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Jennifer Canada. Who Am I? Why This Topic, Today?

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Presentation on theme: "Jennifer Canada. Who Am I? Why This Topic, Today?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Jennifer Canada

2 Who Am I?

3 Why This Topic, Today?

4 Interviewing Well…  …Is a solvable problem

5 Good Teams & Team Members…  …Is something I care about it ;)

6 For Artists and Designers


8 Getting Started

9 Contacts  Contacts in the industry are worth their weight in gold  In 5 years, everyone in this room right now may be an industry contact

10 Making New Contacts  When meeting industry professionals as a student… Be polite, but not drooly Pay attention (no texting) Let them set the level of future contact ○ Yearly or bi-yearly check-ins are good No stalking  Remember: It is better to create no impression than a bad impression Special note (for conferences): Don’t introduce yourself in a bathroom

11 Portfolio  Website with reel/ pics for art, code samples and programs for programmers, screenshots and playable levels for designers  Bio of you and your experience Some flavor, but keep it appropriate  Remember the unintentional portfolio… FB, blog posts, anything online about you

12 AKA Proof  Images, videos, documents, resumes  Playable games + trailers for those games  Aspiring developers require more proof than veterans  Special note: Emails and website names Keep it professional

13 Cardinal Rule #1  Better > More Common Mistake: ○ Keeping old work ○ Lesser examples of similar work

14 Cardinal Rule #2  Keep it focused Common Mistake: ○ Having types of work that aren’t relevant to jobs you’re applying for and that you aren’t as good at

15 Cardinal Rule #3  Get feedback and…  Act on that feedback Common Mistake: ○ Ignoring feedback, especially from industry members

16 Compare Against Job Listing  Remember… The buzzwords The software/technology The skills The experience/background  Does your portfolio address everything?

17 Compare Against the Industry

18 3D Artists

19 Concept Artists

20 2D Production Artist

21 Designers

22 Some Standout Examples

23 Is my work good enough?  Portfolio reviews at conferences  Industry professional via email  Google other portfolios of people who have jobs Be honest: ○ How does your work compare? ○ Are you missing items you should have? ○ Is it all your best work?  The truth: Your work needs to look 90 - 95% as good as what is currently coming from where you are applying A company expects to hire someone who already works on their level


25 Finding Open Positions  Remember to read the description – title may be misleading  Think about where you want to live  How long do you want to stay there Growth potential Other companies in the area

26 Finding Open Positions  Websites: Gamasutra, LinkedIn, reddit, local IGDA pages, company websites,

27 When To Apply  You need to have most of the skills they are asking for Any level editor => can learn a new one Max + Maya are interchangeable Learn programs on the job, but not skills ○ i.e. a new scripting language, not scripting in general  Year requirements Need to be close-ish

28 Applying  Apply to companies you are most interested in first  Don’t expect to hear back immediately, game companies are super busy  If you don’t hear back… Follow up, but don’t stalk

29 Cover Letter  No more than 2 – 3 paragraphs Paragraph 1: Who are you Paragraph 2: Why you are attracted to their company Paragraph 3: What can you offer their company (better than the other applicants)  Be proud and positive, but use humble and aspirational language “I was the best on my team” vs “I gave my all to the project and was awarded the MVP award by my fellow team members”

30 Resume Basics  Name and contact info on every page  Page 1 of # at bottom  Well-organized and scannable, no typos  Keep it short:1 – 2 pages Length is the nemesis of resume readers  YourName_Resume.doc JCanada_Resume.doc JCanada_CoverLetter.doc ○ Common mistake: ‘resume.doc’

31 Resume Sections  Bullet point intro  Skills  Software  Experience  Education  References are on request (but you don’t need to say it)

32 Remember, the first wall  HR They throw out the first batch of resumes  You must first get past the non-developer gate-keepers. So, how? Buzzwords Passion Personalization  Only then do you get passed through to the first round of elimination via someone in your department


