This question provoked a bit of discussion here at Amiqus HQ
Let’s have a look at what our experienced Recruiters had to say on both sides of the fence.
Designers are a key creative force in the games industry. It’s very important that they can develop and convey new ideas or unique takes on existing ones. When looking for a new job, it’s reasonable to think that the CV is too good an opportunity to miss in demonstrating your creative flare and generating immediate interest in your application. The CV is the first thing a hirer or recruiter sees and we all know that there is only one chance to make a first impression.
It’s very important to make sure you have permission before reproducing any IP you don’t own
“As long as the CV isn’t overly complicated and flows well then a designed one can look good” says Meeta Mistry “but a well presented standard one is just as good as won’t hinder your chances”. Peter Leonard of Realtime UK agrees; “either is fine really but whether it’s standard or not the design of the CV must have clear formatting, so if you are going to go with some design elements of your own make sure it contains clear sections to make it readable and logical to navigate”. Game logos can look professional and have an immediate recognition but it’s very important to make sure you have permission before reproducing any IP you don’t own.
When you apply for a job you are looking to walk the fine line between standing out from the crowd as a worthy candidate and providing information which is quick to access and easy to read. You also need to be able to show that you can acknowledge when convention demands a high level of flare, or a high level of conformity in your approach. Presenting what’s appropriate to your purpose and the audience is part of any job.
Links to your portfolio and access to demonstrations of your creativity should be extremely easy to find
Generally the expectation from a hiring manager is that a CV will be informative rather than expressive. Always provide examples of your work through links to your portfolio and access to demonstrations of your creativity should be extremely easy to find. The good news is that most CVs are viewed on a screen rather than on paper. This means that providing links to an appropriate media such as Dropbox, Youtube or Behance is very simple and all the hirer has to do is click a mouse to see your creativity in all it’s glory.
“I would stick to a more formal representation of your skills” advises Stig Strand. “Design and creative ability is best shown through a portfolio to showcase all your skills not just your Photoshop or typography abilities which are often not desired” he points out. There is also the issue that your CV is being viewed on a variety of devices. A busy hirer might go through CVs on a tablet or mobile so what looks fantastic on a desktop might not translate well to a smaller screen.
“Go with a standard CV format every time and leave the images to the portfolio” agrees Will Hudson. “Many studios have strict filters which may block CVs with imaged on them. You’ve also got the lag of downloading if the file is too big” he counsels. Contracts Manager Si Pittam concurs, “I look at hundreds of CVs a week and I much prefer a standard CV with folio links” he says. “Lots of pictures can also prevent recruiters uploading applications to client portals. Looking pretty is not always practical”.
In summary while a well-designed CV will get you noticed, the list of considerations is long; convention; readability; navigation; IP reproduction rights; formatting; file-size and firewalls to name a few. It seems that in most cases, the risks out-weigh the potential benefits.
So if you are leaving design and imagery to the portfolio, how do you best show your design credentials on a CV? “The thing that stands out is what you personally have contributed to each project” says Will. A good format is game name / platform / your role and then a short description of what you actually did. For an experienced Designer with many games in their softography the focus should be on the biggest and most recent titles and the highest level of contribution. Stig Strand concludes with a useful parting shot; “Check every link before you hit send - it’s important to have links to your work in your CV, but it’s even more vital that they actually work!”.
This article first appeared in Develop Magazine August 2016