Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Proper Resume

Last week, I presented my take on the cover letter as an important part of the contemporary outreach package. The cover letter serves to identify you as a passionate artist, culturally adept and someone who is likeable, interesting and, most importantly, a potential co-worker. Without the cover letter, you're just another tool user in the great wash of partially educated tool users pouring out of trade schools, desperately hoping to find work.

The Outreach Package: A Primer.

Your outreach materials should include the following items:

1. Portfolio (web-based streamable .mov mpeq-4 compressed)
2. Portfolio (web-based downloadable .mov mpeg-4 compressed)
3. Resume (.pdf)
4. Vita (.pdf)
5. Cover letter (.pdf)
6. Business card

Since I'm covering these items in a seeming random fashion, let's talk about resume next.

Here's a template. This template is designed to serve the most common resumes, though you may not have industry experience and therefore may have to omit sections.

The idea behind the simplicity of the resume is the rationale of the resume itself: present the facts of your work and educational experience in a manner that is easy to follow, easy to scan, and complements your cover letter and vita (body of work).

Some basic rules:

1. Name/Address

Don't use your street address. Just put your email address, website and cell number in the address tag. Since your resume will be posted all over the internet, you want to retain privacy.
Nobody really cares about your snail mail address anyway, and when they do, they will be your employer.

2. Objective

One or two words will suffice: terms like "Animator" or "Technical Director." HR sorters use this objective to ensure that they've got you placed in the right "stack".

3. Industry Experience

Use this heading if you have industry experience. If you don't, use the following heading instead.

4. Experience

Even if you feel that your prior career is not related, it's important to establish that you held positions that might help you synthesize the collaborative, people-oriented business of entertainment. While meat-packing might not qualify, serving as a marketing liaison in a small internet startup might. If it helps paint a more complete picture of the collaborative or creative you, include it.

5. Education

Do not list high schools. Make sure you use the standard format of listing degrees (See the template for examples). If you haven't yet graduated from a program, place the word "Candidate" after the terminal degree.

6. References

Not necessary in your resume. If you need references, they will ask you for them after you complete a few more rounds of interviews.

7. Skills

Software skills only. Do not list creative skills here. Use your cover to mention your three most salient creative skill sets.

8. Hobbies/Interests

Don't do it. If you feel that you're intense exploration of Peruvian Salt Worms is essential to understanding your inner creative being, place that in your cover letter. I don't care if you like to hang glide or collect stamps featuring WWII-era sidearms.

9. Vita

This is a dynamic section, (often on the first page for young artists), which grows as your career grows. Use the following format.

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