When it comes to applying for animation jobs, it can be tempting to think that you don’t really have to bother with a CV because your demo reel and portfolio will do all the hard work for you – but that’s not necessarily true.
Potential employers will always want to know what your work history is, what skills you actually have (which aren’t necessarily easy to pick out on your reel/portfolio) and what names you’ve worked for/with before – and this is where your CV comes in.
To give you a bit of guidance, on this page we’ve listed our top Dos and Don’ts for animation CVs.
*If you are looking for a new animator job, don’t forget to check out our job board to see what vacancies are currently up for grabs*
No matter where you are in your animation career, it’s definitely worth naming some of major projects you’ve worked on, who you worked with/for and what processes/techniques you used to complete the project. Why? Because this is the kind of information an employer will be looking for on your CV – and this is what will determine if you’re really the right fit for the job. Don’t forget; if you’re worried that you can’t fit all the key info on your CV, you can always point an employer to the relevant section in your portfolio – for example, “You can see examples of this project on page 8 of my portfolio”. This will not only help to tie your application together, but it should also help to tempt an employer into looking at your portfolio, which could help to swing you an interview.
List Key Skills/Programs:
On your animation CV, it’s always worth naming all of your key skills and techniques and any programs you’re familiar with, even if they’re really obvious. This is because there’s a chance your animation CV could end up on a CV database (particularly if you apply for a vacancy via a jobs board) – so you need to ensure all of the keywords an employer might search for are listed. Not sure what we mean? Well things like Adobe Creative Suite, Maya, 3D Studio Max, Flash, Lightwave and Cinema 4D are all animation CV essentials right now – so if you have experience with all or some of them, they’re definitely worth including on your CV.
Include A Sample Sheet:
In addition to your CV, cover letter, portfolio and demo reel, it can also be a good idea to include a simple sample sheet. This is just a one page sheet which includes small snapshots of your best animation work – a bit like a mini-mini portfolio. When creating your animation sample sheet, it’s a good idea to try and keep the design consistent with the rest of your application and to choose either one image or a few for each project (whichever you choose, you need to ensure this approach is consistent for every project you include).
Go Too OTT:
While it’s OK to be a bit creative with your animator CV (you’re an artist after all!), you need to be careful not to go too OTT and distract from the actual content of your CV. Don’t forget; your portfolio and demo reel will be full of creativity – so there’s no harm in dialling it back a bit on your actual CV and letting your skills and experience do all the talking. As we mentioned before, it can be nice to tie all of the different elements of your application together – so it could be worth choosing one particular design element that’s present on your portfolio and/or demo reel and incorporating this into your CV or cover letter too.
Forget To Demonstrate Your Personality:
While your animation CV is there to give employers an insight into who you are as a professional animator overall, it’s also there to give employers an insight into who you are as an individual – so you need to make sure your personality shines through in your personal profile (if you include one) and your hobbies. Why? Because this could be what sets you apart from other candidates. For instance, if you’re looking to get into games animation and you don’t have any experience but you’re a massive fan of titles like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty or The Sims and you always take a day off to attend FMX every year, that extra dedication and passion for the industry could be just what an employer is looking for.
Have Vague Objectives:
The animation industry is an extremely competitive one – so it’s important to make sure that you have clear objectives outlined on your animation CV regarding the industry that you’re hoping to work in eg. stop motion, 3D animation or traditional animation and the type of company you’re looking to work for. Again, this helps an employer to get a clear impression of who you are as a candidate and where you’re looking to go in your career – and should mean that you’re not contacted about any irrelevant jobs should an employer choose to keep your CV on file.