You’ve read our article about ways to get a job in the video games industry. Now you want to give it a try by starting work in a video games shop.
There is hundreds of game shops out there from the big boys like GAME, EB and Gamestop to your local independents. Whilst most game shops work in the same way, selling games, you’ll find huge differences between the big branded game shops and the independents.
Independents vary wildly in look, attitude and customers. Some can be dark dens hidden behind other shops that offer a huge choice of retro and import games to a limited clientele. Others are just like Gamestop only without the branding. The bigger companies tend to be identical throughout, with similar store layouts and products on offer. You may find they are more professional to work with, allow promotions within the company whilst at the same time being stricter to follow company policy.
You may have a harder time finding a job vacancy in an independent game shop. Most are run by the owner and run on the bare minimum of staff. They don’t often get full support from publishers so often can’t run promotions on games or get less stock, particular of big games. Customers will be regulars which can go one of two ways. 1. They may know exactly what they are after and be in and out with their purchase. You’ll just be ringing up sales. 2. They feel they know more than you and will spend every minute of their free time telling you about games. Great fun for 5 minutes, but after hearing how Final Fantasy 6 is better than Final Fantasy 7 or they prefer Time Crisis to Virtua Cop because the gun holds an extra bullet you will want to kill yourself.
You’ll also find these types of people in the bigger shops but expect to find mums with little to no knowledge about games, kids who think everything is awesome, teenagers who tell you how they pirate everything before picking up the latest GTA to people who just want to buy a game, chat for a bit and then leave with their new purchase. You’ll probably get more experience selling and talking about games in one of the bigger chains as you’ll get to try different jobs, meet reps more often and generally engage with more people and products.
Have a look around and see who you’d like to work for. There is no shame in working for Gamestop, EB or GAME, same way working at an independent retailer doesn’t make you better.
So you’ve decided you want to work at the local EB games or independent. What now. First thing to do is see if they have any jobs going. In your local independent you’ll most likely be speaking to the owner. Dress smart casual. You don’t want to be asking for a job in a suit or in your stained jeans. Ask politely if they have any jobs going as you really want to work in their games store. From there you’ll either be told no or to hand in a CV so they can find out a bit more about you.
Even if they don’t have any jobs going do pop in from time to time and hopefully if they remember you they’ll think of you first next time they are looking to hire.
If you wish to work for one of the larger chains there is two ways to do this. 1. Ask to speak to a manager. If you’re asked what it’s about say you wish to ask them if there are any job vacancy’s and hand your CV in. You’ll either have the manager bought to you to do just that or you may be told to just hand in your CV which will be passed onto the manager. Try to give your CV to the manager if possible as it means no one else will read your CV and hopefully a good first impression will be made. 2. More and more stores are centrally locating their recruitment. GAME and Gamestation in the UK have already started doing this. Phone up customer services and say you are looking for local store vacancy’s. You’ll be given a place to send your CV to or a website to submit your details.
But wait! Your CV will be the most important thing to start of with. Even if you are lucky to meet the manager face to face your CV is what he will ultimately judge you on. So what do you write about? How you play games all day? How you have completed Street Fighter 2 on the hardest difficulty? How you completed Zelda OoT in one 28 hour long marathon? No. These stores don’t want geeks or anti social people. They want sellers primarily. They’re job is to sell games and consoles and how you do that is important. First of all you must be friendly. If you can get on with others and are not shy you’ll go far. Being able to sell ice to an eskimo is equally important. If you can get someone who wants a generic racing game to buy one then you are doing a good job. Customers don’t want to hear the finer aspects of gear ratios in Gran tourismo. All they want to know is how awesome the game is and how they won’t regret their decision. Even if what they want isn’t the best choice. Finally knowledge. Actually most companies don’t care if you know that Sonic was first released in 1991 or that Nintendo was originally a playing card company. But knowledge can help you sell games. Someone comes in asking for a racing game that lets you shoot people? Offer them Wipeout or Twisted Metal, not Gran Tourismo.
If you know about accessories then even better as then you can upsell. Someone buying a controller? Don’t forget they will need the cradle, rechargeable battery pack and the plastic dust cover. Discuss on your CV how you can sell or have sold in the past. Talk about your hobbies playing snooker or playing in a band. If you come across as sociable and able to do the job on your CV you are part way there. Don’t lie though, there is nothing worse than a liar at an interview who gets caught out.
Check out our forthcoming part 3 for more tips and advice to blag your dream job of working in a games store..