At Microsoft Studios, I look at an average of 5-10 resumes/reels each week, and I interview at least a couple of candidates for various positions each month. As a result, I’ve noticed some blunders throughout the years, and thought I’d share some things to think about if you’re out there looking for work.
Your URL is your friend, and should hang out with you whenever possible! You should display the URL to your site/reel on your resume, cover letter, reel disc, business card, and even the envelope you mail stuff in. However, don’t stop with just those, as it should also be displayed prominently on an social networking site you use (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as well as in the signature of any forum profile you might possess. Don’t be obnoxious with it by making it bold and blinking or something, but just quietly place it wherever you can. You never know what you’re going to say and where that might grab someone’s attention enough to want to check out your work, so make sure your link is ready when they are!
Don’t make your resume a MySpace page. If you’re looking to be an Artist or Animator, your resume doesn’t need to have fancy cartoon characters on it, or some kind of crazy border, or a hand-drawn background image. It just needs to be mistake free, accurate (never lie on a resume), and concise. I will be honest when I say that I rarely even look at a resume when an Animator’s packet gets tossed on my desk. I watch the reel first, and only then might have a glance at the resume just to figure out conversation points for the interview. I can also guarantee that I’ve never looked at a sub-par resume and said, “Well he’s an average artist, but I REALLY like the angry bunny he drew next to his name on his resume. I guess I can overlook the reel quality this one time.”
Spend the extra cash on a good URL. URLs are dirt-cheap these days, and you really have no excuse why you don’t have one. You don’t have to pay for monthly hosting or build some crazy fancy site (remember, your reel does the talking), but you should snatch up a memorable URL.
- Make sure it’s something easy to spell (bureaucraticauthoritarianism.com is a memorable name, but only 3 people will know how to spell it properly), and as short as you can find.
- Don’t get too fancy, as “eyemakeart4life.com” is easy to remember, until you have to break down, “Well it’s “I make art for life,” but the “I” is spelled “eye,” and the “for” is actually the number 4, and…” around this time the eyes of the person you are talking to will begin to glaze over.
- Using your name is great, unless your last name is uncommon or hard to spell, and then you should probably pick out something else.
- A GREAT example of a good URL is my buddy, Stephen Brooks, who has the website, rubberonion.com. Everyone knows how to spell “rubber” and “onion,” and it’s an odd enough name that most people will remember it. Another friend used to have a site at leadbasedart.com. Again, easy to spell and memorable.
You do not have to build a site to go with your URL. If you’re a student, just take the URL and have it forward to your school’s portal. Having kylemakesart.com forward to kylesmith.artschool.edu/40388/portfolio2/index.html is way better than trying to fit all of that on a resume or tell it to someone at an animation expo.
Always include a reel breakdown. Even if you did every single thing on your reel from top to bottom, mention that somewhere. Let folks know that you aren’t trying to hide anything, or take credit for the work of others.
These are all pretty simple sounding on the surface, but you’d be surprised at how many folks don’t handle the above properly.