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Filling the gaps

Developers discuss how they prepared for their job applications.
How do you prepare for an application? These developers said, it was all about doing your research. When I’d interviewed for the receptionist role, I had done so much research into the company. I printed out my own binder which I carried to the interview with me. So I knew the financial investors, I knew their roadmap, I knew the history of the CEO. So I’d already done so much research about the company that I could still pull in to later interviews that I had there. I did quite a lot of research. It’s really easy to pick up a lot of that stuff online anyway. We’re quite fortunate to have the internet and everything.
So you can just go online and go through all the games that they’ve worked on. Find out who’s worked there. Maybe you know someone, maybe you don’t, you know? I think I didn’t have too much problem evidencing my skills because, for an artist’s role, it’s very clear what you need with the portfolio. So you know, I had to demonstrate anatomy and being able to sculpt realistic clothing folds and stuff like that. Being able to texture realistically and stylized, depending on the project. So I just tried to make sure I hit all those points in my portfolio. And I felt confident, at least in my skills.
The company I was already working at used agile methodologies for their game teams to develop their work. So I had acquired books in agile game development and I’d started looking at those principles and how I could apply them to the team that I worked in, which was HR. So I had us doing morning stand up meetings, I had us planning our work a bit better. And although it wasn’t perfect for that team, it meant when I then was being asked how I would do that with a game team, I’d already found some kind of way to get a bit of experience that I could apply.
Although I felt quite lacking in confidence applying for a production role, I was able to look back over things that I had done previously, the roles I’d done before, finishing university, everything I’d done up until that point I hadn’t done before. So I was able to take that and convince myself that I could extrapolate and that would be the same experience going forwards. The advice that I would give to individuals who don’t tick all the boxes is, don’t be discouraged. The video games industry is highly competitive and hard to get into. So you have to be determined.
What you need to do is demonstrate other areas where you don’t tick all the boxes and talk about things that you do or you have done. Have you been involved in other game events? Been networking, involved in communities, been involved in game jams? Talk about all the positive stuff that you’ve made an impact in that will really make a difference and that will really show your passion. Ultimately, we’re looking for talent and we’re looking for passion. And if you don’t tick all the boxes in a particular technical requirement, then don’t be disheartened. Go for it and see where you get to. Some people demonstrate their potential on social media.
We recently offered a role to an undergraduate from a uni that we’ve never worked with previously just because her social media activity was so impressive. It caught our attention, she was so passionate. The story of her journey and how she wanted to get into games really just struck home with us. And you know, that’s someone who’s demonstrated their potential in a very different way. We don’t really have a standard job description. Obviously, we need people to know certain skills to make a game. But at the same time, we’re not always bothered about what degree they’ve done. We don’t worry about what experience they’ve got.
We want enthusiasm, we want something different, we want people to show us something we haven’t seen before. And that’s the people that we’re going to get in our door. One candidate, we weren’t particularly looking for a role, but he came to our office and presented us with a model of himself working in our office. A lot of our games use paper craft and hand-made things, and he actually came with a hand-made model. It was only afterwards we happened to see what is education was. It really wasn’t important to us. He just blew us away with his enthusiasm and passion. There was a role I was applying for, slightly more senior role than junior level.
And as a producer, as you know, it’s quite hard to demonstrate your skills. So I decided to create a kind of presentation. But not on PowerPoint. I wanted to walk in with a board. I got a great piece of foam board. And during the interview, I sat down with it, got it out. They’re looking at me, they’re a bit like, what she’s doing? I can imagine, yeah. Yeah. And then I kind of stuck notes on it. And as I went through, I was revealing how I manage a team and the methodology that I use. That’s interesting. And they were really, really excited with that. They rushed me straight up to the studio manager.
And I did get the job in the end.

How do you prepare for applications? In this video, you’ll see the variety of approaches taken by our developers.

After watching, discuss the ways in which they prepared for applications, and think about the different ways they overcame gaps in their CVs.

Were you surprised that they worked?

Did they inspire you to find unusual ways to fill gaps in your CV?

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How To Start Your Career In Games Development

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