1. Make your cover letter personal.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people write very dry, overly formal cover letters. This won’t make you stand out, especially not in a passionate, young industry like the games industry. In-character cover letters are great, particularly when applying for a position at an MMO or RPG company. Applying for a job at a games company who develop military FPS games? Why not introduce yourself like a soldier? Be creative, and stand out.
2. Highlight your achievements and proud moments near the top of your CV.
Now, I’m not talking about that award you got in primary school for playing the trumpet (yeah, I’ve got one of those, be jealous!) but more relevant, preferably gaming or professional achievements. For example, if you completed a high profile project or suggested a solution that a company is still using to this day, mention that! If you did voluntary work in a gaming related role, such as running a fan-site, that should come near the top too, especially if it’s directly related to the company you’re applying at. This also doesn’t have to only apply to a games industry CV either; recruiters love being able to quickly see whether the CV they’re reading will be a good fit or not.
3. Use strong action words.
Throw out words like “helped” and “supported”, favouring “built” and “developed”. Show how hands-on you were through your language! Companies want to know what you actually did, not that you gave a buddy moral support while they did something. Don’t say things like, “I was responsible for…” or “My duties included…” Tell the reader what you actually did! Also, on that note, remember to avoid using the “passive voice”.
4. Cut the crap.
That sounds harsh, but really, no one wants to read every last detail about what you did in your every day work. If it’s relevant, highlight it in as few words as possible, and bring it up in your interview. Instead, try to focus on the things you actually achieved while working there. Instead of, “Worked the till” as a responsibility at a retail position, add things like, “Created a process for tracking the impact of our promotion.” Remember, games industry CVs need to catch the attention of their reader, be it a recruiter or hiring manager, because it’s a highly competitive job market. Lots of people want to work in gaming!
5. List your relevant interests.
Yes, that includes gaming! The amount of people who don’t put gaming as an interest on their CV or cover letter astounds me, especially those applying for games industry positions because they think it looks “unprofessional”. Unsurprisingly, playing games is not considered “unprofessional” in the games industry. Don’t be silly.
6. Education isn’t everything.
This isn’t just about your CV, it’s about your attitude as well. While being educated is awesome, and especially so if the job listing states it as a requirement, having a degree is not the most important thing about your experience. Your experience is! Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have that Bachelor degree. Unless the career specifically requires it, apply anyway! And even if it does, your experience and passion might be worth a lot more than you think.
7. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
CVs and cover letters don’t have to be all drab, black font on white paper. Check out LadyLexieBaby’s creative League of Legends themed passport CV used for her application to an Events QA role at Riot Games, or any one of these 21 creative CVs. One tip – if you’re sending these in, make sure to send either a paper copy in plain text, or a digital copy via email. Assuming you’re mailing or hand-delivering a masterfully hand-crafted CV, you could always include a paper copy in plain text along with a USB stick containing the digital copy, for ease of printing when it comes round to interview stage.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start applying for the position of your dreams! If you’ve got any questions, leave me a comment below and I’ll be glad to help you out in any way I can!
More in the Working in Games series
Working in Games series
Working in Games #1: How to make your CV stand out
Working in Games #2: Words to use in your cover letter
Working in Games #3: What to expect in your games industry job interview
Got any questions?
Feel free to ask in the comments!