Develop recently ran a story asking game developers of some resume/CV failures. There were some great stories, so I thought I’d share some and some advice. Having recently been the person to review all incoming resumes, I got my fair share of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to resumes, portfolios, and general attempts to get hired. Here are some of my instant failures and advice to give yourself a chance at landing a call back.
Get a Professional Email Address
This might be a pet peeve of mine, but if you are attempting to get a job ANYPLACE, don’t use the same email address that you registered for when you were 12 when you needed one to setup your MySpace account. FreakyWeed69@domain.com is not going attract the right attention. Since most resumes have your personal information at the top, you are already losing before those reviewing even get to anything skillset related.
Don’t Be Too Creative with Your Resume
Resumes are there to provide your work history, and your portfolio is to provide evidence of your skills. Don’t mix the two. I can remember one resume being all black with white text and it murdering the printer and we couldn’t write notes on it. Another having a graphic that took up 50% of the first page. One artist decided to rotate each job 45°, so you would have to rotate the resume to read it.
There are lots of creative people out there and it is understandable that one would want to make their resume stand out from the others, but there are creative ways to get the attention you want and not by sacrificing the ability to read your resume.
Keep your resume simple, easy to read, and in chronological order. If you are an artist, add flare on your portfolio page (more on that later).
Spell Check. Grammar Check. Seriously!
In today’s age, it is sad when you find a resume full of spelling errors. I’m not talking about spelling center as centre, the misplaced space, or your not sure where to put that oxford comma to make you look smarter. I’m talking about opening the document up in Word and seeing red squiggly lines all over the place. Spelling errors just come across as a lack of effort, especially on a resume when you are trying to impress. If you are that lazy to not correct spelling errors on your resume, what else are you going to slack on?
Take time to spell check your resume. Make sure there aren’t any obvious spelling errors in it. Give it to a friend or family member to review it. It is better for your friends or family to make fun of you, than find your resume in the trash because you said you worked at Ninteondo.
File Formats. Word or PDF (maybe)…
People tend to send their resume in all types of different formats which becomes a pain as most companies are using some type of application tracking software (ATS) such as TheResumator, Jobvite, or tons of other options out there. What these systems do is extract data from your resume to make searching easier for the recruiter and staff. Sending a resume as an image file such as a JPG, PNG, GIF, or anything else doesn’t allow these systems to read your resume. When I was working with a system like this, if a submission came up blank, I’d ignore it. I have other resumes to review as well as tons of other things to do.
Even if you hate Word, send your resume as a doc or docx file format. Pretty much every word processing program including Word, Pages, Google Docs, OpenOffice, libreoffice, and others support saving as doc or docx. If you are all bent out of shape by even using the doc or docx format, then you can use a PDF though don’t be shocked if someone asks you to update it.
Don’t Apply for Everything!
Companies that are growing will hopefully have lots of job listings, but don’t take that as fair game to apply for everything. As I said above most companies will be using an ATS to track incoming resumes. When you see one name over and over again applying for every position no matter the discipline or level, it is clear that they probably aren’t qualified for any of them.
If you think you are a good fit for a position listed, apply for it. If your applying for a position that you are under-qualified for back it up with your resume, portfolio, and cover letter. But don’t spam your resume to every position listed in the hope that you will get contacted.
Do Some Research Before You Apply
Do some basic research in the company and games you submit your resume. Really, just take a half hour to read the history of the company, go to the wikipedia page, read an interview, and play the some of the most recent games they have released. Or if you are that hard up, then watch a Twitch stream of someone else playing it. I remember asking one person what games they play, which they answered all the hot ones in the moment, so I asked what they thought about our most recent game and their answer was they couldn’t afford it, even though the game was a free-to-play game. Upon bringing that to their attention it was apparent that they really had no idea about the company and the games we were making. Just another company to throw a resume at.
If you didn’t have the time to play a game, don’t try to wiggle your way out of it, just say you didn’t. If you did enough research you will be able to ask questions back, make the interviewer present you with a question that you can answer.
But my Portfolio!
If you are a content creator then a good portfolio can sometimes be the difference between getting contacted and put into the trash bin. Here are some of the common issues and improvements that aren’t that painful to add to your portfolio.
Just Let Quicktime Die!
There is nothing that makes me cringe when going to a portfolio than having to install some random piece of software to view someone’s reel. Let Quicktime die! If you are exporting a video and putting it on your portfolio as a .mov, you have already failed. Recruiters might try to go through the pain to get it to work, but when they hand it off to the lead or hiring manager, they are too busy to deal with that stuff. They will open up the link in a browser and if they don’t instantly see something awesome, they are already thinking of the next candidate.
