Monday, March 24, 2014

How Do You Get A Video Game Studio Hiring Manager's Attention?

To answer that question, I'll tell you a story. It's about how I got my first job in the game industry. Maybe something here will spark something for you! 

While I'm not like most hiring managers, this is the kind of stuff that gets me intrigued enough to call someone in for an interview. 

Your mileage may vary.

In 1991, a friend of mine got a job at a video game studio called Origin Systems, and when I found out that was a real, honest to goodness career, I decided right then that was what I was going to do with my life.

After I was hired, I stayed on the team, Swing.bat.
My friend that showed me the light of the
industry, Steve, is at the bottom left. 
For the next year and a half, I was doing everything I could do to get their attention. I would come up and bring lunch or dinner for my friend, I would talk with everyone in the office, come in late to play games with his office mates, and even got on their company softball team because they were a man short!

When a job would come open that I was qualified for, I would be the first to apply. I was finally called in for one interview, but didn't get that position, so I decided to amp it up a notch for the next one, because I was determined to work there.

It's the wave of the future
They had an internal newsletter that was all about their projects and employees, and I had just gotten a new Mac at home (this was 1991) with desktop publishing tools, so I did a mock version of their newsletter "from the future," where I wrote stories about their current projects and how I helped them at pivotal moments to get them out the door.

This was, essentially, my resume.

I printed it on brightly colored paper and one night distributed it throughout the building.

They called me for the very next opening and I got the job. They had seen and loved my efforts and said they were looking for someone with that kind of fire, tenacity, and creativity. And having connections in the building was good, too, but that didn't help the first time, so I think that could have gone either way. The place was small at the time.

Finding a place where my creativity was appreciated changed my life.

Challenge yourself to find a way to get people's attention through a creative way to connect with the hiring managers. What have YOU tried?


Billy Joe Cain is a gamification subject matter expert that has been providing gamification solutions to educational companies and game testing companies since 2010. 

Alongside his gamification consulting, he is an executive producer in the video game industry and has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman. 

Please connect with him on LinkedIn! Mention you read this blog for bonus points!

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