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three5

10 pro tips on applying for motion / broadcast / designer jobs.

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I am in the middle of another search for a broadcast designer, and after slogging through several hundred reels and resumes, I thought I might give some tips about how to effectively and efficiently make your job submission have a little more appeal. I seem to need to do this hiring thing a couple of times a year, and I see a lot of the same mistakes come up again and again.

 

1- the link to your reel / portfolio should be one of the first things that is seen on your cover letter.

2- make sure your link works.

3- in your cover letter, be brief, be to the point, and for the love of all things holy do not gush about what a perfect opportunity for you this job is, or that you are sure that you are a good fit for the team. it makes you sound desperate, and even if you happen to actually be desperate, you don't want to come across like you are in your cover letter.

4- spell check. please. for the children.

5- do not ramble on, you aren't being graded on the length of your cover letter. especially if it references anything mentioned in #3.

6- your reel should start with your best work. while i appreciate some build up etc, i am looking at hundreds of reels every time i hire someone. im gonna close the window and next you if the first thing i see is some mediocre student project that was put in so you had enough material to fill out the 4:56 techno track that you threw at your montage.

7- edit. editing. please at least show that you tried to edit your work. a truly great song does not need to use every key on the piano, if you know what i mean. 1-2 minutes is about perfect for a reel, don't feel like it needs to be any longer than that. also, if you are going to use a music track for a montage, try and cut to the beat. it shows some polish and effort that will help you stand out.

8- on your website, make sure the navigation is clear and easy for me to find your reel. please also make sure your reel is in a common format / codec. quicktime or vimeo are wonderful, but you can't reasonably expect me to be able to view your SheerVideo Pro X file.

9- this is just a personal preference, but if you insist on creating a reel for each season / year, make sure that when i see it, it is currently that season / year. it is just about spring 2010 now, i'm not sure that i am looking at your most current work if your reel says fall 2006.

10- do yourself a favor, if you call yourself an art director or a creative director, please show me at least one job where you have held that title. while we are at it, if you label yourself as director level on your website or resume or cv, it looks awkward if you are applying for a jr or designer position. just sayin'.

Edited by three5

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Damn, it's been a while three5! Nice to see you back, and behind such epic posts.

 

Totally seen many of the examples you site when looking for applicants at an old place. Hilariously, some people will send you an email and neglect to even link to a reel or website! Really??

 

You've nailed all of it pretty much. There's a whole sea of shitty designers out there, it only takes a little polish to really stand out.

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i'v been around, lurking mostly because i've been pretty busy. i do stop in here to read up a couple of times a week, and i should post more i suppose.

 

i'm happy i could share my little brain fart with some people that might find it useful.

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7- edit. editing. please at least show that you tried to edit your work. a truly great song does not need to use every key on the piano, if you know what i mean. 1-2 minutes is about perfect for a reel, don't feel like it needs to be any longer than that. also, if you are going to use a music track for a montage, try and cut to the beat. it shows some polish and effort that will help you stand out.

 

Cutting to the beat ≠ great editing though. You don't need to cut on the same beat of every measure for 2 mins.

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Cutting to the beat ≠ great editing though. You don't need to cut on the same beat of every measure for 2 mins.

 

He obviously wasn't telling you to make a cut on equal intervals to every beat of the song, he was saying take the song into account while making your cuts.

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Although I agree with everything in the post, I am not sure I can respect it coming from someone whose avatar has dancing butt cheeks in it.

 

I disagree. I think the butt cheeks serve as a heavy underscore for everything he says.

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p.s. great list three5.

 

Also, don't put your paper route or pizza hut stint on your occupational record. fib a little and say "self-funded creative sabbatical" if you have to fill the gap.

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p.s. great list three5.

 

Also, don't put your paper route or pizza hut stint on your occupational record. fib a little and say "self-funded creative sabbatical" if you have to fill the gap.

 

 

"Self funded creative sabbatical" I LOVE that. I'm going to use it now.

I once had to sit through an 10 min student reel. It was torture.

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This is a great post. I thought that I should bump this.

 

Does anyone have some more tips about cover letters? Most of this list seems to describe websites.

 

Describing yourself as a fast learner is something that seems to be overused.

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Does anyone have some more tips about cover letters? Most of this list seems to describe websites.

Describing yourself as a fast learner is something that seems to be overused.

 

Cover letters are overrated IMO. I think a cover letter would stand more chances at hurting, or being okay at best. The problem with a cover letter is that you don't know who your pitching to. In person, you can read off the person interviewing you and tailor your pitch / story on the fly. Some people appreciate you being more relaxed and off the cuff, while others could want a more conservative brass tacks kinda guy.

