A visit at the MIGS career fair.

Header with grass and MIGS logo

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (November 13th and 14th 2012) was MIGS. MIGS stands for Montreal International Game Summit, or Sommet International du Jeu de Montréal in French. MIGS exists since 2004 and it’s now the center of a 4 days events that also includes web and mobile segments. It’s basically  a big game conference with several tracks of lectures and panels, an exhibition area, a business lounge (for the suits to do deals in) and parties.

I went to MIGS in 2007 as a volunteer because I was a freelancer and couldn’t really afford the tickets. I wrote briefly about the experience here MIGS (Montreal International Game Summit) part 1 and here MIGS (Montreal International Game Summit) part 2 .

This year I only went on one afternoon because I was not a regular attendee, I was chosen to attend the Career Fair. How does that work. Well there was a large room at the conference venue (this year it was the Bonaventure Hilton) filled with booths from different companies, a small art show and at the back a stage and folding chairs. There were talks about career oriented subjects there and the seats did fill up. Regular attendees (the ones who had paying passes) could always attend the fair but to be chosen specifically for the Career Fair (for free) you had to have a suitable background and send in your resume and portfolio. A maximum of 300 people were chosen and allowed to get in there and meet the representatives of the different studios. When I got in line, I heard from the organizer that they were expecting around 250 people.

I showed up with an up-to-date portfolio, a pile of leave behinds (4″x6″ glossy photos of my art and business cards) and a stack of resumes in English and French and my confirmation letter. I was early and was lucky to be at the beginning of the line so when I entered many booths were still free of visitors.

Here are the highlights of my visit:

  • I got to meet with people I know from previous studios I worked at, catch up and spread the word that I’m looking for work. Many of them have also moved on to new studios since, that makes my network wider. In fact, someone suggested I go back to work with them. I might take up that offer.
  • I also scored a bunch of business cards with the name of the HR person and their direct e-mail (not jobs@gameco.com) and I left at least 8 c.v.’s and a handful of leave behind images. They are glossy and I had the HR person go WOW just in front of me. It might ring a bell when I contact them again. I have written on the backs of the cards notes about the companies including action items (contact next week, not looking now, maybe in Jan etc.)
  • And last but not least I got two awesome and extended portfolio reviews, one of which was very positive (the person said I should contact them again when I have added something specific to my portfolio)  and now I have very precise things I know I have to address.

I was exhausted afterwards but it was well worth it.  I you plan to attend an industry event, here are my advice:

  • Make sure your portfolio is up to date and features only things you want to do, and only your best pieces.
  • Whether you get to talk to the head or HR or a PR person or just a random employee who volunteered to give a hand, be nice and polite and thank them for their time.
  • Try to find the business card of the specific person you talked to if they are an HR professional. The second best is the card of an HR professional even if you didn’t talk to them, but with their own e-mail address.
  • If you have space and time, take notes on the business cards right away. Things that will help you remember who they were, what they were looking for and the reaction they had to your work. If you can’t, do it as soon as you can after the event. You think you will remember everything. but you won’t.
  • When you find someone who has the type of background to give your resume or portfolio a review, ask them politely if they can do it. Don’t argue with them and respect the fact that they don’t have to do that for you. If you think they misunderstood completely something, tell them what you were trying to accomplish and ask them what they suggest instead of what you have right now. Thank them for their time.
  • Do I have to mention that you should think of the first impression you are going to give? Wear clean clothes, have unwrinkled c.v. ready to go, have a portfolio that doesn’t fall apart.
  • That’s it.

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