Thursday, August 17, 2006

Getting a games programming job - Tip 6 - Submitting Your Resume

The first stage in your application process is sending in your resume and cover letter. Here are a few of my tips, mainly aimed at people new to the industry:

  • It doesn’t hurt to personalize your application by mentioning the name of the company, and saying why you’d like to work with them in particular. If I read ‘I liked playing ‘The Incredibles’ and would like to work on similar titles’ then that makes the person stand out. It shows they’ve researched the company, and are particularly interested in it. It’s the difference between getting junk mail that says Dear Sir, and Dear .
  • If you’ve been doing little demo projects like I suggest, mention it, and give a link to your web page. Being able to quickly show someone what you can do can make a massive difference.
  • I like it when the application includes a cover letter, and perhaps a note about hobbies/interests. It gives a chance for me to see the applicant as a person, and not just a completed University course. Expressing why you want to work in games, and the fact that you’re crazy about playing the Sax lets your personality show, and makes you memorable. You become ‘that Sax guy’. It also shows your communication skills. The ability to communicate well is important in almost any job.
  • Be honest about your abilities. If you get an interview, and people find that you’ve been exaggerating in some area, then it casts doubt on everything you’ve put. Don’t undersell yourself either, as you might not get called.
  • If you’re proud of your GPA, don’t forget to put it.
  • Format what you’re sending nicely. Check the spelling and grammar.
  • If you’re coming from an educational establishment, then they likely have a group who will check your resume for you. Make sure you use this. If you don’t have this kind of service available, then find one or two people who can proof read it for you.
  • It’s best to apply directly to the company instead of using a recruiter. Using a recruiter would be free to you, but would usually cost the company several thousand dollars to hire you. You’re saving the company money by applying directly. Another thing is that sometimes your resume gets mangled down to a badly formatted txt file, which can give a bad impression.
  • At some companies, the online job application database, or centralized corporate HR department can be a bit of a quagmire that applications get stuck in. Whenever possible I try and avoid this route by contacting the studio directly, or finding a contact there through a friend of a friend.
  • While you’re going through the interview process, keep on coding for fun. It’ll keep your skills nice and sharp, and you also wont have much time for your own coding once you get a job.
Hopefully, with your resume in good order, you'll soon be contacted and then move onto the next stage. As it's videogames, you have to complete three stages and then you face a big angry boss.

Oh come on, that was a good one...

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