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What to Include in an Animator Resume

While you may have a career path that includes more than one sector of the animation industry, you don't want to generalize your skills to the point that you just blend in. If you're as capable, experienced, and interested in game design as you are in web design, you should create a resume for each sector, especially if the job posting is that specific. There are animator resume samples specific to each sector, and a review of the ones that apply to your interest will help you write a focused resume that a hiring manager can relate to.

There are four basic sections to a standard format resume. They are:

  • Resume Summary
  • Work Experience
  • Skills
  • Education

The basic format above, referred to as a chronological format, often doesn't fit well for an animator who, rather than being employed by a company, has done freelance work for many clients. To further complicate matters, animators and other creative freelancers often work at unrelated, part-time jobs to supplement their income. If you fall into this category, a functional resume is probably your best choice. In that case, you would add an モAccomplishmentsヤ section after your summary. You should be able to easily find examples of animator resume samples in both formats.

If, however, you've been employed as an animator at a few different companies and you have no extended gaps in employment, the chronological format will work well for you. Help writing both types will be addressed further on, including how to combine the best of each.

How to Write the Animator Resume Summary Statement

Every section of your resume is important, but if you rush though your summary using generalizations like モhighly organized,ヤ or モdedicated,ヤ it will sound like every other summary, and a potential employer who's looking for a stand-out candidate is likely to set your resume aside without reading further. You'll have lost the opportunity to show how you can help their organization. Review as many animator resume samples as you can to get a feel for the flow of a well-written summary.

If the position you're applying for is in the game design sector, for example, you'll want to focus on your accomplishments in that area even if you have experience in other sectors. The potential employer who's looking for a game designer isn't interested in a media design guru. Those additional skills can be mentioned later in your resume. It's critical to write the best summary you can, focused on the position requirements, because if the hiring manager sees you as a potential employee, they'll continue reading.

Below are two examples of well-written summaries targeted at different sectors of the animation industry.

Computer animator familiar with the most current technology used to design credible settings and characters to contribute to the believable the story-telling and design of motion picture and video. Develops multiple scenarios in order to see which works best for each image, examining each frame for proper setting and timing.

Animator experienced in 3-D modeling, rendering, and animation who has a love of art in all its forms. Created 3-D animation and met all deadlines for a soon-to-be-released video game. As a game designer, works on a variety of platforms, including on-line social networks and mobile gaming.

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How to Write the Animator Education Section

Your most recent educational accomplishment should be listed first and should include the name of the school attended and the degree obtained. Animators with a bachelor's degree in animation often also have an associate of applied science in animation degree. Each should be listed, but education doesn't stop there.

Experiential learning, including studio training and internships count, as do any certificate programs. Check animator resume samples to see how others choose to highlight this type of learning experience.

Membership in professional organizations in animation is not only a great way to network, it also provides the opportunity to research industry topics and view award-winning work. It also tells potential employers that you're committed to your craft. If you haven't joined any professional organizations in your field yet, consider it, and then list it on your resume in the education section.

How to Write the Animator Work Experience Section

The work experience section will differ depending on whether you're using the chronological style, functional, or some combination of both.

For the purely chronological format, your work experience section should follow your summary statement. It should have clearly stated and simply formatted headings that include the name of the company, city and state, period of employment, and job title. Under each job, list you accomplishments rather than your responsibilities, and use bullet points to focus the hiring manager's attention on what you've done for others and what you can do for them. Emphasize the positive impact of your work in a quantifiable way. List 3-6 bullet points for each job, and use action verbs rather than adjectives.

If you've decided to write a functional resume, it's probably because you've been a freelance animator working for different clients on various projects. In that case, create a section named Accomplishments, that should be placed after the summary and before the work experience section. List your most impressive projects first, and how they impacted the client's timetable or bottom line. Again, use action verbs. In a functional resume, the accomplishments section will have far more detail that the work experience section.

Even in a functional resume, you should list any related previous employment, but you don't want to repeat yourself by listing the same accomplishments. Often it will be a simple list of work experience headings for each job. If you've been a freelance animator, identify yourself as such.

If you're still not sure whether you should use a chronological and functional format, do some research and review both types of animator resume samples.

