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I m a game developer, not a human resources person or a recruiter, so when the time came to talk about specific job-hunting techniques, I turned to an expert: Mary Margaret Walker She s an old friend and the owner of Mary-Margaretcom, a recruitment and business services firm She knows everything there is to know about getting work in the game industry, and she s also got a great web site that s full of useful information for newcomers: wwwmary-margaretcom Throughout this chapter, you ll be seeing snippets of her wisdom Oh, and if you get in touch with her, don t call her Mary!
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ETWORKING: IT S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW
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I used to think that the old saying It s not what you know, it s who you know was one of the most cynical things I had ever heard I thought it meant that the old-boy network would always win out; it didn t matter how well-qualified you were for a job, somebody with the right connections would get it instead Later on I realized I
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How to Get a Job Making Video Games
was only half-right It s true that occasionally someone prefers to hire his incompetent friends instead of better-qualified strangers But if that s going on, you probably don t want to work at his company anyway Any business that consistently puts friendship ahead of ability in its hiring decisions is headed for trouble There isn t much of an old-boy network in the game industry anyway This is a young, ambitious, entrepreneurial business Results are what count can you do the job or can t you The industry is competitive enough that people who consistently perform well are among the mostly highly prized Nobody gets a fat salary just by knowing the fraternity handshake, and nobody gets to retire on the job Game companies can t afford it The truth about it s not what you know, it s who you know, which I came to realize after I had been working for a few years, is more subtle than simple cynicism What it really means is that the most important factor in finding a job is not being well-prepared, it s knowing where the jobs are, and that means knowing people lots of people, the more the better In tribal societies, and in many non-western societies still, people keep track of their extended family relationships very carefully That s because in those societies even your distant cousins are a resource, people you can call on if you need help In the western world, we ve replaced family with professional contacts They re your most important business resource the people you get in touch with if you need something This is one of the reasons that professional conferences and trade shows have so many parties The first time you go to a convention, it may seem as if the whole thing is just a non-stop beer bash But the companies throwing these parties aren t just spending their money for fun; they re doing it to get their employees together with other people: to renew old relationships and make new ones This process is called schmoozing One of those chance meetings over the wine and cheese platter could turn into a contract worth millions, or a new employee who can bring something really valuable to the company
Make a friend in the industry It s just too tough to get in without one Get in any way you can, prove yourself, and start going after the job you really want once you are on board Lee Rossini, Director of Marketing, Sierra Entertainment
Where to Meet Game Developers
So, how do you start networking You hang out where game developers hang out Here s a list of things you can do Some of them cost money, but others are free Read game development web sites, participate in on-line forums On the Internet, nobody can tell if you re a raw newcomer or a seasoned pro, so dive in Don t take any one person s opinion as gospel; find out what the
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