Recruiter at Naughty Dog Christina-Marie Drake McBrearty shared portfolio tips that can help find a job more quickly, discussed how using social media can facilitate this process, and spoke about what artists can do if a job search is taking longer than expected.
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The tech sector has experienced significant job cuts in recent months, affecting many game developers and artists. In response, we have decided to provide support to those who have been laid off and are seeking new employment opportunities. To do this, we have reached out to recruiters at game companies and asked them to share their advice on handling job loss and practical steps for moving forward.
In this article, we hear from Christina-Marie Drake McBrearty, a Recruiter at Naughty Dog, who shares her tips and insights on this important topic.
Christina-Marie Drake McBrearty
Portfolio Tips That Can Help Artists and Developers Find Jobs More Quickly
I have touched on this in the past with both published works and on LinkedIn. Today, I'll share my key tips for a portfolio specifically.
Here are some tips for artists and developers to improve their portfolios:
- Always showcase your best work: Choose projects that highlight your skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. These should be the best examples you have.
- Be concise: Highlight key achievements and present work in a clean, well-organized manner. Having fewer high-quality pieces is, in my opinion, better than many mediocre ones.
- Tailor your portfolio to the audience: Customize your portfolio based on the company you're applying to and their specific needs. For example, when I am hiring for a Character Artist role, I want to see realistic characters who tell a story I can see fitting into our IP instead of an overly stylized one that would be better suited for another universe.
- Show process and thinking: Feel free to include sketches, wireframes, and explanations of how you arrived at your final solution. I wouldn’t make this the bulk of your portfolio, but a couple of these pieces will help you stand out as the hiring team can get to know your process a little better.
- Maintenance: Keep your portfolio up-to-date and regularly update your portfolio with new projects and skills. I always say replace the oldest piece in your portfolio with the newest and BEST one.
- Make it visually appealing: Use high-quality images, design, and typography to create an engaging user experience.
- Test your portfolio: Ask friends, family, colleagues, or anyone in your network to review your portfolio and provide feedback. This will help you fine-tune the work before submitting it to a recruiter or hiring manager for evaluation.
- Make it easily accessible: Host your portfolio online, and ensure it's easy to navigate on different devices. I personally recommend using a page like ArtStation.
Remember to keep your portfolio concise, relevant, and engaging. It should reflect your unique style and showcase your strengths and skills to potential employers.
Using Social Media Effectively
I have definitely seen artists leverage social media effectively. This is a wide topic that’s hard to summarize concisely but I’ll do my best. The short answer is that social media can be an effective tool for artists to find new opportunities. It allows you to network with potential employers, showcase your work, and reach a wider audience.
I have in the past hired artists from Instagram and Facebook, and I have had candidates come to me by way of LinkedIn, Discord, and Tiktok. There are so many platforms that can potentially lead you to a new opportunity. If you want to be successful on any platform you will need to build a strong online presence by creating content that is meaningful, engaging, and consistent. Posting is not sufficient on its own. One will need to regularly participate in discussions, comment on posts, and share relevant articles/other works to build that audience.
If Finding the Right Job Is Taking Longer Than Anticipated
This depends largely on the tactics they have been using thus far. One way to increase the number of applications to interviews in the candidates' favor is by testing various approaches and leveraging your network.
I recently made a collection of posts on LinkedIn specifically digging into networking and how to do it effectively. Staying up to date with industry trends and news is another way to tackle new up-and-coming opportunities. By following industry leaders and organizations to stay informed and in the loop on new opportunities and how to position yourself for them.
If someone has exhausted all their potential resources as an individual, they can look at hiring a professional to help with new tactics. These individuals can help with resume & cover letter writing, mock interview practice, salary negotiation, and a myriad of other tasks to help improve your chances as a candidate.
Tips for Artists Willing to Join Naughty Dog
I think we covered quite a few tips that would lend themselves to any studio including Naughty Dog. Some additional tips to keep in mind are to be sure that you research the company you’re applying for. Familiarize yourself with the company values, culture, and type of work they produce. Tailor your application and/or portfolio to that specific studio. Show enthusiasm and passion and don’t be afraid to (or discouraged from) following up with recruiters like myself from those studios on LinkedIn. Be sure to be professional and proactive, and demonstrate your passion for the role and the company. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job and becoming a valuable member of the team.