The Into Games mentorship programme links mentees with a games industry professional with the aim of building up their confidence, skills, and network to eventually better access a career in the games sector. We are immensely proud of the programme and we love hearing from both mentors and mentees about their experience. In this new article series, we aim to highlight some of our favourite stories of mentees going on to get their first games industry job thanks to the guidance they have gained from their mentor.
Rachel was mentored by Junior Game Designer Venezia from Mojiworks and she has recently secured her first games job as a Junior Environment Artist. Both were kind enough to answer some questions about their experience...
What made you apply to the Into Games mentorship programme?
Rachel: I found out about the Into Games mentorship just a few months before I finished university. I knew my portfolio wasn't up to an industry level standard and I didn't feel confident in my skills. The programme really appealed to me because I felt like I needed to get the advice of someone who is currently working in games. Sending cold emails to game artists wasn't something I was comfortable with, so knowing that a mentor had volunteered their time just for this made me feel way more comfortable!
Venezia: Ever since I can remember I have adored video games. They have been my greatest passion since childhood and inspired me to pursue game design as a career. Landing my first job was challenging, but once it happened it felt like my wildest dreams came true. I was completely overjoyed and I knew I wanted to help others experience the same sense of fulfilment. I became an Into Games mentor because I wanted to help young people achieve their goals and because I believed we could help make the games industry more accessible through initiatives like this.
How did you work with your mentor/mentee and what was the experience like?
Rachel: We discussed things over direct messages on Slack. This worked well for us because we both had busy and varied schedules. It involved me mostly asking questions and showing Venezia any progress I'd made in my portfolio, CV, and cover letters. She also pointed me in the direction of job openings and helped me tailor my applications to them!
Venezia is amazing to work with. She was very knowledgeable and kind, I never felt like a bother asking her questions. She gave really helpful feedback when it came to my resume and how to apply to jobs as well. I honestly think I learned more about how to really sell myself for a role from Venezia in a few weeks than I ever did at university.
Venezia: Rachel and I had lots of chats and discussions through Slack, which primarily consisted of feedback sessions on her work. We reviewed her CV and Cover Letter together, we even collaborated on Google Docs which made the process quite smooth. In addition to that, we had a portfolio review discussion and I aimed to provide Rachel with feedback that would push her work even further.
Working with Rachel was brilliant and the overall experience felt incredibly rewarding. She is an exceptionally talented and resilient individual who is constantly looking for different ways to perfect her craft. My main role was to give Rachel guidance on how to manoeuvre the application progress and to help give her a little bit of extra confidence. I think everybody needs someone to unconditionally believe in their potential.
How do you think the mentorship helped in landing your job?
Rachel: Thinking back on how I acted before and after the mentorship, it gave me so much more confidence in myself and my own abilities. Venezia helped me break down my problems into manageable chunks so that I could keep improving every day! I believed in myself enough to accept the job offer, where as before I wouldn't have had enough faith in my skills to accept. It's hard to believe that prior to the mentorship, I was considering giving up on games development entirely!
Venezia: Rachel had some brilliant work on her portfolio, however, I think that through the mentorship programme we were able to find the best way to show off her strengths. Going through her application materials, we were able to collaboratively bring the spotlight on what made her special and give that extra level of polish to everything she was submitting. Sharing my personal experiences of applying within the industry, I hoped to prepare her for what to expect at different stages of the application and interview process. I hope that having some of that prior knowledge helped Rachel feel more prepared and confident during those crucial phases.
Would you recommend the Into Games mentorship programme?
Rachel: Absolutely! Even if you think you know everything about working in games or have the most amazing skills, you'll definitely learn so much by working with a mentor. Not only that but you can also get in touch with other mentees and mentors if you have any questions outside of your mentor's experience, and they're always pointing us in the direction of great resources and game jams!
Venezia: I would absolutely recommend the mentorship programme. The online format of the programme is incredibly convenient because it allowed me to answer any questions and concerns in my own time and without disrupting any other development work.
What kind of person do you think our programme would suit?
Rachel: If you're looking at a future in game development, but don't know where to start about getting a job or applying to uni, this mentorship would probably suit you! Since this year's mentorships were online, it would also be great if you live on an area where you normally can't find support for technology-related careers.
Venezia: If you are someone who is passionate about helping young people chase their dreams and getting more diverse talent into the game industry, then you should definitely come on board. The programme would really suit any game development professional who is keen to get to know their mentees and to be a part of their professional growth.