Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Critisize my cover letter


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
27 replies to this topic

#1 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2049

Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:53 AM

Ok, so I'm about to send an application to a nearby game company(one of the very very few that exist here) and I'm thinking the cover letter is pretty important. So I'd like if gamedev members took a look at it and offer some critisism on how to introduce myself better. As I said in the title, I'm interested in the bold truth in order to really make some good corrections, so let me have it!

Thanks in advance, and here it is(I have deleted the names, but some of you may guess what they are):

Dear sirs,



Hello. My name is Michael Mitsopoulos and I’m writing to you because I am really interested in working in your company, XXX, and more specifically in the first Greek MMORPG game, XXX.



A little about myself. I am 29 years old, and a graduate of the Technological Institute(TEI) of Athens in Informatics. I was interested in computers and their applications from a young age, I believe I was around 10 when I started experimenting in programming in my old 286 with QBasic. As is natural with most kids, I developed an interest in game programming in particular, which I found fascinating. I made many little games there, like a slot-machine game, a Hangman game, and even a clone of Scorched Earth with planets and spaceships instead of mountains and tanks.



I don’t want to bore you, so fast forward to today, I am familiar with a dozen of languages, have studied now programming and CS in general formally, I am familiar with advanced programming techniques, multithreading, design patterns, SOLID principles, I have worked professionally as a programmer mainly in database programming, but still my passion is in programming for games. I see working in your company as a terrific chance of combining my passion and my job at the same time.



I have been following XXX since its birth, and it’s very interesting to see how it has grown to its current status. I especially liked from the start the fact that, unlike most MMORPGs today, the battles are not click-and-wait, but real-time FPS-like battles, and I’m impressed on how the engineers pulled this off considering it’s an massive online game, with the issues of latency and lag we all know exist in these games.



I think I will be a valuable asset to your company and to XXX development team, because, first of all, I consider myself to be fairly experienced in programming and game/graphics programming in general, but most of all because I am a good communicator, a team player, and I’m always eager to learn new things and techniques(when I’m working on the computer and not trying to create my own game, you’ll most probably find me scanning the net for interesting new methods, especially pertaining to graphics and gameplay organization). In short, for some reason(be it the environment I grew up or…the ‘genes’) I have a passion for game developing, and I would love being part of the XXX team, having a chance to work alongside talented developers which I’m sure have many things to teach me about the trade.



About the positions I would prefer, as I said I am very interested in graphics, so a position in the rendering technology department would make me most happy. Alternatively, I am interested in tools development too, as it is kind of a special category where the software you write is used to organize and optimize the work of the team itself, which means there will be communication and some sort of managerial challenges which I find fascinating.



Finally a bit about my own projects…I am experienced in C++, D3D and OpenGL, among others(I list all my skills in my resume), and have created the usual small games(Pong,Tetris,Arkanoid and such) before I started on some more demanding projects. I have attempted, in a few occasions, to gather together an internet team, mostly 3D artists, so I can complete a more well-sized game. Those efforts had various degrees of success, none though resulted in a game ready to publish, mainly because internet teams are too disjointed, and people work whenever they like to, so progress was quite slow.



For good or for worse though, I have uploaded and included some videos of some of my projects. So they are:



i)The closest I ever get to a finished project, a futuristic 3D racer. I got a team together to work on the art for the environments, but as I said it didn’t work out. However, the code was pretty solid and in good state.



Gameplay video:

Editor:



ii)a 3D isometric action game. The guy I worked with was pretty talented in 3D art, but real-life issues made him quit, and so the project stayed as it were.







iii)A small 3D fighting game featuring Gods of several mythologies.







iv)This is my latest effort, a small FPS game.







About the rest of my credentials, I have a Proficiency in English language, and I have completed my army duties normally.



Thank you for reading this letter, and I hope I’ll hear from you.



With Regards,

Michael Mitsopoulos



Sponsor:

#2 mrbastard   Members   -  Reputation: 1568

Posted 01 September 2011 - 05:22 AM

IMHO: much too long.

Stick to saying hello, expressing interest in the company, saying your cv + portfolio is attached, and 1 link to the video of the racing game.

I wouldn't normally suggest even having any links in a cover letter, but if there's just one they might click if they are bored at work even if they aren't really hiring, and it's polished enough to make you stand out.

