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How to land a Great Job In Videogames

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This guide was inspired by a recent presentation given to Undergraduates at USC. Included are 20+ years of hard-fought insights, tips, hacks and techniques on successfully landing a great job in games.
Created by Chris Ansell of Ansell Creative Group for more details!

"Digital Marketing Is Our Game"

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How to land a Great Job In Videogames

  1. 1. General Recruit Hacks: m: 604.897.7774 e: To find dream jobs before competitors do - Google Alerts is your friend. Use it! [company name] [job title of interest] or [internship] Also visit the recruitment sections of your target studios and join all job-opening notification newsletters. (Plus their marketing newsletter - you need to be up to date with their business to ask better questions than your competitors.) Use Gamasutra's job section or / Monster / Workopolis and sign up to receive job alerts for the studios or keywords you're looking for. Dramatically improve your 'reply' rate with HR Managers and Studio employees by referring to a mutual contact. Referrals are the BEST form of making a sale in business, likewise for selling your own resume. To help this process, I often do the following: • Ask my Facebook network if anyone has friends or contacts with [studio name]. I also ask my friends if they know anyone who WOULD know someone. This is an important question, since it multiplies my chances of finding connections. • Search for the studio on LinkedIn, then use the Connections tool to show me anyone I know who works there. • Research the names of key people at the studio, then look at their LinkedIn profiles anonymously. It shows me any mutual connections • Ask for help from your faculty advisors, teachers and mentors. You are FAR more connected than you probably realize. The first step is simply asking for assistance, so don’t be an “island.” 1 2 A N S E L L C R E A T I V E G R O U P A N S E L L C R E A T I V E G R O U P ACG | 2 -15 / 16 ANSELL CREA T IV E G R O U P ACG|2-15/16 Helpful Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Land a Great Job in Videogames Prepared by Chris Ansell
  2. 2. A N S E L L C R E A T I V E G R O U P CG | 2 -15 / 16 ANSELL CREA T IV E G R O U P ACG|2-15/16 4 5 3 6 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Once I have a mutual connection, I ask if I might reference them in a proactive email to Hiring Manager X or Team Lead Y. Then when I send my cold pitch email, I make the subject line “Introductions [via Tom Jones].” The more power your common contact holds, the more pressure your target contact will feel to reply to you. Sometimes I simply send a short, well-written email to the head of a studio, asking if I could schedule a brief call or coffee meet-up to learn more about the company's growth plans over the next 12 months. Replies typically include contact details for the head of HR, so I can then send an “Introductions [via Tom Jones]” email. This hack often works wonders. Look up the Groups, Organisations, and Inspired Leaders on your future interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. Guess what? You now like and are inspired by the same people and groups. (Remember to research them before the interview!) Get professional photos for your LinkedIn profile. Smart, savvy, confident and warm is what you're going for. (For example, my LinkedIn profile shows me in glasses, even though I usually don't wear them.) If a new game is announced by a target studio, chances are they will soon be ramping up, hiring for QA, Community Management, Customer Support, Marketing Admin, and Web Development. Even if no jobs are posted yet, get proactive and contact the department head to enquire about growth plans in the next few months, related to the new game announcement. In your pitch email, you can reference a speech or presentation that your target hirer has given. It doesn't matter if you were there or not; showing knowledge of and appreciation for a public effort made by your target hirer goes a long way. You can also use it as a link to your skills or experience. For example, “I really enjoyed your speech at GDC last year. Your specific insights on [topic] struck a chord because of my work on [X].” If you’re applying to a studio, get the name 100% right. If they spell it “TEAMegaBeast” don’t write, “I’d love to work at Team Mega Beast.” Remember, small details make big impressions. Ask your family and friends to review your resume and your pitch emails. Find the best writer you know and ask them to proofread your writing. Make sure documents and emails are clear and brief - less is more, especially with email pitches. Don’t give recruiters ANY reason to dismiss you. To get experience in game development, try volunteering for a Kickstarter project. This lets you solve the ‘chicken and egg’ experience problem while learning essential skills that studio employers look for in new recruits. Plus it shows that you are PROACTIVE!! As an extra bonus, if project teammates get full-time work at a big studio they can refer you. Win-win-win-win. I volunteered my time for two weeks with Sony PlayStation Australia. That got me in the door and let me show how my skills and energy were needed. I highly recommend doing the same thing - but respect your value and put a time limit on it. People of great worth know their value. ANSELLCREATIVEGROUP
