Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
SKHayward

Portfolio/Resume Review

This topic is 1032 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

So, I graduated last May. I've been figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, if it would be easier to just follow the path of graphic design (what a good chunk of my education is in). But recently I've really discovered that the thing I know I can spend countless hours on is game/level design, so I'm really pushing for my first job into the industry using my modding work. I really want to know your thoughts on my portfolio, if you think I need more or am doing something wrong that would get me turned down vs many other applicants.

 

http://www.skhaywarddesign.com

 

I've already applied to a couple of studios late this past Friday, but am unsure how likely I am to get any kind of interview or offer, considering these are the first real companies I have applied for in this industry. One of the jobs is for a Level Design position at Bethesda, and the other as a combat systems designer at Zenimax Online Studios (ESO). At Zenimax, I know someone who works there and have an "in" that way, but since he's never personally worked with me the most I can expect might be a friendly bump up past HR. I have my doubts I can get this position though because he said that they were already in the process of starting to interview candidates, and I have a feeling that Bethesda is already doing the same. A case of missing the boat. And a little bit of being unsure what a portfolio of a combat systems designer should look like.

 

Perhaps in all my nervousness I am over-thinking everything. I really like to have a solid plan of action and broad overview of things I am dealing with, both personal and professional, so this is simply a consequence of that tongue.png

 

I guess I just want to know... would you hire me if you had such positions available? Do you think I'm "ready" for a job? What are the expectations of such new hires? They didn't list any required shipped products or years of experience, but I have this vision in my head that the only hope of breaking into the industry having those things. A perception that recent grads (such as myself) need several years worth of projects post-grad to really beat other candidates. Maybe I'm being a bit pessimistic though.

Edited by SKHayward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

Reading your resume, the most critical thing is to show, don't tell.  You have some good things in there, but they are not obvious.

 

Education says you graduated this year. Great. That puts you firmly as an entry level worker. Very clear you've got a BFA in sculpture (rather than digital arts or something game related, but that's okay I guess), and an associates degree in visual communications. You might consider adding some bullet points about notable work you did in school, assuming you've got some. Now I know what jobs you might work out for.

 

Skills.  Most of this is telling.  You state you have sketched and made concepts, you state you've worked with unspecified level editors, you state experience "designing major gameplay systems" that are unspecified. You state that you can use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator... which are fairly basic expectations considering a BFA. You made timed sketches, like everybody else who has ever had a sketch or drawing class. You state you've got experience with materials in 3D works, which again should be obvious from the whole "sculpture concentration" above.

 

Cut that whole "skills" section.  You'll be reusing some of it by SHOWING what you did, give examples of specific projects and how you used them. They are useful details, but not out of context like that.

 

The Experience section shows a gross misunderstanding.  "Experience" is a single word shortening of "Work Experience", or "Professional Experience". If you did not get a paycheck for the task, it does not belong under "Experience". I notice you list both your associates and bachelors degrees as "experience", they are not; if you want to call out any work done as part of your education they belong as bullet points under education.  

 

You don't get to list Mechwarrior:Living Legends under "level design experience" unless you actually worked at a paid job and your job title was "Level Designer".  If you built a mod or maps you need to list it under a "hobby projects" area or similar that doesn't represent paid work experience.  You should also call out details of what you did specifically versus what others on the team did.

 

You don't get to list "CryEngine 2" design experience unless you worked for Crytek, or worked at a company using CryEngine and your job title was "Level Designer".  If you built some maps or mods, again that goes under "hobby projects", not "Experience".

 

You don't get to list "Boy Scouts" as a 10-15 year old under job experience, but you might be able to put it in a  "hobby project" or "Other life experience" area. It doesn't have much to do with game development, but if you're struggling with content on an entry level resume it shows you did stuff without being too much of a filler or rejection-inducing material. My guess is you don't need it.

 

Cassano's Pizza King as a delivery driver... This CORRECTLY BELONGS under Experience.  It shows you an hold a job for five years, show up to work every day, take instructions and follow them.  That is a good thing.

 

Boosalis Baking also CORRECTLY BELONGS under Experience.  You can hold a job, show up to work, take instructions and follow them.

 

You hid those in Experience. You may think it is embarrassing because it isn't game related, but employers know you are an entry level worker.  Once you've got a few professional jobs you can let them roll off the bottom of the page. But for now they are critical because they show you can keep a job long term, can work while in school, and more. 

 

Freelance Graphic Design work June 2015-Present... Sorry, doesn't count as experience yet.  If you have some regular and repeat contracts and you can list who you contracted with, then it may eventually be appropriate for Experience. Unless you've got at least six months or so of regular paid experience, it stays under "Hobby Projects".

 

Your awards are GOOD.  Keep them, but group the details together.

 

 

 

I'd restructure with this format:

 

Education:

BFA

Visual Communications

Academic projects included:

 * Project 1, something you did solo and the tools you used, what made it awesome with keywords like InDesign or Illustrator.

 * Project 2, something you did with a group and the tools you used, what made it awesome with keywords like Sony Vegas or AVID Editing.

 * Project 3, some other project, what made it awesome with keywords like Flash or Papyrus or Typography.

 

Hobby Projects:

 * Mod of the Year 2009 

  > Gushing details, link to award web site

  > Link to project

 * Crysis Mapping Competition

  > Gushing details, link to award web site

  > Link to project

 * Other Hobby Project

  > Details about your hobby project

  > Link to project

 

Work Experience

  * Boosalis Baking - shows you picked up a day job while still finishing school

  * Pizza King -- you held a job for five years, plus kept it as a night job with the one above while still in school. Shows you can work hard if you have a mind to.

 

 

Assuming the Mod of the Year was entirely or mostly just your work, you could probably get picked up pretty quickly as a level designer... except for the fact that level designer jobs are extremely rare.  They exist and you should apply if you find any, but you'll need to be doing a lot of hunting, primarily through word-of-mouth and finding friends-of-a-friend, to find that rare opening.

 

After that I would probably focus on any art position you feel qualified for, probably modeling and concept art based on what I see on paper.  There are far more openings and once inside you can keep your eyes open for opportunities to design levels in addition to your primary artwork role, then transition over when the rare opportunity appears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate the feedback!

 

I'm a bit confused on experience part though, considering I've read from a few places that working on actual released projects (even if it's "just a mod") counts as experience?

 

That said I'll def take your advice to reorganize things to highlight project work, makes way more sense thinking about the role an actual resume is supposed to do.

Edited by SKHayward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just one of thousands of search results show consistently the same thing: It should only include experience for which you were paid. This includes full-time work, part-time jobs, self employment, internships, and projects for which you were a part of temporarily. It doesn’t include volunteer jobs, or any other type of unpaid, charitable work. If you do feel there are unpaid experiences that the hiring manager should know about, the information should go in its own section. Label it “Relevant Experience” or “Other Experience.” Write it the same way you will the work history.

Did they hire you and pay you at milestones, or regularly every few weeks? Or perhaps did you help start the own business, registered it as a business, operated as a business, with workers signing contracts of employment with employment terms but paid on ownership shares or some other contractual payment? Or was it a group of like-minded people doing something for fun?

Based on what little I've read it was a group of fans building something on their own for fun. If there were formal employment contracts in place and payments made, with some degree of supervision and accountability then it is employment experience. If not, it is not work experience and belongs in a separate section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the help. I've updated and uploaded a new resume.

 

Sucks that I likely burned any hope of getting noticed with my initial applications thanks to previous (bad) advice I was following. Live and learn..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some job application software will let you update your job application even after you submitted it.  You might be able to replace the resume in some systems, so if there was something you particular wanted, see if you can update it.

 

If it is a job you particularly wanted and it was sent through email, you could send a second email saying there was a problem with the last one and if they haven't passed it on yet, to please replace your application with the new version.  It isn't the ideal start, but most people are understanding that mistakes happen. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well sorry but I can't give any advice on getting in but just wanted to say the portfolio looks great! You have some really nice work going there.

 

One thing I would mention is to get on LinkedIn, Google+, create a facebook page and get your name out there. Join development groups and discussions. Every time you update your blog post about it every where. If nothing else it shows dedication and longevity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!