Getting into the Video Games Industry, How?
Hey there! A question people ask of me is “Dude how did you get a job in gaming?” A simple question you might say, however I didn’t achieve this in a day, it took literally years. Years of ups and downs, application writing and pure and simple hard work. So due to popular demand from emails, twitter and face to face screaming, I thought I would just offer a few words of “wisdom”. Along with some input from a friend or two in the industry.
This is me assuming that you’re in some kind of education…..START EARLY! I fully understand that coursework, exams, social pressures and of course video games leave you with little to no free time on most occasions. However don’t leave looking for a job when your studies end, as surprise surprise that’s when every other graduate in the world will be doing the same thing. Employees are only human and when an influx of CV’s come their way, they will only look at so many until their eyes start to bleed and they give up (they will never admit this though). This means that your CV may get lost in the crowd meaning an instant rejection or even worse, no reply at all…
Yes I know it sucks, but this is a fact of life. If you’re reading this, it’s close to the end of your studies and you have not started, then seriously…START LOOKING NOW.
The dreaded CV and Cover Letter
The CV and cover letter is of course horribly important. It’s usually the way an employer knows you exist and it’s crucial that you set a great first impression. Yea you already knew that right? But is your CV as good as it can be? I don’t think there is such thing as a perfect CV, but having a near perfect one wouldn’t hurt.
My CV and covering letters went through a string of changes, I settled on a pretty standard format but the content was always changed, almost weekly at some points. Does Sony need to know that I got a D in Geography (sorry mum) back in school? Of course they don’t. Simple questions like that were key to allowing me send off a great CV to an employer.
Tailoring is also important. The application I make to Capcom probably shouldn’t be the same one that I send to Ubisoft. Why you ask, because a blanket CV and covering letter is lazy.
“I love all your games”
“Street Fighter 4 is a personal favourite of mine and I can’t wait for the next entry in the series”
Which one of those sentences do you think the Capcom HR guy will be likely to respond to?
“Ensuring that your CV and Covering Letter are tailored specifically for each role you apply for will pay off dividends. Employers can sniff a blanket application a mile off and it suggests that you don’t esteem that particular employer as your first choice or worse, you couldn’t be bothered”
Those words are from a dear friend, Bolu Akindoyin. He’s the guy who gave the final critique for the CV that went off to Sony, and look where that got me? He is an old colleague and founder of the London CV Clinic, he is a gaming industry vet and contacting him will no doubt help your career aspirations. Oh he also works for EA
Put yourself out there
Games are made by people. Don’t forget that. People can be one of two things when helping you get a job, helpful to you or indifferent. We’re all egos aren’t we? Humouring me, complimenting me or simply just being nice will no doubt give you a better chance of gaining my favour and help in your endeavours.
Actually being able to speak to people in this industry used to be quite tough, believe me I know. But social media has changed that, being on twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn won’t necessarily help you get a job but it can get you access to people in and around the industry. Contact people in the specific part of the industry you want to be in, but just remember what I said before, be nice and be courteous. I don’t see myself as anything at all in this industry but when people come to me somewhat demanding for help they usually get ignored.
Chin Soon Sun, everybody’s favourite community manager at Tecmo Koei puts it best:
“If you’re still studying now (and have the passion in video games), I would recommend you to concentrate on your studies and start branding yourself like blogging (as a hobby) and tweeting (be wise) to the people in the industry to learn and get insights“
Sure everybody and their dog seems to have a blog these days. But my blog was a common point of conversation for interviews and employers where always impressed to see my passion for the games in my posts. And it’s also another opportunity for them to find out more about you and see your personality. But be careful how you throw around your opinions, an old blog post that you posted slagging off a company or their game could come back to haunt you.
Maybe your skills mean you have a portfolio? Put them online for the world to see, you never know who will click on it. I know truckloads of designers who got their jobs in gaming simply by somebody coming upon their work online and being impressed.
And if you’re looking for that first contact in the industry then consider me that person. Don’t be shy
If you’re bold enough to want to find me somehow in person (I don’t bite) , the awesome Debbie Timmins of The Average Gamer website has provided some help. Her website has an Events Calender which lists the awesome industry events going on throughout the year. Chances are you will find me at some of these, so do come and say “Hi” to that skinny black guy with the glasses (that’s me).
Well that is all I have to say for now. Depending on feedback and hits etc, this could be a regular feature on the blog. So please leave some comments on what you thought of the post overall and what I may have missed and so forth.
Bye for now!