Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Do Animators Need a Great CV?

Source: Wikipedia
CV stands for Curriculum Vitae - in Latin: "the story of your life". In the USA it is known as a résumé. Whatever the name, its purpose is to summarise your education, life history and skills as clearly and concisely as possible, and to put the best possible gloss on your achievements.  Employers will expect one, so it's worth spending some time on it to get it right. And yes, even animators need a CV. Your demo reel may be your main calling card, but your CV still matters. The good news is this: once you've done it, all you need do is edit it periodically and update it.  Below are the Six Rules for creating a great CV or resume.

Rule 1: Find a good CV that you like, and copy it.

Don't start from scratch. Use someone else's CV - preferably one that you admire - as a template, and adapt it. Don't try to re-invent the wheel. Adapt it for your own purposes.

Rule 2: Keep it short. 

No-one wants to read anything longer than 2 pages. Employers will probably scan the highlights of your CV rather than actually read it thoroughly, so keep it short and punchy.

Your CV must be well targeted at the job for which you are applying. Photo: Wikipedia

Rule 3: Edit your CV for each job you apply for.

This bit is super important. Just like your animation and visual effects demo reel, your CV should be directly relevant to the job you are applying for.  Edit out anything that doesn't support your job application. Scout merit badges are not relevant for visual effects work.
Rule 4: Add a personal statement at the front

Add a brief statement at the front, saying what your goals are. Again, keep it short.

Not that kind of referee. Photo: Wikipedia
Rule 5: Add a referee 

At the bottom of your CV, add two references available upon request. What is a referee? A referee is someone who can vouch for you, speak honestly on your behalf and recommend you for a job. Referees can be course tutors, or former employers - anyone who can speak to your skill and good character. Typically, you add their name and contact details to your CV. You can also get them to write an open letter - "To Whom It May Concern" - on their behalf. Don't be shy to ask; academics and teachers in particular are used to these requests. It is part of their job.

Always write a letter. Image: Wikipedia

Rule 6: Always send in a cover letter.

CVs seldom travel alone. They are usually accompanied by a cover letter, addressed to your (hopefully) future employer, saying what the job is you are applying for and why you think you are suitable for it. Cover letters should short and to the point. Don't gush, grovel, or go on too long. Why is it necessary to write a letter? because it shows you are serious, and you really want the job. It shows that you can be bothered to make an effort.


To sign up for our September classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link. For more information on finding work and surviving in the animation and visual effects business, read our post on how to find a job in the animation industry, and check out our post about what not to do at a job interview. Also see our post on starting your own small animation business, learn how to create an invoice, and see how we are helping our students find work through our film co-operative Nano Films.  Download the free Escape Studios Careers in VFX Handbook. Take a look at how awn.com can help you find a job, and read our piece about how to survive as a freelance animator. Also, find out what Cinesite look for in a student's demo reel, and read our post on setting up your own animation business. Also see our post about freelancers and taxes 

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