In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Gabor G. who asks, “I found a lot of useful information about game testing in this post. And now all I need is a CV or Resume. And that is the part where I need a little help. I have almost no experience in CV writing and I don’t find any useable example or template on the Web.”
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The best way to get past the hardest part of writing your resume or CV
- How to write your personal Summary (not an Objective!)
- The #1 mistake most people make when writing their work history, and how to avoid it
If you have a question you'd like to get answered on the podcast, leave a comment below or ask me anything here.
Find game schools near you
Hello, hello! Welcome to the Game Industry Career Guide podcast. This is episode number 24. I’m Jason W. Bay from gameindustrycareerguide.com and this is the podcast where I answer your questions about getting a job and growing your career making video games.
This week’s question is from Gabor G., who left a comment on a blog article to ask this: “I found a lot of useful information about game testing in this post, and now all I need is a CV or resume. And that is the part where I need a little help. I have almost no experience in CV writing, and I don’t find any usable example or template on the web.”
For many people, writing their resume, which is also called a CV in a lot of countries, is the first step of their job hunt. And it’s an important step, for sure, because the goal of the resume is to help you stand out from the dozens, or maybe even hundreds, of other people who might be applying for the same jobs that you are. So you want to make an excellent first impression and convince the job’s hiring manager to contact you to schedule an interview. That’s the purpose of the resume.
Even though the resume is only the first step, it can also be one of the most challenging steps. A lot of people struggle to figure out what to put in it and what to leave out and how to best present the information about their skills and experience in a way that’s concise, but that’s also persuasive to the hiring manager that’s reading it.
Luckily, just getting started on your resume is often the hardest part. Once you get going on it, there are a few simple techniques and rules that you can keep in mind that will bring it all together. Today I’m going to tell you about how to start your resume and I’ll go over my top tips for creating something that’s sure to get you noticed and get you an interview.
My first tip is to start with a resume template. Now I know that Gabor just said that he’s had trouble finding a template on the web, but I just did a search for video game tester resume and I got hundreds of reasonable looking template results. So I think that you can find them if you just do a search for something like “video game artist resume” or “video game programmer resume” or whatever job you’re going to be writing a resume for. Another way to get a template is to use one of the built-in templates that come with whatever word processing software you’re using on your computer. Whether you’re using Microsoft Word, or Pages by Apple, or even Google Docs, they all have built-in resume templates that you can choose from and they’re all really reasonable. It doesn’t really matter which template you pick, just choose one that looks clean and professional and you’ll be good to go. The important thing is to pick a template and then get started writing.
Once you’ve found a template to work from, step two is to write your summary. What’s a summary? It’s just a two or three sentence statement that gives readers an introduction or a little overview of what you have to offer a company as a potential employee. So, a couple of examples. An example for a game tester resume might sound like this: “Enthusiastic, self-motivated, and detail-oriented software tester, with experience in console and mobile games.” Okay, so that’s just one sentence and it gives the hiring managers that are reading the resume an overview of who you are and what you do. Another example for a game programmer might sound like this: “Computer science graduate and life-long gamer geek with experience building a mobile indie game from the ground up.” So that’s an example of a programmer.
Obviously, your summary is going to be specific to you, so you can look at other people’s summaries online to get ideas but don’t copy them exactly. You want to customize around your own skills and your own background.
Now some people will tell you to write an objective statement at the top of your resume instead of a summary. I do not advise that because an objective tells the hiring manager what you want from a job. In other words, it tells them what you want from the company. But that’s not what a manager cares about when they’re reading your resume. What they care about is what you can offer to the company, and that’s what a summary shows them.
Okay, after the summary comes the real meat of the resume: The list of jobs you’ve had and what you accomplished at those jobs. This part is straightforward, but there’s one big mistake that I see people make all the time that I really want you guys to avoid: Most people just put the job, the job title, and the list of responsibilities that they had at the job, but a list of responsibilities doesn’t tell the reader of the resume what you accomplished. And that’s the important information that most people forget to add.
What specific accomplishments did you have at the job that added value to the company? It’s important to list your accomplishments, because it helps the people reading your resume to understand what kinds of things you’re likely to accomplish if they hired you at the new job.
So for each job that you put on your resume, list between maybe three to five bullet points that clearly state what you accomplished and why that was important to the company. Be specific and use numbers when possible. For example, instead of writing “improved the frame rate of the game,” you could add numbers to that to be more specific and write something like “optimized the game’s frame rate and increased it from 45 frames per second up to 60 frames per second.” Now that’s a powerful and attention grabbing way to list your accomplishments.
All right, once you’ve found a template, written your summary, and filled in the details about your past jobs, you’re almost finished. The last step is to get somebody to proofread it and to give you suggestions on spelling, grammar, and other content improvements.
Why is proofreading so important? Because if a hiring manager finds typos or spelling and grammar mistakes on your resume, it makes them think that you’re a sloppy worker that doesn’t pay attention to detail. I have even known hiring managers who will immediately throw away any resume that they find that has a spelling error. I’m not kidding, so you’ve got to make sure that it’s perfect.
You might even want to ask multiple people to proofread it, if you can. Like a couple friends, a parent, and a teacher. Those people have good ideas that could help you improve your resume; not just the grammar and spelling, but they might also have some ideas for skills that you have that you should add that you might not have thought of yourself.
That’s an overview of how to start writing your resume and how to structure the information on your resume to give you the best chance of getting an interview with a game studio. But I’ve got a lot more advice on this topic, so if your working on your resume right now or you’re going to be working on it soon, then be sure to read the articles at gameindustrycareerguide.com/resume.
Thanks to Gabor for this question and thank you for spending time with me today to improve your chances of getting a great job in the video game industry. If you have your own questions that you’d like me to answer on this podcast, stop by the website and leave a comment and I will answer it on a future episode. For more information and inspiration on getting a job and growing your career making video games, visit me at gameindustrycareerguide.com. I’m Jason W. Bay. Let’s do this again next week, right here on the Game Industry Career Guide podcast.