Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Why Animation Recruiters Live on LinkedIn

VIEW panel. From left: Amy Smith, Giorgio Xhaxho, Alex Williams, Tiffany Feeney, Angie Wojak

What do Animation recruiters look for from recent graduates?  How do they find fresh talent? At last week's VIEW conference in Turin I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts (SVA). Also on the panel were two recruiters, Amy Smith from Framestore and Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.  Both of them had a lot to say on the subject of student demo reels. But most of all, it turns out that recruiters want one thing from animation graduates...

Be on Linkedin
Both Amy and Tiffany stressed the importance of students and recent graduates being on Linkedin. As Tiffany put it: "I live on Linkedin". Linkedin is where recruiters go to find talent, and find out what talent is now available - or will be available soon.  Above all, Linkedin is "your brand", and you should treat it seriously.

Make your profile up to date
Most importantly - you should regularly update your status. For recruiters, availability of talent is key. Are you looking for work right now, in a month's time, or three months? If you are looking for work, make sure you say you are available. If you know you will be free in a couple of months, say so.  Recruiters are often looking for talent to begin work on a project a few months down the road. It helps them a lot if your Linkedin profile states when you are likely to be free.

Are you available? If so, say so
Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter; their job is to build a roster of available talent, or soon-to-be-available talent, for their clients. The only talent they are interested in is people who are, or soon will be, available for hire.  Everything else is just white noise. Your status at Linkedin should say that you are "available for work" or, if your contract is coming to an end, "available work from 1st November" (or whatever).

Be easy to find
Both Amy and Tiffany expressed frustration about how difficult it can be to contact talent. High on their list of irritations was password-protected demo reels (don't!), and websites with no contact details or email address. Be easy to find - don't make recruiters work hard to track you down. Your contact details should be at the front and the back of your demo reel.

How much are you worth?
Recent graduates often struggle to know how much money to ask for from an entry level job. Tiffany recommended to compare pay rates from city to city.

She and Amy also mentioned, which gives information on what companies pay. The advantage of this is, when you know what the going rate is for a job, you know what is a reasonable salary to ask for.

Tiffany also recommended being on (which styles itself the "invite-only community for people in Film & TV, Games & AR/VR"), which she described as "Linkedin for the VFX Industry".

LinkedIn Checklist

  • Be on LinkedIn
  • Make sure your latest demo reel is clearly visible and easy to find from LinkedIn. Remember, studios hire on the strength of your reel. 
  • Connect to all the animation recruiters you can find. They will connect with you. 
  • Make your LinkedIn profile attractive - design your own custom banner that brands you as an artist - don't use the default blue background.
  • If you are available for work, say so. Your profile should say "3D animator - available for work". 
To see how to embed your demo reel at LinkedIn, read this blog post.

To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

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