By Willem Delventhal.
The top 3 tips to help you break into the video game industry, developed with hundreds of graduates from the Indie Game Academy.
— # 3: Apply now, and cast a wide net —
I run into many fresh developers who stop themselves from applying for dream jobs for one reason or another. They say their resume isn’t polished enough, or that they need to revamp their portfolio website, or that they need to edit their cover letter etc etc
Those things will help you get the job, yes. But those dream jobs you aren’t applying for disappear pretty quickly. Let them decide if you’re the right person for the job. You always have a chance, however small, and you start to get better at applying the more you do it.
Additionally, apply for jobs you are underqualified for and that aren’t quite what you’re looking for. It’s not unusual for a recruiter who likes you to pass you on to another position (it happened to me!) and it’s always easier to break in with a horizontal move.
— # 2: Network like crazy, and get creative —
Something like 80% of open job positions in the game industry are filled by somebody who knows somebody at the company. While somewhat frustrating, this fact is a powerful tool for those who know how to wield it.
You’d be amazed at how many people will give you advice if you… wait for it… just ask! Use LinkedIn, Twitter and other tools to look up employees of your favorite businesses, and simply strike up conversation.
Don’t be salesy, and be eternally grateful for any help they offer. And remember, this is a numbers game. It only takes one person to respond to change your life.
— # 1: Make games, and release them —
And now for the most important, most secret piece of advice I can give. If you want to work on games, you have to build games.
I got my very first industry job in part because my hiring manager had played one of my games. Recruiters and your potential coworkers can and will play your content. So build good games, and release them somewhere to be played! Then be sure to include the best ones on your resume and portfolio.
Itch.io is a phenomenal tool for releasing games with minimal effort, and it hosts many game jams to get you inspired too.
— Closing —
And that’s it! My top three tips for breaking into the game industry: Apply Now, Network and Make Games. All advice that you have probably heard before. Which is good, because that means they’re true!
What about you? What game could you build in under two weeks? Who could you reach out to that would be exciting to chat with? How many applications will you send this week?
I’d love to know what your own tips are to break in. Share them with everyone down below!