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Over the past few days, I've seen some absolute horror shows of cover letters for game art positions, and heard about UNBELIEVABLE cover letter mistakes from a recruiter I know at a big studio... So let's talk cover letters for games. 1/x
Here's an example of a cover letter I sent to Arkane Austin earlier this year. I got an interview out of this application, but it turned out to not be a good fit for either party. I wasn't prepared to move to Texas, they weren't ready for fully remote senior artists. 2/x
Note that in the above cover letter, I've blanked out my phone number. This is usually something I include, along with links to my LinkedIn and portfolio site. More on those later. 2.1/x
When I'm looking for a new job, I always include the following: The position I'm interested in My level of experience A brief summary of past responsibilities, in more conversational style than my resume Why I want this job My contact information 3/x
The above points serve multiple purposes, but basically they clarify anything that may not be clear in the application form or on my resume. In addition, the "Why I want this job" section allows me to express a bit about myself and why I find their studio interesting. 4/x
So, why clarify all these things? HR software fucking sucks. ADP, for example, requires clicking through multiple pages to review candidate information, and then give a yes or no answer to whether that person should be moved to next steps. 5/x
Including the above in a single place (your cover letter) allows anyone in recruiting or HR, the hiring manager, or anyone on the team to review your info at a glance. This makes it much more likely those people will actually see your information. 6/x
So, let's go through the above list. First, the position I'm interested in. Sometimes an application process won't be correctly sorted in people's inboxes. If you include the position you're interested in, there's less chance for it to be misfiled or lost. 7/x
Second, my level of experience. If they're looking for a more junior or senior person, they can instantly throw my application in the trash and move on. I'm not wasting their time, and they don't have to waste mine with back-and-forth stuff about what we're looking for. 8/x
Third, the brief experience summary. This lets me detail things that may not be obvious from my resume, AND it lets me personalize what I talk about to a specific listed position. This lets hiring managers or recruiters know what I'm about, basically. 9/x
Fourth, why I want the job There's some weird flirting that happens in this section, and you have to tailor it to the company at which you're applying. You basically tell them you know who they are, what they do, and why you'd be a good fit I hate this, but it's necessary 10/x
It's important to show that you know what the company is, what they do, what they make, because sending out applications like they're shotgun pellets is a great way to turn people off to you. Take five minutes and personalize the application. 11/x
Finally: CONTACT INFO THE MOST IMPORTANT PART HOW THE HELL CAN YOU BE CONTACTED? TELL THEM HOW TO GET IN TOUCH This is something that you may be surprised is simply not there in some applications. How are they going to know how to contact you if you don't say how? 12/x
Now, back to that Arkane cover letter for more concrete examples. 13/x
I have no idea who specifically the cover letter is going to, and it's better not to assume. Just being friendly here: 14/x
The position I'm interested in, how I know about it (the careers page), and my general experience level. 15/x
A brief summary of some of the things you can see in my resume, and some of the things that drive me. I know Arkane takes a lot of pride in how they present their characters, and I want them to know I understand that. 16/x
Why I'm interested in the position All this shit sounds cheesy, but it's all true and I can back it up if I'm interviewed If I wasn't as familiar with the company/products, I'd talk about why my research in the company got me interested. 17/x
Portfolio link and contact info Some application forms include sections to fill this stuff out, but like I said before: I want to include it in case someone on the hiring team doesn't have immediate access to the HR software. 18/x
And that's it. A cover letter is an opportunity for people at a company to learn more about you than some pictures in a portfolio, or entries on a resume. A bad cover letter doesn't give info about you, or it gives info in the wrong way. 19/x
Don't go into cover letter writing trying to be witty or smart or jokey or something. Say who you are, what you do, and why you're interested. Be sincere, be truthful, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD include your contact information. 20/20

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