Archive for February, 2011


Making Games Talents Day – Munich 2011


Today my friends and I attended the Making Games Talents Day in Munich. We took this amazing chance because it’s very rare that such an event would take place so close to our university. The event was held by the national magazine “Making Games”. The companies that attended were:

After a quick introduction of the developer-studios, there was a discussion and Q&A on how to apply properly, when looking for a job in the games industry. It was very interesting. Although I had heard most of the tips before, I think it’s very important to hear as much on that from as many different companies as possible, right? Here’s the concentrated information I got on the topic APPLICATION today:

A correct self-estimation is essential when you prepare your application to a company. Do you see yourself in an internship- or permanent position? How much experience in the industry do you already have on your resume? Is it enough to work as a senior in a team or are you just starting off as a junior? Be very precise with that in your application. If the company doesn’t agree with your self-estimation, that’s not a big deal, they are going to tell you that. Just be sure that you evaluate your own skill and experience and base your application on that estimation.

Secondly, don’t underrate the importance of the cover letter and resume. Although many companies put their focus on work samples, they also have a look at your application letter for many reasons: They want to know if you can communicate clearly and state your motivations for working in their team. The resume is important to get a quick overview over your education and experience, as well as language- or any other skills that might be important for the position you are applying for.

The third one is an easy deal: Before preparing an application for a company, get every bit of information about what they actually want you to send, that you can get. Most companies have detailed info on that on their websites, but don’t be afraid to call or ask about that via e-mail beforehand. Studios and their HR-Managers will appreciate this.
A neat and, most of all, complete application, shows that you care about the company’s requirements, help them save time and know how to present yourself.
What also belongs into this category is to make sure you apply in the right language. Is it an international team that only accepts applications in English? If your mother’s language is different from the one you apply in, let a native read it through.

In some cases, annual reports as well as marks you got during your apprenticeship or studies, really matter. Most of the time they don’t (for example, for graphics artists or testers) but if you want to get into PR, Management or Marketing, your marks can say a lot about your work. So make sure to send everything that could be of importance to get a better view on your skills with your application, or bring it to the interview.

In case your written application was successful and you are invited to an interview, the following is very essential: Know your company. You want to work there? Play their games, check their website, read their blog and forums, know what the company does and what you are going to do there once they employ you. You don’t have to be a hardcore-gamer or know the CEO’s blood type, but it makes sense to have your basics down.

Another question that arises quite often is: Do game developer studios prefer generalists or specialists? There is no single answer to this, because it really depends on the company you apply to, the position you want and the project the team is working on. It’s actually the company’s task to decide whether or not they need your set of skills right now. Just make sure you are very clear on what you are able to do and express your will to develop in a direction that will help the project/game become a success (if so).

One thing I actually heard for the first time was about a problem many applicants appearantly have: They are not entirely sure about game-industry-specific terms and the labelling of job positions. I might do an extra entry in this blog about that topic, if needed, where I can get this basic information down.

How about work samples? In any application for a job in a game studio, the work samples are the most important part. When you chose these samples (may it be Concept Artwork, 3D-Screenshots or Source Code), keep in mind: People who look at your application have a job to do, probably as the lead of a department. To save their time, chose only the best examples of your work, and less is more. If they want to see more, just attach an URL to an online portfolio with all your best work. Keep that website up-to-date!

Lastly, I’ll give you a simple piece of common sense: Ask yourself: Where am I going to apply at? The content of the application has to be adequate for the philosophy and work of the company. You like to draw aliens and weapons? Maybe CRYTEK is the studio of your choice. Can’t live without creating cute little characters and assets in a comic style? Maybe ZYNGA, who released FarmVille, would be best for you. It makes sense that a well-thought-through application gives you a better chance for success than one that may be good, but not aimed correctly, doesn’t it?

I hope you found one or another valuable information for your future applications in this entry! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there are any questions. All those facts are directly from professionals in the game industry, it’s definitely not something I made up myself, so I’d like to credit the people who held their presentations today for their information and knowledge.