As a founder of two mobile gaming companies, I've done a lot of team building and hiring for all kinds of roles over the years, including designers, producers, project managers and developers. Of course there is no guaranteed formula for success for jobseekers, but the following qualities are what I've learned to look for in order to identify the best and brightest candidates. To the extent that you can demonstrate these, you'll vastly improve your odds of landing the job of your dreams.
Proving to a potential employer that you're smart is not an obvious task. Certainly your ability and desire to learn and adapt quickly are key, as are your abilities to identify problems and opportunities and resolve them effectively. Specific, relevant examples demonstrating your ability to problem-solve will go a long way in proving just how smart you really are. Gleaning some piece of meaningful insight from an analytics report, or even identifying and troubleshooting a particularly tricky bug are both great examples of this.
How much do you really care about the industry you work in, or want to break into? Loving what you do can drive you to excel, and any evidence of this that you can demonstrate will reflect very well on your motivation and desire to succeed. Passion can take many forms: staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the game industry, actively blogging on industry topics, or attending informal meetups or gatherings of industry professionals. Also, spending some time outside of work on related personal, group or open source projects, even if they are more experiments than anything else. Even discussing your personal gaming preferences and achievements - like when you stayed up for 48 hours straight playing Call of Duty - can help convey your passion for the industry. Find ways to demonstrate your thirst to learn, grow and excel.
A very important quality that has less to do with you individually is your ability to work and thrive as part of a team. This is often overlooked by candidates, as people tend to focus on individual achievements; but being part of a winning team is an accomplishment in itself, and can tell a manager that you can recognize success and know what it takes to get there.
Ultimately it all comes down to this. Are you capable of getting done what needs to be done? Meeting deadlines and living up to expectations are just the starting the point. The real question is, do you drive things to completion? A manager wants to know that you don't need to be micromanaged, but that you can take initiative on your own, as needed, to see a project through. Give specific examples of instances, no matter how small, when you’ve recognized a problem or opportunity, stepped up and acted effectively.
If you can demonstrate these four qualities in your cover letter, resume, interview, and sample projects, potential employers are bound to notice. And here’s a bonus tip: mobile game developers are in demand right now, especially those with experience in HTML5. Be sure to list any development experience you have on your resume, and be as specific as possible.