Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Banner advertising on our site currently available from just $5!


1. Learn about the promo. 2. Sign up for GDNet+. 3. Set up your advert!


Resume Review: Breaking in from another industry


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
8 replies to this topic

#1 Andrew Perrin   Members   -  Reputation: 179

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 16 December 2013 - 10:51 PM

I'm currently in the cable advertising industry as a Release Engineer. I've only been in it a short time, 1.5 years, and it was a job I took straight out of school because I needed the money bad enough that I couldn't hold out for a game dev job. After 1.5 years, I feel that I'm in a better position to start looking for game dev jobs again, and my resume is looking pretty rough.

 

The main problem is that my only "good" experience is in a field, Release Engineering, which I quite frankly don't want to stay in. I see Release Engineering jobs at game studios from time to time, but I cringe at the thought of even applying for them simply for the fact that I don't want to become specialized in it. 

 

I've applied to tools programmer jobs, technical design jobs, and junior production jobs with a similar resume, although (of course) I try to tweak it to match whatever I'm applying to.

 

My resume is below. I know it needs work, particularly with that first section. I put this together after reading some of Marc Mencher's material on resumes. Overall, guidance on resumes is so back and forth: "Don't put a skills section / Put a skills section, Don't have an objective / You need an objective, Only one page / More than one page, etc..." 

 

I asked the girlfriend to look at it, but she is (as expected) too nice about it. I need you guys to tell me what's what.

 

NOTE: I'd like my resume to be the focus of this topic, but if you want to criticize my site, go ahead; I'm constantly changing it (to the detriment of developing more content, I assume).

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw4oJoTc0LvvSzlacVl2T2tvVUU/edit?usp=sharing

EDIT: Noticed a typo, new doc up.


Edited by tigertheory, 16 December 2013 - 11:03 PM.


Sponsor:

#2 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 37944

Like
4Likes
Like

Posted 16 December 2013 - 11:39 PM

I'd never heard of a "release engineer" before, so the first thing I did was google that tongue.png

I have heard of a "build engineer" though, which apparently is pretty much the same thing?

 

In my experience at games companies, someone on the tools or engine programming team has usually doubled as the build engineer. It might be better to describe yourself in the initial blurb as a "tools programmer" or even just a "programmer"/"software engineer" rather than a "release engineer".

The HR/recruiter might not know about many specialties, and might not know that some specialties overlap -- so by being too specific about your current skill-set, they might immediately discard you. Also, if you don't want to be stuck being a release engineer long-term, then I would especially avoid identifying under that titled in your blurb!

 

I've always ordered mine skills > experience > education > projects... but that's just one of those style arguments wink.png

 

If you did decide to use the one-page format, I'd cull the clerk/writing jobs, the 'highlighted coursework' section, and maybe even the entire projects section (leaving just a url for a portfolio page).

Over time as I've gotten more experience, my resume has actually gotten a lot shorter, culling anything unnecessary or dated, like school grades... but my initial ones had as much info as possible to try and sell myself and make up for a lack of experience.



#3 Andrew Perrin   Members   -  Reputation: 179

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:04 PM

Thank you for the prompt feedback, Hodgman!

 

Yes, build engineering and release engineering overlap in some job duties. In bigger companies the jobs are split; my company just puts all of the duties on one person.

 

As much as I hate the thought of culling the writing job (I've gotten some interesting reactions and had interesting discussions in interviews with it on there) I can understand why it should go. Honestly the only reason the clerk job is there is because I didn't want to leave it off and have a space of unemployment between the writing job and the build engineering job, so if the writing job gets culled the clerk job will be right with it!

 

I'm also considering killing off the Organizations section, or at the very least the Boy Scout piece; I've gotten some mixed reactions with it. They're sometimes known for their right wing, heavily Christian views (which has nothing to do with why I counseled a merit badge) and I'm not looking to offend. On the other hand, I'm almost positive it's one of the main reasons I have my current job, because my boss talked to me for half an hour at my interview about his kids being in scouts!



#4 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 17449

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 19 December 2013 - 02:51 PM

Warning: Tough love follows. This is brutally honest feedback with an emphasis on the "brutal." I hope you don't take this as a personal slight but rather as genuine advice on how the hiring process works in the game industry.

 

 

I started skimming for typos and other obvious problems, but stopped after the end of the first page.

 

My honest feedback as someone who looks at a lot of resumes is that this smells like padding. The majority of your resume has nothing to do with what you do now, and virtually none of your resume has anything to do with the industry you're trying to break into. If this crossed my desk for a programming position, I'd take even less time to file it in the round bin.