  3. 3. ANSELL CREAT IV E G R O U P ACG|2-15/16 For the Interview Practice for interviews with a professional colleague who can give you feedback. The more you practice, the more naturally relaxed and kickass you'll be during the interview. You want to know your stuff so you can look forward to answering common expected questions, and free up creative energy for random, unexpected questions. • Research the interviewer - Search Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Gamasutra, and sites like Bēhance. Look for profiles, speeches, slideshares, GDC presentations, articles, interviews and portfolios. Did your interviewer work for or with a friend of yours? Mention it! Did they work on something you loved? Do they love the Red Sox or UFC? Mention it—and have an opinion on it. These links let you build connections quickly. • Be 45 minutes early and find a nearby place like Starbucks or a park bench to collect your thoughts. This lets you feel calm and prepared, not rushed and scattered. • Present yourself at the reception desk 10 minutes before your appointment. • Treat the receptionist and everyone you meet as if they are the ones deciding your fate. (Secret Tip: They actually are; your potential boss will likely ask their opinion.) • Bring copies of your resume, even if you’ve already sent one. Be sure to have two pens and a nice diary or notepad with 8-10 questions lined up inside it. Written questions show that you are prepared and interested; the kind of attention to detail that can put you ahead of your competitors. Some of my favorite questions are below. • Use the interviewers' name often, especially when greeting them and thanking them at the end of the interview. • Never sit directly facing the interviewer. Turn your chair (or just yourself) to a 45 degree angle. This relaxes everyone and makes it feel like a conversation, not an interview. • Be ready to answer questions like “How do you stay organized” and “How do you keep current with latest trends?” • Talk about key lessons you've learned from school, group projects and extra-curricular work. What have you learned from experience and how did you fix mistakes or missteps? It's impressive when a candidate admits weaknesses and then shows what they did, and possibly still do, to fix things. Your attitude and ability to learn are what’s important. ANSELLCREATIVEGROUP
  4. 4. V E G R O U P AC G | 2 -15 / 16 Some of my favorite questions to ask any employer You certainly want to ask about the job itself - expectations of the role, how and WHO the role will interact with on a daily basis—but these are my favorite unexpected questions. They show an employer something extra; that you care about the position, the team and the company. “What qualities have made for a super successful team member here at [company name]?” This is a nice NLP technique, because as they list off the qualities and look at you nodding and agreeing, they are now subconsciously connecting YOU with the amazing qualities of a super successful team member. I like to validate this by listening closely for specific qualities that I can say were required on a previous project of mine. For example, “That’s great to hear, it makes me think of my project with [X] where we had to be constantly communicating on goals / deadlines to hit our dates. Which we of course did.” “How have preparations been going for the launch of X, and what have been the big learnings since announcing it? I noticed the consumers are asking questions on X and Y a lot.” You need to know all about their products, services, and upcoming release plans. Read their press releases from the last 6 months. “How is performance recognized here - both bad and good?” This takes people by surprise; only a confident candidate would ask how your work will be assessed. Lazy people don't ask this question—they fear it. “For career progression, does this company embrace internal promotion to grow the talent from within, or does it favor a different approach?” This shows commitment to the company, and to personal growth and professional development. “How does the company bring disparate teams or groups together? What activities and processes are in place to cross-pollinate teams and different personalities?” Top Industry websites to check regularly: The GDC website [the free lectures are priceless - GDC Vault] - ANSELLCREATIVEGROUPACG|ACG|2-15/16ACG|2-15/16 Chris Ansell is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Ansell Creative Group, a creative marketing consultancy specializing in global video game and entertainment marketing solutions. Chris brings over 20 years of global marketing experience spanning four continents. (North America, Europe, Australia, Asia) As a senior marketing professional, Chris’s portfolio of product sales is now in excess of 50 million units sold worldwide. Prior to forming his boutique marketing agency, Chris successfully directed the marketing launches for over 40 AAA game franchises, across powerhouse publishers such as Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax Online, Sony Computer Entertainment, Vivendi Universal Games and more. Chris delivers measurable results and standout creative to all of his valued clients around the globe. About Chris m: 604.897.7774 e:
  • kilroywuzhere

    Apr. 25, 2016
  • StanleyJohnson11

    Apr. 5, 2016

This guide was inspired by a recent presentation given to Undergraduates at USC. Included are 20+ years of hard-fought insights, tips, hacks and techniques on successfully landing a great job in games. Created by Chris Ansell of Ansell Creative Group for more details! "Digital Marketing Is Our Game"


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