FWIW I've only ever worked for 1 games company, so I may be wrong.


#3 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2049

Posted 01 September 2011 - 05:25 AM

IMHO: much too long.

Stick to saying hello, expressing interest in the company, saying your cv + portfolio is attached, and 1 link to the video of the racing game.

I wouldn't normally suggest even having any links in a cover letter, but if there's just one they might click if they are bored at work even if they aren't really hiring, and it's polished enough to make you stand out.

FWIW I've only ever worked for 1 games company, so I may be wrong.


Well in the 'jobs' section of the company site, it explicitly says 'provide a detailed cover letter introducing yourself' and 'include samples of your work, preferably links of samples of your work'. That's why I wrote it this way.

#4 JavierMC   Members   -  Reputation: 212

Posted 01 September 2011 - 05:26 AM

Hi, I don't have the time to read it all, but I think the following things could be changed:

I don’t want to bore you, so fast forward to today,

(be it the environment I grew up or…the ‘genes’)

For good or for worse though

I know this is how you would usually say it (and I would too if I was talking to someone), but in a letter I think you should leave those out. You sound confident in your skills in other paragraphs and I think these detract from that feeling.

The guy I worked with

Would "partner" sound better? or maybe cite his name.

#5 mrbastard   Members   -  Reputation: 1568

Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:00 AM

Well in the 'jobs' section of the company site, it explicitly says 'provide a detailed cover letter introducing yourself' and 'include samples of your work, preferably links of samples of your work'. That's why I wrote it this way.


Ah OK. Still, maybe consider separating the samples of your work from the cover letter just to keep it tight and focussed?

I also kind of agree with Gaenor, in that I think that kind of friendly plain speaking is useful in an interview to build a rapport, but in a cover letter risks diluting your points and making the reader impatient.

Anyway, I wish you all the best of luck, but I don't think you'll need too much luck Posted Image





#6 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2049

Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:05 AM


Well in the 'jobs' section of the company site, it explicitly says 'provide a detailed cover letter introducing yourself' and 'include samples of your work, preferably links of samples of your work'. That's why I wrote it this way.

Ah OK. Still, maybe consider separating the samples of your work from the cover letter just to keep it tight and focussed?


Already did it. I now have 3 files attached, the resume, the portfolio and the cover letter(in which I mention that I have the portfolio attached).

I also did away with the second paragraph about when I started programming and jumped right away to my current knowledge, I think I have made it apparent that I have a passion for gamedev that I don't need to share stories even about my childhood :P The letter is now just one page long.

And I have taken Gaenor's advice and lost those sentences, you were totally right that they were somehow 'off'.

Thanks a lot guys, great advice so far!

#7 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 1985

Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:08 AM

"I don’t want to bore you, so fast forward to today"

Yup, those phony humble or whatever expressions do more harm than good. Just like apologizing in advance (except for some very commonly used polite expressions).

(personally, I don't like people who do that. It makes me want to slam them in the face. You said you wanted harsh :P )

#8 ChurchSkiz   Members   -  Reputation: 419

Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:31 AM

I don't work in the industry, but from a business perspective you come off as a 'kid'. I feel like I'm reading more of your life story and personal interests as opposed to reading about why you're qualified for a job.

I'd speak more about what you've accomplished at your last job unrelated to the industry and with personal projects that relate specifically to the job. You're saying you want to work with graphics, talk about specific experience you have in graphics programming. Stuff like, "I created a Direct3D engine utilizing <some graphic industry tech terms> and used it to make this game." And then you can link to the game.

I think it's a mistake to appeal to passion, because I can imagine game companies have thousands of "applications" from people with no experience but "really love games." You don't want to come off as one of those people. You want to come off as an experienced programmer that is interested in working on this specific project and can start without needing their hand held.

#9 __Homer__   Members   -  Reputation: 58

Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:36 AM

My advice is simply to put your stuff in bullet-point form - nobody cares about your life story, at least not at this stage in the interview process. The person reading your application is likely to apply 'the seven second rule' which basically means if it takes more than seven seconds to read it, you get rejected. Harsh reality, huh?
In C++, friends have access to your privates.
In ObjAsm, your members are exposed!

