Hey guys! I’m still in the process of applying and looking for jobs. While getting my reel reviewed by Kevin Regamey at Reel Talk, (Link to my reel talk review: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/402701553?t=00h50m48s) he mentioned this “YAGAHA” written by Ariel Gross and I decided to take a closer look at it! Behold, the ultimate truth of game audio hiring process and how to prepare for it:
Here’s the full article and I highly recommend you guys take a read at this: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/ArielGross/20170626/300505/Yet_Another_Game_Audio_Hiring_Article.php
Organizing the entire article into main sections:
Prepare to Qualify
Set your expectations straight. Game Audio is competitive. You’ll often hear nothing for weeks. Sometimes, rejection letters come 6 weeks later. You’re going to take tests that time time and effort to take, and after rejections, you’ll feel deflated. Interviews and silences will ensue. You have to show up to on-site interviews. Negotiation is intimidating. But ultimately, if you persevere, and keep learning, you’ll eventually land that job. It’ll be worth it!
What do you actually want to do? Imagine yourself doing things you want at work. Not companies, titles or projects. What makes you really happy and excited? What are you physically doing? What does my surroundings look like? If it sounds awesome in your mind, keep that in your mind. Come up with a concise sentence of your goal: “My goal is to X, Y and Z.”
Figure out how people are doing it. Google X, Y and Z. Find out how they’re doing it. Cinematic Sound Design Interview or "Game Audio Cinematics Article. Game Audio Sound Design Tutorial. Search YouTube. Consume as much information to learn as much as you can about the thing that you want to do. Start a document to keep track of articles and videos that you watched. Make notes of techniques and interesting tools being discussed, and the people that are doing your work that you admire.
Write down a Strategy
Write down the steps from “Where I am today” to “Who I want to be”. Let’s put 20 steps between here and then. Imagine that you have to fill those 20 dots. What are the 20 things you need to do to get to that point? Then, ask yourself is this is truly a critical steps you need to take to get to where you want to be, or if it’s just something filler. You should have plenty to cut out.
Get Feedback from Someone
Take your 20 steps and then ask it to a mentor or a friend that you can trust. Are these valid steps to take to get to where I want to go? Are any steps skippable? Am I missing any key steps? Ask on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Forums for feedback on the high-level career plan. If recreating a sound effect you love from scratch is one of the steps on your 20 list, then posting “I’m thinking of trying to reproduce a sound I love from scratch. Seem like a worthy effort to prepare for a #gameaudio job?” on twitter will get you some help. If all else fails, reach out to Ariel Gross. Will take a week or so for followup emails.
You can’t wait around forever when working on a game - never freeze in time while waiting on something you can’t control. If you didn’t receive feedback on your plan, keep moving forward.
Research Each Company
Before I apply for any jobs, I want to build as deep as understanding of the companies that you’re interested in as possible. Make a list of top 10 companies you’d like to work for. Three main aspects of a company that you look into: The history, team and the products.
History of the company can be simple as wiki page, or might take longer to find out about the company. Gather as much information about the company as possible, so that I can talk about the company during conversation. While doing this, you can also find red flags about the company. Layoffs or lawsuits, consider again.
Team is very important thing to research. Google, LinkedIn and Social Media helps to get a sense of people you might be working with. Researching this will get you more excited. If you have doubts when researching the people you google, that’s a serious red flag.
Research the games that they’ve worked on. Ideally you should play them, but at least read about them and watch YouTube videos. If their games don’t appeal to you, then it’s a red flag.
During research, write down and notes and questions for a potential interview. Coming up blank when the interviewer asks question is not good. You should prepare questions if you’re serious about the job.
While you’re researching, if you can’t come up with questions, maybe this place isn’t as exciting to you. It might be lower priority on your list of companies to apply for.
Who sees your stuff?
Who will be reviewing your application materials? Here’s how you find out:
At a high level, if you’re applying to AAA game developer, it’s more likely that the first contact with your application is Recruiter or someone from HR, and not the hiring manager. They filter out candidates that are missing non-negotiable requirements for the position. Align your resume with the job listing to make sure you end up in the right pile.
Independent companies are less clear. Sometimes it goes to Recruiters, Hiring Managers, or council of stakeholders.
Resume - Eye Tracking Study
Recruiters follow a visual path, so having an organized layout is crucial. Professionally written resumes help get you higher rating for “usability”, because they’re ‘easier to read’.
Recruiters spend only 6 seconds reviewing an individual resume. 80% of their time is spent on the following data points:
Current Title / Company
Previous Title / Company
Previous position start and end dates
Current position start and end dates
Beyond these six data points, recruiters did little more than scan for keywords to match the open position, which amounted to a very cursory “pattern matching” activity. Decisions are made based on those 6 points, any detail became filler in decision making.
All in all, it’s best to have a simple and readability in your resume. Show creativity in demo reel and websites instead.
Responsibilities and Qualifications - Use those words.
Take the Responsibilities and Qualifications from the job posting and copy and paste it onto a document. Then, highlight words that are repeated and use those words in your resume.
If you don’t have applicable experience, make something relevant to what you’re applying for.
Never stretch the truth. A stretch is okay.
The Left Edge
Use strong action verbs at the beginning of your bullet points.
“Designed”, “Recorded”, “Optimized”!
Do not include:
Your personal Picture, or full address on your Resume. Just put a City and State, if you think relocation would be necessary. Do not include unrelated work experience.
Do not add fluff. If it doesn’t contain relevant content.
Then, get feedback on your resume! Rephrase things…
Don’t get specific with your salutation. Chat with them before you apply, but don’t direct your cover letter to them. “To the hiring managers at company:” is always the best and safest bet.
For the first paragraph, just say who you are, why you’re applying for this specific job at this specific company, and why your previous experiences qualify you for the position. It shouldn’t be super long. Maybe three or four sentences for the first paragraph.
In the Second paragraph, Do NOT: restate your resume in your cover letter. Cover Letter is a good chance to tell who I am. (instead of what I’ve done). Cover Letter is a great place to let you be authentic, although difficult and risky to infuse personality.
Tell some stories about what I did at school. Talk about a time I made a difference, and what I’ve learned. Specific moments when I shined the brightest, and how my actions positively impacted others, and how I plan to build on those successes at the new company. Look out for stand-out moments that I’m really proud of. Tell a story with call to action, crisis, climax and denouement.
How to end a cover letter: I stated who I am and why I belong in this position. Hopefully the person is impressed and seriously considering me as a contender for this job. Be ready to commit: "I’m ready to commit all of my best qualities and all of my experience toward making your company, your team, and your products the absolute best they can be. Rephrase this in an authentic way.
Then, sign off like this:
Watch Reel Talk and learn how to make good reels.
Online identity! Many hiring managers use the internet to research promising candidates. Your social media? Web page? Is everything up to date and spelled correctly? How I appear online is in my control.
Remember, this is a really competitive field. You have to stand out, and your’ not alone in this struggle. Many people apply for companies that they overqualify for because they admire the company. So it’s tough!
“Networking” is a term that gets overused. Instead of wearing fancy clothes and shaking hands while exchanging cards, just make friends instead! Play the long game. #1 advice is to make friends. Real, honest to goodness friends.
Your career is a garden. With every person you meet, you’re putting a new seed into the ground. Every evening you spend with them is like covering the seed with dirt, and then saying by to them by the end of the night is watering the dirt. You have to wait and continuously do this to bear fruit! Each day you spend not watering the dirt, your garden dries up.
Don’t just talk about yourself. Ask people questions and REALLY listen to them. No one-upping. Less about competition and more about collaboration. Get excited about someone’s success!
It’s not who you know, but who trusts you. Very few people I can put my reputation down on the line for. Can I be that person to a friend?
It’s not who you know, but who likes to be around you. Being likable is a really amazing trait.
It’s not who you know, but who knows you. Game developers live and die by their reputation. So what do you want people to say about you?
Find a mentor. It should feel more like peers.
Make sure you have good interactions with everyone you meet!