Thanks for the love in this thread.
I use to be a sourcer/recruiter for a 3rd party agency. I would be careful about working with a recruiting agency. Many agencies do not understand art and will throw your resume/portfolio to companies that have an open position that matches your interest. I do think 3rd party agencies are helpful if you are an art director, art manager, a lead or an award winning artist. Agencies tent to focus on engineering since that is not a subjective profession (or at least the spectrum is not as wide). Many agencies will say that their is no cost to you and they only get paid by the company if you get hired. While this is true, this may still cost you a job for multiple reasons. For instance, say you have 2 years of experience and a recruiting agency sent your information to a company for review. Even if they like your work, they may not hire you because they would have to pay a % fee for someone that is potentially considered an associate artist. Here is the kicker, if that game company hires you within a year (some contracts may be longer or shorter), the game company will still have to pay that % fee to the recruiting agency. This is why you should only work with a trusted recruiter who will not spam your resume to every company they know.
My recommendation is to do this yourself at this stage in your career. You should take the act of looking for a job as a full time job. Do your own research on different companies. What are you looking for? Is it location? A company that makes games you like? A studio that is stable? All of the above? Also, make sure you have artwork that is relevant for the company that you apply to. Don't send a WW2 tank model to Blizzard Entertainment for example. Try and match the style and content that the company is working on. This is almost like taking a test for the company without getting an official art test. This will also show the hiring manager(s) that you are really interested in the company.
You should also enter contests and continue to post art work on various forums. Who knows, someone may contact you.
Last edited by parasite7; 02-23-2012 at 02:13 PM..