Over the past few weeks, sizable numbers of video game staffers have been laid off. Cuts have been seen at studios like Midway, NCSoft, High Moon and Radical Entertainment. This is unfortunately part of doing business in the video game industry, and just about everyone will be impacted at some point in their career either directly or through someone they know. When news like this breaks, it should serve as a reminder of the things you can be doing now to make things much easier if you ever find yourself suddenly looking for a job:
- Be an aggressive networker. If you’re put off by the “have your guy call my guy” image of networking, it’s time to move past that. Networking doesn’t have to be cheesy or insincere – just stay in touch with people you’ve worked with, keep an eye on where they might end up. The adoption of tools like Linkedin by large numbers of game industry employees makes it almost inexcusable to not stay current with co-workers past and present. Knowing which companies might have a friendly face employed can be invaluable when you’re on a job hunt.
- Be aware of what’s going on throughout the industry. Attend a local IGDA meeting, keep an eye on new studios that have opened, broaden your idea of what the game industry is, check out sites like www.gamedevmap.com to see what other studios are in your area. All of these will help you keep your finger on the pulse of how many opportunities there actually are in this industry. With the rise of casual games, mobile games, virtual worlds, etc., there is a crazy demand for new employees in great companies that are outside of the traditional AAA developer/publisher mold.
If you’re ever in that unfortunate situation of having been laid off, just remember – as an experienced developer, there WILL be LOTS of companies out there wanting to talk with you. Put yourself in the shoes of a small studio looking to hire – they might have an HR staff of only one person responsible for hiring, insurance, paperwork, etc.. Are you confident they’re going to have the time to find you? Following some of the previous pointers will have you in a much better position to get your resume to the companies who are looking for you.