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Landing That Game Industry Job - Part 1

James goes through the lessons that he has learned in applying for programming jobs in the games industry. Here, he goes over obvious and some perhaps not so obvious lessons that he has learned over the course of many job applications in the last decade.

Even getting yourself noticed for a position in any game developer can be quite tough.  It can be quite hard to really communicate your skils, experience and passion in one or two pages of text.  But once you've gotten somebody's attention, then you've won half the battle.  From there on in, it's all up to you to make the best impression over the phone or face to face.

First, you have to get noticed though, and here are some things that I keep in mind when writing my Resume/CV.

1. There is no such thing as the perfect CV/Resume

This is the first thing that I learned when attending a state run CV writing course before getting into the industry.  

Each job you apply for will likely have a different set of requirements for the position.  You may have the same general information and formatting for each job that you apply for, but the initial section that details your skills should be custom made for that application.

And this brings me on to the next thing that I learned...

2. The first page of your CV/Resume should be your sales pitch. 

The people responsible for selecting who to interview typically receive a lot of applications.  They don't have time to scan your work / educational experience to see if you have skills and experience.  Which is why I typically have my first page containing the skills that I have that are relevant to the job application.

The idea is to say "Here, I have the skills you're looking for. I'm you're guy/gal" with little or no work on the other persons part.  For every requirement they list in the job specification, you list your relevant skill that relates to it there.

And what about your other skills?  Well...list them too! You want this prospective employer to know that they're going to get MORE than what thet are asking for.  Just make sure you put them after the required skills section.

The headings on the first page of my CV go like this;

  • Personal / Contact Info
  • Relevant Skills
  • Other Skills
I have only ever received  compliments on how straight forward this part of my CV is, and how easy it is to see that I have the requires skills for the job. 

What if you're missing one or two requirements?  Don't sweat it...leave it out because there are very few people out there who will meet EVERY requirement.  Just be honest about it so that when that interview comes around, you can explain that you don't know or have no experience but, hey, you're a quick learner, right?  You'll tell them that you would like to pick up that skill should they hire you.

3. Don't forget your contact information 

I shouldn't really have to say this, but you have no idea how often people forget this.  

And a word on e-mail addresses. Personal expression is great, but do you really think an employer will be impressed by [email protected]? I'm sure there are some people looking over applications who are free spirits like yourself and will embrace your quirky nature, but let's not chance that.  

Have a sensible e-mail address handy for job applications.

4. Spelling should be correct

Again, I shouldn't really have to say this.  But I know people who say "I write code all day, what's spelling got to do with it? If they're so uptight, maybe I don't want to work for them." 

Spelling is not optional, no matter how you look at it.  Make use of your spell-checker, and proof read it until you can recite it from memory.  There's nothing more off-puting than somebody who hasn't bothered to check their spelling.  Also, get somebody else to proof read your CV or resume as they'll easily pick out errors because they won't get caught up in the content.

After all, if you can't be bothered to ensure the quality of such an important document, what's to say you're not as sloppy/lazy in your day job?  

5. Beware of international differences

There's a general rule of thumb in the UK that your CV shouldn't run to more than one page, or two if you simply cannot trim it down.  For most graduates, this shouldn't be a problem.  Also, in the UK, there is a law about requiring that gender, date of birth, nationanailty, marital status and such like information are not required on an application.  So people don't put this stuff in.

But what about other places?  My experience of Germany and Austria is that it's quite the opposite.  They want to know as much about you as possible, and that includes having a photo of yourself! 

So if you're applying for a job in a different country, do a bit of research regarding the sort of formatting and informtation that is the norm there.  

In closing...

 Remember, you're main aim is to grab the attention of the reader, and then provide additional information that you can expand when they interview you.  It's an important document regarldess of your experience or role and you should treat it as such.

Don't skimp on it, and remember; there's no such thing as the perfect CV/resume! 

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