 

For people outside of the creative industry, I can see how cover letters are important. Luckily for us, the reel generally does all of the talking. If they are interested, they will want to know more and bring you in. It provides us with somewhat of a stage curtain to be unveiled only when its showtime.

 

 

My cover letter (freelance, mind you) :

 

Hi,

 

I'm available to help out with the ______ project. I currently have no bookings from the 13th through the 29th.

 

Reel at http://www.MyWesbite.com/

 

Thanks,

 

Sig

I think producers appreciate not having to read more than a sentence and a link.

 

 

 

But.... here is a coverletter I used back in the FT days that seemed to work well.

 

 

Someday, Some month whatever-ith, 20whocares

 

Friends at ____Company Name________,

 

My name is__________ and I am interested in the ______________ position, as listed within ____________. I am currently / was presently employed by ___________ as a ______________, and come from a _________________ background. I feel that I fit the description as posted on the ____________ website and would be an excellent addition to the company. As the ____(previous / current position)______ within the _____(previous / current employer______ office, my responsibilities have included __________________, ______________________, ___________________, _______________________, _______________________, and __________________. Prior to my current / previous employment, I worked for ______ years as an ____________, which over time turned into a __________________ position.

 

 

 

Samples of my work may been seen via my website at: www.MyWebsite.com

 

 

 

Matching skills as described within the job description:

 

  • Proficient with Final Cut Pro
  • High degree of knowledge & experience with professional-level video archival formats (HDCAM, HDCAM SR, DIGIBETA, etc) and related hardware
  • Blah blah blah
  • Blah blah blah
  • Blah blah blah
  • Blah blah blah

Attached is my resume and a copy of the cover letter in PDF format. If you require a format other than PDF, please advise so I may send you the appropriate file type. Feel free to contact me by any means listed below.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

- Sig

I am interested in seeing what others do though.

Edited by AromaKat

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11. If the job post says local, then don't send an email if you're remote on the other side of the world. It's annoying, clogs up inboxes, and will just get deleted.

 

12. Follow instructions.

 

13. Don't adress your email to the HR department, “dear sir/madam”, or “to whom it may concern”, it's annoying and I'm more apt to look at someone that is more conversational than proper, but that's just my preference…

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I've read that it's better to ask for an interview instead of the job (in regards to full-time...I'm not sure about freelance).

 

I'm really not sure how well my cover letters have worked. I mean I got a job...so I guess it worked.

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Yeah, my letters look exactly like yours AromaKat, reel, job title, done.

 

RE: local jobs, i found that applyinh to LA or NY local ones is useless, because they will always find someone, but i have got some jobs from people from other towns in america after their local talent failed to deliver. So it's not always a lost cause.

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if you think you're awesome, you're wrong. if you think you suck, you'll probably get better. if you can't get a job, your work sucks. if your work sucks, read a book on not sucking. if you copy, hack, lie, cheat your way to the top, it will kill you before you get there. if you're a fraud, everyone will know it before you do.

 

in conclusion...

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Cover letters are overrated IMO. I think a cover letter would stand more chances at hurting, or being okay at best. The problem with a cover letter is that you don't know who your pitching to. In person, you can read off the person interviewing you and tailor your pitch / story on the fly. Some people appreciate you being more relaxed and off the cuff, while others could want a more conservative brass tacks kinda guy.

 

For people outside of the creative industry, I can see how cover letters are important. Luckily for us, the reel generally does all of the talking. If they are interested, they will want to know more and bring you in. It provides us with somewhat of a stage curtain to be unveiled only when its showtime.

 

 

Do cover letters help in getting the person in charge of hiring to look at your reel? If there is no cover letter or the cover letter is bad will that person still watch your reel? There are definitely things that should be taken into account when writing one. Spelling. You should know who is going to read the cover letter, so you can address it to them and spell their name right. I've read that it's good to call the company that is hiring and ask who is responsible for hiring or who is reviewing the material to get that info.

 

It probably shouldn't be super canned.

 

It seems like there is a lot of talk about websites and reels and not much info about cover letters. Maybe they aren't important? AromaKat, thanks for posting an example of your cover letter. It's extremely helpful to see how others approach this.

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11. If the job post says local, then don't send an email if you're remote on the other side of the world. It's annoying, clogs up inboxes, and will just get deleted.

 

12. Follow instructions.

 

13. Don't address your email to the HR department, “dear sir/madam”, or “to whom it may concern”, it's annoying and I'm more apt to look at someone that is more conversational than proper, but that's just my preference…

 

11 and 12 are very important, and actually both play towards the question about cover letters, which i suppose i can add one more to the list:

 

14 your cover letter should address the needs of the job posting, and absolutely should not include every school, achievement, client, and post house that you have ever worked with / on, that is what a resume is for.

