Job hunting: 5 tips for CG graduates

We all know that finding your first job in the CG industry can be tough, but we have good reasons to feel pretty confident about future job prospects. That's because the industry has seen growth for the ninth year in a row. There are jobs out there and I am particularly well placed to comment as I sit opposite our Recruitment Team and so I get to hear everything about the jobs they have available. Over the last few months, they have all been incredibly busy, and that's good news for all aspiring artists.

Getting your foot in the door (sorry, I know that sounds a little corny...) can be tricky, so here's some advice from us and from grads we have been chatting to on twitter.   

1: Apply, apply, apply: Sounds pretty obvious, but the more people you apply to, the greater your chances of success.  Don’t just look out for advertised positions either as sometimes production companies will look to their contacts rather than paying for job adverts or recruitment services.  Find a list of production companies that are in the area you are looking to get in, and contact them. It's that simple. As Matt Allan on Twitter says: Keep applying. I bought an animation directory and started going through from A-Z, by the time I got to B I found a job! 

2: Get out there: Again, this is pretty obvious, but you need to spend as much time talking to prospective employers as possible.  It takes a lot of effort, but keeping up regular contact with a few agencies will make you more than just another CV or showreel to them.  Getting to trade and industry shows to meet with industry contacts, keeping up a dialogue with them on Twitter, Facebook or through their blog, getting to know key members and just generally building a relationship with them is a great way to get remembered.  Sometimes, agencies need to find a replacement or new starter in a short period of time, so being in the forefront of their minds will pay dividends.  As @Hypoly on Twitter put it: Socialize, meet people face to face rather then over the web, go to events like SeeNoEvil: or arrange one

3: Have a good showreel: We’ve discussed this before, here, but we'll never tire of saying it.  Without an impressive showreel you will not succeed.  Getting to know the right people might get you the interview, but if your showreel is below standard you won’t get much further.  Remember that you’re only as good as your weakest clip, that the first 10 seconds are key, and demonstrating a range of skills in your reel will put you in great shape for getting that job.  Read our “Top 8 tips for the perfect showreel” for some more info.

4: Show your credentials: Employees want to know that you have the right credentials behind you. This isn’t essential (we think talent is more important) but knowing that you’ve had training from a reputable and well known school or had work experience, an internship or placement will help you prove you've got what it takes.  Don’t worry if you don’t have these credentials yet (as I said, this isn’t essential, it just helps), but it may make sense to get yourself out there for an internship, or take a course that will boost your CV.

5: Do your homework: Nothing impresses a prospective employer more than a candidate knowing about them.  Be sure to spend a lot of time looking into their previous work, come up with some ideas for their future projects, prepare to discuss techniques relevant to their style and find anything else out about them that you can use to show you know your stuff.  Companies want to know that you’re excited with the prospect of working with them, and that you have passion and motivation to work hard and improve. As SebastianD on Twitter says: Study the company's work and prepare to explain how your strengths can benefit them. Also how you can grow there. Finally, be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. No one on the planet is good at everything

Hopefully these tips will help.  If you want more information, just get in touch. Leave a comment here or send us a message on Twitter.

Finally, thanks to SebastianDHypoly and Matt Allan for the advice and ideas for this blog post.

2 Comments Garreth Gaydon

Posted by
Garreth Gaydon
Wed 11 Aug 2010: 8:14pm

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  • Isabelle Duarté:

    Nice one David. The points you make are very all very good.

  • David Cox:

    Nice some useful tips there, I will start doing some of these more often.

    I guess another one is follow up. After you have applied, give them a day or two then ring to make sure they have received your application.

    Also if you were unsuccessful, ask for feedback.

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