In the last month, since I started recruiting for a new client, Ive been reminded how creative artists are in coming up with ways to keep from being hired and avoid being interviewed. Here are some of my favorites:
Using and misusing the Internet
My résumé is on my Website. Send a Website address instead of a résumé and expect the employer to visit the Website to retrieve the résumé. Make them do the work. If the Website doesnt work or your résumé cant be retrieved or found, thats fine. The employer can try the connection again later. Expect the employer to do extra work by visiting your Website to get your résumé. Dont just send it to them. Dont include your Web address on your résumé for employers to check out.
Send an attachment, which cant be opened. Send attachments that take a long time to download. Any company worth working for should have a high speed Internet connection. If the attachment takes more than a minute or two to download, thats fine what else are employers using their computers for anyway?
Got the picture?
Embed huge images in e-mail to freeze up mail systems. Big files cant be opened but youll intrigue the employer, and hell contact you to ask about what you sent.
Sabotage your résumé
Here are some ways to keep the phone from ringing and reducing e-mail.
Leave your e-mail address off your résumé. You dont want recruiters contacting you any time, day or night. (Some dont bother with résumés without e-mail addresses on them.)
Send a résumé, demo reel and breakdown sheet with no contact information on them. Dont clutter your résumé, demo reel and breakdown sheet with your name, phone number and e-mail address.
E-mail your résumé but dont include your e-mail address on the résumé. A potential employer should be able to cut and paste the e-mail address into the résumé. It doesnt matter if some companies get résumés in huge databanks and they never see the original e-mail address. You dont want to work for a big company like that anyway.
Dont include your contact information. Send a résumé with just your name on it. Dont include your phone number (with correct area code), e-mail address and mailing address.
Send a résumé in an e-mailed message by cutting and pasting HTML format so the code is imbedded in message. Employers love reading between the lines.
Send a résumé in JPEG format. This makes it difficult to open or print.
Send your résumé as an Adobe Acrobat pdf file and make sure some logo graphics obscure and cover important information like your e-mail address and other contact info.
Play hard to get by having different phone numbers on each of your marketing pieces the numbers on your résumé, demo reel and demo reel breakdown should not match. Make them figure out which phone number is the current one with the correct area code.
Be secretive about the types of software you know mention that you know 3D software but dont be specific about what 3D software you do know, such as Maya or 3ds max. Make them call you to find out.
Choose a font where it is difficult to distinguish between a lower case L and the number one. Choose a font that is hard to read and small enough so when it is copied or faxed, it is illegible.
Include graphics on résumés.
Youre such a card
Include only your name on your business card maybe just a first name or nickname. They dont need to know how to reach you or know what you do (title are you a producer, artist or writer?). If you have an image on your card make sure it obscures important contact info. Dont include both your phone number and e-mail address on your card. Hide your phone number on the back of your business card.
Demo Reels: If you want me, you have to show me.
You have my reel. Ask the recruiter or employer to find your reel. After all, you just gave them one at SIGGRAPH, along with hundreds of other applicants. Why give them another? They are supposed to keep your reel and résumé for at least six months, so why send a new one?
Dont follow up quickly when a recruiter or potential employer requests your reel. Delay sending the reel they can wait. Dont have packages ready to go out the door, which include a demo reel, demo reel breakdown and résumé with current contact info on all.
Tell the recruiter you need time to redo your reel and take your time getting around to it. After all, you are working, in school or busy with other important stuff.
Why update your reel every six months, whether you are working or not? You can always get around to it when a job comes your way.
Dont label your reel with yoru name and phone number and e-mail address. Or, keep an old label on it with an outdated phone number and area code it shows you get around.
Ask to get your reel back. Expect a company to pay postage to mail your reel back so you dont have to spend time picking it up.
Put everything you have ever done on your reel in no particular order. Employers will be impressed by how much youve improved over the years.
Put stuff on your reel that is not relevant to the job i.e. cartoony stuff for a photoreal project. Dont tailor your reel, résumé and cover letter to the job. Send out the same reel no matter what the job dont customize.
I dont have a reel, but can you view CDs or DVDs? Dont provide a viewer with your work so an employer has to work to see your stuff.
Breakdown Sheets: Guess what I did!
Dont include a breakdown with your reel. Let recruiters and employers guess what you did on the reel. Make them call you to find out what you did so you can draw them into a lengthy conversation. Maybe you can convince them to give you an animation position when all youve ever done was wire removal.
Dont include your name and contact info on your breakdown list.
Give them the brush.
Dont have an answering machine or service so people can get through to you. Set your machine on maximum rings if you have one so theyll have to call back when youre home.
Dont update recruiters when you move, change e-mail addresses or phone numbers be mysterious.
Dont stay in touch with employers. Youll never run into them again.
The recruiters job is to help companies find top people. Make them work to find you and contact you. Dont help them do their job they might help you to get one.
If you find a company you want to work for, make them work hard to hire you. After all, whom else are they going to get?
Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter, hiring strategist and career coach. She is recruiting artists for a visual effects film being produced in Los Angeles and is amazed by the variety of obstacles artists put in their path to being hired.