On the Subject of Resumes
Updated: May 21
Thank you again Sonia Michaels for providing some great material I could use for this post, and also @slizagna on twitter for a very helpful thread!
Always keep your resume updated! I don't care if you have a cool job, in this industry you never know when you might need it again!
Puh-lease keep in mind that this advice is for the US Games Industry. Resume culture changes depending on location/industry. I've had non-USA located people in a completely different industry ask me for a resume review, and while I love to help people I don't think I'm suited for every situation.
I like to have a general resume which I always keep available on my website, and whenever I'm applying to positions I make copies that I modify and tailor to the role I'm applying for. (By the way, if you got any feedback on my resume I'm always open!)
In terms of content
- Your name (I have a long Brazilian name, so mine says "Fernanda G.R. Coelho")
- Your title (Technical Artist, Software Engineer, etc.)
- Contact info (email, phone, website, LinkedIn, general location, etc.)
- Work experience
As a standard, it's nice to have 3-5 bullet points per role explaining your responsibilities/accomplishments. Here's a guide to write effective bullet points!
Include studio name and general location.
List the time period you were on the role with a MONTH-YEAR standard.
Some people also list the number of people in their studio (I decided not to because I've worked at well-known studios)
- Education (include full degree name, institution, general location, date of completion or expected date of completion, any extra honors if you'd like)
Remember to include: Game Engines, Programming Languages, Software, Content Management Software (Perforce, GitHub), actual languages (if you're multilingual).
If you want to take it to the next level, include:
Other work experience if transferable, awards, honors, nominations, hosted talks/panels, publications, cool volunteer opportunities, etc.
Keywords! Look at the job description and look for any keywords used, and include those in your resume wherever you can. Chances are your resume will be scanned by an algorithm that checks for those. (some examples: "(...)familiar with Unreal(...)", "(...)+3 years experience with Python scripting(...)" , and so on)
When listing accomplishments in your work-bullet points, include numbers whenever you can. (For example: "Wrote +10 tools in Python to optimize Maya workflow", "Rigged 20+ biped characters in Maya.", etc.)
Things I have seen that are kiiiiinda weird (in the US at least!):
- Your address, like street and apartment/house number!
- A photo of you.
- Your gender.
- GPA (unless you have like, a 3.6+)
- The "objective statement" is super old and not necessary these days.
- Don't include "work"/ volunteer experience from when you were 13 years old, make sure all the experience on your resume is somewhat fresh.
In Terms of Layout
- Clarity always above anything else! I'm looking at YOU, art students! When I was in college everybody wanted their resume to stand out, but I only remember seeing a bunch of resumes that had overwhelming colors and designs; LOL Keep it simple, people!
- PLEASE don't use the "HP bar" thingy for skill proficiency! You know what I'm talking about babey! Like seriously, what the hell do these mean?:
Are you "kinda good at HTML but not really"???????
- Try not to include icons, those usually get in the way of algorithms and can take up space.
- Be smart with color, spacing and font size; use italics/bold to contrast things in your resume and keep it easy/pleasant to read!
- Keep your resume to one page. Unless you're 20+ years in the industry or somethin'
- Save your resume as a .pdf.
Students have the extra challenge of not having much work experience. How do I make my resume look more professional then?
If you have student projects (like game teams or animation shorts), format them in your resume the same way you'd format regular work experience. Don't LIE. Let people know they were indeed student projects, but list your accomplishments, team size, time period and team name like you would for a real studio. I wish I had my original student resume to show you but I believe I wrote something like this:
Another thing: if you have been a tutor or teacher's assistant that is also valuable and could be included as work experience!
That's it for today, I hope this helps!