WORKING THE NETWORK: AIE STUDENTS AND INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS
Two things lead AIE’s graduates to great jobs in the industry. One is the quality of their portfolio, and the other is who they know. While there are other factors, these are the two that pack a real punch in the job market.
A student with little industry experience builds a professional network the same way that one would eat an elephant---one bite at a time! Networking can seem a daunting task (“I don’t know anybody!), but it becomes less so by spending a little time on it everyday.
Start early by establishing your online profilesand practicing a little “digital hygiene” by eliminating posts, pictures, and links that you wouldn’t want splashing on a screen during an HR meeting.
AIE students should reach out to everyone! Fellow students, instructors, guest lecturers, AIE alumni, and well known people in the area. (Don’t know them personally? Write up a nice note explaining that you’re a fan of his or her work and you’d like to connect.) Don’t limit yourself to just your AIE campus either. We’re an international school.
Repost relevant articles, art, and images with some commentary of your own. Comment on and share posts from the gaming studios, film companies, and art houses you follow---because you’re following them all, right? Best of all, post your own original work. That will, by far, get you the most hits and interests.
Get your own website up and running. Create a brand and image for yourself that links between your online profiles, your business cards, and your letterhead. Update images to that steadily.
Show up IN REAL LIFE. There are game jams, meet-ups, events, showcases, release parties, and tournaments all over Seattle. Volunteer for them. Join the groups. Help other people. Get out, move it, and shake it!
All of these turn a student “nobody” into an industry “somebody.” And the process is incremental. Do a little bit of something every day, and at the end of a month, you’ll find you have done a lot.
What’s the first thing on your to-do list? Probably to make a to-do list! See? One thing done already.