CV Writing Tips

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As you’d expect, collectively we see and review hundreds of CVs each week. To help you get your job search off to the best possible start a well crafted and presented CV is key.

We spoke to our recruiters and industry counterparts to come up with the following hints and advice that will help you put together the type of CV the industry wants to see, and to avoid some of the common mistakes made with CVs.

­Key Achievements Clearly Visible

Don’t be afraid to show off! Employers like pertinent information, especially the key achievements that make you stand out, to be front and centre. Something that directly shows what you’ve achieved in your current or previous roles and what you’ve contributed towards. From projects and turn overs, to initiatives and promotions, don’t water down your achievements, doing so could harm your chances of getting your dream role!

Remove Progress Bars

It’s a pet peeve of the industry, and they can actively work against you. Not only do progress bars not have context (what/who are you comparing yourself against?), they do more to highlight any potential skill gaps rather than strengths. A block of ten skills and competencies with two or more at three star or below is going to tell an employer why not to hire you against someone who has just written ‘capable within X program.’

Include Links to Work and Portfolio

A link to examples of your current and past work, especially in the form of a portfolio, is key! Not only does it provide you with a place to showcase your best work, it also evidences your suitability for the role that bolsters the strength of your CV. Anyone can write something impressive that’s unsubstantiated, but you can go that extra step and prove you are as good as you claim. It’s important that you make sure that that link isn’t broken, spelt wrong or buried within the body of your CV somewhere.

Keep Your Portfolios Up to Date

Sometimes a dream role can be sprung on you. You could be scrawling through your social media streams or checking your emails when something just happens to jump out and grab your attention. Being prepared for that next step in your career can ensure you don’t miss out.

Studios often close vacancies early, especially if they receive more applications than they were expecting, and being delayed by having to drag your CV and portfolio up-to-date will hamper your chances. Having an up-to-date portfolio, on places such as ArtStation or GitHub, could even mean opportunities come to you. Both internal and external recruiters often use these platforms to source new talent for their vacancies.

Tailor Your CV to Fill Skills Shortages

When writing a CV, consider how prominent you make each individual key skill. Think about your discipline and what competencies will make you stand out compared to others who would be applying for the role.

If you’re skilled in Unity but are also very capable within C++ and you’re looking to get into AAA console development, consider giving your C++ skills prominence and higher billing. This works in every area of game development and may well be the thing that gives you the edge over other applicants.

Don’t Assume People Will Know Your Skills

Most studios will want to know exactly what you did at your last role, or previous roles. Don’t be under the assumption that a job title, with a start and end date, will be enough for them to have a clear idea about your role and responsibilities. Daily tasks for certain job titles can change from studio to studio, so having a brief summary of how you did your job is vital. It’ll show an employer if you match the experience they are looking for.

Keep Your CV Short and Concise

There’s nothing worse than a long CV which has made the transition into prose. Two pages should generally be a maximum, and this is for several reasons. Not only do you want to hold the attention of the reader, your application might be going to someone whose job is not exclusively recruitment.

Many studios do not have dedicated internal recruiters and hiring new staff may fall to a team lead in a hiring manager role. That means checking CVs is a small part of their day-to-day. With potentially hundreds of applications, a convoluted and needlessly long CV is not going to be looked at in great detail and your suitability for the role might be missed. Bullet points are your friend!

Unexplained Employment Gaps

It might be nothing, but unexplained employment gaps (especially if your employment dates don’t match up) are a big concern. You may have had short stints at studios for a very good reason, be that closures or to start a family, but it’s when these explanations are absent or poorly hidden that the issues arise.

There is nothing more concerning than seeing a CV where someone moves between studios every few months. Are they getting bored easily or are they frequently not passing probational periods? If you don’t give the employer the answers, their brain will fill in the rest of the details for you.

Claims Without Substance

Lack of credits on a CV, especially if you’ve worked in a position where you’d expect to see game metrics and sales figures, can be a big problem. Did the games you’ve worked on flop? How involved were you in the success of prior projects? Did you function in a more Junior role which isn’t backed up by your claimed employment history?

Industry professionals can be expected to have at least some prior achievements to shout about. The absence of these could highlight a lack of direct involvement or poor performance. This isn’t helped by the use of vague qualifiers such as “helped with” or “participated in”. Make sure you communicate how exactly you helped.

Robots Need Not Apply

People need hobbies and interests. Nobody wants to hire a two-dimensional cookie cutter person. Team fit is key.

Hobbies and interests will help employers see if you would fit within their company and culture. Liking music and films is all well and good, but who doesn’t? Include hobbies and interests that make you stand out as an individual.

Lack of Effort

Getting a PDF download of someone’s LinkedIn profile instead of a genuine CV is a cardinal sin. If you don’t put in the effort into writing a one or two-sided sheet of A4 to get the job, what will that say to the hiring manager about your work ethic?

Short cuts and poor formatting in general, show that you have put little thought into your application. It can be an indicator that you’ve probably applied for a whole host of jobs and have used this as a copy and paste template.

Poor spelling and grammar shouldn’t be present, there simply no excuse. It doesn’t take much to check this. Use another pair of eyes and software such as ‘grammarly’ to help iron out any potential issues.

We offer our services completely free of charge to you as a game dev seeking a new role as any fees due come from the studio we place you with. So, why wouldn’t you want to increase your chances of landing your dream role?

Call +44 (0)1709 834777 to speak with our consultants or reach out to us via email at info@aswift.com to see how we can help you!

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