Aug 29 2013
“Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life” -Confucius
I know a lot of people say that doing what you love isn’t enough and that won’t bring home the bacon. That’s true to a certain degree because you can’t solely rely on one aspect like passion and expect to succeed. One of my chats with Paul was about getting a job in the video game industry. He told me that it was really all about ‘who you know’ in the industry to get a job. Billy Buskell from BioWare basically told me the same thing. Knowing the right people does get your foot in the door and gives you a sizable advantage. However, I believe that’s only half the battle.
Your contact is only there to get you considered. You still have to deal with the company’s HR department, the interviewers, and your competition. What if you don’t know anyone to get your foot in the door? There are ways to position yourself without needing others to pave the road for you. I read two great books over the summer that detailed the methods and answered questions regarding getting a job in the video game or other tech related industry.
I thought that it would be awesome to share it with you guys because I felt like these books provided relevant information. Most of the other career guide books I read spoke for all industries in general. It’s nice to read a book that identifies the unique processes of job hunting and hiring in the video game and tech industry. Read on for the books and my thoughts on it.
The Google Resume by Gayle Laakmann McDowell was given to me recently and it definitely gave me more confidence. I had my resume and cover letter looked over by a lot of people I knew in and out of my professional network. They thought my resume was good, but I was surprised that they all missed some of the subtle mistakes I’ve made. The book pointed out a lot of stuff in my resume that was either redundant or irrelevant. It also taught me new things to help improve it. Now, I wasn’t taking the author’s advice like it was the word of God. It’s worth noting though that she was a successful software engineer for Microsoft, Apple, and Google. I followed them because they actually made sense. It took me a while to agree to read this because I hated how career books are just republished or rephrased advice. Of course, it’s unavoidable to see tips you already know but most of it was timely advice that catered specifically to a particular industry.
Her book might not be solely about the video game industry, but it does offer sections or chapters entirely dedicated to it. One thing I love about the book is how it offers significant advice for job seekers who don’t want to be programmers or anything technical in the video game industry. I’ve been looking for advice like this because I mostly want to be in the corporate and communications side of things in the business. Thank you for finally acknowledging that there are other fields out there. She talks about the requirements for certain fields which is very helpful. In addition, she goes into detail about the culture and norms of a video game company. Understanding these will help you interpret and navigate your way to a job.
The rest of the book talks about the tips outside of the video game industry but it is still in the same spectrum. Heaps of it details advice for programming and engineering job seekers aiming for companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. She also notes the pros and cons of joining or initiating a start-up, so it’s not all about the big leagues. While I’m not interested into the programming field, she gives sample brain teaser questions or tests companies like to use on candidates. She gives advice on how to tackle them and I think it’s a great advantage to prepare for any curve balls. There might be chapters that only focus on programming, but most of the words of wisdom she gives can generally apply to anyone interested in the technology industry regardless of your field.
It’s not just about nailing the resume and interview too. She also talks about negotiating once you get the job and quitting to pursue another career path. So, she pretty much has you covered.
Remember the times when you typed questions into Google’s search bar? Wait, we do that all the time. Anyway, the cool thing about the book Breaking into the Game Industry by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber is that the chapters are structured into question form. It’s like all of those questions you typed in Google or kept tweeting to your favorite game developer in one book. They tackle a lot of queries and answer them thoughtfully. There’s advice for different fields in the video game industry but mostly on the developer side. The corporate or journalist side of things doesn’t get as much attention as the first book I mentioned. This is more like a book someone who is in the field of programming would enjoy. However, it did give me substantial advice so it’s still a good read if you’re someone like me.
Like the last book, it doesn’t just talk about the job hunting process. There’s also tips about how life is like working for a video game company and stuff after that. I hope these two books are helpful to you! You can get them for your Kindle or iOS devices.
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