How do I get a (creative) job in gaming in Las Vegas with 0 experience?
September 14, 2014 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I am moving to Las Vegas before the end of the year, and I'm looking for work. I'm a cartoonist/illustrator/visual story teller. I've applied for a few casino, and mobile gaming jobs, but have had no luck so far. I suspect that one of the primary sticking points is that I don't have industry experience, which is a qualification on every posting. I have spent most of my professional life in the production side of art, and now I'm trying to move into a more creative area. There are similar aspects, but it's not a 1:1 parallel. Is there a way to get this kind of experience, or comparable experience I might already have?
posted by hanzoschmanzo to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe set up shop in a public place somewhere, where you can do caricatures / cartoons on the spot? Have your résumé / business card ready in case a customer (or someone in the audience) is in a position to hire.
posted by alex1965 at 2:49 PM on September 14, 2014

Response by poster: If it would help, or is of any significance, you can see samples of my work in my profile.

@Alex: I'm not in Vegas yet. Not a very viable option at the moment.
posted by hanzoschmanzo at 6:17 PM on September 14, 2014

The economy in Las Vegas has sucked every since the 2008 collapse of the financial market and thus the tourism and housing industries. Long-time casino employees are still working at only 80% time/salary. Finding a job as a newcomer to Las Vegas is very, very difficult now.

Do you *have* to move there? It's really not the best time.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:19 PM on September 14, 2014

I can't speak to gaming specifically, but there are a bunch of things to think about generally when trying to move into a specific creative sector. I'd start by evaluating the feasibility first and analyzing where your strengths are.

From my perspective, I try to evaluate the following in order to move into a specific creative industry:

IDEAL: You have a portfolio showing a ton of work in that specific sector. Can be from full time or freelance gigs. Employers LOVE to not have to imagine how your creativity will translate to their jobs. If they're looking for a sign painter, they want to see sign painting in your portfolio.
LESS IDEAL: You have some work in that sector, but can demonstrate an overall passion for that subject and your other work makes up for it.
EVEN LESS IDEAL: You have no work in that sector, but your portfolio overall is excellent and broad and demonstrates and ability to be flexible creatively.
NOT IDEAL: No work in that sector, with a limited portfolio

IDEAL: You have many strong connections in that industry.
LESS IDEAL: You have some secondary connections who could introduce you to people in that sector.
NOT IDEAL: You have a weak network, and no connections in that sector.

Talent Saturation
IDEAL: The sector requires a highly specialized talent that very few people have.
NOT IDEAL: Many people have this talent, and most jobs are taken.

I'd try to honestly evaluate myself and the target sector on the above metrics (and including Jacqueline's point above, evaluate the geographic region). If one of the above is falling short, your chances could theoretically be bolstered by the other two if they are strong. If overall the above leaves your chances weaker than you'd like, this can be ameliorated by attempting the following:

Target Small, Startup Companies
This could help you grow your portfolio and network in that sector and eventually you could hop over to a larger, more lucrative position with a larger company.

Open Your Search to Companies Anywhere Geographically
Find clients in that sector who will hire you remotely on a freelance basis. Not narrowing your search to a geographic region broadens your chances of getting work. Getting work increases the strength of your portfolio and network.

Demonstrate a Passion in that Sector
Try to take on freelance or volunteer gigs in that area, or build something yourself that demonstrates your passion.

Find a Leapfrog Connection to that Sector
Is there an industry that is highly connected to your target industry? If you open up your job search to that tangentially-connected industry, you can strengthen your potential network connections to your target industry.

Find Someone With the Job You Want
People can be surprisingly helpful if you are nice and humble. Can you find someone on LinkedIn who has the job you want? Send them a kind, polite email asking if they would mind if you could ask them a few questions via email. Ask them how they got their job and what tips they might have for breaking into that industry. If they seem especially willing to help, you could ask if they might have time to evaluate your work and experience to give you suggestions to help you land a gig.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 7:58 PM on September 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

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