At Haiku Games, we receive hundreds of resumes for each position that we post. Since we see so many candidates, we’ve been able to identify common mistakes in their applications.
Mistake 1: You talk more about how you love playing games rather than making them
One of the reasons I love the game industry is that it's filled with people that love games. That passion for the product was something I never experienced in my previous jobs. That said, in the same way that watching a lot of movies doesn't make you qualified to be a director, playing a lot of games doesn’t mean you are good at making them. I always enjoy hearing about what games people love - but spend more time emphasizing the games you have made and projects you have completed.
Mistake 2: You don’t know the company
I understand applying for jobs is time consuming so you might not be able to do a deep dive on every single company that you apply for. However, you should be able to quickly figure out some basic facts about the company and what games they make by looking at their website. For example, Haiku Games is an indie company. Do you want to work at any indie company? Say something about that. We also make Adventure Escape games. Do you like this type of game? Say something about that. If you don’t like indie companies or our games… well you probably don’t want the job.
Mistake 3: Your accomplishments are hard to understand
You can stand out from many other applicants if you can frame your accomplishments in a measurable way. For example, tell us how many people played the game you were involved in or the number of people you managed. If you work at a small game company, we might not know what it is. Is it an indie company with a huge kickstarter campaign, a venture backed game studio, or four friends in a garage? This will help us understand your work experience.
It is particularly difficult to distinguish between students graduating from game design programs. Almost everyone has worked on a number of student game projects. How can we tell the difference between these projects? Was your project successful? Did you ship it commercially later? Were you at the top of the class? Anything you can tell us that helps us understand your accomplishments will make you stand out.
Mistake 4: You don’t connect the dots from your experience to the job
Especially when we are hiring for junior game designer positions, we have many candidates who do not have professional game design experience. If this is you, please make it easy to understand how you are qualified. A surprising number of people apply for a job from a completely unrelated field (for example, construction management) and say nothing about why that would be a good fit for the game industry.
For example, one of our game designers, was previously a Development Coordinator at a children’s museum. It isn’t obvious how that is connected to game design. However, she explained she loves escape rooms and puzzles, designed an escape room for her friends, and was a consultant for an escape room company.
One of the reasons I love being a founder of a company is because we can take a chance on different people. This lines up with our worldview that greatness can come from anywhere. I hope this article helps you in your job search.
If you’re interested in working at Haiku Games, our jobs are posted here.