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Im just finishing the last year of my degree so im about to look for some work as a game programmer. Ive written a cv and i have a demo program. I'd be grateful if anyone working in the industry could take a look at the two and let me know what my chances are of getting an interview and what i can do to improve them. My cv is here: http://www.geocities.com/ryan_dansie/ocv.pdf My demo is here: deleted Thanks for your time. (edit) The CV online is now the third draft written after reading the comments here. Thanks for your continued feedback. (/edit) [Edited by - rdansie on March 23, 2007 11:59:28 AM]

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Hey Ryan,

OK here goes, I have not looked at your demo yet, I will do that in a minute.

But taking a quick look at your CV, I would make some changes, and that is not from a gamers view.

It's just from being old enough to of had a few jobs, and being a fellow English man ;-)

A) Your CV is too long, 3 pages for someone with your experience, is too long.
Sorry, but if a CV is 3 pages, you better be the best thing since sliced bread !!

And it's not that it's even long, you have a huge font !
Just change it to fit 2 pages.

B) Secondly you use lowercase 'i', and not uppercase 'I' when referring to yourself.

C) Thirdly, your GCSE in Math, is an O-Level equivalent, make a point of highlighting that.

D) ‘Quote 1’ - I think that i have quite a good knowledge of this language.
‘Quote 2’ - I am not so familiar with these but i am confident that i could use
‘Quote 3’ - Im not very familiar with directX but i have used them if i needed to.
Be more confident ! … Don’t say ‘I Think’ or ‘I’m Not’ (Wow you do that a lot)

No offence please, at any of these comments, I have just been employed for 20 years, and I know what will put off an employer.

E) Capitalize the programming languages, Java, Pascal & API etc ..

F) programming ?? cool .. Using what IDE?
Add some experience, and build on that. Tell them you use Microsoft Visual Studio, or Borland Delphi 7, What art packages, PhotoShop etc, what about Sound & music, do you know FMOD or another library ?

G) What platform did you program in, Windows, Linux ?
What versions of Windows .. 98, ME, XP etc etc.
Are you confident in the Windows environment, can you fix basic problems, can you install operating systems, can you hook up a network.
You could really build this CV up Ryan.

H) expand on your ‘Hall Assistant’ Duties, fires & emergencies, are you first aid trained ?


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Sorry, but if I were handed this CV and demo they'd be binned within minutes. Your CV has extensive grammar issues - capitalization, man! - and your demo is apparently very simplistic and suffers from depth sorting and screen corruption issues. You've also not included the source code.

I'm not sure where to begin on the rest of it. The CV is far too wordy - you've got 10 seconds maximum for the employer's HR person to glance over it all, and if they see huge swathes of text then you can pretty much guarantee that they won't go back for a closer look. Personal statement stuff is better suited to your cover letter than your CV - stick to the hard facts about yourself and your experience, and avoid what you think or feel about things.

One tiny demo is nothing. If you've coded several projects in C++, where are they?

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Concur with darren. Under no circumstances should a recent uni grad have more than a single page resume. You don't get to have a 2nd page till after 3-5 years of experience. A 3rd page is for veterans only. Why? We resume screeners get bored after half a page.

Your programming languages section should be no more verbose than the following:

Languages/APIs:
C++, C, java, vb, pascal, prolog, haskell, DirectX

Your degree shows you know design patterns so don't mention it (it's a silly buzzword anyway). You don't need to say 3D graphics, having DirectX implies 3D graphics. I don't really care the details to which you know those items, that's what the interview is for. A resume is high level overview only.

There should not be a personal statement on the resume. That's reserved for the cover letter (in the states that's the custom, anyway). For US companies we will expect that the personal statement is specific to our company: i.e. why do you want to work specifically at: EA, THQ, Blizzard, etc.

If you're submitting the resume to US companies use the word References instead of Referees. =)

Your work history is also entirely irrelivant to programming. I'd try to replace that section with elaborate projects you've worked on, internships you've had, work you've done with a professor, etc.

The purpose of anything on a resume is to tell me how you are qualified for this specific job. That you packed boxes has nothing to do with programming: did you improve the workflow, did you try to improve any system there (software or just process). Only mention the job if anything you did there involves analysis, system design, programming, i.e. skills that are relevant to programming.

If your jobs don't demonstrate programmer thinking don't include them. instead use the space to briefly describe software you've written: did you write a thesis? have you done hobby work? did you do any research?

-me

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In addition to what everyone has said, I would also refractor your personal statement. I would argue that a lot of it should go in the covering letter and the space should be used to detail some of your best university projects instead.

I disagree with Palidine, you should at least list one job even though it isn't related to the industry because it shows that you can handle yourself in a work environment.

[edit]CV reveiw request moved: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=440449 [/edit]

[Edited by - yaustar on March 22, 2007 12:58:30 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by yaustar
If the OP doesn't mind, I like to piggy back on this topic and have my CV reviewed please as I may be looking for another job soon.

You should create a new thread for this, so that advice on the two CVs doesn't get all mixed up.

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Hm, I don't really know about the length of the resume. I too believe that 1 page is enough, and,unlike you, I haven't even graduated yet so I made mine exactly 1 page(with a good part of it dedicated to a "serious" application I made for a well-known company). However, at a recent interview, after me and the interviewer talked about several stuff like design patterns,OO principles,etc, he said that my resume was actually too short(it was like Palidine demonstrated, just mentioning the languages/APIs I know without anyother details), and that I should write more stuff about my knowledge so it would stand out from the rest of the resumes. I'm not saying I agree or not, just thought I should mention a recent incident.

About the demo, if I undestand correctly it's a software renderer, which I think is a pretty good choise, but, honestly, it's pretty horrible ;). SW renderers aren't supposed to be fast of course, but this one is very very slow(7 fps for 48 untextured polygons?), and most importantly, buggy. I suggest either just take it out, or really work on it to make it good, because I don't think anyone would be impressed in the state it is right now.

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Hi again Ryan,

I would agree with MikeMan, since he was the first to comment on the demo.

I'm sure others are holding back, in fear of hurting your feelings ...

But it's bad !!!

I'll be honest, because I feel you will get disheartened in your job searching, not hearing back from employers. Wondering if it was your interview technique, or was it the demo, did I do something wrong, what happened?

I have travelled that road, during my many years of job hunting and interviews.

Yes, it’s real bad, and claiming to have even ‘some’ DirectDraw (DirectX) knowledge on your CV, after showing them this demo, you would get laughed out of the interview.

You even say your last big project was a 3D engine, I would expect much much more in a demo, if you have worked on a 3D engine.
(Note, if you wrote an engine, I would specify what language/API you used also, on your CV)

Really if you followed ANY online tutorial or example, you would have a better demo, after lesson 2. (Lesson 1, being able to create a blank DirectX window)

It’s extremely slow, extremely ugly, and lacks colour, imagination, or originality.

I would spend the next week, finding a site with good tutorials, and try understanding them, even if it’s only to the stage of creating a rotating 3D cube.
But honestly, that’s not going to cut the mustard for a demo.

Personally, I would start looking at OpenGL and NeHe’s tutorials (http://nehe.gamedev.net/) right away.
If you want to stick with DirectX, there are hundreds of tutorials out there.

Please don’t take this to heart, you asked for advice, and there it is.
It’s a cut-throat world out there, and for someone who just spent 3 or 4 years at university, you are going to let yourself down badly with this demo.

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Thanks for all of your replies. Ive written a second draft of my CV after taking all of your suggestions into consideration. Ive cut it down a lot and its looking a lot more readable. I'd be grateful for some feedback on the new version.

Quote:

I'm sure others are holding back, in fear of hurting your feelings ...

But it's bad !!!

I'll be honest, because I feel you will get disheartened in your job searching, not hearing back from employers. Wondering if it was your interview technique, or was it the demo, did I do something wrong, what happened?


Its pretty harsh but I wont take it personally. Im genuinely interested in improving my chances so i welcome your criticisms.

As for the demo. I agree its not very impressive but i have a month or two to make something better and i dont have much coursework left so ill have a lot of time for it now.

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Ryan,

MUCH, MUCH, better !!

Short and sweet, and to the point.

You explain or detailed a little more about your project, and the reasons for not using an API.

Only bit I would adjust right now is:
"Able to start work from: May 21st"

Get rid of it .. !!

Get your foot in the door, and get an interview.
If your the man for the job, they'll make an offer, THEN and only THEN, break the news of your availabilty to start work.

