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So You Want a Job in Game Dev: How to Write a Resume

So you’ve just graduated, or you come from an industry that doesn’t really align with game dev. Maybe you’ve been working on some side projects. How do you get all that into a resume that will stand out in the gaming industry?


I have some tips and tricks that can help you. This advice is meant as supplement to other resources. You should use strong action verbs, showcase accomplishments, all of that. However, the gaming world is not exactly the corporate business world, so some adjustments might be useful when adapting the usual advice to game dev resumes. Here’s what worked for me.

  1. Catalogue your skills.

First things first— if you haven’t already, write out a big list of all your experiences, education, certifications, skills, proficiencies, hobbies, and projects. Write a few bullet points of what that thing is and what you did underneath. This is the framework of your resume.


Why? Because by having everything listed out, you will be able to pick and choose the relevant chunks for any resume you need. Different experiences might work best for different job applications. With this massive CV, you can personalize your resume quickly. Make this as easy on yourself as possible by keeping this list on hand and up-to-date.


2. Build the Resume


As you find relevant job applications, take what you wrote from the above list (you did make that list, didn’t you?) and chunk it out into a resume format. The usual sections apply- header, education, experience, skills, interests.


The experience section is hardest, so I’ll start there. Below that is a list of other tips for the rest of the resume.


The Experience Section:


The bread and butter of your resume, and the hard part. This section, especially for new grads, may feel empty. That’s okay! You just need to find what you’ve done.

See, hiring managers and game directors aren’t looking for your work experience. They’re looking for competencies — can you do the job they’re hiring for? Prove it. Show me the skills.


So your experience may not be in a studio yet, but it may come in the form of school projects, hobby projects, and other experiences. This includes in-progress projects!

My experiences serve as a great example. I worked as a college intern for a professor, wrote a D&D home-brew on the side, and started a podcast for fun. I turned these into strong experience points on my resume. Here’s the framework I used:


JOB TITLE

Organization, location, time period

  1. Bullet about what the project was

  2. Bullet about what my role was in the project

  3. Bullet (or more) about what I did, what results I achieved, and what differences I made.


Those three things should tell a the hiring manager everything they need to know. Then, in your cover letter, you can showcase how this project demonstrates your skills.


Here’s how this works in application—


Boring, weak version:

I do a podcast with a friend about weird medieval texts and we throw around how to use stuff from those texts in a TTRPG game.


Resume version:


My strong version highlights the skills that are undermined in my weak version. The weak version is how new grads talk to themselves. New grads don’t see themselves as professionals, but still as students.


Start framing your experiences as professional growth. Take yourself and your skills seriously.


Overall Tips:


- Be clear and legible.


- Don’t go over one page. Unless you have 10+ years of experience, don’t do it.


- Don’t get too fancy, unless you’re going for a design position. And even then, keep it professional.


- Don’t write a summary. Truly, they’re not needed. All the info that goes in a summary is either unneeded or is better suited to your cover letter, LinkedIn, and website.


For instance, let’s look at this summary that I just pulled off a Google search for resume images:

This language is generic and weak. (ex: "international logistics companies" - which ones? The experience section should tell me.) It also repeats information that should be elsewhere in the resume (ex: "ten years experience"). Anything about "greatest strengths" should be in the cover letter, and preferably not stated outright, too. (I'll talk about how to write a cover letter in another article.)

- At the top, list phone, email, LinkedIn, IG (for artists), website/portfolio, then hyperlink it all. Make it as easy as possible for hiring mangers to find your work.


- Don’t include GPA under 3.5, and add achievements and awards (as they fit).


- A skills section is a great addition to list coding languages, art skills, certificates, and other things that don’t really fit anywhere else. This list should be short and to the point, listing only years of experience, if that.


- I also include a short “Interests” section to demonstrate what I do outside of work and projects. Do you have a life? Do you take inspiration in your work from other things you do? I’ve heard directors say that they would rather have applicants who have a life outside of game design. This trait is also a sign of good studio culture and work-life balance.

I hope this list of tips and tricks will help you in your job hunt! Once again, this article is intended as a guide and an example of what worked for me. This article reflects my experiences and my own opinions. What worked for me may not work for you. Take what’s useful and leave the rest. This is also intended for new grads looking to get into narrative design, but I hope it will be useful for anyone else looking to get into game dev.

I wish you all the best in your job-hunting, and please feel free to reach out at zfranznick@gmail.com or LinkedIn if you have any questions. I do provide specific resume and cover letter help if you feel necessary.


Remember: treat yourself like the professional you are.

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