Effective Networking (Early Advice)

by Darius Kazemi on September 7, 2006

in networking

Note: This belongs at the beginning of my networking articles, chronologically. I started writing this post about 10 months ago, and then put it on hold because I couldn’t figure out how to finish it. Tonight I decided it was time to actually just freakin’ post it, unfinished. You can comment, and I’ll fix it up later. It’s a draft!

The Early Bird Gets… Everything

Perhaps my number one piece of advice to students who want to be game developers: start networking early. There are myriad benefits to starting early. The most obvious benefit is that upon graduation from college (a college education is part of your plan, right?) you’ll have connections with industry people right out the gate.

But there are other benefits as well. For example, the years you will be networking while a student are also years that you won’t be looking for a job. As a full-time student, you just won’t be able to do something like that. The time spent networking but not job hunting is wonderful. You get to hang out with people and you don’t even need to ask them if they’re hiring. Because you don’t care! You can even ask them what they look for in a potential hire, no strings attached. That is valuable field work right there. People love to hear that you’re not looking for a job, so be sure to let them know that ASAP.

I hate to draw this analogy, but it’s almost like romancing someone. Feigning disinterest can get you a lot further than being obviously head-over-heels. (Like all game developers, I am an expert on romance. You can stop laughing, please.)

So yes, start as early as you can!


Ian Schreiber September 12, 2006 at 2:58 am

Hmm. I think you want to be educated about the industry first or else you’ll just get an “early” start on ruining your reputation :)

While looking for jobs does analogize well with romancing someone, I think the comparison breaks down here — you’re not feigning disinterest, you’re basically saying “wow, you’re a great girl and I’d LOVE to get to know you better, but right now you’re a Senior and I’m a Freshman and I realize it’d be socially awkward for you to date someone younger, but I’d like to be the kind of guy you’re looking for after you graduate and age isn’t an issue anymore.”

And I’m not entirely sure if a line like that would be really romantic, or creepy.

Angus McQuarrie September 7, 2008 at 6:07 pm

There’s also this sort of underlying assumption when talking to students that they ARE looking for a job, although perhaps not immediately, they will definitely be hard up for one shortly.

It doesn’t pull as much weight as you might think. This is one of those areas where asking about hiring does you badly, but not asking doesn’t really buy you much.

Lisa Zeise April 19, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I agree with the ‘romancing’ analogy but from slightly different angle. There are many comparisons to someone looking for a date and someone looking for a job. For example, many times students (or anyone for that matter) might go into a job interview with the notion that they frankly just need a job. Any job.

“I just want a job. I do not care who I work for. I will take any job at any game dev company, anywhere, and I will do anything. And I want to work for YOU.”

I say, let’s flip that into a ‘romance’ scenario:
“I just want a date. I do not care who I date. I will take any date, with anyone. I just need a date and I want to date YOU.”

In either case, the party on the other end needs to feel a bit more special than that… as Ian said, being educated about the industry/company and how you fit there will get you farther.

Edwin Gonzalez August 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I disagree with the comments by Ian and Angus. Networking does not mean asking for a job. All it is is the idea of getting one’s foot in the door. If you establish a social relationship with a potential employer, he now knows YOU, not Joe Somebody with the slightly impressive resume. He knows what YOU are like. How YOU interact. When it does come time to look for a job, and your resume pops up on that potential employer’s desk, he is going to see it and say “Hey, I know this guy! He seems like a pretty good guy. I want to give him an interview first.”

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