#10 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2049

Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:48 AM

Just to keep you guys up to date, this is the cover letter now:

Dear Sirs,

Hello. Myname is Michael Mitsopoulos and I’m writing to you because I am reallyinterested in working in your company, Aventurine SA, and more specifically inthe first Greek MMORPG game, DarkFall Online.

A littleabout myself. I am 29 years old, and a graduate of the TechnologicalInstitute(TEI) of Athensin Informatics. I am familiar with a dozen of languages, have studied nowprogramming and CS in general formally, I am familiar with advanced programmingtechniques, multithreading, design patterns, SOLID principles and I have workedprofessionally as a programmer mainly in database programming. Still, mypassion is in programming for games. I see working in your company as aterrific chance of combining my passion and my job at the same time.

I have beenfollowing Darkfall since its birth, and it’s very interesting to see how it hasgrown to its current status. I especially liked from the start the fact that,unlike most MMORPGs today, the battles are not click-and-wait, but real-timeFPS-like battles, and I’m impressed on how the engineers pulled this offconsidering it’s an massive online game, with the issues of latency and lag weall know exist in these games.

I think Iwill be a valuable asset to your company and to Darkfall development team,because, first of all, I consider myself to be fairly experienced inprogramming and game/graphics programming in general, but most of all because Iam a good communicator, a team player, and I’m always eager to learn new thingsand techniques(when I’m working on the computer and not trying to create my owngame, you’ll most probably find me scanning the net for interesting newmethods, especially pertaining to graphics and gameplay organization). Inshort, I have a passion for game developing, and I would love being part of theDarkfall team, having a chance to work alongside talented developers which I’msure have many things to teach me about the trade.

About thepositions I would prefer, as I said I am very interested in graphics, so aposition in the rendering technology department would make me most happy.Alternatively, I am interested in tools development too, as it is kind of aspecial category where the software you write is used to organize and optimizethe work of the team itself, which means there will be communication and somesort of managerial challenges which I find fascinating.

About therest of my credentials, I have a Proficiency in English Language, and I havecompleted my army duties normally.

I’m alsoenclosing my portfolio with some links to some of my projects.

Thank youfor reading this letter and I hope I’ll hear from your company.

WithRegards,

Michael Mitsopoulos



And to reiterate, the guidelines on their site state that:

1)Introduce yourself in a detailed cover letter
2)Show that you know things about the company and its products in particular and how they work
3)Talk about why you'd fit in the company
4)Mention the position you're interested in.
5)Include links to samples of your work

-EDIT: Some weird glitches with spacing in the quote, don't exist in the cover letter itself so ignore them

#11 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 1985

Posted 01 September 2011 - 07:11 AM

" I have a Proficiency in English Language"

You mean you are proficient in English...

#12 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2049

Posted 01 September 2011 - 07:14 AM

" I have a Proficiency in English Language"

You mean you are proficient in English...


No, it's an actual degree I got from university of michigan :) Greeks know what I'm talking about.

#13 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 1985

Posted 01 September 2011 - 07:15 AM


" I have a Proficiency in English Language"

You mean you are proficient in English...


No, it's an actual degree I got from university of michigan :) Greeks know what I'm talking about.


ahaa :)
Then shouldn't it be "I have a Proficiency degree in English Language"?
(not sure about the 'a' article, I'm not proficient in English.....)

#14 DarklyDreaming   Members   -  Reputation: 357

Posted 01 September 2011 - 07:26 AM



" I have a Proficiency in English Language"

You mean you are proficient in English...


No, it's an actual degree I got from university of michigan :) Greeks know what I'm talking about.


ahaa :)
Then shouldn't it be "I have a Proficiency degree in English Language"?
(not sure about the 'a' article, I'm not proficient in English.....)


...and there should be a 'the' before 'English Language' (or you could just say "I have a Proficiency degree in English")
"I will personally burn everything I've made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames."
~ Gabe

"I don't mean to rush you but you are keeping two civilizations waiting!"
~ Cavil, BSG.
"If it's really important to you that other people follow your True Brace Style, it just indicates you're inexperienced. Go find something productive to do."
~ Bregma

"Well, you're not alone.

There's a club for people like that. It's called Everybody and we meet at the bar."

