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How to Make an Animation Resume: Is it Different?

ben marvazi 2020

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You know you’re a great animator, with skills to reckon with! 

But, how do you convince a potential employer or client that you have what it takes to make the best animations for their needs? 

With a smashing animation resume, that’s how! 

What is an Animation Resume? A Resume for Animators?

curious dog says "what?" as he wonders what's an animation resume

GIF by The Nebraska Humane Society via GIPHY

Your animation resume is usually your first introduction to a potential employer or a prospective client if you’re on a freelance journey. More than just that though, your resume is a showcase of what you are capable of as an animator. 

Your animation resume is also a physical and digital display of who you are as a person, the multitude of skills and accolades you have developed, and the tasks you are capable of. 

Think of your animation resume as a display of not just past skills, but also your ability to organize your skills into a functional display. 

After all, a well-organized animation resume shows a well-organized mind, and a well-organized mind capable of creating interesting animations is very attractive to an employer. 

Animation resumes exist in two forms, and we will discuss each in this blog. 

It is worth it to put effort into both types of resumes, as you’ll see a little later. 

1. Written Animation Resume 

A written animation resume is much the same as a standard resume for most industries. They are fairly easy to create and most people have one, even your granny made one at some stage! 

A written animation resume should not be the primary form of information you send out to potential animation employers, but it is an important written representation of your previous work, experiences, and education. 

2. Visual animation resume AKA: The Demo Reel!

Creatives gotta create! 

A demo reel is a visual display of your work history and experience. 

But, more than that, a demo reel is your first chance to express to your employers your unique style and creative flair in video form! 

You are creating a narrative to tell an exciting story about your work and experiences. 

How is an Animation Resume Different From a Regular Resume? 

An animation resume, freelance or otherwise, is incredibly industry-specific. It is paramount that you highlight your niche skills as they relate to the specific work you are applying for, especially if you are targeting a certain animation niche. 

So, if you’re wanting to get into CGI, your animation resume filled with your college hand-drawn doodles won’t cut it. 

The skills you have attained and your work experience in the animation industry can be far more important than the school you went to. Emphasize your skills and experiences in your animation resume, and highlight special talents and elements of your style that make you unique. 

The best part of an animation resume, however, is that you can make it interactive! 

You should make your demo reel exciting and tell a good story with it. 

You're creative and your resume should reflect that! 

Lights, camera, let’s make a demo reel! 

Your Visual Animation Resume: The Animated CV of the Future!  

an animated CV shown to be launching off the ground much like your animation career!

GIF by via GIPHY

All the work you do is virtual and visual, and your animation resume should be too! 

Be sure to create a narrative with your demo reel, so that it has flow and a cohesive story attached to it. Using programs like Prezi or Loom to make your demo reel is a great help. These video-creation programs and websites are designed to help you make eye-catching visual resumes that pop!

Your animation demo reel should evolve with you, and change as you change. You may adore the gifs you made for your animation student resume, but your newest and most inspired work will probably be the most relevant to the work you are applying for. 

In the same way as your written work experience should be listed chronologically, so should your demo reel, from your most current work backward. 

As the old saying goes, keep it simple!

Include some script in your demo reel highlighting what you did for each section of the reel (lighting, effects, etc.) but keep the script short and clear, you don’t want it to overpopulate the visual elements of the reel itself. 

It’s also a smart idea to include links to your written resume in your demo reel and vice versa for your written resume! 

Finally, put your demo reel and written resume online! You know you’re searching everything on the net these days, and your employer is too! Help a prospective employer find your work by publishing it and sharing links wherever you can. 

Building your Niche Animation Demo Reel

Building a generalized demo reel that highlights the vast range of skills you have developed as an animator is a marvelous idea for finding a variety of work in the animation industry. 

But, if you are looking for work in specialized animation niches, you need to create a demo reel that displays your skills in that particular animation niche. You wouldn’t create a 2D animation resume if you were looking for work in 3D animation, you know? 

When you are looking to build a niche animation resume, start by looking at what skills and capabilities jobs are asking for, and design your resume based on that. 

Again, chronology is important here. But, it is more important that you put your best work, instead of your newest, first. Employers have very limited time and you need to catch their attention early. 

How to Write a Freelance Animator Resume 

a man looking at his animation resume

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Ah yes, the old animation cv, copy-pasted a thousand times over half a generation of aspiring animators. 

But not yours! 

