LucasArts production supervisor Jason Smith has offered Develop readers a wealth of advice on preparing for and undertaking an interview for a job in the games industry.
In a special feature written by Smith for the new edition of Develop, he presents 13 tips – summarised here – that will prove essential for those considering a change of job, and insightful for recruiters at established studios.
Smith’s tips for job hunting success are:
Keep your showreel focused
Choose only your best work, keep traditional portfolios to less than 16 pieces and showreels to less than three minutes.
Traditional art skills are important for any art role
If you want to model or rig characters, understanding anatomy either through drawing or sculpture is a huge positive for anyone reviewing your portfolio.
Don’t be afraid to be honest
Be careful not to come across negatively – it’s important to make the reviewer feel good about what they’re seeing and not to come across like you’re making excuses.
Presentation is everything
Don’t hesitate to ask an editor to help with your reel. There’s a difference to being dishonest and being resourceful; presentation is important.
Tell us about you
Consider embedding your reel into a blog, it gives you a huge opportunity to sell yourself in addition to what’s on your reel.
Resumé space is invaluable
Generic is bad; be specific, include the company you are applying to in your career goals; make them feel special and show you’ve done your homework.
Know your company
Before your interview do your homework – it will become apparent very quickly and have a positive impact; everything you need is online
Be flexible, buy a suitcase
If you want to spend a career in a job you love you may need to be open to some geographic flexibility.
It’s a small industry; really small
Don’t piss people off, and if you think you have, make amends.
LinkedIn is your friend
Ensure your LinkedIn page represents your professional side.
GDC and Siggraph are where it’s at
Both shows have volunteers programs and from my experience at Siggraph, many program chairs started as student volunteers. These opportunities not only make it affordable to experience the show and its content; they are an incredible way of meeting influential people.
There’s a fine line between being persistent and being annoying; provided you stay on the right side of this you’re in a good place.
To digest the full, detailed versions of Smiths expert tips, be sure to check the latest issue of Develop, available in print, online, or for iPad.