Monday, September 12, 2016

No one is going to maintain your career. So, where do you start? Here are some "Resume" and "Online Presence" tips to help.

Imagine you are in the market for a new job, or you're thinking that you want to be on the market. How is your marketing machine working for you? How does your online resume stack up to the competition? How well does your LinkedIn profile match your real skills? Are unwanted people reading your "private" social posts? Can anyone find you online or are you lost on page 43 of a Google Search?

If you aren't certain your potential employers are going to be stunned by your work, or if your answers to these questions aren't certain... you need some help. Let's talk about what you can do to give yourself an edge.

Make no mistake... NO ONE IS GOING TO DO THIS FOR YOU. You have to do this yourself. Immediately.

To get noticed and to get through the screening process, we'll start with your resume. After all, what's a resume for? It's not supposed to get you the job. It's to get you an interview. 

Resume Tips
  • A reader should be able to get the highlights of your experience through a quick scan of your resume. Think 6 seconds. Then... think 2. What ARE you? Can they figure that out instantly? If not, then you have work to do.
  • Your resume must be attractive when you send it through email, print it out, and when you post it online. The best way to ensure that is to save it as a PDF. Electronically, that's about as good as you can get and be able to expect most people to be able to open it. 
  • Your resume must be well-formatted in a manner that is appropriate for this century. I.e. no tables or other graphical weirdness. No matter how cool it looks, these have to be parsed by programs (resume readers) and if the program gets confused, your resume gets tossed.
  • It must be written in a way that is easy to be read by humans
  • Finally it must be edited so it is tight (brevity is important) and so it gets to the meat of your experience quickly and succinctly. No one wants to read War and Peace.
Once you have your resume whipped into shape, you can start getting your online presence aligned with it. 
 
Online Presence Tips
  • Get a LinkedIn profile. You can expand your resume sections here in a more detailed manner. It is an "addendum" to your resume, not a mere duplicate.
  • If you have your own site, make it easy to find your resume. That resume should match your LinkedIn profile closely enough that there should be no questions when the two are compared. 
  • Make sure all of your links work. Nothing says "I'm not paying attention" like having a broken link to your resume, for example.
  • Check the security settings on your Facebook (and all social media). Make sure only the people you want to see your stuff have access. Can't figure it out? If there's something you don't want seen... delete it asap. 
  • Pay attention to what you're saying online. If you don't want the HR manager at your next company to show it to the person with whom you'd be interviewing, probably should delete it. And never write that stuff again!

Okay, that's enough to sink your digital claws in for now. Questions? Just post 'em in the comments!

If you want some personal attention, email me at billyjoecain@gmail.com


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Capture the Essence. What IS the Game?

One of the challenges of building a video game as a project manager is trying to define the "essence" of the experience. You have to define that essence as early in the process as possible because it is going to help drive every aspect of the game for you. When there is a choice in development, you should always take the path that is most strongly tied to the essence.

For instance the essence of a game like Pac Man could be described as "collect dots and avoid ghosts." Once you have the essence, you write your game around that, which in turn generates the remainder of the features that support it.

The game's essence is inextricably linked to each part of development so that every aspect of the project melds into one. The project manager's role is to continually ensure that the game is on track and to ensure everything supports it, and continually redirect the team toward the goal as the project moves forward. When the team internalizes this behavior, the project begins to take on a life of its own. Your job, as a project manager, is to ensure that their creativity is allowed to flourish as long as deadlines are met. 

Additional features in Pac Man that support "collect dots and avoid ghosts":

  • Eating Power Pellets that allow you to eat ghosts
  • Earn additional points for eating multiple ghosts in a row
  • Enjoy mini-cut scenes that bring out the character of the ghosts
  • Collect special items at certain times
Question each of your project's features reason for being. Do they each support the main essence? If not, they gotta go. Or maybe they can be re-imagined. The choice is yours to explore.

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