A written resume should contain all the personal information important for your success, yes, but it does not need to be dry! There are thousands and thousands of animation CVs and resume templates out there for budding and experienced animators to choose from. 

Remember to keep it fresh, adjust any template you use to suit your needs, and express your creative style! 

Below is an animation resume template that we created for you, showing you all the bits and pieces you need to include. 

Harry Hartford 

BOSTON, ST 12345
(123) 456-7890

- 3D Animation
- Hand Drawing 
- Storytelling 
- Marketing and advertising 

Work Experience
Jan  2020 - PRESENT
Triggerfish, Cape Town - effects and lighting 
- Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 
- Aenean ac interdum nisi. Sed in consequat mi.
- Sed in consequat mi, sed pulvinar lacinia felis eu finibus.

JAN  2018 - DECEMBER 2019
Dream Big, Jakarta- Lighting assistant 
- Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 
- Aenean ac interdum nisi. Sed in consequat mi. 

Jan  2015 - Dec 2018
Bachelor of Arts, Millennium Arts Academy - B. A Art and animation 

Dec 2019 - Feb 2020
Animation Accelerator Program, Business of Animation 

- Most promising digital effects animator - Millenium Arts Academy 

Demo Reel and Social Media Links
- You can add these in as you get them 

Writing Key Skills and Work Experience into your Animation Resume; What’s the Deal?

"whats the deal" with writing key skills and work experience in an animation resume

GIF by Paramount+ via GIPHY

The key skills section of your animation resume is your chance to highlight your most desirable animation skills and competencies in short, easy-to-read bullet points. Modesty is not a key skill, so while honesty is important, back your skills here and list them! 

Key skills range from computer literacy to Maya competency to the ability to work well under pressure. Take a good look at what you’re good at and list these with some pride. 

The work experience section of your resume is where you expand on the key skills you listed above. Take time to include the details of the specifics of each job you worked on, as employers are often looking for specific skills for particular jobs.  

As always, put your most recent jobs first and work backward from there. 

(It’s probably not necessary to include the burger-flipping job you had in high school though) 

Experience truly is everything. Where you obtained your animation skills is often far less important to animation houses than the actual skills you possess to complete the job at hand. 

Want a hand bettering those animation skills? Take a look at our Animation Accelerator Program to up your game!

A Few Helpful Tips for your Written Animation Resume: 

  • Specialize your animation resume for niche animation work.

Consider making specific resumes for each skill you want to display for specific niches. Create an entirely separate 2D and 3D animation resume, and send them out to potential work that is looking for those specific skills. 

  • Keep it simple! 

Use well-formed sentences that are easy to read and succinct, but avoid the temptation to use overly complicated language. Bigger animation studios employ Hiring Managers to take charge of your initial application process, and there is a high likelihood they are not animators themselves. 

With this in mind, adjust your language so that it is understood by a layperson as well as a highly-skilled animator. Don’t be afraid of jargon though, it aligns you with the skills the animation studio is looking for. No jibber-jabber though, keep your animation resume as short and sharp as you can. 

  • Make your resume as easy to read as possible: 

White space is vital to making your resume legible. Clearly defining sections of your animation resume with bold headings allows the eye to skim easily and pick out useful or pertinent information. Use scannable fonts that are easy to discern at a glance and from a reasonable distance. 

And, wherever possible, use numbers and statistics to quantify your accolades and achievements. 

  • Attach your links! 

Attach your written resume to the funky and complimentary demo reel you have created, and attach a link to the same demo reel onto your written resume. 

Remember though that these two resumes should complement each other in terms of style and information. The more niche the one, the more niche the other will need to be too. 

Get your GOAT with a Freelance Animator Resume! 

Your animation resume is your chance to back yourself!  If you have confidence in yourself and your skillset, it will show through in your resumes. 

An animation resume is a dynamic, evolving portfolio of work that should develop as you do. See it as an extension of your capabilities, a visual representation of all the hard work you have put into developing yourself as an animator. 

You will have many iterations of your resume as you develop as an animator. The student animation resume you make in college will more than likely look very little like the one you make in your 40s, and that is A-ok! 

In fact, it’s what you want! You are learning and growing all the time, your work is changing and so are your desires, and a fluid resume should be able to reflect that. 

If ever you feel like your skills need some refreshing, or maybe you feel you’ve missed an important step along the way you can learn more about the business side of animation and how to better price your work, by joining Business of Animation’s Accelerator Program

Finally, don’t forget to take a look at our free masterclass and download our free marketing handbook.

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