Applying for a job
Okay, so we have had our Jobs page up for a while now, but ever since we started I’ve had a continual stream of emailed applications from potential employees. Some are impressive, some are not, but this post isn’t directed at any of them in particular. It’s intended as a guide to anyone else who is thinking of applying, so I’ll put a link to it on the right hand side.
First off, one of the biggest positive factors for a prospective employee is to show enthusiasm, both for developing games and for our company. We have this web-site and blog – it’s always been there, it’s fairly open. You could readily skim over everything on it in 5 minutes. So if your application clearly shows that you haven’t put in that small amount of effort, expect it to be either binned outright, or at least given short shrift. I make an effort to write a personal reply to every application, but the ones that annoy me get very little attention.
That point is at the core of why most applications that turn up in my in-box will fail, but I can sum the rest up in bullet points (most of which represent actual applications).
- DO understand that you’re applying for a games job, not just a ‘software’ or ‘IT’ job. Those who end up at games companies are primarily those who have a real passion for games, and that comes through readily in a good application.
- DON’T show ignorance of who we are and what we do. There are two of us, and we primarily do custom software development for other games studios. And yet we get applications which:
- talk about things like meshing with our organisation and looking forward to working in a large team.
- ask about jobs on our QA team
- are an impersonal email, even though the applicant worked with us previously
- Address their cover letter to “Diane” (or in fact any other non-existent employee)
- DON’T send a generic “please I would like a job at your company” email. This includes:
- not mentioning our company at all
- not making sure the cover letter is appropriate to our company,
- say “I’m applying for a job at blah.” Literally. Blah.
- the worst sin of all: sending the exact same email to every games developer in Scotland, and leaving all of those email addresses clearly visible in the To: line of the email!
- DON’T send your application to our generic “info” email address. That shows that you didn’t even look at the website, where the jobs page clearly states where applications should be sent.
- DO make sure your email and CV are free of spelling and grammar mistakes. Bad spelling and grammar says to me: “I’m so slack that I can’t be bothered to spend the 15 minutes it would take to look them over properly, despite the fact that I’m applying for a job that might be hugely important to the next few years of my life”. Frankly that’s not a person I’m necessarily keen to employ.
- DON’T claim in your cover letter to be applying for a job advertised on our website, when in fact there’s no job advertised there. That’s a clear sign I’ve just received a blanket application.
- DON’T send us the same application every couple of months, after being refused before, without even acknowledging that you’ve applied before. Fair enough if you were told that the situation might change in the future and to reapply, but if you weren’t invited to re-apply, and your skills haven’t changed in the interim, your second application is going to actively count against you.
Paying attention to these details take a very short amount of time. There aren’t so many games companies out there that you can’t do them for every place you apply to. Personally I think for the potential reward (i.e. getting a job), they’re worth it. I’m sure more bad examples will appear in the future, so I’ll be keeping this post up to date.
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