Don't give them a reason not to hire you, or throw your CV in the trash, before you even get an interview.

Cheers
Darren

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Your CV needs to be laid out much better - use the horizontal space. Remove those 2 GCSE results - they're not great, so don't draw attention to them. Your degree is going to be what you're pushing. Also pay attention to the wording - no point having 'Duties' as a heading only to repeat the word 'duties' directly below it. Reduce it to 2 sides of A4. Fix all spelling/punctuation/grammar issues, capitalise all proper nouns. Remove anything where you say things like "I'm not very familiar with DirectX" or "I think that I have quite a good knowledge" - negativity is just wasted space, as is trivial details like whether you set up a pointer to the screen or not. Sell your positives. Remove the personal statement - instead, you'll want to write parts of that in any cover letter, taking care to remove those negatives again. Basically, you really need to get hold of some sample CVs from your uni's careers adviser, and probably show them this, and see what they recommend.

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One other thing. I probably shoud have said the demo i posted is just a small example of my 3D graphics engine in use. I wasent just trying to show that i could display some cubes. I should probably make an application that shows off its features better.

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I didn't see the first version of the CV, but here're some quick comments on the current one. FWIW, I've interviewed and employed graduate game programmers in the UK in the past, so I've seen a fair few CVs.

- You don't list any jobs. If you've worked in the past, no matter how irrelevant the job, you should list it. It at least shows you can get up in the mornings and put in a day's work.

- Put down hobbies and interests. In particular, make sure you mention games. There's not a lot in the CV currently that says to me that you want to work in the games industry. Consider a paragraph at the top of the CV saying what your goals are. Leave the reader in no doubt that you're committed to working in the games industry.

- Contrary to what people have said above, I wouldn't be scared of going on to two pages. Almost every CV is around that length, graduate or otherwise. If the extra length lets you put in a bit more detail, then do it. To me, your CV doesn't really tell me much about you right now.

- I'd be tempted to work on the formatting a bit, even if it's just using a CV template in Word or whatever. Currently looks a bit messy. It shouldn't matter, but you get so many CVs from agencies that you have to filter through them quite quicky so one that looks nice will tend to stand out.

I appreciate that what I've said is contradicting some of the earlier advice, so may just be more confusing that helpful, but I really do think the CV in its current form is far too brief and needs padding out. Keep in mind that UK CVs do, I think, tend to be longer than US resumes. Some of the game job agency web sites have decent advice for writing graduate CVs, by the way, so it might be worth having a look at some of those.

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Hi,

Couple of nitpicks: You use "API's" a couple of times in your CV - it should just be APIs i.e. no apostrophe. Also, instead of listing your Maths and English GCSEs, just say how many you have.

The CV is a little dry to read at the moment, I'd follow James Sutherland's recommendation and stick a paragraph at the top explaining why you want to get into the industry.

Good luck,

stoo

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Hi again Ryan,

Yeah I'd have to agree, you need a little more.
Like a short paragraph about goals or objectives, like what you want from a job/career.
Why you want to be in the industry and why you have a passion for that career.

I mentioned before that 3 pages was way too long, but again I think 1 page is too short.

You need to sell yourself remember, and as with any sale I would imagine, if you don't like the sales-man, your not going to buy from him.

You need to make a friend of the customer, find a common ground or interest.
Do you have any hobbies in interests? I think that's always a key factor, so people don't think your a complete geek, programming in a basement 24/7.

Plus it can always be a talking point. You never know if the guy doing the Interview is a fellow rock-climber, or kick-boxer, or whatever activity it is.
Make a friend of the employeer and you might get the job, and also land a place on the company bowling team.

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Thanks for your continued feedback. Ive made some good progress with your help. Ive now just uploaded the third version of the CV. I think ive added all of the new sugestions and its still not much longer than a page. As usual ill welcome any criticism of the new version.

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I only quickly glazed at what's currently there, but here are my own points of advice (I've also done resume-bashing, phone screening and interviewing, though not for the gaming industry):

Aside from things like correct spelling and grammar (which should be taken for granted), the most important thing to remember is this: The average resume gets about 13 seconds of attention. I'm not exagerating this, and I'm not being melodramatic. And that number is only inaccurate because there's a huge skew. Some resumes might actually take a minute to look at (if they're interesting enough), which means others are trashed in 5 seconds. That usually happens to the mouthy 17-pagers and those with bad grammar.