~ Antheus


#15 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 778

Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:43 AM

Just to keep you guys up to date, this is the cover letter now:


Dear Sirs,

Hello. Myname is Michael Mitsopoulos and I’m writing to you because I am reallyinterested in working in your company, Aventurine SA, and more specifically inthe first Greek MMORPG game, DarkFall Online.

A littleabout myself. I am 29 years old, and a graduate of the TechnologicalInstitute(TEI) of Athensin Informatics. I am familiar with a dozen of languages, have studied nowprogramming and CS in general formally, I am familiar with advanced programmingtechniques, multithreading, design patterns, SOLID principles and I have workedprofessionally as a programmer mainly in database programming. Still, mypassion is in programming for games. I see working in your company as aterrific chance of combining my passion and my job at the same time.

I have beenfollowing Darkfall since its birth, and it’s very interesting to see how it hasgrown to its current status. I especially liked from the start the fact that,unlike most MMORPGs today, the battles are not click-and-wait, but real-timeFPS-like battles, and I’m impressed on how the engineers pulled this offconsidering it’s an massive online game, with the issues of latency and lag weall know exist in these games.

I think Iwill be a valuable asset to your company and to Darkfall development team,because, first of all, I consider myself to be fairly experienced inprogramming and game/graphics programming in general, but most of all because Iam a good communicator, a team player, and I’m always eager to learn new thingsand techniques(when I’m working on the computer and not trying to create my owngame, you’ll most probably find me scanning the net for interesting newmethods, especially pertaining to graphics and gameplay organization). Inshort, I have a passion for game developing, and I would love being part of theDarkfall team, having a chance to work alongside talented developers which I’msure have many things to teach me about the trade.

About thepositions I would prefer, as I said I am very interested in graphics, so aposition in the rendering technology department would make me most happy.Alternatively, I am interested in tools development too, as it is kind of aspecial category where the software you write is used to organize and optimizethe work of the team itself, which means there will be communication and somesort of managerial challenges which I find fascinating.

About therest of my credentials, I have a Proficiency in English Language, and I havecompleted my army duties normally.

I’m alsoenclosing my portfolio with some links to some of my projects.

Thank youfor reading this letter and I hope I’ll hear from your company.

WithRegards,

Michael Mitsopoulos



I think it's a little bit verbose. Bare in mind that the further stuff gets from the top of the cover letter, the less likely it is to actually be read. I'd put your position preference at the top. This generally helps with them sorting your application so it gets to the right person. Don't make it difficult for them to do that.

To give you an idea on how you might want to rewrite all of your paragraphs just to make them less verbose/easier to read I'll rewrite this one:

"About thepositions I would prefer, as I said I am very interested in graphics, so aposition in the rendering technology department would make me most happy.Alternatively, I am interested in tools development too, as it is kind of aspecial category where the software you write is used to organize and optimizethe work of the team itself, which means there will be communication and somesort of managerial challenges which I find fascinating."

"I am interested in a position in either your rendering technology department or tools development as I have a real passion for graphics development as well as a drive to improve the workflow and productivity of the company as a whole."

Says pretty much the same thing but is about half the length. I wouldn't copy and paste that as you'd want to rewrite it so it sounds like you, but you get the idea. That's the biggest gripe I'd find with your cover letter. The content is good, it's just long.

Keep in mind that the people that are going to be reading this are probably going to be looking at 10s/100s of these. You don't want them diving into your resume/portfolio feeling like they don't want to read anymore.

#16 ChurchSkiz   Members   -  Reputation: 419

Posted 01 September 2011 - 09:14 AM

What you posted has a lot of grammatical mistakes, I'm not sure if you've proofread it yet but fix that stuff first.

You've still provided no hard reasons as to why someone should hire you outside of your desire. You mention you know programming languages but you don't talk about any specific accomplishments. You don't display any technical knowledge of any subject. You need to demonstrate competency in the area that you want to work. The fluff about being impressed by the company is not helpful as I read your cover letter.

When I read cover letters and resumes I skip over any unsupported claims. For example, if someone tells me they are a hard worker, a team player, etc. If you are a good communicator, your cover letter will show me when I read it. If you are a team player or a hard worker, don't tell me, prove it by mentioning some things you have done. Which is more interesting for an HR person or the hiring manager:

"I'm a hard worker, I work well with others, I'm a great communicator."

or

"In my last job, I initiated a multi-department project to improve productivity by 8%"


"I know 14 languages and like to learn new things"

or

"I am proficient in C# and developed my first game at 16. 1 Year later I learned C++ and used it to develop my third game. I have supplied the demos and source code so you can observe how much I learned in that year."

