Landing a job in the $21 billion entertainment software industry can be challenging. In 2015/2016 406 colleges and universities offered degrees in game design. This is the sixth consecutive year in which there has been an increase in schools with video game degrees, and a 64 percent increase in programs since 2009. Obviously this results in the increased release of qualified graduates every year into the wild.
Over the past 35 years, some folks have found themselves landing in the headlines due to unique job finding ideas. Here are some examples:
19 year-old Alexander J. Velicky created a free mod, Falskaar, for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim back in 2012. The mod is an impressive 20 additional hours of content, took 2,000 hours to create and 100+ voice actors. It’s now available on Xbox One. Alexander invested a year of his time into the project in hopes of landing a coveted job at his favorite game developer, Bethesda. Bethesda is probably most famous for their Fallout, Dishonored, and Elder Scrolls series. While he didn’t land his dream job, Alexander is currently employed at Bungie, which is still extremely spiffy. Congrats Alexander!
Cover Letter Adventure
With over 25 years in the games industry, Tim Schafer is basically a legend. He’s the current CEO of DoubleFine and worked on many games with LucasFilm’s games division including: The Secret of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango. But back in the 80s, after a disastrous pre-interview with LucasFilms, Schafer sent in a graphic adventure-style cover letter, printed from an Atari 800 dot-matrix printer. The resume did the trick and he got the job! He does advise modern job seekers to avoid this route as he doesn’t think a crazy cover letter of this type has a place in the current games industry.
Dear Valve: Hire Me!
Back in 2011 Erin Michael Vondrak set herself apart from the crowd by writing a song and creating a fun little YouTube video requesting consideration for a job at Valve (The company behind Steam). The result was over 200,000 views, a tour of Valve, a great job at a startup in Seattle, and a lot of nasty and unnecessary YouTube comments. Erin is a great sport and has weathered her viral video experience with grace. We know from personal experience here at Big Fish that Erin is pretty cool, as she worked with us a few years ago.
Have you ever done anything a little outside the norm for a games industry job? Let us know and you might see yourself on this list!