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Portfolio Build & Tips: Communications

The video game industry can be a big and complex labyrinth, with varying skill trees to traverse but it’s not always all on the technical side. Contrary to popular belief, it takes many to create massive AAA video games and even more to support the incredibly talented teams that do so.

If you’re a writer at heart or are the life of the party (one which you might have organized overnight), there are dozens of interesting career paths and options at Ubisoft Singapore – one of which is Communications! We chat with Michael Lee (Studio Communications Manager) to get a full picture on what it takes to be a communicator in the video games industry.

Hosting our studio's recent 13th anniversary live stream

Tell us about yourself and what you do at Ubisoft Singapore.

Although I’ve been working in communications for over a decade, I actually don’t have a communications degree! I graduated as an Electrical Engineer, worked as a Civil Engineer for a little while, and had explored different industries and experiences. It’s been a joy of mine to collect as many varied life experiences as I can, to help me grow.

Having many an early 3am conversation with strangers while working as a bartender teaches you a few things about connecting with people. I did some of the teaching, tutoring English for a few years to support myself through school. I also rocked out as the lead guitarist in a small-time band, but on the other hand was a geeky executive at an Anime club I helped start. I’ve been the humble delivery driver, but also a business owner; the unassuming waiter at a Chinese takeaway, but also the business consultant “suit”.

However, it’s ultimately my love for words and technology led me to take up a career in communications. It’s the wide variety of experiences I’ve had in life that has probably helped the most when it comes to my role. One of the more important parts of the job is providing strategic counsel. It’s being able to make sound decisions, weighing up what we want to say, and making sure it comes across clearly. That starts with understanding audiences, factoring in what the issues of the day are, and having some degree of intuition to predict how that communication may play out in the future. Having more experiences and staying open minded helps to understand what people care about, empathize with them, and address issues that are important to them.

Internal events the communications team helps plan include this charity art auction

Share with us about the Comms team, culture and how the team works.

The Singapore studio communications team covers all things related to – you guessed it – our studio. While there are separate marketing and brand teams for each of the games we develop and we often work with them, our team is really focused on the studio and people behind those games. That means we help keep our 500+ team members stay up to date with what’s in store for them in the studio, tell their stories, organize events, provide training, but also make sure our studio contributes to the wider video game industry in the region.

We have three broad areas for studio communications: internal, external, and events. Although we work across different areas, none of it works if we don’t work together. That means we’re always transparent with each other, jump in when things get busy, make sure we allow others to rest, and respect each other’s differences. It always helps that we’re all communicators!

What do you look for in a talent?

Varied experience. Not necessarily experience only in communications topics, but life experience. With 30+ nationalities, our team members come from all walks of life. We might not be able to walk a mile in everyone’s shoes, but having varied experience helps us remain open minded and think about how we should communicate.

Friendliness. Friendliness is an underrated attribute, but critical when you might work with someone new for a short time. Communications is one of our Studio Operations teams that works with the most number of people. Can you make friends with someone in a completely different team, and leave them feeling good about working together again?

The communications team also helps plan and script internal video shoots

Are there any specific soft or hard skills a talent should possess?

Adaptability. While excellent communications skills should almost go without saying, it’s not enough to have a good foundation in English. Good communicators can write and find their own style. Great communicators can write, have their own style, and can adapt it according to what/who they need to communicate for.

Tact and the courage to call BS. Raising red flags, managing expectations, and being conscious of delicate circumstances – these are the minefields good communicators must navigate. It’s one thing to call BS, but another to do so with sincerity and tact that demonstrates genuine concern for everyone involved.

A consultative mindset. We ask more questions, seek out the why, try to understand the objectives at hand. We seek out alternatives, look for mutually beneficial compromises, all while asking the critical question: does this fit in with our values?

3-5 tips for a talent’s portfolio/interview when looking to join the team.

Tip 1: Put even more care into your resume.

It should be absolutely spotless. If it is riddled with poor grammar and typos, it reflects the effort a candidate puts in, even when they have something personal at stake. This applies doubly so in communications because it’s one of the few roles where your resume is an immediate demonstration of your ability to do the job. Treat it as your first audition and make it count!

Tip 2: Tell us how you slayed it, not what you did.

It can be tempting to list out your previous roles’ responsibilities, but if you’re a communications specialist, we are already going to know you likely wrote press releases, prepared decks, etc. Stand out by telling us what you did above and beyond the role.

Tip 3: Try, try again, but with one caveat.

If you’re unsuccessful at first, remember that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The next time you apply, show what you’ve done since.

Are you hiring?

We are! We’re currently recruiting for an Internal Communications Manager to help out with our focus on our team members. It’s a new role and we’re looking for someone who can help contribute to our strategy and planning for the studio itself. The role itself reports to the Studio Communications Manager (that’s me!) and is instrumental in creating long-term, comprehensive campaigns that inspire our team members to bring their very best to work every day, and keep them engaged and feeling appreciated.

Match all of the above and think you’d be a great fit? Apply to work with us!


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