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The Career Coach: Resumes That Work

In today's competitive animation job market, make sure your marketing materials are current so you can stay competitive too.Here are some tips on how to craft a resume that will help you get the job you want.

pam.gif Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

In today's competitive animation job market, make sure your marketing materials are current so you can stay competitive too. Your marketing materials are your resume, cover letter, portfolio and demo reel. Here are some tips on how to craft a resume that will help you get the job you want.

As a recruiter, career coach and consultant I have seen thousands of resumes. Most people write resumes based on their past, but your resume is the ticket to your future. Aim it at the job you want, not the job you've had. Whether you are an artist with many years experience or a production manager just starting your career, your resume is the key to getting the job you want. Here are some ways to make sure that it works for you.

A resume should include:

Contact info



Software knowledge

Work experience




Other interests

Contact Info: Be sure to include your name, address, phone number with current area code, email address and Website address if you have one.

Goal/Objective: Be as specific as possible. Describe the job that would give you the most satisfaction. All the content in your resume should support your goal/objective. Focus your resume on the job you want.

Skills: List them and be specific. Resumes are often scanned into computers now and searches are done by keywords. If you are a concept artist who does character designs as well as background designs and color key, state it in your skills list. If you don't, you may be passed over for a job.

Software Knowledge: Again, be specific. Don't use the phrase "a variety of 3D and 2D software." State specifically whether you know Maya, Lightwave or Photoshop and your level of expertise with each: expert, proficient, novice.

Work Experience: Besides listing the company, your job title and project, write what you did there. What did you do day-to-day? Don't forget any internships or other unpaid work experiences if they relate to your goal/objective.

Be specific in any accomplishments and achievements. Use specific numbers whenever possible. If you supervised a team, how many people were on it? Don't hesitate to name names, specific clients or specific projects you worked on.

List your experience in reverse chronological order--most recent job first (at the top) and work backwards.

Education: Where you went to school, area of study, degrees.

Awards: Don't forget to mention awards or honors you have received. Your resume is a place to brag about yourself. Don't be modest.

Organizations: Are you a member or an officer in an industry related organization?

Other interests: Do you perform community service that is related to the job you want? If you are an avid video game player and you want a job with a game company, it would be good to mention it here.

Things not to include on a resume:

Art work (you can attach some, if you want)

A photo

Personal information such as marital status, sexual orientation, health, religion, age, ethnic background, race or disabilities

Don't send a Web address to anyone and expect them to find your resume there. If you want someone to have your resume, send it to them.

Review and update your resume every six months (more often if you move or change phone numbers or email providers). If you send a resume in response to a posting on the Web, make sure it includes your email address and name.

Resumes are marketing tools. Their purpose is to help you get an interview. Emphasize your accomplishments and achievements and make sure your contact info is easy to find and read. Make sure the resume does its job and works to get you work.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach and recruiter. As a career coach, she helps clients develop strategies to achieve career goals. She is currently recruiting computer character animators for Framestore. She speaks regularly on careers in animation and entertainment at colleges and universities.