#17 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1555

Posted 01 September 2011 - 09:43 AM

I'm just an IT guy, I don't work in the game industry but IMHO...

I don't find the length a problem but it does seem a bit disorganized. I would keep all of the details of the position that I'm applying for (and what you'd prefer) in the beginning. So like:

Hello. Myname is Michael Mitsopoulos and I’m writing to you because I am reallyinterested in working in your company, Aventurine SA, and more specifically inthe first Greek MMORPG game, DarkFall Online. I am very interested in graphics, so a position in the rendering technology department would make me most happy. Alternatively, I am interested in tools development too, as it is kind of aspecial category where the software you write is used to organize and optimizethe work of the team itself, which means there will be communication and somesort of managerial challenges which I find fascinating.


Also, you're not really saying much about the company other than that you've followed the development of the one title. Personally I never understood why this is something companies look for but they've specifically asked you to show knowledge about "its products and in particular and how they work". I don't really know what would be best to add but it's something to consider.

About therest of my credentials, I have a Proficiency in English Language, and I havecompleted my army duties normally.


I would suggest to leave out that line unless you're sure it's a significant asset to include. And if that's the case then it should probably be included in the paragraph where you're discussing why you would be a good fit for their company and not tacked on at the end. If it doesn't make sense in that paragraph then it's probably not needed at all in the cover letter and should be enough to indicate it in your resume.

You've still provided no hard reasons as to why someone should hire you outside of your desire. You mention you know programming languages but you don't talk about any specific accomplishments. You don't display any technical knowledge of any subject. You need to demonstrate competency in the area that you want to work.


I'm not aware of what the standard is for providing links to portfolio work in a job application is. Whatever it is that you attach or link to, make sure that it show your talents for the position(s) that you're applying for. Indicate that a particular project was a focus on a particular language or technology. A video might be nice but does it give a way to form an opinion on what you contributed? You could have a really cool looking race game in which you wrote the AI for but how is that shown in the video?

Edited by kseh, 01 September 2011 - 09:52 AM.


#18 BeanDog   Members   -  Reputation: 1063

Posted 01 September 2011 - 10:58 AM

The job of your resume is to get you an interview. Once you're in an interview, it's your job to sell yourself as a great employee and get hired.

The job of your cover letter is to get someone to pay enough attention to your resume that it doesn't wind up in the trash 9 seconds after it's picked up. I would never make it through that cover letter before I gave up and moved on to the next. Here's a potential replacement:

Dear sirs,

I am Michael Mitsopoulos, and I would like to join your company, XXX, and work on the first Greek MMORPG game, XXX.

I am familiar with advanced programming techniques, multithreading, design patterns, and SOLID principles. I have worked professionally as a programmer mainly in database programming, but my passion is in games. I would love to put my passion to work at your company.

I am particularly interested in graphics, so I'm seeking a position in the rendering technology department. I am interested in tools development too, and would enjoy working on that broader software project.

Here are some videos of some of my projects:

i) Ruturistic 3D racer
Gameplay video:
Editor:

ii) 3D isometric action game


iii) A small 3D fighting game featuring Gods of several mythologies.


Thank you for reading this letter, and I hope I’ll hear from you.

With Regards,



Michael Mitsopoulos


~BenDilts( void );

Lucidchart: Online Flow Chart Software; Lucidpress: Digital Publishing Software


#19 Konidias   Members   -  Reputation: 214

Posted 01 September 2011 - 11:20 AM

BeanDog, that is near perfect.

Quick intro, list your skills, list the job you are interested in, and then show examples of your work.

Your work should speak for itself.
Thrones Online - Tactical Turnbased RPG
Visit my website to check out the latest updates on my online game

#20 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2385

Posted 01 September 2011 - 11:20 AM

I would never make it through that cover letter before I gave up and moved on to the next. Here's a potential replacement:


+1

I had a tl;dr; response to the original as well.


The demos stand well on their own to show you are worth at least a second look, so the sooner they get to them the better.




Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS