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Based on my personal experience and what everyone has told me online, it seems like the gaming industry is brutal (extremely high expectations) and isn't good for someone who is running a young family and neither are startup companies. I keep getting approached by recruiters online looking for game programmers.

However, the only real projects I have that are live to the public are games! I want out though.

I have other projects from my studies that are web-development based but they are very basic mostly just school projects.

Does this summary portray what I am looking for? How can I make it clear that I want to try something new?

Software Developer with 3 years of experience programming applications in XYZ for mobile devices. Looking to be part of a highly-collaborative and closely-knit team where knowledge-sharing and mentorship are appreciated. Interested in exploring opportunities outside the gaming industry. Skills Summary:

Java, C#, C, C++, Haxe, HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP.NET, SQL, XML, JSON, Git/Github

I've put descriptions of my other projects on the resume too.

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    Why do you need to make it known on your resume? If you want out of the gaming industry, then just apply for positions outside of that industry. The fact that your skills and experience come from programming games does not mean that's all you can do. – Brandin Jul 19 '15 at 0:07
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    I would remove the line " Interested in exploring opportunities outside the gaming industry." - It seems rather negative. Just do not apply for roles or politely decline interviews in that industry. Also change "Skills summary" to "Skills include" - i.e. you have more that those listed. Also put some soft skill in as well – Ed Heal Jul 19 '15 at 9:09
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    The place to put information like this is the cover letter. The resume is meant to list the things that you can bring to the table for the employer, not the things that you want personally. – Roger Jul 20 '15 at 15:44
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    I would put this in the cover letter (to explain why you're applying for Job X when most of your experience comes from X' or Y), not in the resume. – LindaJeanne Jul 20 '15 at 16:12
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    @EdHeal I agree completely. It is important to remember to ask for what is wanted, rather than shun what isn't. Instead of the negative "... outside of the gaming industry", something like "Interested in exploring opportunities in Enterprise Application Development". The latter one helps direct the request, and if you put it in the cover letter, you can align your interest with the job that was interesting enough to merit an application. – Edwin Buck May 7 '16 at 6:19
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Having worked in a AAA studio myself I can understand the desire to want out. The gaming industry is brutal, especially during crunch time. As a recruiter I would leave out the "exploring opportunities outside the gaming industry"

I would also consider minimizing or eliminating altogether any gaming specific buzzwords such as "rendering engine", "Unreal", "Havok", etc. Recruiters at studios will usually try and include gaming specific keywords in their LinkedIn search strings to try and find people with gaming experience. Leaving out those keywords will reduce the number of unwanted contacts.

If a recruiter from a studio does contact you simply politely let them know you're looking to move on from the gaming industry. Trust me when I say any recruiter who has spent any amount of time recruiting for a studio will have heard this a LOT! It also never hurts in your response to ask if they know of any non-gaming jobs. Like any role, recruiters tend to network with each other. Also don't believe any recruiter who says their studio is different or that they don't have crunch time!

Do think about where you do want to work. There are more and more resources available that can help you identify companies that are more likely to have family friendly workplaces. Glassdoor, Doxascore.com and "Best Places To Work" lists are all good starts. Also see if there's a Women In Computing SIG in your area. Personally, I look for what I like to call "Goldilocks sized" companies. Places that have been around for more than 5 years so they're usually over the start-up phase and are making real money rather than living from one round of funding to another. They're also smaller (>500 people) so you still feel like you're having an impact and there's usually more flexibility.

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First, you don't need to wait for recruiters to contact you. There are plenty of websites that post software developer job openings that you could scan through and proactively apply to.

Second, I would nuance or clarify your technology list. It seems unlikely that you have actively used Java, C, C++, C#, PHP, And HTML all in equal measure. Make it clear which ones you have used most.

Third, remove the part about looking outside the game industry. People are more interested in what interests you than what doesn't interest you. Give some thought to some general or specific types of development that might interest you and mention those instead. For example, scientific software, database software, backend, front end, or even just working in an agile shop.

Last, don't despair. At 3 years, you're no longer junior, but you're far from having typecast yourself as a game developer. In your position, you don't have 10 years of experience in a prospective employer's domain and/or technology so and they will not be looking for that in you. Instead, it's more important to demonstrate you can learn and adapt quickly. If anything, being a game developer should be a positive here as the game developers have a reputation for being clever.

EDIT: To touch on the discussion in the comments: Regardless of the industry you apply to, you need to make a compelling case to potential employers that you are a good fit for their company. You can best do this before an interview by writing a targeted cover letter. You can also have a bit of a pitch prepared for interviews.

As a developer with 3 years of experience, you should focus your ability to adapt, ability to write good, clean, well tested code, solid understanding of computer science fundamentals, and real-world software engineering experience. You should try where possible to give examples of these.

Additionally, you should spend some time understanding the companies you apply to. What industry are they in? What types of software do they need or develop? In your cover letter and in any interview, you should include some details about why that interests you and how you might make a contribution in those areas.

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    @Kerry I've seen people list years of proficiency or just generic things like proficient in C, familiar with PHP, exposed to Java, etc. I would not explicitly use the word academic. – Eric Jul 19 '15 at 3:21
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    You KNOW that you don't want to stay in the games industry Have you decided in which industry you want to work? If you are not targeting anything, there is no way for you to know whether your existing skills set is adequate both in scope and in actual experience nor what other skills you need to acquire. You'll also need to construct a value proposition to your prospective employer i.e. what you bring to the table and what's in it for your prospective employer if they have decided to hire you. But for the value proposition to be constructed, you need to decide what positions you are going for – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 19 '15 at 5:14
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    @Eric My hat's off to anyone who acquires computer science fundamentals such as data algorithms and theoretical computer science on the job rather than as part of their undergrad computer science education - I doubt that there too many web programmers who have acquired a knowledge of computer science fundamentals on the job. You may very well have acquired a team-based software engineering capability as a web programmer but if you didn't learn data algorithms and theoretical science in school, my money is on me ripping you apart with data algo and theoretical CS questions when I interview you. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 19 '15 at 12:18
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    @VietnhiPhuvan We might be in violent agreement. My point is that someone with 3 year's experience that brings those to the table is worth hiring, at least to me. – Eric Jul 19 '15 at 12:36
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    @VietnhiPhuvan I do not expect a candidate to proactively launch into a lecture on computer science theory to demonstrate that they understand it. I expect them to claim that they do understand it, and, as an interviewer, I expect to have to ask questions or provide tests to verify the truth of these claims. I've updated the question to make it clear that the candidate does have a responsibility to make their case well and how to do that. – Eric Jul 20 '15 at 17:37
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It is not your resume you have to change but you essentially restart your career. You are not going to be able to jump into a mid level position at a company that offers gravy hours and benefits at the rate you made working insane hours with high expectations. There is an incentive to working in these environments. Most especially you get fun tasks on fun projects. When you start up in the 8-5 corp world you are not going to get that.

You are going to get bug fixes mostly to start. Once you prove yourself you might get some less boring tasks but they are not going to be the swing for the fences type tasks. Those go to people that have been with the company for several years, and have done all the nothing jobs that taught them the major systems they have to interact with. Thats the downside to corp work is that it just takes time and projects working with the existing systems to understand what it is you are working with so you can get the good projects.

The other thing is gravy jobs pay generally below market expectations. Why because the expectations are low and the demand on your time is as well. You can not expect the rewards you get from a high pressure high expectations position. They are also more secure. Once you have walked away from enough startups with them owing you a few months salary that means something. Its even worse because the start up culture also attracts the less scrupulous business people. A few of the start ups I worked on would have been successful if the bosses were not intentionally running that business into the ground to make sure that the people they owed money to had nothing to salvage. It is the risk of working in that environment.

