How to write a successful CV or resume
Your CV, or resume, and cover letter are an opportunity to make a strong first impression, so it’s important to get them right. It is essential that you pay close attention to spelling and grammar, and try to ensure that what you list is clear and concise. Your CV should be no more than two pages long, and covering letter no more than one page.
Within this space you must communicate your interest in games, your technical abilities and all of your achievements to date. Be economic with your inclusions and remember that developers only need to see experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for. To that end, try to tailor your CV to each application.
- Contact information – your name, address, email, telephone number etc.
- Include a short opening paragraph that sums up your key experience to date, what type of role you are looking for and your availability – keep this very brief, elaborating more in your covering letter.
- Work experience – list your positions in reverse chronology, being sure to include employers' names and project titles, your job titles and the periods you worked. For each one, give an overview of what the role involved, and try to organise your entries into sections in order to make it more easily digestible.
- Education – if you are a graduate, you may need skip straight to this section after your opening paragraph. In reverse chronology include dates and grades of degree and A Levels, and detail the modules you studied at university. If you are a professional, however, keep this section brief focusing on institutions, grades and dates.
- Hobbies and interests – detail your activities outside of work of academia, being sure to make mention of any personal projects worked on or completed and get your personality across.
As we mentioned, your cover letter should be no longer than one side in length. In it, you should briefly introduce yourself and set out why you think you are right for the role in consideration, highlighting key experience that backs this up. The cover letter should express your personality, and it’s OK to be humourous, but remember that some personality traits might not work so well on paper. Don’t lose focus on the need to communicate your abilities and relevance in as efficient a manner as possible.
Industry role CVs, portfolios and showreels
Below, we set out the things your CV should include for each of the key roles of game development. Remember that your portfolio/showreel remains your greatest asset, especially when beginning your career. Make sure, too, that your showreel is one continuous file – don’t break it up – and if it includes collective work, highlight which of it is your own.
- Programming Good education: 2.1 degree and above, strong college level maths, physics, computer science background, strong mathematical ability.
- Modelling Strong portfolio demonstrating working knowledge of a major 3D package, good examples of environments, characters and conceptual skills including 2D references. CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Animation Strong showreel with good examples of rigs built, action sequences, acting sequences and ideally lipsynching if possible. CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and commercial expertise.
- Software engineering (tools programming etc.) Good clean, neat source code files that can be sent over or a personal website with demos of mini games created in your own spare time. CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Illustration Must have a portfolio that demonstrates 2D, graphic design skills with reference. Good range of art styles as well (not just science fiction, for example). CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Writing Examples of previous scripts or narratives created, along with documentation to back this up. CV should demonstrate communication skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Producing Examples of schedules that have been created and adhered to in the past with a summary of actions, results and follow up. CV should demonstrate organisation skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Audio programming Good source code examples that demonstrate your knowledge of audio and coding practice, CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Level design Online portfolios that demonstrate level building in your own spare time (3D and level editors such as Unreal, Unity and CryEngine). CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Game design Good design documentation that shows concise, thoughtful ideas that programmer and artists will find easy to navigate and action. CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
- Motion capture Showreel will demonstrate clean, realistic facial and body movement. CV should demonstrate technical skills, educational background and any commercial experience.
This guide was put together with the help of industry experts from several recruitment companies, including: Amiqus head of games recruitment Stig Strand and principal consultant Peter Leonard; Aardvark Swift director Ian Goodall and videogame recruitment consultant Hollie Heraghty; Datascope senior games consultant Alex Wright-Manning; Interactive Selection managing director David Smith and OPM Jobs managing director Kim Parker-Adcock.