Working at Nintendo can be the lifelong dream for any student who has grown up with its iconic consoles and legendary characters. However, as fun as office gaming competitions can be, it can be equally as competitive to start working at Nintendo, with over 11,000 applicants a year. Nintendo is known for being one the best paying companies in the gaming industry, however unlike other companies, they don’t have a formal internship program. While this may prevent you from seeing Nintendo representatives at, let’s say, your university career fair, it doesn’t mean there aren’t internship opportunities available.
Let’s discuss what Nintendo looks for and how you can improve your application to start working there.
What Nintendo Looks For
Nintendo internships can be a mixed bag. While some are open to all types of students, some may require the student to be a senior in order to apply. However, all of them prefer a familiarity with game development or Nintendo's products (which you would probably have anyways if you want to apply). They are also looking for people who share the same passions and align with company culture, which makes sense in such a globally connected company.
Working at a company that’s one of the leading forces in game console creation also means you will need to know the latest in tech innovations and culture. Taking courses in UX design or computer science gives you exposure to useful on-the-job skills such as 3D art or coding, even if they aren’t the fields you want to intern in. Unlike other video game companies, Nintendo products have a “shared universe” through games like Super Smash, so experience in a variety of skills can be very useful. Even if you’re working on a small project or a singular game, you will probably collaborate with different teams to coordinate plans and product designs to fit the brand.
Building Your Application
Just like with other competitive internships, getting your application to be noticed requires a bit of creativity. Some individuals have created (very cool!) interactive resumes showing their coding prowess, as well as their passion for Nintendo products. Others have created a Mario-themed CV by using similar fonts and designs. No matter how you do it, the most important thing is to show your passion and your unique skills, all in one.
Since the internship positions are already so limited, Nintendo usually prefers people with a bit of experience under their belts. Whether it’s through previous internships or personal projects, showing your experience through a portfolio helps you become more attractive as a candidate. When you finally find an internship that you want to apply for, note the types of tools and skills the job description details and focus your portfolio based on them. Try to learn skills within various tools used industry-wide, such as Adobe Creative or Google Analytics, that can be helpful in a variety of fields. Even if you are majoring in a specific field, there are tons of unique opportunities within the company that students may not even know about, so make sure to have an application that seems open to any type of role within your experiences.
Networking with Staff
Networking is one of the most important things you can do if you want to be a Nintendo intern. Since the company doesn’t really attend career fairs or university programs, a lot of students don’t even know Nintendo even has internships. The company is also pretty small, location-wise, with most U.S. roles being based at a physical office in Redmond, WA. Therefore, your best bet is to reach out to university alumni or current employees on LinkedIn.
When you do connect with staff, politely ask them about their experiences and what they think Nintendo looks for in interns. The descriptions for each internship application are kept pretty vague, so these short “coffee-chats” can be amazing resources to see exactly what the company is looking for. These insights can be especially useful in making sure your resume has the right keywords to get past ATS.
No matter what part of the application process you’re on, always make sure to highlight your unique experiences and skills. Because of just how popular Nintendo is for all ages, it looks for diversity in its employees. Use your experiences to create new ideas for innovations. For example, if you’re a first-generation student, in your interview, you can give ideas on how to market to immigrant families. By incorporating technical skills as well as soft skills through your application and interviews, you can get an attractive application that brings your unique perspective to Nintendo.
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