  • Actually, pay in the games industry tends to be lower than your 9-5 corporate jobs. – Carson63000 Jul 19 '15 at 1:49
  • @Carson63000 Not going from experienced gd to entry level – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 19 '15 at 2:46
  • Well as a female programmer with a young child at home less demanding work is required. Just need to keep the bills paid. It seems like software development is ruthless no matter what. I could be wrong. Can't keep up with 'the old boys' club in startups. – Kerry Jul 19 '15 at 3:26
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    @Kerry -- not no matter what =^). I'm a software developer at an academic library, and the environment is quite positive. – LindaJeanne Jul 20 '15 at 16:14
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    I work for a software company in Seattle with a female CEO and many of our developers are new parents. It's a very family friendly culture. There are exceptions to the norm! – ChrisL Jul 20 '15 at 18:04
1

First remove anything that smacks of an objective from your resume. That is just waste space, it may eliminate you from consideration from jobs but will NEVER get you an interview.

Now look at your skills in terms of the skills you need in the industry(ies) you want to go in. What do you have that would make you valuable? That is what you emphasize in your resume. Think about things like troubleshooting skills, the ability to create highly performant code, etc. not just programming languages you know. These types of things transcend language and industry and that is where you want to show some strengths to offset your lack of industry experience.

In your cover letter you can explain what is interesting to you about the field you want to get into and how your skills make you a good match for that. This should not be, "I want to work fewer hours." The time to make that point is during the interview after you have made them interested in hiring you. At this point you are finding out if they meet your needs not if you meet theirs.

1

I wouldn't worry about what your resume says about the places you've worked. Nothing on your resume will prevent it from being a discussion topic with someone at that company, if they think it's relevant. So don't write it on your resume, but definitely be able to answer the question! And I would be careful about how you answer so you don't make it sound like you can't handle the work or commit to your new company, but that the companies you'd worked for were making unrealistic demands/expectations on your time.

I wouldn't remove all the gaming specific stuff from your resume. But in the software industry in general, I would eliminate buzzwords. You don't want to appeal to people because you used X technology or Y framework. The story you want to pitch should be "Here are the hard things I've done. Here are ways I've demonstrated I was smart/hardworking/clever/innovative/etc." You should work until you can explain those things to someone who isn't in the games industry, so they can recognize how difficult those are.

You can try talking to recruiters who contact you and saying, "I don't want to work in the games industry. Do you have something else?" But really, there are two types of recruiters: 1) Pitching a specific company/job posting. You're not going to be able to do much about those. 2) People who recruit for a variety of different companies. These are definitely worth getting to know. They'll be able to talk to you, understand your skills/desires, and help you find the right opportunity.

But I agree, at the end of the day, you should rely on more than just passive job searching.

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I agree with what all of the answers have said about removing the fact you want out of the gaming industry from your resume and start applying for non gaming industry jobs.

What you need to do, assuming you have not already is invest a great deal of time into a LinkedIn account. I cannot stress this enough to developers. The industry is starving for people such as yourself with 3-years experience and recruiters and companies are constantly scanning LinkedIn. With your experience you should have no problem translating into a non-gaming job.

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    -1 for Linked-in. I don't like it, I don't think it makes anyone qualified and one can search for jobs on their own. – Ronnie W Jul 21 '15 at 13:33
  • Putting yourself on Linked is another way to network and expose yourself. Recruiters and companies can use it to find candidates and not sit back and wait for some 'maybes' to trickle in. Your putting yourself at a disadvantage by not using it because candidates that do use it and are qualified are being hired before you even realized there was a job opening on a company you have never heard of. – Bryan Harrington Jul 28 '15 at 16:30
  • @BryanHarrington Nothing necessarily wrong with LinkedIn and similar sites, but review your phrasing "invest a great deal of time into a LinkedIn account". Really? Maybe get an account if you want but definitely don't invest "a lot of time" into it. You should invest the time into actually applying for jobs and making real connections with real people. – Brandin Jul 30 '15 at 21:11

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