The Ancient Art of Resume Writing
I’ll be the first to admit that I find writing my own resume a challenge. On the one hand, I’m a fairly confident guy, but on the other hand, I dont really like tooting my own horn. Cant be too bold or too humble and I’ve gotta speak the right language. There are certain things I need to communicate to get past the gatekeepers and make it all the way to the hiring manager and then land an interview. Quite a skill unto itself…its a lot to build into a sheet of paper. :)
The first round of cuts often turns on key words. It just takes too long to get 1,000 resumes down to 50 by hand. If you have the key words you are in, if not, you are out. The next round is often done by a recruiter who has some key skills and experiences they are looking for. Finally you make it to the hiring manager who performs the most nuanced read with biases towards their exact situation. For each position I’m interested in, I try to get as much information about the criteria for each round so I can adapt my presentation to their requirements. But, there is a very short time window to do the research.
The Big Challenge
My greatest resume challenge when it comes to the game industry is that I do not yet have a credit to my name and theres no amount of resume rewriting that will change that! Most positions (even a lot of tester positions) ask for a number of years of experience working in the industry. Yes, its a bit of a catch 22, but that just means I’ve gotta be creative. I have to put more of an emphasis on the other ways of earning the interest of someone hiring associate producers–like meeting them in person, the endorsement of someone they respect, game related projects that demonstrate my skill, and a cover letter that grabs their attention. Maybe even a web site and an email address that states my purpose. ;)
That said, there was a lot I could do to get my resume in a format that would be more familiar. Like using the vocabulary of the industry: production in place of application, for example. To give you an idea, here are the before and after versions of my resume.
But How Do I know If Its Good?
Since companies rarely give out feedback about where in the process I’m getting cut, its hard to get a read on how well suited to its purpose my resume is. Ditto on the cover letter. Or rather, its hard to tell what is attributable to missing required skills vs. what is due to overall presentation. It is at least in part because of this that I’ve opted to spend more time working on ways to meet people–I can generally get a read on how well I’m doing and thereby continually improve. Besides, personal connections are always more effective on both sides. People like to hire people who are a fit for their team and can do a good job, things that are not always discernible from a piece of paper–in fact, they almost never are. Thats why there are interviews and references.
I’ll keep looking for ways to make my resume better. RJ and Andy have helped me get it into an at least ok shape and well see what further feedback I can find. Its over here if you want some ideas for your own resume. I also recommend you check out Get in the Game for more ideas.
Updated on October 5th, 2013
Fixed the links to my old resumes.