable situations. I believe that staff members should be able to work individually as well as with other members on the team. Having said that, I possess the ability of quick decision making which has proved to be incredibly productive on several occasions.
I know that the moderator position which I am applying for requires dedication and commitment. Moderators, have to be online for most of their part to be able to watch over the chat-room in game. They serve an important role to the community by ensuring that whatever goes into global is age appropriate and not violent or unfitting for any audience. I am certain that I am capable of spending most of the hours of my day towards PMU, to supervise my fellow players.
I feel that moderators should be lingual and have decent idea of other cultures and in order to make just decisions. I have a somewhat firm concept of cultures and traditions. I know several languages such as Urdu, English and Arabic. Language is my key skill; it helps me to convince many people about my perception and point of view. I also have very good communication skills, and understand the person across the table well.
The abilities of a Moderator should be able to make his mind up about his course of action quickly. Moderators should be able to resolve all problems swiftly and be able to deal with large groups of people not being in favor of a staff decisions. Both of which I think I am able to do, as well as up hold the rules and regulations of PMU and react rapidly towards volatile and fickle situations.
In PMU, the moderators are capable of dealing with in-game problems. I can tolerate different sorts of people, and make just decisions with regard to be able to accordingly discharge my duties. Hence with the skills, mentioned I feel that I am capable and eligible for the staff team. I may also add, regarding this staff application that; words are as far as they go, applying them is what makes a difference.
6. What other things do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, which I rarely get from PMU and studies, I tend to play my guitar. I love playing songs, I plan on producing own song-theme soon. I have thought about singing, tried once. It turned out to be a terrible idea. I enjoy listening to songs as well, and once in a while; attending concerts or simply hanging out with my friends. Apart from that I love art. Any and every form of art is interesting in my opinion. I have yet to learn in this field as well and practice more on what I know already. I draw whenever I get time, or whenever I take out time to do it. My art, whether appreciated or not has always satisfied me with the contentment of putting up something that took hours to make.
Art, whether it’s drawing on the back of my Dan Brown and John Grisham books, or sitting in front of my system for hours trying to think of concept art to put and then finally taking the courage to make it. Both have equally proved to be a useful past time. Creativity sparks are things that I frequently have, and when I get them I need to draw fast. All the hassle and finally taking time to fabricate and construct a wonder work of ability; and then staring at your work thinking that it’s got the feeling in it. It’s all worth it.
In my free time, when I’m not busy with school projects I take up free lance writing work. I write articles for online clients. I also write a blog – insertlink-.
7. What other personal information do you think we ought to know (age, gender, etc.)?
Age: -insert details-
Birth-date: -insert details
Gender: -insert details-
Time-zone: -insert details-
My journey in PMU has been both good and bad. Undoubtedly, I have learned a lot during my stay here. However it is true that I do not have a clean record of preserving PMU’s system, I strongly believe that any wrong can redeem itself. True determination and proper skill-set can at least negotiate and put up a worthwhile bargain. Moreover, I would like to come clean, it is rather rare but as it’s clearly evident that concessions have been made for previous staff members, I would like to request the same; if at all acceptable.
If, any other personal information is required, I will be more than willing to provide it. Joining the PMU staff team, would require my withdrawal of support in a few other projects and I am willing to take that step to show you my eagerness and determination to participate in this project.
Awaiting your favorable response.
Analysis: An average application.There are lapses in the overall sense of purpose, but the consistency doesn’t deviate from the task at hand. The application is of a reasonable length, and has strong sense of structure with tightly controlled ideas. Examples and references are presented where relevant (though it could use more). There is an attempt to explain an instance of record breaking. The motivation seems to be well developed, though some ideas could use better ‘why’ explanations.
To me, the application says just about enough to spark an interest, and definitely deserves an interview.
Candidate B -> REJECTED
[SPOILER]1. What is your in-game name?
-insert username-. Have some other alts but they’re not really used for anything barring PMing people in runs when I’m getting "You have already logged onto this server"errors.
2. How long have you been playing?
Made my account in mid-July 2012, and been playing on and off. Most of my serious commitment was put in after the rollback, around November of 2014 where I actually passed level 40 after two years. Pre-rollback I think I was very irritable to many, but I was a TC draggee and became rich that way.
3. What job are you applying for?
4. Why do you want this job?
I get to help people. That’s number 1, right? Being a moderator means you can help and give back to the community ten-fold. Be a player to respect, look up to, and not be scared of.
I believe every community needs someone who is responsible, serious, trustworthy, and mature(most of the time LOL). I think I’m a good person to come to for help, comfort, and simple chit-chat. I’m a pleasant person to share the room with. I’d also make sure to remove every spammer, glitch abuser, and very generally unpleasant, rude, and disorienting people from PMU. I really, really hate glitch abusers. Never liked them. Nope. Never.
