Five Reasons Why Every Game Designer Should Have A Portfolio

October 2, 2014

Considering how many applications developers and studios receive these days whenever they post a ‘Game Designer’ position, it’s easy for a hiring team to completely forget about the guy that only provided a resume and cover letter. Instead, they’ll probably take more interest in the person with a portfolio that offers a better idea of their skills, personality, and more.

Here are a few reasons a portfolio is a must-have for anyone seeking that game designer role at a dev studio.

A portfolio…

1. Shows Your Skills

Although your resume should have a brief list of skills, a portfolio offers a better and more attractive way to show off the abilities you claim to have. If you think about a concept artist, their CV will no doubt talk about their talents and experiences, but it’s not until you see their gallery of brilliant (or terrible) work yourself that you can assess if they’re actually good or not.

It’s the same with a game designer. If you have a portfolio with links and images of games you’ve made, it will be much more impressive to hiring teams considering you as their next game designer.

2. Shows Your Experience and Previous Work

Going along with the above point, a portfolio is the perfect avenue for showing off the games you’ve already made in an attractive way.

It’s one thing to say “Designed a sci-fi 2D platformer” in your resume, but it’s another to actually have pics and links that viewers can check out – better yet, a playable version.

Game devs are looking for potential recruits that are actually making games already, be it simple Flash games or even a card game you made from supplies around your home. So you definitely want to show them off in a visual way on your portfolio.

3. Shows Your Personality

Game devs, more than probably any other industry, have very social environments where the teams working on a game end up becoming good friends.

This is why the guy or gal being paid by Blizzard to hire the next member of the family wants to make sure they find someone that will fit into their culture, even if they’re not the best or most experienced designer that applied.

Although no one will get to know you completely through your portfolio (that’s what interviews are for), a portfolio does offer a little taste of your personality.

4. Appeals to Visual Learners

Considering that 6 out of 10 people are visual learners, a portfolio is the perfect way to share information and make yourself stand out to hiring teams.

Just ask yourself what’s more interesting to look at: lines of text or a gallery of images and videos?

We’re not saying that your online portfolio should bombard viewers with colors and pictures everywhere. But definitely try to provide a visual impact that will simply make your portfolio a positive experience to check out.

5. Makes you more accessible

There’s just something about having our own place on the world wide web that makes us appear more approachable and professional. It’s a big deal to have a page where you demonstrate your work, offer contact info, and talk about yourself a bit. It will definitely pay off.

This is because developers want to know they’re considering hiring someone that is genuinely interested in the gaming industry and not just sending an application because they like the games they make.

You may not realize it but the recruiter at a game studio will usually share the portfolio of potential recruits to the head honchos there, including lead designers, producers, and directors. You WANT this to happen. But it probably won’t if all you send in is a resume and cover letter.

With a portfolio, there’s something visual to share that’s more interesting than your CV’s list of skills and experience.

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