34 Personalizing  Tailor resume and cover letter to each job opening  But how? Read their job description, extract buzzwords and use in your resume and cover letter Make sure to list software the way they do ○ Adobe Photoshop CS5 =! Photoshop Use the soft skills they are looking for as a question to answer in your cover letter ○ Communication – talk about working through an issue ○ Leadership – talk about when you have lead others

35 Special Note: Recruiters  They get a fee from the company if you are hired You will never pay this fee (if they ask you to pay them anything, it is a scam)  Never use a recruiter if you are entry- level  If you do choose to work with one… Get an assurance in writing (email) that they will not send your resume anywhere without you approving that specific company


37 Steps to Get Hired  Apply  Phone interview May be multiple phone interviews  Skills test  In-person interview  Reference check  Finally… you’re hired!  Note: There is a round of elimination after each of these steps

38 Skills Test  More and more companies have these  Typically given a week  Content varies by position applied for

39 2 Rounds of Interviews  Phone interview: To assess your skills and knowledge and check for personality red flags ○ Generally ½ hour to 1 hour  In-person interview: Double check skills and knowledge, and… To see if the team likes you ○ Generally 3 hours – all day

40 Interview  Be polite, on time, and well-groomed  Phone off  Have extra copies of resume  Treat everyone you meet as if they could be making the decision to hire you  Be positive about yourself, but don’t be arrogant

41 Q & A Practice  Make lists of questions they’re likely to ask and practice answering Especially the tough ones, such as overtime Don’t trash a previous employer (or a person you’ve worked with)  It’s ok to say you don’t know Way better than lying – it’s always obvious! Can explain how you would go about finding out or working through the issue

42 Your Turn To Ask Questions  Have questions ready for them Benefits, relocation expenses, core hours, profit-sharing, who would be your supervisor, etc  You are interviewing them, too

43 Do Your Research  Show passion for the company Know their website inside and out Read news articles about them Play their games! ○ They will ask you about their games in the interview

44 What To Wear  Business casual Nice slacks, khakis, or skirt ○ Generally, not jeans Button down shirt or blouse No tie  Do not overdress Everyone interviewing you will be in t-shirts Aim to look one level nicer than the dress code of the office

45 Reference Check  2 – 4 references May or may not have one from current position ○ (they may not know you are looking for a new job!) Someone above you or on your level ○ Cannot all be on your level  Don’t assume, always ask before you give out their name Be sure they will say good things about you ○ Ask politely, “Would you be willing to provide a reference for me?”


47 The Basics  Reliable  Honest  Enthusiastic  Dedicated  Creative  Willing to share ideas

48 Balancing Friendship With Professionalism  Separate work time from fun time  Always be fair and responsible  Don’t favor your friends  Don’t exclude those not in your friendship circle at work

49 Gossip  It will get around if you say something bad about someone  Or if you become known as a gossip or a complainer  Pretend anything you say about someone, they will hear

50 Remember  You are monitored! Email IM Browsing history  Browsing at work Rule = be reasonable

51 NDAs  Non-Disclosure Agreements You can’t tell people: ○ …what you are working on until its announced ○ …any detail that hasn’t been announced You will also sign these during any in-person interview for a job

52 Source Control Etiquette  Find out company policy and follow it  My recommendations: Check in once a day (at least) Don’t keep files overnight Don’t check in broken files

53 Introverts vs. Extroverts

54 Meeting Etiquette  Talking in meetings is like eating a pie

55 Brainstorming  Brainstorming and analysis/choosing an idea are 2 different processes Judging is not a part of brainstorming

56 Getting & Giving Feedback

57 Another Approach: Contrasting  Contrasting = Telling someone what you don’t mean.

58 Communication Tip #1  Be introspective! Ask yourself why a conversation went poorly Ask yourself why someone didn’t complete a task properly that you communicated to them Ask yourself why you function better in team meetings with some colleagues vs. others Ask yourself why you became shy in a meeting Ask yourself how you can improve

59 Sharing Ownership

60 Letting Go

61 A Learning Career  Read blogs  Play new games  Follow new trends  Learn new technologies  Learn new methodologies

62 Keep Improving

63 Thank You!  Find the slides at

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