Job Hunting

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When it comes to Japanese job hunting, is it better to fit in or stand out? Hard to say.

就職活動

Different from a hunting job, which is a little more physical than I’d like. Continue reading

Cover Letters

The hardest part of applying to jobs? Cover letters.

Getting the resume up to date (1x): 30 minutes
Making sure reference list is okay (1x): 20 minutes
Looking up a job, reading requirements: 10 minutes
Wondering if this job is right for you: 15 minutes
Writing a cover letter: 1-2 hours
Actually applying: 2 minutes

Sure, there are more time-intensive things. The phone interviews and actual interviews can last for an hour or more. But they happen at an elevated point in the whole process: when things are looking good. When you’ve been contacted because the company has seen something in you.

When you have to write a cover letter, especially for a company you’ve never heard of, you need to do research. Find the person who might handle your letter. Become familiar with the products the company has. Learn what makes the company unique.

If I wanted to work for Square-Enix, Nintendo, or Atlas, it’s simple. I’ve had such a long history with those companies that a cover letter can practically flow from the heart. But when it’s a small, up-and-coming studio with a couple live mobile games, it’s harder. As much as I believe I have something to offer those companies, I know that the amount of research I need to do is loads more.

The hardest part is applying for companies in which you lack some of the requirements for the position. Because while a cover letter might be the thing that brings your strengths to the attention of the company, there’s also a chance that the company will never see it when they find out you lack in some key area. And spending hours on a cover letter nobody will see is a tough proposition. Never mind the fact that some position might be filled and the job remains on the board accidentally or a company might only be hiring internally, and your cover letter means nothing to them.

But, not writing one is even worse. At least a cover letter does boost someone’s chance. Guess I’d better get on this next one…

If you can’t tell, I’ve been applying to jobs recently. Wish me luck.

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

In other words, I’m back in America. Good ol’ U.S. of A. Land of the 自由 and home of the 勇敢な人々.

For the first time in a long time, I’m focused on looking for a job. That means getting my résumé in working order, actually finishing my portfolio, and spending time each day applying to jobs. All while combating the jet lag that’s hampered my ability this week. Not to mention all the noise my brother makes here. Forgot about that.

But things are getting done, and for that I’m glad.

There’s always this small sense that things are never perfect enough when it comes to applications. After all, looking for a job in the game industry is harder when you don’t have many professional contacts to vouch for you, nor a history of work on AAA titles, nor a degree in computer science or anything comparable.

So my biggest asset is going to be my portfolio. It’s the one thing that proves I’ve done work that shows I know what I’m doing. But as I continue to make games to add to the portfolio, I always come back thinking: What if this isn’t enough? What if it’s my next game that makes my portfolio stand out? By that point, I’ve already applied and judgment has been cast. That regretful thought: Why didn’t I just wait?

Fact is, jobs come and go quickly. There’s really no time to wait. I think I’ll always regret not applying for a level design job at Double Fine. Just as I’ll regret applying with a weak portfolio. Yet that’s just how life is. Time is limited, and there’s no time to dilly-dally.

In any case, wish me luck! And if you know anyone hiring in the games industry, let me know! I’m hoping to relocate. 🙂