I would move your 'skills' section right to the top (below personal information). You'll make a much better impression on someone if the first thing they know about you is that you know C++ and DirectX than if the first thing they know is that you got a D on a computing course (why is that in there anyway? If it's not straight-A's with maybe a few B's, it doesn't stand out and will probably hurt you).

As your resume grows, you should make space by getting rid of information like where you went to high school. It makes zero difference. In fact, only keep your relevant education on there, and expand a little (relevant courses, etc.) Depending on where in the UK you send your resume, it's quite possible that they've never heard of Pembrokeshire College, so all they'll know is that you went to this place got that D in computing. Unless grades are a requirement, I would seriously consider removing that.

Since it's your personal projects that show the most of your software experience, don't sell yourself short on it. Make brief implementation comments (no wordy paragraphs, just mention some design patterns and where you used them, and maybe something with the word "culling" :-D). Also, you can probably beef it up by mentioning any of the really cool school projects you worked on in university. One of my projects was to write a real-time OS from scratch. That's great resume fodder.

Finally, instead of a 'personal statement' paragraph way at the bottom, put a 1-2 line purpose statement right at the top, and accompany your resume with a really well-written and smart cover letter. As for the purpose statement (goals or whatever you want to call it), it should also be more insightful than something you can translate to 'got skillz, need money'.

Don't sell yourself short, and don't be afraid to toot your own horn. Nobody else will do it for you, because nobody has the time.

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Hi rdansie, hope me don't mind me borrowing your thread for a quick question. ;-)

Just wondering what are people's opinion on half completed demo over no demo at all? Is it still better to show potential employer some of your work in progress as verse showing nothing?

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Quote:
Original post by tts1980
Just wondering what are people's opinion on half completed demo over no demo at all? Is it still better to show potential employer some of your work in progress as verse showing nothing?


Show me a finished demo, or don't bother applying to me. That would be my stance.

Unless you're talking about including a half-finished demo along with a bunch of finished ones... in which case I guess it depends on how much the half-finished demo actually shows. If it's stable and has some features worth showing off - even if they're not all the features it will eventually have - then go for it, and include explanations of what's already done and what you still plan to do.

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Quote:
Original post by tts1980
Hi rdansie, hope me don't mind me borrowing your thread for a quick question. ;-)

Just wondering what are people's opinion on half completed demo over no demo at all? Is it still better to show potential employer some of your work in progress as verse showing nothing?


Well, it really depends on what you mean by "half-finished"... If the core is there, and you can demonstrate competent design skills, but it lacks (say) a flashy title screen and just launches right into the game with default settings, then it's perfectly fine if you ask me. But if there's really nothing worth showing, then it probably won't help.

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In the UK most employers expect to see a two page CV. Not a page and a half but 2 pages.
One thing that stands out is that you havent included an objetives section. This should be right at the top of your CV and explain what career goals you have and be combined with your personal Profile.
Your skills should go imediatly after this after this.

Another thing is that you havent explained what modules your degree includes. If you are looking for a programming job then you should mention the relevent modules such as Algorithms and data structs, software engineering, object oriented design, Design Patterns or whatever other relevent modules you have completed. Don't put Awaiting Results either employers know that you will have results for your first and second year modules.

Another area to sell yourself is your hobbies and interests go into more detail. Playing games computer games is obvious the employer already knows you must be interested in games. Tell them what platform you play games on. Do you play MMOs or are you more into FPSs. Are you into Retro Games or do you prefer big Next Gen AAA blockbusters.

Above all make sure that your degree shouts Games. There are thousands of Soft Dev Graduates in the UK every year. Try to make yourself sound better than the rest.

As for the Demo question it depends on the position you have applied for and how you define finished. Some companies want to see a complete level of a game that is very polished. Others may prefer to see some kind of technical demo.
If you have features that arn't fully implemented cut them from your code completly.
The most important thing with your demo above everything else is make sure it runs and HAS NO MEMORY LEEKS and make sure it is entirely your own code and that you understand every line of it. You will be asked about it at an interview.

Some good advice for UK applicants can be found here http://www.aswift.com/html/graduates/index.jsp
I followed this advice and thats why this week I scored my first games programming job.

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