Blog Archives

3 Art Portfolio Traps To Avoid

Futuristic weapon concept art by Eliott Lilly

When it comes to your online portfolio, you’ll need more than a good aim to hit your target.

Eliott Lilly has been a concept artist in the video game industry for over a decade, and is credited on mega-franchise titles such as DOOM, F.E.A.R, and Black Ops. He currently works as a freelance artist, but he also finds time to mentor thousands of aspiring artists through his books and website.

All that coaching and question-answering has given him unique insight into three portfolio “traps” — fundamental problems that could be sabotaging your job hunt. In this guest post, Eliott discusses how to find and fix the most common art portfolio problems. Read more ›

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Posted in Applying

Build a game art portfolio in 15 minutes (with personalized URL)

Home page of a finished art portfolio site

Start basic and personalize until it’s uniquely you

If you’re an aspiring video game artist, you need to have a gorgeous online portfolio.

Why? Because when art directors open your job application, the first thing they look at is your portfolio. If they aren’t immediately impressed, their next move is to hit DELETE — and send your job application to the trash.

Fortunately, you can easily build your own portfolio website — with your own personalized URL — in under 15 minutes. (If you consider yourself “technology challenged,” give yourself 30 minutes.) Here’s how. Read more ›

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Posted in Applying, Tools

My Game Careers Talk at AIE Seattle

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a group of students at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, a game and film school here in Seattle. They were kind enough to make a video and share it with the world, I thought you might like it.

It was super fun, because I did an open Q&A with the students. They’re graduating soon, so they asked about everything: interviewing, resumes, portfolios, and whether good digital hygiene means you should “scrub” your social media before employers find those pics of that thing you kinda wish you hadn’t done last summer. Here’s the video. Read more ›

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Posted in Applying, Interviewing

How can I tell if a video game jobs website is a scam?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Bryan, who asks “Where can I find reviews for this business site and is this a legit website that I will not be scammed by?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why there are so many scammer websites for video game testing jobs
  • 5 simple techniques you can use to identify, and avoid, scammers
  • Use those techniques to see which Google search results are actually scams!

Read more ›

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Posted in Applying, Podcast

What are some demo ideas for my video game programming portfolio?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Max, who asks “Hello, I don’t miss an episode of your podcast ever since the first one. I have a question: What are some specific examples of demos you could prepare for different game programming positions? Could you provide some specific examples that a hiring manager would like to see for positions such as Gameplay Programmer, Graphics Programmer, or Tools Programmer, to name a few? Thanks a lot and keep up the excellent work.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Some actionable ideas for demos to put in your programming portfolio
  • Where to find inspiration for even more ideas to code
  • The most impactful and rewarding portfolio project you can do over a summer

Read more ›

Posted in Applying, Podcast, Resume

Will my job application be rejected by resume bots if I submitted a PDF file?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Travis, who asks “I am a recent computer science graduate. I applied for a tester job at Ubisoft and, following your advice, I submitted everything as a PDF file. But I recently listened to another podcast that said big companies, like Ubisoft, don’t actually read resumes, computers do, and that we should use a plain resume with specific fonts and save it as a Microsoft word or a TXT file so the computer can parse the information. Is this true? Is my application going to be overlooked because I submitted PDF files?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why big game companies use machine learning software to filter resumes
  • Whether certain file formats and fonts might cause problems for your application
  • A clever trick you can use to find out what’s allowed by any company’s resume-reading software

Read more ›

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Posted in Applying, Podcast, Resume

Do video game studios ever consider hiring entry-level job applicants?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Taylor, who asks “I am incredibly committed to my craft and improving at it, yet I am under the impression that when I apply for jobs, along with my application there may be 30+ talented artists who have been in the industry before. Do hiring managers occasionally consider candidates that have potential, despite not having the experience? Or do they only seriously consider ones that have industry experience?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How your entry-level salary fits into the game team’s hiring strategy
  • Why your passion and enthusiasm could be worth years of experience
  • The top 4 ways that a newbie can be even more valuable than a seasoned veteran

Read more ›

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Posted in Applying, Podcast

If I land a game dev job in a new city, can I get help with moving costs?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Kit, who asks “I live in a state where there is no real game development work around, which puts me in a pickle because when I graduate I will have a degree but nowhere to use it. I already know that my best bet is to move to another state like Washington, but how does someone like me who will be new to the industry land that first job when migration cost has to be a factor? I’ve heard that some companies will help with this if they really want you to work with them, but I will not have a reputation at this point so I don’t see that happening. Do you have any suggestions?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you shouldn’t move until you’ve signed an offer
  • Why game studios might pay you big bucks to relocate, even without experience
  • The 2 most effective ways to ask – and get – free money to pay for relocation

Read more ›

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Posted in Applying, Podcast

Do you need an art degree if you already have a strong portfolio?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Mihai, who asks “I have a question regarding game art colleges. I’ve watched Marc Brunet and other artist’s videos and they strongly advised us not to attend any colleges as long as our portfolio is as strong as the Industry demands. Would you recommend attending a game art college if I already have a game studio quality portfolio?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Whether you can get a job as a game artist without a degree
  • Why an art degree doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a job… or that you’ll be a good artist
  • How to get real, candid feedback on your art skills

Read more ›

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Posted in Applying, Podcast

Video Game Industry Internships FAQ

How can a game internship solve the dreaded "chicken and egg" problem for students?

How can a game internship solve the dreaded “chicken and egg” problem for students?

At this very moment, many students are knee-deep in their search for their first job at a video game studio. But if you’re one of those job-seekers, you’ve likely smashed head-first into a very tricky problem: How can you get a job that requires “prior experience,” and how can you get experience if nobody will hire you? Read more ›

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Posted in Applying