If you need to have video on your portfolio, then post your content in something that will playback without having to worry about what browser the person watching has. Upload to YouTube, or if you need extra security due to NDA then Vimeo is a great option. Both allow cut and paste embeds into your website. If you don’t want to host it on other sites, then you can always export as an MP4 and the video will play back in HTML5 browsers and HTML5 video players.
Find a Web Host and Test Your Content
This kind of repeats what was said above about Quicktime, but this is a little more about the vast options you have to express yourself when it comes to your portfolio. You could pay sites such as Carbonmade, Dunked, 4ormat and countless other options. You could use WordPress.com or even host your own WordPress site which would allow you to create your own theme or use some of the thousands of custom themes many of which are free.
Your online portfolio gives you the ability to instantly impress people, either by the design or by the content it contains. Just throwing images up on a website won’t cut it these days, so give your online portfolio the attention it deserves.
Update Your Portfolio. As Often as You Can.
This is something I even have trouble with, as finding the time to create content just for your website is hard. There are so many other things you could be doing, but there is something really impressive about someone taking their own time to update their portfolio even when they aren’t looking for a job. If you are doing something cool, there is even a chance that someone will contact you when you aren’t looking for a job!
While some of those tips might sound simple, people are still doing them and in great numbers. Your resume, cover letter, and porfolio is your chance to impress someone and should all be given the attention they deserve. Invest in them, and it will pay you back in the end.
Hopefully I followed my own advice and have no glaring spelling errors.
Time to reflect on the past year and which games kept my attention for more than a couple minutes. I’m old now and with so many games, new systems, and platforms, it is difficult to keep me engaged. But the following games were hard to put down or kept me coming back for more.
I don’t hide the face of my love for Naughty Dog. Everything they do, 99% I’ll probably love it and The Last of Us didn’t change that. It is amazing. The balance between a finely tuned story and entertaining gameplay made The Last of Us very difficult to put down until I beat it. I have to say that the ending is one of the best I have played in recent memory, not because of what it tells you, but what it doesn’t. It take huge balls to end a game in such a way and I congratulate my friends at Naughty Dog.
TowerFall is crack! No seriously, it is probably the best local multiplayer game to come out this year. It is easy to pickup, but one of those games that always has you tweaking your tactics. There is nothing more rewarding then having no arrows, catching one, then killing to win the match with that same arrow! With TowerFall being on Ouya, it was one of those games that not a lot of people got a chance to play, but hopefully that will change when it comes to PC and PS4 in early 2014.
Tomb Raider has been around in countless forms, some good and some bad, but the 2013 reboot by Crystal Dynamics brings Tomb Raider back to prior glory, placing it as one of the best action adventure games of the year. First it is pretty, especially if you are playing it on the PC. Second it doesn’t hold back, at all. This isn’t a happy stuck on an island adventure. This a holy shit I’m going to die adventure! Which is why I enjoyed it so much.
Tearaway is a platform masterpiece. I love platformers and what the guys & girls did at Media Molecule with Tearaway was create a modern Super Mario 64. That is a bold statement, but the amount of sheer enjoyment one has with Tearaway is on that same level. I can’t think of a game that came out this year as charming as Tearaway, as everything puts a smile on your face. If you have a Vita, you are doing yourself a diservice by not owning it. So go out and buy it now!
If it isn’t broke, why change it? HammerWatch does that by taking the Gauntlet formula and multiply it by 1000 in terms of insanity, loot, speed, traps, and monsters. Play with up to 4 friends make this another great couch game if you have the setup for it. For the price, HammerWatch is easily one of the best values of the year!
I love Metroid. I love Castlevania. I love Metroid-vania games. Guacamelee! takes everything great about those games and adds an amazingly charming art style and a difficulty curve that might have broken a controller or two into one of my favorite releases of the year. With any game that falls into the Metroid-vania genre, you got to have great powers, excellent level design, and tight controls, which Guacamelee! has. I am very excited to see what developer Drinkbox does next. One could dream that Nintendo just gives them Metroid. Yeah, they should!
Great games come on all platforms, and great games keep you coming back for more, and Ridiculous Fishing is just that. I picked this up when it first came out back in March, and I still play it from time to time. Either on the bus, waiting for a meeting, or that other place where everyone plays their games on their phone. Ridiculous Fishing is the perfect balance of easy, challenge, and reward. When I do great, I feel great! When I miss a fish I’m upset, only to be rewarded quickly. Quick and addictive.
