My beginnings in the games industry have been quite smooth. I started working for an outsourcing company here in Spain. A while later, when I was ready to move on to the big AAAs, I left my job and started applying to many openings with no luck.
I wasn’t good at communicating in written English, and many of the positions listed required skills I lacked and experience I didn’t have.
There’s a meme running around about a guy applying for an entry-level job that requires 5 years of experience plus a university degree. Sometimes this is seen in job postings, and it can make starters run away from them.
Sometimes I think someone is watching from above because it was by chance that I got my next job in the games industry, and I did it without having to apply for it. How? It has an easy answer.
One day, after months of posting my portfolio and CV in forums, I received a call from a man. He claimed to be a representative of a headhunting company. This sounded scary at first, as I didn’t know what that was.
Headhunters are people hired to find the perfect fit for a position a company is hiring for. They usually are given a certain list of requirements that a candidate should have for a certain position, and the benefit is that they get paid if you get hired.
Why is that important? Well, they will be good at selling you to the company, they are going to prepare you well for the interviews, and they will polish the hell out of you before you present yourself to their clients. They won’t make any money if they do this wrong.
After a short conversation with this man, I was confident I could find a job, and not just a job, the one I wanted.
I started to work on that company, and sometime later, when I was ready to move to a different company, I felt like I had started from the very beginning, only with a bit more experience.
After a few weeks of trying to get a job on my own (Let’s remember this were my first 2–3 years in the industry) I understood it was a bit hard for me to get interviews that mattered.
My dad then reminded me, why don’t you call that company that got you your last job? And I did. In 2 weeks I was already living in a different place to start my first day on a new job.
It was so ridiculously easy to get a job with these guys it even made me take jobs for granted. I was leaving a job one month to get into another, and if I didn’t like it, no problem, I could call these guys.
Then I realized this was not very professional and started to settle down, but this is not the point of this article.
So now to answer this article’s title. How can you get your first job in the industry if you struggle with applications? It’s simple:
- First, make sure you have a portfolio and CV. If these aren't good enough, the headhunting company will help you polish them.
- Then, be ready to contact the headhunting company. Write a comprehensive email, or give them a call to book a meeting with one of their consultants.
- Have the interview with the consultant, apply all the feedback they may have for you.
- Once you are ready and they think you are ready, start applying for positions with them.
In less than you think, and if the previous steps were done correctly, you’ll have a decision to make, because more than one company will want you.
To end this article, here are some companies I have worked with before and will be eager to hear from you:
Something great to do as well is to have a LinkedIn search for “Games Recruiter”. Many people to contact will appear there.
Note that these companies or individuals don’t do this for free, and whoever is hiring you will have to pay them, which on some occasions might come from your first year’s salary. If my say is important, it’s 100% worth it, as you won’t notice a huge difference and you’ll learn a lot from the process. If you are worried about how much the cut will be, ask the recruiter straight away.
It’s also in their best interest to make you get a better wage, which will mean a higher cut for them.
As always, if any questions arise, or you are having issues with finding a job, give me a shout in the comments or write us an email!