 

let's look at an example job posting:

 

Maya generalist needed for on site, 6 week job from nov 1-dec 15. Please send your reel with descriptions of your role in each project. Local candidates only please, no phone calls.

 

a great response to this would be as follows:

 

Hi, I saw your posting for the maya generalist position, and I happen to be a maya generalist, although i tend to specialize in modeling, lighting and texturing. My reel can be seen at http://www.myawesomereel.com'>http://www.myawesomereel.com (your reel is then either the first thing i see, or prominently linked on your website). I have attached a description of my roles in the work featured in my reel, and my resume is also attached. I am currently available for the dates you are seeking, and I can provide references as necessary. Here is where you can say something flattering about the work that the shop / agency has done in the past, but that isn't necessary, and in fact if you aren't familiar or impressed with the past work, don't try and blow sunshine up HR's ass.

I look forward to discussing this position further with you.

regards,

-you

 

here is a letter that will get binned, pretty much the instant that i see it:

(mostly from an actual email. names, addresses, urls and either changed or removed)

 

Application for the post of maya generalist APPLICANT NAME HERE, 123 curry pot road, katmandu Portfolio: http://www.myawesomereel.com Email ID: myawesomeemail@myawesomewebsite.com Cell: +955512121 Personal Blog: http://www.superawesomeblog.com Career Summary Company Profile: Designation: 3D Character animator Period: Promo animation for IMAX Theater Key Roles:Character Animator Description: Done key frame animation of several characters for the promo animation clip with stereoscopic technology for IMAX Company Profile: Basics Foundation, ISKCON, Bangalore. Designation: Visual / Web Designer Period: Key Roles: Web designer & Visual Developer Description:Designed & developed in both FLASH and HTML versions. • Designed the entire website using FLASH, Action Script & XML • Created visual elements for promotional videos (few are available in the website) • Produced few promotional as well as title video elements for the various programs in the organization using Maya, After FX, Vegas, etc… • Expertise on Joomla (installation, configuration, creating/editing templates, creating/editing CSS, debugging, creating new modules(using PHP, XML & JS)) • Expertise in PHP coding • Expertise in creating online forum using PHP, ASP, CSS & XML • Expertise in FLASH & Action Script • Below is a list of few websites which are designed & developed by me Company Profile: Designation: 3D Character Animator/Rigger Period: 3D animated feature film using key-frame animation Key Roles: Key-frame Animator Description: Did exclusive key-frame animation of Quast (monster) for many shots in the movie. Works involved in primary as well as secondary animation, fine tuning of monster action sequences (Quast’ the 3rd main character in the movie) • Rigged 2 characters & a tree with friendly animation rig setup • Worked on fingers / hand interaction with props key-frame animation for various characters in the movie (massive war shot) • Also worked on particle simulations as per the need Company Profile: Designation: Graphic Designer / Animator / Special FX Artist Period: Key Roles: As an Animator - • Produced and directed the title animation for the event As a Video/Special FX Artist – • Produced and directed promo video shows for various events • Produced special effects elements for the title sequences • Created flexible & dynamic elements for the promo video shows • Conceptualized and drafted storyboards for CD-ROM, DVD, documentaries and marketing videos • Edited and composited digital audio and digital video (Non-linear and Linear) • Created menu and UI to implement CD-ROMs, DVDs and interactive movies • Designed and produced event menus and motion menus for various programs • Prepared presentations for small and wide audiences using FLASH, Director, PowerPoint • Gained extensive knowledge of video formats, codecs and digital audio • Gained knowledge of audio and video compression, Media Cleaner, for the web and multimedia As a Graphics Designer – • Designed projects in print, including logos, identities, collateral, newsletters, annual reports, magazine ads, brochures, posters, trade show booth • Designed projects, web sites, main pages, UIs, including logos, identities, annual reports, landing pages • Designed user interface experiences based on target audiences • Collaborated with editors, photographers, and other professionals • Designed interface models, menu systems and navigational schemas Technical Skills • Animation • Special-FX/Visual-FX • Video-editing • Sound-editing • Compositing/producing • Web-designing • All-rounder (animation, multimedia, special FX) Software Skills GOOD: • Autodesk Maya • Adobe Flash • Adobe Director • Adobe Photoshop • Adobe After Effects • Adobe Audition (CoolEdit Pro) • Sony Vegas • Mainconcept/Canopus encoder • CSS • PHP BASIC: • Autodesk Combustion • CorelDraw • Adobe Illustrator • Autodesk Motionbuilder • Adobe Flash Actionscript 2.0 • HTML • Adobe Director Lingo

 

ATTACHMENT: myawesomereel.mov (122mb)

 

In short, be succinct, to the point, BY ALL MEANS DO NOT SEND A FORM LETTER, and try to include in your cover letter something that addresses the needs in original listing.

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