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notnoted

No Answer about Application - Am I totally useless?

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notnoted    120
Dear reader.

My question is how long might it take to get some kind of answer from a company and do I have made something wrong in my application?

Recently I finished college with a Bachelor of Science degree and I thought to apply for several junior positions here in Germany not only as a C++ Programmer but also as a graphics programmer and other similar positions.

Two weeks ago, I sent my applications out but still got no answer from any company. In my opinion, I fit perfectly for the positions I applied for. Along with a nice email, I sent in a resume which contained a link to my portfolio website where I gathered some information about some my projects I did so far.

I put a reasonable amount of pictures of those projects onto the site along with some explanation of it which could be read or not. These projects of course are absolutely topic related, for example, the ray tracing on the Playstation 3 project, the fluid solver on the iPod project or my demo engine where I show (also by video) how I have implemented OpenGL 4 tessellation and how it works by simple example of the PN-Triangles technique. Another video shows real-time GPU histogram processing for HDR-rendering.

I put some time in this website in order to have it very structured so everyone can easily go through it and see whats going on. And I checked everything about correct syntax and semantic in the resume and the website. I think everything is very plausible and well sound and structured.

Further more, I do approximately 8 years of C++ programming and nearly 5 years of OpenGL so I think I am perfectly suited for some vacancy as a "junior" C++ or graphics programmer. I started programming 4 years before I started my studies of computer science.

Now I have received no single answer from no company so far. I feel a little bit useless. I mean, they have this vacancy online still, but they dont give any guess about what(I feel more like ftw) is going on.

So this is a bit of the story. Sure, it is hard to give some guess what is going on, but please give it a try and what you think about it? I am very depressed right now!

Thanks and thanks for reading

Some depressed guy

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szecs    2990
Some details about my job-seeking (10 months timespan, it ended 3 months ago):
Approximate number of applications sent: 130
Total approximate number of answers: 60
Approximate number of answers in two weeks: 10
Number of answers targeted to me and not just an automatic answer: 4
Approximate average of applications per position (based on statistics, and some answers even mentioned the number of applicants): 100

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notnoted    120
Hi szecs.

Thank you for your quick reply. I checked your links, and the tank simulator looks great. 130 applications, this is insane and even controversal because your reference look good to me.

This points me to another concern I have. During my studies, and even to the last semester, I noticed, that none of my fellow students had any idea what(again wtf) even a shader is or how to program a GPU nor what a scene graph is.

This is first due to the fact that we dont learn this kind of knowledge at the college and also due to the fact that most of my fellow students were very lazy, just playing multiplayer, world of warcraft kind of games even during the course sessions. I for example, did alot in my spare time to acquire that kind of knowlege what none of my fellow students have! I even did some Master courses at the college and participated as a tutor in those courses several times as a Bachelor student!
But all this seems to count nothing! Although EVERY company claims that it is looking for good C++ programmers! A very big contradiction in my opinion! Isn't my 8 years C++ programming experience not good enough for a "junior" level programmer?

Dear yaustar
> Where were you applying to? (eg outside your home country?)
I just applied in my home country in several cities exect my current city where I studied, because I want to leave this place.

> Did you call to follow up on your application?
Yes. For one application I did so. Last week on thursday. But I haven't recieved any answer yet! Very impolite in my opinion!

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Tom Sloper    16040
This sounds almost exactly like my September column. And it is a frequently heard complaint.
http://www.igda.org/games-game
http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm
http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm

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szecs    2990
Notnoted,
Thanks. I have to add, that I had a different situation: I applied for mechanical engineering jobs (programming is just a hobby), and I was abroad. Anyways, my statistics are clear and doesn't have to do anything with being a foreigner: only a smaller part replied to my applications. One company I applied for got 15000 (fifteen-thousand) applicants for 5 positions. And as I said: the average is 100. Don't ever expect them to answer all of them. Maybe you get an automatic answer, but that isn't any better than nothing. I still receive some replies after 4-5-6 months.

And it's civil engineering, it's much harder to get a job in the computer games' industry as far as I see.
Complaining about this is like complaining "why the sky is blue". It's just like that.

You seem to have spotted a bit of the problem, but your conclusion was wrong. The tons of unmotivated graduates will flood the labour market with you and make your situation harder, but there's no point complaining about it. Such is life. And try to think from the employer's point of view. Do you stand out in any ways? Experience with something common (C++, and you apply for C++ position, thousands/millions have experience with C++) is not a way. WORK experience would be one.

And make a great portfolio.

Anyways, for how many positions have you applied so far? Can I guess? 8?

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notnoted    120
Konnichiwa Tom Sloper san.

Thank you for your comment. All I can tell you is that I did exactly what is on your website specifically on http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm.

I vary every application to fit it to the company I apply at. I dont "spam out" one big template of application cover letter email or resume. I vary.

But how should I really know what went wrong if I don't get any answer? Sure, such a company is no training program, but in my opinion, an applicant, interessted in their company is worth at least two lines clarity!

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szecs    2990
Quote:
Original post by notnoted
Konnichiwa Tom Sloper san.

Thank you for your comment. All I can tell you is that I did exactly what is on your website specifically on http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm.

I vary every application to fit it to the company I apply at. I dont "spam out" one big template of application cover letter email or resume. I vary.

But how should I really know what went wrong if I don't get any answer? Sure, such a company is no training program, but in my opinion, an applicant, interessted in their company is worth at least two lines clarity!


"Thank you for your application and for your interest in our company. We received many applications, and this time we didn't choose you.

Best regards and good luck with your job-seeking!"

Does that help? Would you reply as an employer (more precisely a HR person) with unique text to all the 267 applicants in two weeks?

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notnoted    120
Dear szecs.

> The tons of unmotivated graduates will flood the labour market with you and make your situation harder, but there's no point complaining about it. Such is life <

Yes you are right. This was a rather subjective that objective comment about the situation.

And yes, it is about 8 applications.

> Does that help?

This would clarify things. Why are you so pro employer? What's bad about to have some clear answer. You know, I have to make plans too. And the answer you gave is much better than nothing!

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szecs    2990
Are you sure that the application time has already expired? I understand your frustration, I felt it, but I guess that's because you have only sent about 8 applications. After the 15th you will understand it a bit better.
About plans: You can apply for more places in parallel.

For replying: I didn't get a reply from a company where I had the biggest chance. My abilities and interests matched the position perfectly, and these weren't common abilities, I even received a reply asking me to resend my CV, but at the end, I didn't get any mail. Despite this "direct" communication, I didn't get any final answers.

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notnoted    120
Hi szecs.

You are absolutely right.

> You can apply for more places in parallel
This is exactly what I am doing. But I wanted to give it a little bit of time to maybe receive some response due to my prior application. So I can turn the wheel if I missed or made something wrong. You know.

And I dont apply at companies that might receive 15000 applications over whatever time period. This is for sure.

But do I have my answers yet?

Tom Sloper san gave some information by his website. This was good information. Thanks for this.

szecs also gave good impressions of his situation but does direct comparison of our situations which might not apply. But I got his point. I see it mainly from my perspective and do not consider the company's side.

Well. To summerize. I either don't got the chance or I have to wait even 8 months to maybe(very unlikely) get some useful information about my application.

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szecs    2990
I can tell you one thing. You will get absolutely no real feedback about your application.

You even said: "Sure, such a company is no training program". Then there's no point acting surprised.

The only way to get feedback is to actually show us your application (blank out names if you like), CV/Resume and portfolio, which many members do here. So we can give you some feedback (including some hirer persons too, who always reply to these threads).

[Edited by - szecs on November 9, 2010 1:30:46 PM]

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Palidine    1315
The most likely situation is that you will not ever know why they didn't pick your application. That's the reality. It's perhaps not beneficial to you, but employers only care about making the company more money. Letting you down gracefully doesn't directly help their bottom line, so paying people to spend time doing it just isn't going to happen. Again, that's reality, not "how it should be in a perfect world".

The other reality you're bumping against at the moment is the shitty economy. EA just did about 2,000 layoffs over the past couple years, Ubisoft had a big layoff, lucas arts had a layoff, Activisision had big layoffs, a bunch of small studios have been closed. Basically almost every major studio has had major layoffs in the recent past. This means that you are applying for positions in competition with people who have 3+ years of game industry experience. Anyone who is hiring right now is able to hire people with a ton of experience for junior positions because there are currently less positions open then there are qualified and experience people who want them. That makes it an especially difficult time to be entering the market. You are basically in direct competition with people who have already shipped games and at least 9 times out of 10 you're not going to win.

So basically, you need to apply everywhere in the world that has a position open. You should apply for unpaid internships as well to get your foot in the door. You should be continually working on your portfolio. You should be working on building friendships with people in the industry who can pass your resume on. You should expect that this will be a long process.

Sorry to be doom and gloomy, but that's the reality and it just means you have to keep busting your ass and remain positive. Take szecs's suggestion and post your resume/portfolio here and we can critique it for you.

-me

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notnoted    120
Hi and thank you for your comments.

Ok, my initial intention was not to make the impression of "I dont want to do anything else than beeing in the game industry". I just wanted to say that I made a lot during my spare time (worked on my portfolio as you called it), more than most of my fellow students and I just wanted to know why, in your opinion, my efforts are not noted by those companies. You know, its not like that I come straight from high-school and think I want to become a game-programmer-designer-producer whatever. I did a decent course of study and the efforts I did in my spare time and during my study really accounts for this.

But as Palidine said, if it is the case that such companies (game industry companies(in general?)) even take +3year experienced developers for junior positions, when this is the reality, then I live with this fact and dont bother to apply for any vacany anymore.

@Palidine
> You should apply for unpaid internships as well

If this is the general opinion here, I woudn't pollute this forum with my concerns any longer. I would not think of this situation, because I haven't studied to get an unpaid internship, ... You know, Im speechless! You knocked me down with this. This is heavy. Then my efforts are not worth more that that of some high-school heavy world of warcraft experienced playing teen.

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Palidine    1315
Quote:
Original post by notnoted
then I live with this fact and dont bother to apply for any vacany anymore.


Well, that's not the right response at all. I'm just giving you reasons for not getting the job. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try for what you want. I would really hope you wouldn't give up that easily.

Quote:
Original post by notnoted
@Palidine
> You should apply for unpaid internships as well

If this is the general opinion here, I woudn't pollute this forum with my concerns any longer. I would not think of this situation, because I haven't studied to get an unpaid internship, ... You know, Im speechless! You knocked me down with this. This is heavy. Then my efforts are not worth more that that of some high-school heavy world of warcraft experienced playing teen.


Your education hasn't entitled you to anything. It's just a low-bar of qualification. If getting an unpaid internship for a summer would give you a really good shot at a job how is that a waste of time?

This isn't a career that people do for money, it's a career that people do because they love games. Why would I take a minimum 30% pay cut to be in this industry where I typically have to work 2x the hours. I'd get much more money for much less hours worked in any non-game field doing an equivalent job. If money is your concern, you're better off looking in other fields. What you should care about if you want to be in games is about working in the industry.

Obviously, you need to get paid longterm, but you're asking how to break into the industry. An internship is a *really* good way to break in if you can land one.

-me

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notnoted    120
I nevery talked about the salary. I would say, I don't really care about it as long as the people are kind where I work, because I consider this as the most important fact. However.

Initially, I just wanted your opinion about some of the skills I posted on top. For example, if those are common for entry level ones like me and if it is my skills that dont convince the guy at the company. I did massive information collection about resumes and cvs and cls so you can guess that it looks structured and the right text is in there that is absolutely in conjunction of what is requested in the vacancy.

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yaustar    1021
Junior positions are short and far between in this economy (this brings up another point which I get to later) and companies are only looking for experienced staff which is why an internship (paid or not) can lead to an actual job and/or give you a better response rate per application.

For the positions you applied for, are they Junior positions? Do you have one you can you show (from the company's website)?

Are you applying directly to companies or through an agency job listing?

Are you attaching read receipts to the email?

As for companies calling back/replying, unfortunately many, MANY companies don't in all industry. You just have to chase (within reason) and re-apply every now and then till you get a bite somewhere.

What you have posted in your original post sounds fine for a Junior post and I assume your portfolio is decent (as you haven't posted a link).

Back when I first applied when recruitment was high, I think I did about 25 applications, 4 interviews and 1 offer. And that was a for a contract Level Scripter rather then a Programmer and lower pay by about 25% but it did lead to a permanent position as a programmer afterwards.

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Noggs    141
Your skills sound good and are exactly what I would look for in a junior position.

Have you sent your CV in to recruitment agencies specialising in games in the locations you want to work in? If you stand out from the crowd to the recruiter then they are going to push you forward above the other candidates on their list. At the very least it can't hurt your chances.

I think the other thing you have to face is that games developers have suffered along with most other industries during the downturn. Many companies have closed their doors and there are a lot of experienced people looking for work.

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notnoted    120
Dear Noggs, dear yaustar.

Quote:

For the positions you applied for, are they Junior positions? Do you have one you can you show (from the company's website)?

Are you applying directly to companies or through an agency job listing?

Are you attaching read receipts to the email?


To your first question, yes I only apply for junior positions and I only put requested stuff into my applications. Unfortunately, I would not post any link, because I don't want to have that company in any bad light, because of my naivety.
To your second question, no, I don't use agencies. This is like house/flat dealers/agents, they get money for what I do, i.e. searching a flat, in my case, searching a job, thus I go straight to the companies website.
Concerning your third question, I don't put receipts to emails in general. This has a bad taste in my opinion. But I can tell you this. That one company, where I think I fit perfectly for that junior vacany, they looked onto my portfolio website the day after I send my application in. Is this a good sign or rather a bad one? This was two weeks ago.

Noggs.

Quote:
Your skills sound good and are exactly what I would look for in a junior position.

Thanks. Still one person considering my for some junior position.

P.S.
Here is the job proposal, at least an excerpt of it, where I think I fit perfectly.
Quote:

We can teach you everything, as long as you can do one thing in your sleep: C++. If programming in C++ is as natural to you as your native language, then we can offer you a good opportunity.

Your profile

* Good C++ skills and a lot of practical experience with the language
* Disciplined programming style which also works with the limitations of console hardware
* A completed course of study or corresponding experience

This excerpt is the important part, I just cut out text unrelated to this discussion.

[Edited by - notnoted on November 9, 2010 4:01:03 PM]

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kindjie    290
The reality is that there's a global recession going on, and console games are increasingly only profitable for the top 10 titles annually. This means more failed companies with layoffs on top of fewer jobs in an already competitive job market. Whining about it won't get you hired - you need to be smart and persistent.

Getting a BSc is the minimum. Doing extra projects and learning independently is a plus. You're still behind the hundreds of applicants with all those things and experience. A lot of companies are only looking for people with experience since most of game development can only be learned by working on a team. Internships or co-ops are one of the few ways you can get that experience when you're green. Starting your own project is another (internship/co-op is arguably better since you'll have mentors).

I'm not sure if this applies to you, but I notice a lot of people just fire out applications and expect a job to land in their lap. This isn't very likely. A good chunk of your time should be spent meeting potential employers at career fairs, industry conferences, C++ user groups, scrum training programs, online forums, etc. You need to get out there and hustle. You want to break through the paper barrier and introduce yourself.

Employers are people too. That means they have limited resources and can simply forget about you. They'll read your resume and think you're interesting, then read another 100 and forget you exist. Maybe you're on the bottom of a pile and they don't need to hire someone for another month. That's why you should follow up on every application. It also gives you an excuse to talk to them and show them how you're a good fit for their team. You worked so hard to get the skills you have, don't get lazy on the homestretch! :)

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kindjie    290
Quote:
Original post by notnoted
Dear kindjie.

Thank you for your comment. Ok, why bother hiring any programmer or any productive part of such a production. Lets just hire human resource guys and analysts, let they do the games or particularly the graphics stuff, if its all about this!

Please note my last post, where I put an excerpt of a vacancy in.


That doesn't follow from my post, but I'll respond anyway. Often there's only one HR person for a company with 80+ employees. They've got more responsibilities than just hiring, so maybe hiring more HR people would work out in your favour. They're not going to do that, though. Margins are already quite thin, and they'd prefer to keep their company running and potentially miss out on a great new graduate.

You don't have to listen to anything anyone tells you. I'm sure if you keep at it, you'll eventually get hired - might take a few months longer, though.

We understand that you're smart and that you can show that you know C++. It's just that that's about half of the hiring equation and personality and experience count for a lot.

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stone_ta    126
Quote:
Original post by kindjie

Employers are people too. That means they have limited resources and can simply forget about you. They'll read your resume and think you're interesting, then read another 100 and forget you exist. Maybe you're on the bottom of a pile and they don't need to hire someone for another month. That's why you should follow up on every application. It also gives you an excuse to talk to them and show them how you're a good fit for their team.


This reminded me of something someone said to me whilst I was at a career fair this year when I was talking to a senior programmer of one of the companies and he said that he would have forgotten about me by the end of the day so should contact him the next day just to refresh his memory. That was face to face, I'd hate to imagine what its like for a CV stuck in a pile in a HR department.

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Saruman    4339
One thing to note is that X years of experience in software development on your own is actually quite different from X years of experience working as part of a team. I usually always look for team experience when hiring and I likely would never hire a core tech (engine, graphics, etc) position that does not have software experience in a team environment even if it was a junior position. For someone that has great demos and/or resume but no team experience I would still look at them for higher level code positions.

Obviously this does not apply to every company or anything like that, I just thought I would chime in on how I've hired over the years.

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Quote:
Original post by Saruman
One thing to note is that X years of experience in software development on your own is actually quite different from X years of experience working as part of a team. I usually always look for team experience when hiring and I likely would never hire a core tech (engine, graphics, etc) position that does not have software experience in a team environment even if it was a junior position. For someone that has great demos and/or resume but no team experience I would still look at them for higher level code positions.

Obviously this does not apply to every company or anything like that, I just thought I would chime in on how I've hired over the years.


This is something I was going to mention. Eight years hobby programming is a long ways from eight years professional programming. And those are the kinds of people that are applying to the same jobs as you. In a perfect world employers would tell you why they didn't hire you but when they get 300+ resumes for one position its kind of hard to do that. Just because you worked harder in school then most other people doesn't entitle you to a job. Have you worked on any kind of group or open source projects? Sounds kind of like you are a lone wolf programmer and companies don't want people like that. If you can show that you work well with a team it will help your chances of a call back. And as was already said, the economy is down all over the world. Its going to take a little time to get a job. A couple of months looking isn't all that long given how things are going.

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