Also, I’ve been a really active player these past few months. Nowadays, there’s been a severe lack of mods than what PMU used to have a year or so back. People often get stuck in MJ or whatever, due to training runs including 4 people and, unfortunately, someone disconnects, which means the rest of the group are stuck at the mid-entrances to continue on. There’s been multiple times where I, and others, have been on the Skype chat and ask for staff, and sometimes a mod gets on but sometimes they don’t. If the latter occurs, the party has to leave the dungeon and time is wasted. Kind of sucks, huh?
5. What previous experience/skills do you have that may be useful?
I’ve played a lot of other MMOs since 2006, including biggies like Runescape, Maplestory, and Elsword. Maplestory is the one I have the most experience with, as I was a genuinely active player between beta and 2010. I’ve taken a dive into many private servers, and have been accepted as a moderator for some, but smaller ones with communities of 20-30 people.
6. What other things do you like to do in your free time?
I like going to the gym, reading internet articles, BGO, sleeping, having conversations on Skype, and sometimes when I’m feeling really masochistic, I read old forum posts of mine on different sites made by a younger version of me. Always makes me cringe.
7. What other personal information do you think we ought to know?
-insert details- . You can get my Skype info by PMing me, not willing to just share it out right now because of personal and private reasons.
Timezone is PST, which is great considering I find that a majority of players are from EST.
Feel free to ask me more questions.[/SPOILER]
Analysis: The application was rejected for a number of reasons. For starters, it lacks depth. The first three questions are answered well. The fourth one is where problems begin to surface. I personally don’t mind the chatty tone, but ‘hating glitch abusers’, and just ‘wanting to help’ isn’t really a convincing motivation. Again, your motivation can be anything, but you have to solidify your intention and really firmly ground it to make it more convincing. The candidate touches on the idea of ‘giving back’, but stops at simply mentioning it, this point could use a lot of development.
Another reason presented is that ‘there’s lack of moderators’, ‘people keep disconnecting’, which hints towards how the candidate doesn’t really understand what the position actually demands. Anyone who’s been a staff can tell you that muting/banning/fixing glitches is really just the tip of the iceberg. In PMU, every staff member has a solid voice which translates to major decisions such as applicant voting, feature development, community guidelines and much more. The circles back to how a thorough understanding of the roles is important.
Past experience is too brief and limited to playing other MMOs (something almost all applicants have done), the candidate mentions moderating a an MMO, but once again, stops simply at the mentioning that. No analysis on how it was a moving/learning experience. It ends on a humorous note, which is unusually pleasing. While the app doesn’t stand out, I would probably start carefully observing the candidate in-game and elsewhere, and remain in hopes of a potentially well written and more fleshed out application.
But for now, the candidate most likely wouldn’t make it to the interview.
IV. Reasons Why 90% Apps are Rejected
Reasons listed in order of most common to least
1. Too Short
Yes, I guarantee that almost 9/10 applications are rejected simply because they are too short. The reason is simple, a short application reflects lack of determination. Also, a few lines is very little to work with. It takes a lot of skill to write precisely and economically, but the truth is, not all of us are brilliant writers who can express ourselves well in a few words. Take your time, address each thing carefully and cautiously. A word or two to a few lines don’t give the staff a chance to understand you, so be as expressive as possible.
The staff have a lot of resources to verify information you present. So lying about your age, past accounts, location or anything is extremely damaging to your application and is usually an immediate rejection. The staff team’s knowledge resources scavenge deep into the heart of the community, and any contradictory information is a huge red flag. It’s probably better to admit where you went wrong and work your way towards improving whatever it is you considered as being flawed. Remember, no matter how ‘unforgivable’ your past was, the staff team firmly believes in change, and will it may take some time, it is definitely better than lying.
3. Non-App related
As mentioned at the start, your in-game presence also matters a lot. So, while a well written application can compensate for most things, it cannot compensate for everything. It’s important you engage with the community, have a noticeable, lively and active participation in-game, on forums, everywhere. This sort of rejection might also be linked to not meeting the requirements. You might think that the staff barely notice you, but trust me, once you have applied, you are under constant and careful observation with each interaction fueling your chances. No application is every ignored, so know this, if you were rejected, it was probably for a reason.
V. The Interview
!! Coming Soon !!
VI. I was Rejected! Now what?
Breathe. It can be super demoralizing, especially if you don’t understand why you were rejected, but I’m here to convince you otherwise. Almost no one I know got in on their first application, unless special conditions presented, of course. It’s very normal to be rejected on your first application, sometimes even first few. Step back, review your application, re-read this guide, and subtly approach staff on how you can improve you application. You might even consider asking ex-staff for comments/feedback on your app.
If you plan to send in your app, please do not copy paste your last application, that’s not a good idea at all. Review, tweak, re-read, repeat. I can’t stress on how important this is: you are always rejected for a reason, not because of apathy, indifference or other better candidates. We don’t mind hiring 10 applicants if their apps are good enough (that’s an exaggeration but in the past 3/4 promotions together have taken place). So understand that your app was not ignored or discarded. It was thoroughly analyzed multiple times by multiple people and then rejected. Develop and flesh out each app, try new things.
With that said, I feel my job here is done.
I’ll keep improving this, feel free to ask questions, discuss stuff.