Getting a job in Animation
July 28, 2003
Here at Toon Doctor, we receive many r®sum®s every week. Of those r®sum®s, only 10% ever grab our attention. We doubt that people lack talent or experience-although some clearly do. The problem is the presentation. We hope the information given here, will help you find a job at Toon Doctor ® or any other animation studio or company of your dreams.
1-When you look up a job posting on a job board, never just forward your information. Always check the company first. For example, on our web site we clearly state that we don't want people to tell us to check their web sites. Yet 95% of the r®sum®s we get ask us to check their web site, to find out more.
2-Always get to the point. We receive many r®sum®s with no subject and often no introduction. All they have, are attachments. Currently, we send email messages with no clear subjects and information on the sender to the spam and potential virus/Trojan attack's folder. They don't stand a chance.
3-When sending your r®sum®, please, do not forward it with the other 50 companies you intended to target for the day. That's a killer. If you can't take the time to send a separate message to each company you want to work for, then that means that you are sloppy and don't care. Companies don't hire sloppy people who don't care.
4-Limit the size of attachments. Some people think it's ok to send three Mb's worth of material within an email. Most email servers block such messages. Second, they jam the receiver's box. Not all people are connected to a high speed connection, especially when working with laptops that they plug everywhere.
5-If you send attachments, make sure they are worth the receiver's time. Most of the time, people will not limit their attachment to their best material. They will send copies of every doodle produced in the last five years. If the stuff is not good enough, don't send it. It usually devalues whatever good stuff there was.
6-Don't tell us about your family. The number of r®sum®s sent that start with "I have three children" is staggering. Unless you plan on making your kids do your work, there's no point telling us about that. That's the type of thing you only share with people you know.
7-Don't copy paste old messages sent to other companies. At the very least, remove the name of the person the message was intended to. Make the message look new as opposed to something reused from the sent box of your email messenger.
8-Be careful with attachments. It's preferable to use Acrobat files rather than Word documents. Word documents are notorious for their viruses. Acrobat documents look more professional, can be forwarded to all Mac and PC users. Printing is easier and without formatting problems. Not everybody who is interested in your r®sum® has word installed on every computer he uses.
9-Do not put sound attachments. Those are the most annoying attachments of all. We once received a r®sum® with a sound clip from a Star Trek episode. Every time we would look at it, the clip would start. Instead of focusing on the material within the message, we focused on how annoying that message was. We don't throw away r®sum®s often, but this one had to be deleted.
10-Check for the location of the job. When a job says that the applicant must be in the Toronto area, the company usually means it. Sending your r®sum® from Singapore is just a waste of our time and yours. If the job says, relocation is possible go for it, but when it says that it is not, don't bother.
11-Don't send your r®sum® every week. We know some job placement experts suggest keeping in touch with companies you send r®sum®s to, but this is not the way to do it. Most companies only delete r®sum®s that are off the wall. Others are kept. Sending it every week, every month or every six months is overkill and shows you are desperate. Companies don't hire desperate people.
12-Keep the r®sum® simple. Some people use outlandish designs and patterns to make their r®sum®s attractive. Good visual cues are good, but too much is annoying and distracts the reader from the contents written on the page.
13-Do not send email messages with html formatting. Those are as annoying as messages with sound clips. Whenever they are opened, they load material from obscure web servers that depending on the connection speed, take time to load. Usually, people receiving messages with html are asked if they want to. Don't take the decision for the receiver. Use plain texts.
14-Do some follow up. People just send r®sum®s and let them rot. Instead of sending your r®sum® every two days, how about following up on material sent and inquiring about developments with the company? People who show interests are more likely to get a job than people who just forward their r®sum®s and forget them. For example submit material to the Showcase section of the Toon Doctor web site.
15-Make sure you know what the company does as opposed to just asking "when will I get a job with you guys?" Do your research on the company. Visit their web site often to know what's going on. Use job boards' descriptions only as the starting point of your research. Most people we have interviewed had never seen our web site and only knew us from what was posted on the job board.
16-Don't talk about money right away. We've once received a r®sum® that went like this "I'm available for the month of July for a project with your company. My salary expectations are $135 per hours." Of course we didn't even bother replying to this person. There was nothing about the person's experience and not even a r®sum® and we were to hire this person because he told us to? Get real.
17-Don't sell your school, sell yourself. Many people pride themselves saying they studied under so an so at this school who is be the best in the industry. All we can say to this is that it's useless. We're interested in who you are, not who you know.
18-About schools the faster you can push out your school as a main reference, the faster people will believe and trust you. Going to school is a normal part of your education. It should not, however, be the highlight of your career. Professional experience counts more than education.
19-Make sure you grab the viewer's attention with your message, not your web site. The sad truth about web sites, is that it takes time to look through people's stuff. If a company receives six r®sum®s per day, it will take about ten minute to visit each applicant's web site. That's a full hour of non productive work. Visiting a person's web site is a luxury. Only serious applicant's web sites are ever visited.
20-Don't expect a personal answer. At first, one of the partners at Toon Doctor used to respond to every message, even people who just didn't have a chance. Well, that partner got burned. People are often rude when you tell them that you can't offer them work. They argue and ask us to justify our decisions. We now let the automatic message system respond to people. It saves us time and aggravation.
21-Be careful replying to jobs more than a month old. Often webmasters forget to remove old postings or just don't have the time. When replying to an old job offer, assume that the posting was left there by error and not that the position is still vacant, six months after it was posted.
22-Send r®sum®s related to the field of work. Although a company may not be involved in 3D graphics or motion graphics, it's not a bad idea to send your r®sum® for a position there. Often when such a position is available, the first reaction is to check r®sum®s received before, putting an ad. However, if you are a space shuttle engineer or a veterinarian, as an animation company, you are of no use to us.
23-Don't tell us that you are a perfect match for our company. You don't know us. Until we've worked one month together, there's no way for either of us to know if we are a match. Usually, cookie cutter texts like that aren't taken seriously and provoke more laughter than respect.
24-Always put your full name and contact info on your r®sum® and email messages. One would think that most people would have figured this one already. However, the number of material we receive without proper identification is ridiculous. How can we hire you if we can't reach you and don't know your name? By the way, use your real name, not an acronym.
25-Use a real email address as opposed to a Hotmail or Yahoo account. When talking to employers, sharing your real account means you trust them. Using a public accounts means you want to filter their messages or hide your identity. We know many of you have no choice because of limited access to the Internet. However, in every serious business dealing, use your real email. It's more professional.
We hope this has been helpful to you as opposed to depressing. By now you may ask yourself if people ever get hired at Toon Doctor. The good news is yes, people are being hired. Guess what, there are more positions to fill at Toon Doctor ®. We just want to make it easier for us to get the right candidates. Good luck.
Coolstreak Cartoons Inc.
Copyright ® 2003. Use of material in this document®including reproduction, modification, distribution, electronic transmission or republication®without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.