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I need advice about Internships

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I don't know what is going on, but apparently I must be on some sort of "undesirable" list or something.Or apparently you really do have to know someone. Every single internship I apply to in the past, I have the worst luck. I apply the moment they open up, after making a resume specifically for that one job. The problem is I hardly ever get an interview, I just get some generic message saying "you weren't selected, try again next time".

 

 

Now a more recent one proved to be incredibly frustrating. I applied for software engineering at EA. I was pretty excited at seeing the first words "Thank You", but was crushed when I read the rest of the email.

 

 

Dear *********,

 

Thank you for applying to the Software Engineer Intern (Summer 2016) position. We appreciate your interest in the role; however, the position has other candidates currently being considered who better fit the minimum requirements.


We will keep your resume on file for future opportunities, and we encourage you to check our website often and apply for other positions that you feel would be a fit for your skills.
 
Best Regards,
The Global Recruiting Team at EA

 

What does that even mean, and how am I supposed to improve so next time, I actually get selected for an interview instead of an impersonal message. A few notes, I'm actually past the minimum requirements listed for software engineering internship. I'd feel a lot better if I can get an interview for the position, rather than be turned away immediately. At least I'd know then it was my own failure, or someone was genuinely better than me, instead of believing that someone from human resources just started throwing darts at names.

Edited by Tangletail

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Regarding the EA response: That's probably just their copy-and-paste e-mail they send to everyone. Don't focus too much on the "fit the minimum requirements" part. Most likely, that's just what they say because they couldn't think up anything else to use as an excuse. In reality, if you didn't get interviewed, the position was likely filled first-come-first-serve. Whenever you DO get interviewed and they STILL don't hire you, that's when a different candidate really did perform better.

In general, you should:

Keep applying, but EXPECT almost all of them to reject you. For internships it's mainly just a numbers game - you versus the thousands of other people looking for a summer internship. Even big companies probably can only have a handful of interns at a time. For full time jobs, it will be entirely about qualifications and whether they like your personality.

Work on your own projects while you wait for responses. List them on your resume when applicable.

Search for local get-togethers of software developers. Talk to everyone there. This is how I got my foot in the door after college (I never actually got an internship).

Talk with your friends at school.

Universities often have people dedicated to helping you out with contacting employers and other Internship/job-hunting strategies. Find them and talk about it with them.

Don't get depressed. This is the thing that was hardest for me. Even though it can sometimes feel like it takes forever to find a job, everyone eventually makes it as long as they keep trying. It's only over if YOU give up.


Have a backup plan to survive. I worked at a temp agency over the summers, doing things like installing floor tiles, moving furniture, loading trucks, delivering soda, working on assembly lines, etc. This gave me time to save money and pay rent while looking for a "real" job. Temp agencies will hire pretty much anyone who aren't physically handicapped. The pay was OK and it was REALLY easy, and I didn't have to deal with customers. DON'T list these jobs on your resume since they have nothing to do with programming. Edited by Nypyren

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Search for local get-togethers of software developers. Talk to everyone there. This is how I got my foot in the door after college (I never actually got an internship).

 

I don't exactly live in a highly social area of Texas, nor have I found anything like that here. I've gone to job fairs, and handed out a Resume to everyone looking for computer scientist. I've talked to other students whom had connections. Applied to jobs that weren't even related to the game industry. But still no result. It's very aggravating to be only three to four semesters away from graduation with a BS in Computer Science and a Minor in math, and still have absolutely no professional experience.

Honestly this is getting disheartening enough to the point to see this video....

 

(strong language)

 

... as being a perfectly reasonable and more effective way of getting a job in the industry than "Hurry up and Wait."

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I don't exactly live in a highly social area of Texas, nor have I found anything like that here.

If you don't live near enough game companies that networking is feasible for you, you live in the wrong place and you need to move. Read the FAQs.

Honestly this is getting disheartening enough to the point to see this video...

Now you've made yourself an unattractive hire.

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It's not like I'm going to do it, it's basically a metaphor to getting into the professional world.

 

Also, I'm not looking to just work in games. I honestly don't quite know what I want to do with myself yet. So I've literally applied to everything. Including jobs not related to gaming, and have been doing some research with a few projects that have little to do with games. Though I can see where it -could- be used.

 

I do live close enough to game companies. Texas has a number of them. ID software in Richardson (hardly ever hiring for internships, but always looking for QA.), EA office in Houston. Blizzard (didn't apply because I did not have a project in decent enough condition).  etc. It's just Texas is large, and is not known for social outings. The only real connection for CS I have is in law enforcement with the FBI and Secret Service. And it's not even a buddy buddy. Just "I know someone who knows them".

I also don't know why moving is part of a recommended option... when it's hardly realistic. It's incredibly expensive for something that is terribly dependent on chance.

Edited by Tangletail

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I also don't know why moving is part of a recommended option... when it's hardly realistic. It's incredibly expensive for something that is terribly dependent on chance.


Moving for your dream job is a young persons game.

These days there's no way I'd relocate for any job - my family and their lives come first and there's no way I'd ever risk it especially not for a job that has no long term security (game development). But that's just me.

If it's your dream and you're fresh out of university with no commitments, do it and don't regret anything!

