Image: The first day you walk through a studio's doors as an employee is an unforgettable moment!
If you, my reader, are a fellow game/level designer and are interested in how exactly I got this internship please continue reading.
This is how I did it...
Starting off with an internship application flyer stating my learning goals and personal achievements I got out the pen and paper (figuratively speaking) and wrote letters. Dutch and English letters aimed at both big and small companies. Every letter had to be personalized and tuned specifically to reflect the feeling of the company it was aimed at. Because of that I couldn’t write a template letter but after nearly ten original ones I was able to combine sections of the previous letters to get a qualitative application letter.
I wasn’t aiming as high as Guerrilla Games at first. I was mainly contacting smaller companies in Holland but felt I just *had* to write them a letter. You never know right? In the envelope I included my internship application flyer printed on thick, shiny paper and threaded together to make a small book. The letter was addressed to the HR-manager whose name I got from someone who in the past has had an internship at Guerrilla Games. After about a month of awaiting a rejection e-mail I sent them one to see if they had already received my letter (sending letters here in Holland should take about 24 hours to deliver, so I thought a month would give them enough time to read it.)
I received a fast response: “What letter?”… Kind off annoying to spend €7 and an hour of cutting and threading something that doesn’t even reach its destination but heck! I had a response and they wanted me to resend the letter digitally! I had bait!
Resent digital version of the letter (Dutch) including portfolio, curriculum vitae and internship application letter.
Received an invitation to introduce myself and elaborate on my portfolio! Unexpected score!
To prepare for the intake I made a mind map about my life, interests and skills and asked myself the following questions:
- What does Guerrilla Games have to offer?
- What do I have to offer?
- How does this fit?
Image: First page from the cheatsheet I used during my interview.
Then I created a cheatsheet which I used in the interview to make my design method clear. The first page was only for my own use, for if I lost track of what I was trying to say I would be able to look down at the desk in front of me. That’s about it. Let me end with a couple of Golden Rules to follow with finding your own perfect internship:
1. Do not use a template for your motivation letters. Write one that fits with the company the letter is aimed at.
2. Know your future ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. This can take a while and is hard but is a must if you want to give a clear image of yourself.
3. Impress. Create a fitting portfolio that will be hard to forget. Have something that others don’t have. Try to find something that shows your skills. (Keep above tip in mind)
4. Do not arrive at your interview empty handed. Show what you are working on at the moment, even if it’s at an early stage. I was asked about what could be better in my current project and how I was handling the setbacks.
5. Networking. This is not one of my strongest parts and I haven’t been doing this much but it is the best way to get an internship / job in the games industry. By networking I was able to address my application letter directly to the person responsible for interns.
6. Do not forget luck. Even if you think your chances are close to zero it can never hurt to try. Maybe the company you want to apply for has just started looking for someone like you!
Good luck! Feel free to ask me anything about my experiences with finding an internship and/or are having trouble finding one yourself.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to contact me for questions, comments and discussion.