 

 

Remember, the goal of a resume is to get you an interview. It is not and should never be treated as a catalog of your life's accomplishments. If you have accomplishments which indicate you are worth interviewing for the job you are applying for, then by all means list them. But you don't have two pages worth of resume material in your career yet IMO.

 

You need to think carefully about two things:

 

  • What is the job you're trying to land?

  • What of your experience makes you qualified for that job?

 

As a hiring manager, I see orders of magnitude more resumes than I accept for interviews. You're competing with a large number of people, especially for entry-level work, and your best bet is to rise above the crowd. To be more concrete: everybody worth an interview has a couple portfolio projects; these are best mentioned separately in a cover letter or in a request for code samples. If all I see of your game-development experience is hobby projects, that's going to bias me against you, because you blend in too well with the hundreds of game school graduates who have the exact same qualifications. By all means link your portfolio - if I'm interested in the rest of your resume, I'll look at it.

 

If you don't have enough skill in something to pass a moderately difficult pop-quiz without warning, don't put it on your resume. That's more padding, and resume readers get very, very good at sniffing out padding.

 

Education doesn't need so much detail. Just a degree and where you got it is sufficient. This is only true because you have job experience, which is far more relevant.

 

Your work history should be shortened considerably. List only things that are relevant, and will encourage the reader to interview you. You've been in the workforce for about four years now; that's not enough time to warrant a second page of employment history. I generally expect people to hit two pages at sometime around the ten year mark, unless they are extraordinarily productive.

 

The organizations section is totally useless. Anyone can join the IGDA, and the Boy Scouts do not teach relevant job skills. Axe it.

 

 

In general, tighten up your wording and be brief. Keep your tenses consistent. Remember apostrophes where they matter. And focus on showing what about you makes you qualified for an interview.

 

 

Once you land the interview, you can worry about non-related work history, the organizations you belong to, and so forth.



#5 Andrew Perrin   Members   -  Reputation: 179

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 19 December 2013 - 08:28 PM

Thanks for responding, ApochPiQ. 

 

I originally had a long rebuttle (read: list of excuses) about the way my resume was. I took your suggestions, gutted my resume of everything but my education and my current job, and realized there was nothing left.

 

After taking a couple of days thinking about it and conversations with a few people close to me, I've decided that I need to just rework my resume building process. 

1. I will make different resumes for each position, highlighting the parts of my current job that apply to the position to which I'm applying

2. I will link a specific page of my portfolio on the resume that I think will be of interest to the job

3. I will list a brief point about relevant projects if I think they apply to the job

4. I will list my education after my current work experience.

 

Thanks again. It's good to get feedback from someone on the inside. I hope you continue to be generous with your time on the advice forums.


Edited by tigertheory, 21 December 2013 - 09:40 PM.


#6 zee_ola05   Members   -  Reputation: 334

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:02 AM

Remove the MS Office part. 



#7 Andrew Perrin   Members   -  Reputation: 179

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 31 January 2014 - 07:19 AM

I removed the skills section, in general, but I'm just curious why you would think it would be a good idea to "remove the MS Office part" when many (more than half?) of the jobs I apply to specifically list it in the job description?



#8 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 28185

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 31 January 2014 - 05:25 PM

I removed the skills section, in general, but I'm just curious why you would think it would be a good idea to "remove the MS Office part" when many (more than half?) of the jobs I apply to specifically list it in the job description?

Remove it because it is a programming position.

Think hard about this. Imagine a programmer whose application included things like "can touch type", "comfortable with word processors", and "able to work with spreadsheets". If I saw an applicant for a programmer that included those lines their information would immediately be binned.

A programmer is expected to know how to write and manipulate documents. A programmer is expected to know how to manipulate spreadsheets, since data tables are a central thing in most programming.

If you were applying for a data entry position, the type of job where they list requirements as "job service certified typing speed of 30WPM minimum", then maybe including that you know Office would be a good thing. But for a programmer it demonstrates a level of incompetence.



The biggest problem is that you **MUST** show rather than tell. You have not done that.

The next biggest problem is that you are not using a reverse chronological format. Start with your current or most recent job, then the previous, then the one before that, etc. Since you have been out of school for a while your work experience should come before your education.

For consistancy, everything should be past tense. Worked on, developed, maintained, etc.

Finally, you don't have enough experience for a 2 page resume in the US. Fortunately reducing it to one page of good information shouldn't be too hard.

Let's go through a few sections of your current document.

* Dual Major Graduate, Always willing to take on...

Why do you write that? You have written that you are dual major under your schooling. Your willingness to take on new challenges should be demonstrated by the items on the page, not by a statement. Show, don't tell. Cut this.