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On the general advice, there are only a limited number of openings and generally many applicants. The odds of a specific job being the one you get hired for are relatively low. There is a tall stack of applications, all but one will get rejected.
 

For comments about moving, you need to live where the jobs are. While in theory it can work for some teams, this is a creative industry where telepresence does not work well.
 
You didn't really state your location but you listed two Texas cities, Houston and Richardson (a suburb of Dallas). You suggest that they are near you, but those are a three hour drive away from each other on a good day.  Houston is not a hub, GameDevMap shows seven developers and some of them look defunct. If you're more on the Dallas / Ft Worth side, again the prospects are not great, although they are certainly better than Houston.
 
If you were to consider moving a few hundred miles, Austin is a hub. (Also, my current employer is hiring, located just outside Austin.)
 

As braindigitalis wrote above, as you get older it is more difficult to tear up roots and move. It is still possible, I've done it and I know others who do it, but it gets hard and is hard on families. When you are farther along in your career you can get companies to pay to move you to the new cities. But when you are starting out you generally need to be local to the company that is hiring you.  

 

Location matters.  Location is critical when breaking in. If there no studios within commuting distance you need to move if you want to break in to the industry.  If there are studios within commuting distance, you need to network with people at those studios and figure out how you are are going to break in to the industry.

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I don't mind moving. The problem is still funds. I need to find a place to stay, a job, and have a stable enough bank to survive a move at least the duration of three pay-periods. A Which can be anywhere from weekly, bi-weekly, and a month. For a college student... that is going to be difficult. I have applied to other internship options near my location, like AT&T, and a few other companies, but I have not heard back.

Edited by Tangletail

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I don't mind moving. The problem is still funds. I need to find a place to stay, a job, and have a stable enough bank to survive a move at least the duration of three pay-periods. A Which can be anywhere from weekly, bi-weekly, and a month. For a college student... that is going to be difficult. I have applied to other internship options near my location, like AT&T, and a few other companies, but I have not heard back.


So, if you don't live in the right location for an entry level game job and you can't afford to move yet, you need to get a job and save money until you can. Good luck!

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Precisely my problem...

I have followed gamedevmap and even wikipedia to search for game companies (even prepared a list on excel for company names, contact and if already sent/received message).

I am applying for internships all over Europe and no luck untill now... Every company is like "thank you, we will contact you soon" or just "thank you but no" dry.png

Those auto-mails with "no" responses sometimes are like machine-guns shooting through my inbox right into my confidence. ph34r.png

 

Sometimes I am like "what am I doing wrong???"

Also, is it coincidence or Germany is more "foreign-friendly"? I find more companies offering relocation packages than UK companies...

I am more focused into UK or Germany. But UK seems harder... even thinking about renting apartments and cost of life...

 

Is it really a matter of just trying and trying or does it really matters if you are a foreign?

I am kinda loosing all my confidence... I know it ain't easy for anyone but I am too self-conscious about my own skills... no matter how many times people say "you are good!", I keep on crashing into other people works (deviantart, behance etc) and I get a little frustrated...

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If I can give my 2 cents, I was in the situation you are in not long ago and I've been working in the industry since 1 year. I am not a programmer but a sound designer.

 

 

I started just like you did, by sending resumes to every big companies. Got the exact same mail as you from EA (minus the job title), got a similar one from Blizzard etc... Only Valve had a guy nice enough to answer me directly to tell me they hire only after 5+ years of experience and don't do internships (which is something I knew but I tried it anyways) and then we talked a bit which was pretty cool.

 

After having no luck except with one studio in LA who were interested but needed to wait to make a decision (I couldn't afford to wait for their decision) I decided to lower my expectation (my goal was to have an internship in a major studio in the US and I am from Europe so it is almost impossible) and started to search only in big EU studios. Didn't get more luck.

It also turned out the interested studio in LA didn't take me after all.

 

Then I started to do small studios in France (my country) and I got 2 answers, one of them I got a phone interview and I couldn't be available at the time they wanted because of school so it didn't work out and the second one is where I got my internship but I got it by being able to do more than regular sound design, I know basics in code and I know a good amount of DSP which got me the internship. Got lucky after, I got to do some sound design as well.

I got a contract there after and I've been there since 1 year not including the internship.

 

Random facts :

 

- Keep in mind that I sent probably 100+ applications and I got 4 semi-positive answers and one positive, I did get lucky especially as a sound designer (it should be easier for you as a programmer) but I had to sacrifice my original goal.

- At the end I was so desperate that I would send application to every studio that was obviously bad just because I needed the internship for my degree and I knew that internship are extremely important for the start of your career.

- My school didn't help me at all and I knew no one.

- I had a meeting with the head of my degree so he could hopefully give me a random internship in a non sound design field (my school was not specialized in sound design) and I got my positive answer 2 hours before the meeting.

 

 

All of this to show you that it is hard to get an internship and you should not give up too fast, if someone doesn't answer you and they are a small studio, just send one email to check in or call them. Small studios are usually nice. For big studios they get too much applications to care.

Don't be too cocky just because you have more than what they ask for, plenty of people have it. Having more than what they ask might put you in the top 10% of the applications but that's it. I had more than what they ask even for an entry job.

On the topic of "what they ask for" don't wait for an internship "job" to pop up on their website, just send applications everywhere.

 

I hope this is helpfull.

Good luck.

Edited by Valoon

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