Hi All,

A couple weeks ago I had the honor of speaking at IGDA Chicago’s how-to session entitled “You’ve Graduated: Now What?”. The premise of the evening was to have a series of experts speak to recent graduates looking for work with advice on job hunting, networking, interviewing, etc.

After the panel I had quite a few people ask if I would share my opening remarks with them. Although it was just in a free-form set of notes, I’ve cleaned them up the best I could and put them here in this blog post so that they can be easily shared and referred to in the future.

Hope this helps!
Sheri

————————————————————————————————————————————

My opening notes/remarks for the attendees at the You’ve Graduated: Now What? Session:

Websites To Check Out: http://sherirubin.com, http://sheriforigda.org, and sherigranerray.com for Sheri Graner Ray’s and mynetworking articles including tips on using social media, interviewing, attending GDC, working with recruiters, and business cards.

Speaking Of Business Cards… How many here have them? Why don’t you have them? Do you carry some around everywhere? I carry some around in a special card holder, in my padfolio, in my wallet so even if that’s the only thing I have on me at the time I can still hand them my card.

GDC/Casual Connect: How many here have attended GDC? It’s kind of the conference for most developers. If you’re planning to go to Casual/Social/Mobile games consider looking into Casual Connect’s conference series as well.

Read/Watch A LOT: If you’re into social games do you read ISG (Inside Social Games)? If you’re into console games do you keep up on the latest news about the next generation of consoles? If you’re in to game design have you looked at Brenda Garno Brathwaite’s Train/Mechanics is the Message talk on the GDC Vault? If you did, did you then go @ her on Twitter or comment on her blog about how it inspired you to prototype more or to work on serious games?
Note: This will give you something to talk about at industry events and interviews.

 

Attending Events Smartly: How many of you are attending your first IGDA Chicago Meeting? Attend as many conferences and networking events as possible, but be professional and smart:

DON’T bring your resume unless it’s a career fair/hiring booth, don’t outright ask everyone for jobs, don’t ask everyone how to get a job, etc.
DO ask to take someone out to coffee or lunch to learn more about the industry or their company as an informational interview [people love free meals!])
–Even if you can dress more casual at these types of events, make sure you shower, don’t smell, hair is groomed, etc.
–Ask Smart Questions

 

Get A Mentor: Check out WIGI’s GameMentorOnline and the IGDA Scholarships programs. [But don’t waste their time!]

Watch Your Brand:
1. How many of you are on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn?
2. How many of you have a professional email address? Your own domain? Do you blog? Do you have an online portfolio? Put only your best work and treat it like a resume – NO TYPOS!
–Years ago I was judging the IGDA at GDC Scholarships and a guy said to learn more about me check out my MySpace page, but it had obscene photos and words all over it. Needless to say his application was rejected.

 

Interview Attire: Ask HR/your hiring contact what the appropriate attire is for the interview. They may tell you a suit/dress but they also may just tell you business casual (e.g. khakis and a nice shirt). Flip-flops with shorts and a t-shirt is NOT ok. Also, please shower and groom yourself appropriately. No one is going to want to give you a job if they feel like you’re going to smell every day.

Resumes:

Presentation: Clean, not so “artsy” (even if you’re an artist) – avoid too many fonts and styles; turn it into a pdf or make your Word doc “Read Only” to make it more presentable and not subject to change.
Content: DON’T LIE!!!! and PROOFREAD!!! – I will trash your resume if it has typos or obvious falsehoods on it, there are too many talented, honest people wanting the job to even bother looking at you further.
NON-TYPO resumes and portfolios are a MUST for game writers and game designers.

 

Job Qualifications: Don’t apply for jobs you don’t qualify for – you waste the hiring manager/HR person’s time and they may remember that the next time you apply for a job you DO qualify for.

Bashing Games: DO NOT bash games at events or interviews. You can, sometimes, constructively criticize games (VERY CAREFULLY), but you never know what games the person on the other side of the table has worked on or loved.

THIS INDUSTRY IS SMALL! Seriously – we will find out about you and possibly if you lied. Once had a person drop off a demo reel at a company I worked at and one of her old coworkers was now working with us, he proceeded to point to everything in the reel that she didn’t do but others did. Don’t burn bridges as best as possible. There aren’t many people in this industry that I’m not one or two degrees away from if I really look into it (and that includes Will Wright, John Romero, Brenda Garno Brathwaite, Raph Koster, Ernest Adams, and many many more.)

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

There was a lot more shared in that panel and hopefully we’ll have a video up soon but in the end the main point we all agreed on was: Don’t be stupid, don’t smell, don’t lie, and proofread.

Good luck!

 

3 Responses to IGDA Chicago How-To Session – You’ve Graduated: Now What?

  1. Julian Ayala says:

    Julian Ayala

    Thanks Sheri,one of the things that stood out for me is that after this session I realized how important is to have business cards in hand. Im in the process of branding myself and using that branding on my business cards to make my self stand out more when I give them out.Thanks again awesome session.

    • sherirubin says:

      Thanks Julian!

      If you need a quick, free review of your business cards feel free to email me (use the email on my business card – you did pick one up, didn’t you? :> – or this site’s contact form.

      Good luck!
      Sheri

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *