New Year, New Job: Recruitment tips from around the industry

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It's a New Year, and it could well be a new start for your career.

As a part of MCV's on-going jobs coverage, we speak to recruitment agencies and people from around the industry to get their tips on getting ahead in games.

Writing the perfect CV

The first step when applying for a job is to have a great CV. But what constitutes a good CV? According to Kim Parker-Adcock of recruitment firm OPM, it's a case of keeping things simple.

Start with key words – if you're going to put it online then it has to be discoverable and also for a lot of search engines they search for a CV so make sure you have the right key words in it,” she explains.

Make it clear and concise, but don't stick to one page, they never give enough information. Equally, don't make it 27 pages long and have huge pictures of you and your cat. But it's got to be a really good CV that really shows you off. Don't lie, because you will get caught out, either before you get hired or after. Honesty is absolutely the best policy.

You should write your CV in a format where your responsibilities in your current job are clear. This will help show how you will handle the requirements of the position you are applying for.

If you've had different jobs within the same company, list them all, that way so you can indicate what you've achieved in each position. Basically, never leave people too much to do – if they have 50 CVs to sort through intheir inbox, make sure that yours is the one they want to read and make it easy to read. This, in turn, will create a good interview.”

The best and worst interviews I've seen revolved around
knowledge of the job and the market."

Matthew Pellett, Official PlayStation Magazine

You also need to extract the relevant skills out of your CV for the job you are applying for. Lis Naylor, MD of fellow recruitment firm Lis Welsh says: Let's say you work at Ubisoft and a potential employer is looking for someone who has worked on handheld games or casual games or Wii games. You might not call out your experience in those areas because you think the employer is more interesting in the Assassin's Creed brand. But that could get you overlooked. It's really important to pull those specifics out of your CV.”

But for Official PlayStation Magazine's editor Matthew Pellett, a CV isn't all or nothing when it comes to journalism.

I don't look for a great deal in a CV itself beyond checking for experience,” he says.

For me, the covering letter and a writing sample are far more important as they're great baseline tests for what we can expect day-to-day.

The difference between a good and bad writing example will be the difference between being invited in for an interview or being turned down –typically we get many, many applications for vacancies, and there will always be a handful of standout writing samples that arrive during that process. Those samples that hook us will be the ones we pursue.”

Interview tips

Once through the CV phase, the next challenge is the dreaded job interview.

You have got to know everything about the company you're applying to work at,” Lis Naylor, MD of recruitment firm Lis Welch, explains.

If you're being interviewed by a Japanese company in the UK then you need to know who the CEO is in Japan. It's important you know who the company's key decision makers are, what it does, what its vision is and you have to know the products."

OPM boss Kim Parker-Adcock adds: Do your homework. Never turn up at a company assuming you're so special that you don't need to check them out.

Interviews are a two-way process. Make sure that you know exactly what it is they are looking for, and why. Figure out why they are hiring. And be ready to sell yourself.”

Official PlayStation Magazine editor Matthew Pellett agrees that candidates should thoroughly research the role

The best and worst interviews I've seen revolved around knowledge of the job and the market,” he says.

So aside from showcasing all the necessary skills, the best interview I've had involved a candidate who knew the magazine inside out and knew what the competition was doing. I've had interviews where either the candidate doesn't know the magazine they're applying for – including confusing issue sections with those of a competitor – or have grossly misunderstood the job requirements."

Keeping your skills up to date

Five years is a long time in games. The industry changes so fast that you can quickly find your skills are no-longer relevant.

The longer you have been in the industry the more you have to prove your worth in today's structure,” Kim Parker-Adcock, MD of OPM says.

The industry's changed a lot, especially on the publishing side. You can become a dinosaur incredibly quickly, so make sure you've kept up with your skills, your knowledge, marketing message and what the landscape really looks like now, not what it looked like five years ago.

While you might have an impressive past, it may not be what is actually going to help you in the future.”


Effectively using the internet

The internet has has had a huge impact on the jobs market. Now it is easier to apply for positions than ever before, but job hunters need to be careful of their own online footprint.

LinkedIn is for business, Facebook is for friends,” says recruitment firm Lis Welsh boss Lis Naylor.

Facebook is really dangerous. People like to go out and have fun but we don't necessarily want it across the internet, do we? You should limit the access that people have. And with LinkedIn, you should have a good photograph. People like to see who they are dealing with – but no silly photos. And no silly email addresses, either.”

Facebook is really dangerous. People like to go out and have fun but we don't necessarily want it across the internet, do we? You should limit the access that people have. And with LinkedIn, you should have a good photograph. People like to see who they are dealing with – but no silly photos. And no silly email addresses, either.”

Simon Hope, Aardvark Swift

Simon Hope, principal games recruiter at recruitment firm Aardvark Swift adds: Most people use social media to hire these days in some shape or form, so whether you are

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