Article #12:

"Things You Can Do At Home To Sweeten Your Résumé"

Starting Your Portfolio

NOTE: these articles are primarily aimed at aspiring game designers, but many of the concepts described herein also apply to those who aspire to other types of jobs in the game industry. This article is subject to changes and improvements; reader comments are welcome.

Originally written: February, 2002. Most recent update: October, 2012

Dreams that go without action are not very useful.
Patrick Awuah (NPR, Dec. 30, 2005)


Fresh out of college, a grad doesn't have much to show on his résumé. It's understandably difficult to get professional experience while you're busy studying!

But, even if your résumé is kind of thin, you can still sweeten your cover letter and portfolio (I know, I used the word "résumé" in the title, but that was done for "sweetening," heh) by listing other things you've done to show your enthusiasm for games.

Here are some suggestions for other things you can do on your own to enhance your desirability as a game industry applicant.




From the bulletin board...


I am not saying that you MUST bring a portfolio, CD, or demo reel to a game industry job interview. In fact, it might even be unusual to do so (if you are a game designer, or depending on what you've created versus what kind of job you're applying for). Artist portfolios are a must if you're an artist seeking an artist position. Animator demo reels are a must if you're an animator seeking an animation position. Programmers should have a demo and source code to show, but it can be online if your site is dead easy to navigate (no need to bring it on disc, but ought to at least have it on a thumb USB drive). But there isn't a concomitant standard practice for game designers. So what I'm saying is, if your creations enhance your desirability as a candidate, then "bring'em if ya got'em." As discussed ad nauseam in Article 4, you might want to contact the interviewer in advance. Inquire about bringing samples of your game design work to the interview, especially if there's a chance that you might run afoul of the company's "no submissions" policy. Maybe the interviewer would want you to send the sample prior to your coming for the interview - each company has different policies and preferences. [Modified Aug. 6, 2003, thanks to a nudge from Jason Gorski.]

So there you have it. There are a lot of things you can do at home to sweeten your résumé. Some of them belong in the cover letter. Some of them are best mentioned during the interview. And some of them can contribute to a portfolio or demo reel.

I hope this article has been helpful. If you have suggestions for improvements to this article, please email me.

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