Action Verbs to Include in Your Animator Work Experience Section

As you describe your accomplishments in the experience section of your resume, you want to be seen as a person of action, so use some industry-related verbs that will resonate with a potential employer. While it is probably evident to most, it doesn't hurt to remember to use past-tense in describing previous position accomplishments and present-tense for your current position. Here are some action verbs you might consider, and reviewing animator resume samples may provide others.

  • Create
  • Conceptualize
  • Draw
  • Sequence
  • Design
  • Interpret
  • Develop
  • Illustrate
  • Research
  • Frame
  • Edit
  • Visualize
  • Paint
  • Inspire
  • Model
  • Generate

How to Write the Animator Skills Section

Before you begin listing your skills, review animator resume samples, and check the job description to see what skills the potential employer is looking for. You may have more skills than they want, but put their requirements first, using wording similar to that used in the job posting. You want a hiring manager to visualize you as part of their team.

Once you've paid respect to the employer's needs, you can add whatever additional skills you can bring to the job. Depending on your experience, you could possibly include the following animation techniques in your skills section:

  • Stop-frame, stop-motion, or model animation
  • 3D computer-generated imagery (CGI)
  • 2D computer generated
  • 2D hand drawn

This is also the section to list any animation or graphic design software you've used, once again keeping in mind the job requirements and listing the employer's software requirements first.

All those hard skills are great, but soft skills are important as well. Many animators working on large projects need to be able to work as part of a team, and creativity and artistic talent is part and parcel of the job no matter the sector.
TIP: Need a cover letter? Click here to view our Animator cover letters.

If you Don't Have an On-line Portfolio of Your Work, Create One

Few occupations scream for an on-line portfolio more than those of animators or graphic design professionals. The key is to keep it simple and professional, and your URL and email address aren't the only parts of your portfolio that should be simple. Your site should be easy for a potential employer to pull up on their iPhone. You don't want to complicate the process by using a cumbersome interface. HTML is your best bet. If you're submitting your resume electronically, include a live link to make it easy for the hiring manager to check it out.

In choosing samples of your work to include, stay away from school projects they can be easily identified as such, and they'll take up space better occupied by your original material. Organize your work by type so potential clients or employers can view a specific skill set, like games, illustrations, or storyboards, while also appreciating your range of experience. Ensure that your contact information is prominently displayed.

Reference to your on-line portfolio can be made at the end of your resume summary or under the skills section. Check animator resume samples to see how others showcase their work. <b

Should I Include References in my Animator Resume

As a general rule, references should provided upon request. Adding them to your resume makes it longer than it should be, and takes up valuable space that can be put to better use. Your references should include one or two previous managers or supervisors, a co-worker, and even a subordinate if you had a good working relationship with them.

Waiting for a potential employer to request your references will not only let you know they're interested in you as a potential hire, but it will also give you an opportunity to contact those on your list to let them know they may be receiving a call.

Animator Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid

    • Avoid first-person pronouns like I,me,my,we,us,etc. Save the first-person for your cover letter, but make your resume more formal.
    • Resumes that are too long aren't usually read through to the end. Remember, the purpose of your resume it to get an interview, at which time you'll be able to expand on your qualifications. A concise resume demonstrates your ability to focus and prioritize. If you can keep it to one page, great, but don't go over two.
    • Proofread and then proofread again, and if you can, have someone else proofread. Typos are hard to find when you're looking for them, but they almost jump off the page when a hiring manager is reading your resume.
    • Don't be critical of your previous employers, and never reveal confidential or financial information about them. A potential employer will immediately wonder if you'll treat them with the same disrespect.

Job Prospects in the Animator Industry

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to be 6 percent from 2012 to 2022. Increases in job growth will be because of increased demand in video games, movies, and television. Unfortunately, countering the increase in job growth will be studios and companies using lower paid workers outside of the United States. While consumers will demand newer computer hardware; more realistic video games and special effects including three-dimensional movies; computer graphics and animation for games; and applications for mobile devices, much of that work will be sent overseas.

Because of increased interest in the occupation, opportunities are best for those with either a wide range of skills or highly specialized skills.

Industries with the highest levels of animators currently employed include the motion picture and video industries; computer systems design and related services; software publishers; advertising and public relations; and specialized design services.

Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of animator jobs are Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale, CA; and Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett, WA.

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