[Looking for a job in the games industry? The Game Prodigy author Brice Morrison will help you build a solid resume with this collection of insider tips.]
Many students dream of working in the games industry and making games for a living. It's a great career with a lot of fun opportunities, growing job market, valuable skills to develop, and interesting people to meet. And part of the path to that career is the same as the path to any other career: putting together a resume to show prospective employers.
What are the keys to making a good game industry resume? How can you maximize your chances of being called in for an interview with a game studio?
There are a few keys that I recommend to students I advise: put game projects on your resume, focus around an objective, and put the most important information first. Let's go into detail with each one of these.
Key #1: Put Your Game Projects on Your Resume
Imagine that you are a hiring manager for a game studio. The studio is working on its next (hopefully) big hit, "Mammoth Attack 2", and you are in charge of hiring an engineer to help program the game.
You have two resumes come across your desk. One says that they've worked at SafeWay Grocery as a Manager and Creative Solutions Inc as an Assistant Programmer. That's all they list. The other resume says they worked at Electronic Emporium as a sales associate, but they also list that they made two games, Jelly Wars, a 2D action game for PC, and Jump King, an iPhone game made with a team of 3 people for a class at their university.
Who will you hire? The choice is obvious.
As a Lead Game Designer and a game career advisor, I've seen a lot of resumes. With the games industry specifically, one of the big mistakes that students tend to make is discounting their experience on personal projects.
Students are always happy to put down any "real job experience" they have: "Assistant at Applied Dental Solutions", or "Programming Intern at Capitol One". If it was a real company and they have a paycheck for it, for some reason students think that this automatically makes it important to show to a hiring manager at a game studio.
Here's the thing: as someone looking this resume over, I don't care about any of these. I only care about the experience that has to do with games.
Students often discount their work they've done on games, because it was just a "hobby project" or a "personal project". That doesn't matter! If you're asking me to hire you to make games, then I want to hear about how you've already made games. It doesn't matter if you didn't get paid for it. It also doesn't matter if it wasn't for a company. What DOES matter is that you made a great game and you completed it. I want to hear about that.
That's why instead of having a section titled, "Job Experience" that then lists off everything that earned you a paycheck, I recommend my students have a section called "Relevant Experience". This section should include both jobs where you got paid, and any other projects, paid or not, where you made some games. Feel free to put items like, "Sky Fighter, Class Project, 3 months" and "Mummy Town, Personal Project, 1 year" and then expand on what they project is, what skills you used, and why it was valuable experience for becoming a game developer.
The best game resumes have "I have made games!" written all over them. You have plenty of time in your life to make money, now is the time to learn skills and share them.