Animation Mentor is stoked to welcome student contributor, Yong Kang Chan, to the Animation Mentor blog! Yong graduated from the Classic Animation Track in December 2013 and is currently working as an animator for Lemon Sky in Malaysia. Today, Yong shares his tips for getting a job in animation using social media. Do you use social media to hunt for jobs? Let us know your experience in the comments below!
– The Animation Mentor Crew
The traditional way of applying for jobs is dead. Waiting for job openings to appear on job boards and then apply for them is neither efficient nor effective. Some job openings don’t even make it to the job boards nowadays. When it comes to getting the animation job you want, you want to be proactive and capitalize on social media.
Here’s how you can use social media to your advantage.
- Discover Job Openings Fast
- Figure Out Where Your Friends Are Working
- Learn About New Job Opening from Your Friends
- It saves advertising cost.
- It saves hassle to go through all the applicants.
- It shortens the hiring process.
- There’s trust and credibility.
- It gets employees in quicker.
- Get a Sense of What the Animation Studios are Like
- Keep Up with Animation News
- Give Yourself an Online Presence
- Show Your Credibility as an Animator
- Differentiate Yourself from Other Animators
For me, I keep an Excel spreadsheet of all the animation studios I’m interested in and their website links. One of the first things I would do is to like or follow them on social media. Why?
That’s where I get the latest information of the studios. Some studios don’t update their website regularly. And even if they do, you won’t know if they have new job openings unless you visit their websites frequently. Most studios, however will update their social media because it’s easy and fast. When you follow them on social media, you get alerted whenever they have new updates or job openings.
Animation Mentor has a great community. It’s an awesome place to make friends all over the world who share the same passion for animation as you. Whenever I meet new people from Animation Mentor, I add them on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Adding your classmates to social media has certain benefits. Not only is it more personal and lets you stay connected with your friends, you get updates on your friends’ employment status.
I’m currently working as an animator at Lemon Sky in Malaysia. But I wasn’t even aware of this studio until I realized a couple of my friends from Animation Mentor were hired by the same studio when I looked at their LinkedIn profiles. Being up-to-date with where your friends are working gives you clues on which studios are hiring aggressively and in need of manpower. You have a better shot of getting hired by these studios as they have ongoing projects to rush and tight deadlines to meet.
Not all jobs are advertised on job boards. Some are hidden from the public eyes. When I was leaving my accounting job, my manager asked me for recommendations to replace my position. When I started working at Lemon Sky, again I was asked if any of my friends are interested to work for the studio.
There are a few reasons why companies prefer recommendation to the conventional way of hiring:
And what is the most efficient way for your friends to share this insider information? Social Media! They can share this information to many people at the same time by posting the message once.
Apart from adding friends to your social media accounts, join animation groups on Facebook. Animation Mentor has a Facebook group for existing students and alumni. Sometimes, you get job openings information from the school itself and other times you get information from alumni who are working at the studios.
Following studios on social media is also a good way to see what projects the companies are focusing on. Are they doing animation for TV, films, commercial or games? Before you apply for the job, ask yourself if it’s something you would like to do.
Knowing what the studio does gives you an idea of what to put in your demo reel and how to make your demo reel appeal to that animation studio. If the company focuses on TV and film animation, you can add more dialogue shots into your reel. And if the company’s style of animation is cartoony, then include some cartoony shots in your reel.
Furthermore, you get yourself prepared for potential interviews. Through social media, you also get to experience the studios’ culture and people from the photos they post online. And you decide if this is a place you want to work in.
Not only should you update yourself with news from your favorite studios, you should keep up with the industry news. There are a lot of smaller animation studios around the world which you may not know exist. Following animation news let you know which studios are partnering up or starting a new project. Again, the same logic applies here, when a studio has new projects, they are more likely to hire people and that increases your chance of getting hired.
So how do you keep up with animation news using social media?
When a studio announces its new project, it will release a press release or appear in the news. Here is one of the examples. You can get news by following tweets from animation sites such as Animation Magazine, Animation World or Cartoon Brew. They will curate the latest news from the industry and tweet them on their Twitter. I prefer to use Google Alert to keep up with the animation news. All you have to do is to create an alert on animation and Google will send you latest online information to your email daily or weekly.
Undoubtedly, having a good demo reel is a must to get yourself hired as an animator. But if your potential employer doesn’t know that you exist, how do they hire you? Social media includes websites, blogs, video and image sharing platforms. It’s important to share your demo reel on one or more social media and have an online presence.
Even if you don’t wish to have a website, you should at least upload your demo reel on video sharing platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. Some studios search online for animators when they need talent. If you are on social media, it increases your chance to be found.
Apart from your demo reel, you can also use YouTube or your blog to teach others what you have learned in animation. Not only does this help you to connect with fellow animators, it also shows your potential employers that you know your stuff. That makes you more credible even though the employers may not have the time to look through all the materials you have shared.
Similar to companies, job-hunters need to differentiate themselves and stand out from the crowd. There are many aspiring animation graduates each year. What makes you different from the other animators?
A website is a good way to communicate to your potential employers and differentiate yourself from the rest. It is a resume by itself. When I applied for jobs in Singapore, the employer read my website and asked me a few questions about me. For example, one of the questions I get very often is why I decided to change my career from an accountant to an animator. Having a website is good because it creates interest and gives the employer more information about you.
In addition to how much social media can help you get the animation job you want, it’s undeniable that social media also increases your chances of getting hired. If you haven’t been that active in social media to date, it’s time to leverage it.
About the Writer
Yong Kang Chan, best known as Nerdy Creator due to his popular blog of the same name, is an Animation Mentor alumni. He is a former accountant who is currently pursuing his passion in animation. He is also the author of Fearless Passion: Find the Courage to Do What You Love, a book inspiring other people to pursue their dreams. Read a free preview of the book here.