Call of Juarez history is a mixed bag, but that all goes away with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. It does what it attempted to do just right and isn’t trying to be something it isn’t. It is just a fun, silly, shoot everything first person shooter. With games having to turn everything to 11 to get attention, it is great to see a game like Call of Juarez: Gunslinger give me something small, polished, and enjoyable.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is the love letter to every over 30 year old boy who was raised on video games, WWF, Schwarzenegger Action Movies, and hyper-color. The game hits every chord when in its attempt to bring to live an insane ‘80’s action movie. Taking the solid foundation of Far Cry 3, and just adding a new coat of paint, it did everything right and provided a fun action packed bite sized first person shooter. Needs to be more games like this.
Reminding yourself of your childhood favorites can sometimes get you into trouble. There are countless games, television, and movies that you look back with fond memories, only to try them again and you are reminded that the world has changed so much, aka they suck now. Certain games last the test of time, including The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Easily one of my favorite games of all time. About as close to perfect you can get and a timeless classic. When a game comes along that not only brings back those memories, but creates new ones you have something special, and that is what The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds does. Takes the timeless formula of your classic 2D Zelda, and breaks through with new mechanics that not only give a classic new life, but perfectly blend into the established history of The Legend of Zelda. I can see myself playing A Link Between Worlds in five years and having just as great of a time as I am today.
I have some time on my hands these days so I figured I should go back and play some games that I either bought and never started, or started and never finished. Some of this is largely due to Steam Summer Sale or just too busy with E3, Gamescom, and PAX happening the last couple months. To the list!
I’ve always been shocked of people wanting to reinvent the wheel with everything. Sometimes things aren’t broken or don’t need to be changed. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a great example of this. I picked this up during the Steam Summer Sale, but never got a chance to fire it up. I’m looking forward to the nostalgia trip to the action movies of my childhood. I’ve heard from enough people that the actual game is great, as it hasn’t strayed too far from the core mechanics of Far Cry 3, which was one of my favorite games last year.
I actually feel bad about this one because I love everything that Klei does. Really. Mark of the Ninja was one of my favorite games last year and Don’t Starve looks to be an amazing game that I just haven’t been able to fire up. It is downloading now, so looking forward to giving it a try.
This is a little cheating as it just came out last week, but I am looking forward to playing Outlast. I love horror games, and from everything I have read about Outlast is that Red Barrel has really delivered on bringing the survival horror genre back to life. Downloaded and ready to go.
2013 has been an off year when it comes to shows for me. I have really only gone to a handful of shows and even those I can’t even remember some of them. BUT it looks like my fortunes are changing in the coming months! So many shows worth going too! Here are some of the shows that are on my list (or tickets on my fridge!).
August 6, 2013 – Kurt Vile @ The Showbox Market
August 11, 2013 – Best Coast @ Neumos
September 4, 2013 – Austra @ Neumos
September 6, 2013 – CHVRCHES @ The Showbox Market
September 9, 2013 – Grouplove @ The Crocodile
September 10, 2013 – The Weeknd @ The Showbox Market
September 13, 2013 – Campfire OK @ The Crocodile
September 14, 2013 – James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) @ Neumos
September 21, 2013 – Wild Belle @ The Crocodile
September 27, 2013 – Little Boots @ Neumos
October 23, 2013 – Haim @ Neumos
If you happen to read my blog you probably know I am attempting to lose some weight before PAX Prime and part of my plan is to use a Fitbit Flex to help me keep track of everything I am doing and have a daily goal. One problem, NO PLACE HAS THEM IN-STOCK! NO ONE! REI, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Fitbit themselves has an 8 week backorder! What on earth happened? I’m going to try Brookstone tomorrow and if that doesn’t work then I might look into Craigslist. I am hopeful I can find one.
I wouldn’t say I have been battling my weight, but being in my mid 30’s, trying to date, being on camera more often, makes me feel I need to look my best. Today I weighed in at 186lbs, which I was pretty happy about. I typically hover around 188 to 190, so it was nice to see myself under 190. With 40 days until PAX Prime I really want to try to hit 175lbs.
In-Door Soccer. We have an in-door soccer team at Zombie Studios, and we are now on our 4th season. This has been a great way to get my endurance back to a normal place. Though getting in my mid 30’s, I’m starting to feel it in my knees after games. Another reason to lose some weight.
Dog Walks. I take Scout around First Hill, but we don’t venture too far from the homestead. Recently I have been taking him with me out to the bars, which is nice to feel social, walk around Capitol Hill, and let Scout meet some new people. It is pretty funny when he goes to Linda’s with me. Good times.
Fitbit. I’d like to track my progress a little more and force myself to daily goals. To help reach those daily goals I plan on getting a Fitbit Flex once I can find a store that has them in-stock. Mix the tracking with the iPhone app of food tracking I can get a much better idea of what I need to do daily in terms of activity and foods.
Limit Soda. I actually don’t drink THAT much soda anymore, but I do tend to have one at lunch. So I’m going to TRY to cut as much soda out of my diet as possible. Wish me luck on this one, it is going to be hard.