* Consistently awarded...

If you recieved any awards or recognition that detail belongs inside that item's details. Cut this here, add the details in the projects.

* Advanced user of...

For programmers that is irrelevant at best, harmful at worst, as mentioned above. Cut it.

* Proficient in C#, OOP, SQL

Proficient relative to what? Relative to a fresh college grad? Relative to someone with 10 years experience? Relative to someone who help maintain the C# and SQL standards? Again, show your proficiencies, don't tell about them. Cut this.

* Exposed to...

Is that like radition exposure? What does it mean? You looked at a screen that had some code on it? Cut this.

* Highlighted coursework: courses.

It is better than when people write things like CS410, but the list is borderline useless as written. You went to school and had very similar courses to other people. In the professional world a university education is just barely enough to qualify you for entry level work. If you did something special or exceptional during your studies you should include those. If you had any specific notable projects you did, include those notable details. I don't care about your transcript, just your notable skills.

* Projects...

This is a mildly useful collection of stuff, but again you are telling rather than showing. Again, reverse chronologicl. Your school projects should probably be part of your education section.

* Created a 2d shoot 'em up game while learning...

Borderline useless. You told me you did something and gave a link. I have no motivation to follow it. Start with specifically listing languages and tools used (beyond GameSalad), and give me some reason to follow the link to your site.

* Daycare Disaster...

Very useful information. You can provide more details, but it is a good start.

* Library Timekeeping...

Looks overdone and very inflated. Kill the buzzwords and do an honest assessment. I'm guessing it was a simple data table, a small script that automatically entered the data, prints out some Access reports.

* Management Science ...

This is mostly good stuff. The first paragraph has many buzzwords, I'd consider cutting it entirely. Rewrite everything to past tense. Does "over a dozen" mean 13, or 23? Replace it with a hard number.

* Organizations ...

Cut. This does not help your job prospects and isn't really supportive of the job.



With those cuts, and putting work experience before education, it should be much stronger.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#9 Andrew Perrin   Members   -  Reputation: 179

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:20 PM

Thank you for taking the time to respond, Frob. The original post is over a month old, so my resume has changed since I first posted it. I've already made many of the changes that you've suggested.

 

However:

 

I did not remove MS Office. I kept it in, but it's stated in a different way. You mention that "It's a programming position," but I'm not sure what you mean by "It." The MS Office reference was not under my current position, it was in the summary, not under any position.

 

And while you keep mentioning the relevance of parts of my resume to a programmer, it may surprise you to learn that my current position is not something I would consider a programming position. I spend less than one day a week writing any software of any kind. I don’t consider myself a programmer by any means. My official job title is Software Developer, but who knows why my company decided to list it that way. I call it a build/release engineer because it's more descriptive; My job revolves around build and release systems, but I'm not always programming them.

 

I stated in my original post that I didn't want to be a release engineer anymore, but really what I should've said was that while I did apply to that one programming job, in general I don’t want to be a programmer. I’m not concerned with looking like the best programmer, because I already know I’m not.

 

Specific to my projects:

 

I’ve cut my projects out of my resume entirely, but I would like to add them back in when applying to a job in which I think they would help my case. I’m not sure how to “show” rather than “tell” on paper. I can only write what was done, how do I show it?
 

You said:

* Created a 2d shoot 'em up game while learning...

Borderline useless. You told me you did something and gave a link. I have no motivation to follow it. Start with specifically listing languages and tools used (beyond GameSalad), and give me some reason to follow the link to your site.

 

 

I say:

GameSalad was the only tool used. No languages. GameSalad is a drag and drop editor. Not the greatest project to pick for myself, but I did it.
 

You said:
 

* Library Timekeeping...

Looks overdone and very inflated. Kill the buzzwords and do an honest assessment. I'm guessing it was a simple data table, a small script that automatically entered the data, prints out some Access reports.

 

 

I say:

I don’t mean to be defensive, and I understand where you’re coming from, but you guess wrong. It was more than a table and a small script. It’s 21 WinForms and 7 tables. The tables were small, of course, and all total it was only around 3k lines (plus the VS generated code), but the program is still in use today, and it was a centerpiece of my previous interviews.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

I get a lot of mixed feedback on buzzwords. Most of it says “use them.” “They get you past HR and robot filters.” I can try to thin them out, but I'm not sure which ones you consider buzzwords when I consider them job relevant vocabulary.

 

Again, thank you to everyone who posted feedback. I have used the vast majority of it, and for anyone who cares to know, I landed a couple of production interviews since posting the original post


Edited by Andrew Perrin, 31 January 2014 - 09:35 PM.





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