• It sounds obvious, but ensure that your CV is 99 per cent up to date. An out of date CV is likely to be missing some of the your most relevant work and experience – i.e. the most recent – and it will sound strange if you reference work that you’ve not written down.
• On saying that, while it’s important to cover all of your work, it’s similarly important to keep your CV down to a maximum of two pages. If the first page does not grab a reviewer, then it will likely be ‘filed’ in the bin. Don’t be afraid of making it a little different to get yourself remembered.
• If you do not have industry experience, you must tailor your CV to show why a games company should consider you. Make sure you include your gaming experience and any gaming-specific skills. Don’t be embarrassed about this – your resume should major on these.
• If you see that a studio has placed an ad within Develop or MCV highlighting a vacancy, then apply directly to that studio. Apply without using your agency, because this will push your application to the front of the queue. After all, the studio does not want to pay for an ad, and then pay an agency on top of that.
• Try to find out what the studio has done in the past, what it is currently working on and what sort of culture they promote. If they are developing products that do not fit with your skill sets, or games which do not interest you, you may need to think twice before applying to them – or if you do still want to apply, you’ll need a persuasive argument as to why you’d want to work at that company.
ONCE YOU’VE GOT YOUR INTERVIEW
• Make sure that you arrive to the interview 15 minutes before your appointment. Ask for details on how to get to the studio well in advance. Where is the train station? Is there a taxi rank near? This sounds really obvious, but too many people turn up to interviews late. Phoning to say you will be late does not make it okay!
• Find out as much background information on the studio as you can. An informed and aware candidate impresses much more than one who knows little or nothing.
• Find out the name of the person who will be interviewing you. Rest assured, he will know yours.
• No need to turn up suited and booted to an interview at a studio – after all, this is the game development business, and therefore structured but creative. But do turn out smart, casual and clean – it demonstrates respect for the company you are visiting.
• And last but certainly not least, never bad mouth anyone in the video games industry. Ever. Believe me, the industry is far, far too small. Be clear about why you left, or why you want to leave your last employer. That’s one of the most important questions an interviewer wants a clear and pragmatic answer to.
Trevor Williams is the co-founder and a director of Playground Games, based in Leamington Spa, in the United Kingdom. Playground is a new development group focusing on pioneering development models, and is currently recruiting. Trevor has held leadership positions at Elite, Rage, Swordfish and Codemasters and has been interviewing potential staff for the last 20 years.