7 Minute Workout. Finding time to workout is a pain. I am a team sports guy, so the idea of going to the gym or treadmill for an hour just isn’t for me. I’ve decided to try 7 Minute Workout which is an app on the iOS. If you haven’t seen the 7 minute workout, it is just that, a 7 minute workout developed by some scientists. I don’t argue with science, and I have 7 minutes a day to do it.
Well that is my plan and my goal. Getting to 175 pounds would be amazing.
Warning: This is going to have spoilers.
Naughty Dog did it again proving that they are easily the best developer in the industry with their latest game The Last of Us. Previous games such as Crash, Jak & Daxter, and the more recent Uncharted have been extremely well crafted, but The Last of Us takes all of that knowledge and understanding and provides easily an experience unparalleled in gaming.
When Sony and Naughty Dog announced The Last of Us, there was a little reservation due to it being a “zombie” game. As everyone can see zombies have become all the rage and even with the amazing pedigree of Naughty Dog you couldn’t help but be fearful of it falling into the traps that we see with all modern interpretations of a global infection. I have to give credit to the Sony marketing staff and Naughty Dog for their razor like messaging on not allowing the game to fall into the zombie bucket.
The tandem of the extremely well executed story and probably the best voice performances made playing The Last of Us more in line with watching a film or reading a book. I couldn’t help but become attached to Joel and Ellie, and even Callus (the horse). The transitions from Fall to Winter was powerful and made my heart sink. Traditionally when you do a character control swap you lose something, but the characters were so well developed in The Last of Us it felt extremely natural to play at Ellie, then swap back to Joel.
I give the writing staff a huge amount of credit for NOT filling in all the gaps. While playing the game I could see various influences such as Children of Men, The Road, and True Grit, but the one influence that really struck me after completing the game was the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of No Country for Old Men. First you have the drive of the characters. Joel reluctant chaperone that grows into a man on a mission and will do anything to protect Ellie. I see Joel as a mixture of Llewelyn Moss and Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. Moss having the traits of being the reluctant participant and Chigurh being brutal honest darkness who will do anything to achieve his goal. Both characters make choices to murder, and you quickly find that Joel has been presented with these same choices after the infection. He is a flawed man who has had to make difficult choices. Outside of the character development the lack of filler was the really the connection to No Country for Old Men that rang true. During the season changes they didn’t go back and retread or attempt to fill in the gaps. The ending being even more powerful by just ENDING. After Joel escapes from the Hospital with Ellie and he lies to her about there not being a cure, the game could have ended there. Giving the player control I assumed that there would be a reunion with with Joel’s brother, but ending the game Joel lying again Ellie saying ok and credits just instantly reminded me of the ending of No Country for Old Men. The instant reaction is that something is missing, but really you are given all the story you need and really the way it was handled is brillant. Joel will do anything to protect Ellie.
I have to give a huge amount of credit to the staff at Naughty Dog for crafting such a well executed game. Ever detail is there and the lack of detail only makes it more interesting. I also have to give Sony credit for allowing Naughty Dog to not fill the game with fluff to make it more approachable. Congrats to those involved for making easily the best game of the year and probably a game that will be viewed as a watermark for our industry.
With today’s 22-8 vote by the NBA to stop the Kings to move to Seattle, I was struck with the fear that the Sonics or NBA will never return to Seattle. It took a number of years for the bad taste that the NBA left after approving the relocation of the Sonics to Oklahoma City back in 2007. The desire to have a team grew grassroots as support from fans, local government officials, and local ownership started to develop. In comes Chris Hansen, with a lazer like goal to bring back the Sonics to Seattle. Having someone this passionate about bringing a team back was infectious to NBA fans in Seattle. This is the type of owner you want to have when you have water cooler discussions about your favorite sports team. Even with all this momentum growing in Seattle, the vote made it clear. The NBA won’t be returning anytime in the near future.
As someone who would enjoy having the NBA back in Seattle, I am fearful that this groundswell of local support will soon dry up as fans feel betrayed twice now by the NBA. When David Stern talks about 28 years being a factor in keep the Kings in Sacramento, yet the 41 years of the Sonics appeared to have little to no factor back in 2008, you can’t help but feel defeated, slighted, and betrayed.
With concerns about the NBA not being competitive enough with its current 30 teams, discussions of expansion have been very quiet the last couple years and sadly I personally don’t expect the NBA to want to expand until 2020.
As someone who was a huge fan during the Kemp/Payton championship runs in the mid 90’s, it is sad to see the NBA not returning to Seattle and probably not returning for a long time. Maybe by the time I retire I’ll be able to go to Sonics games because it looks like it is going to take that long.