Interview With A Recruiter: Resumes

      21 Comments on Interview With A Recruiter: Resumes


On the off-chance you might want to read something not about sad celebrity deaths, I bring you this.

It’s an interview I did with the fabulous and lovely Anne Denman of Studio B Productions here in Vancouver. We talked about resumes, portfolios and getting hired at an animation studio.

No ‘questions and answers’ really. I just let her go on a roll, so it’s written from her point of view.

I may add a few of my own comments along the way though.

So let’s get to know Anne a little bit, shall we?

I started at International Rocketship as a receptionist for three years which evolved into Production Coordinator. Then after taking a three year hiatus to be a mom, I worked at Vancouver Film School as the program manager in the 2D animation department for eight years.

I was then approached to become the Director of the Student Program of the Platform International Animation Festival, in 2007, for Cartoon Network.

In 2008 I decided to get back into the studio system. After sending a timely email to Studio B’s Blair Peters and Chris Bartleman, I was asked to Head the Recruitment/HR at Studio B Productions. So here I am at a studio I L-O-V-E.

The Resume Stuff: What do you look for in a good resume?

One sheet. Don’t make it difficult to read. No crazy fonts or tiny type. Twelve point type is good because the person reading may be over 40! *ahem*

At the top, put your name and what you do. Or vise versa. Almost better to put the title, then your name because that’s what the recruiter is looking for first…the position. We’re going to be looking for an ‘animator’ or a ‘storyboard artist’ or a ‘character designer’ but rarely a ‘John Smith’.

(Karen’s note: This is really good advice. I recently updated my resume and I think it works great having what I do right at the top.)


At the top should also be your complete contact information.

  • Your phone numbers. Make it easy to get hold of you.
  • Your email address. It should not be something totally ridiculous. Use your real name whenever possible (or something close to it). In this business your name is your BRAND. Use it.
  • Your website (if you have one). And try to use your real name here as well. I don’t know anyone in animation who doesn’t use their name as their website if they are worth any salt. We think it’s obvious, but apparently it’s not.
  • Your home address. Don’t be afraid about putting your address. The studio needs to know where you live because for the most part, they want to hire local talent first. If you live here, they want to know that!

Then have a summary section which could include your skills (bullet form is a good idea), objective of what position you want to fill in at the studio and maybe your short term goals for your career. Simple and direct is okay.

The smaller the studio, the more general you can be with your objections. The larger the studio, the more specific you should be with what position you want to fill. They are rarely looking for anyone who “will do anything”. That can work against you.

Then put what you have done in the form of work experience and school experience. The school you attended will not indicate whether you ‘have the goods’ or not. It’s all up to you and your skills, but it’s not a deal breaker.

For the most part, going to a reputable school helps you. But I’ve seen very talented people come out of less reputable schools and vise versa.

It’s possible to be self taught for certain positions, but for animators, school is usually necessary. If you have mentored or studied with someone respected in the industry, tell us. It can help you (so can getting mentored by someone who knows their stuff).

(Karen’s note: Don’t include jobs that have nothing to do with art or the industry. Nobody cares. I briefly mention my graphic design experience at this point because it’s somewhat relevant. But I don’t put that one year I worked at the movie theatre when I was 19. Get my drift?)


References are a good idea too. Include what studio or school, the name of your supervisor/instructor and their phone number or email address if possible (but ask permission from this person first!).

Notify your references by email when you send out your resumes so they are prepared for any inquiries. It will look bad for you if they are caught racking their brain trying to remember who you are.

If you can do a filmography, that’s great. This can be on a separate page. As you gain more experience, the more relevant this will become. This is where a website can also be of benefit.

(Karen’s note: As you can see, I’ve used a two column layout on my resume so everything fits neatly on one page. )

If you don’t have much experience, indicate your student film. Any awards? Festival entries? Other accomplishments that are relevant to the industry? Put it on there.

So here’s a quick resume check list:

  • Keep it clean, readable and to one page
  • Include your NAME and all contact information
  • Be clear on what position you are applying for
  • All relevant work experience
  • All relevant education
  • Filmography (if you have one)
  • References with contact information
  • Any other relevant info (films, awards, accomplishments etc.)

Thanks for all the great info Anne!

We’ll continue this series next week with some portfolio advice from Anne. Then some good stuff on applying to studios the week after that. Stay tuned!


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21 thoughts on “Interview With A Recruiter: Resumes

  1. Aidan Casserly

    Very helpful. I had never thought of the columned approach.

    If you were applying for storyboard internships/revisionist/clean-up jobs (…well, everyone has to start somewhere!), would you still label yourself as “John Whatever – Storyboard Artist” or say specifically “Jane Whatever – Storyboard Intern/Revisionist/Clean-Up Artist”? Sorry if that sounds kind of weird, but I have come across it before.

  2. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hey Aidan,

    Yeah, I really like the two columns. You can fit a lot on one page.

    Well, if it’s for your *first* job, you could always skip putting the title at the top and just focus on those skills in the summary (and in your cover letter/email). Or just put the title you were actually applying for at the time.

    If you were applying for all three, it may not be horrible to have them all there. You just don’t want to look too much like a “I’ll do anything” guy.

    Of course, I’m not the resume expert…so I may not be helping at all. Sorry. πŸ˜‰

  3. Aidan Casserly

    No need for sorry, Karen! Any advice helps, and I guess it doesn’t look too desperate to put all as long as you’re not offering to clean their toilets (although I hear Katzenberg has been partial to that…).

  4. Joe Bernados

    great interview Karen! I just recently discovered this site and am building a storyboarding portfolio of my own and this has been super helpful. Just wondering if there’s gonna be a future article on cover letters? ^_^

  5. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Aidan – Hey, it could happen. I heard of a studio that was making artists take out the trash! But uh…try to avoid those ones. πŸ™‚

    @ Joe – Thanks and welcome! We will be talking about applying to studios but no great detail about cover letters at this point, I’m afraid. But I’ll keep it in mind for the future. Hope you enjoy it anyway. πŸ™‚

  6. Tom Long

    Hey thanks for this Karen. I’m in the process of putting together my CV(resume) and this has helped a huge amount. its difficult to find a good example of how to actually break down and construct a good resume for the industry. this example really puts it in perspective. thank you!

  7. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hey Tom!

    Glad you found it helpful. It can be a little daunting getting that first one done, can’t it? πŸ™‚
    The next article is coming up soon!

  8. Pingback: Interview With A Recruiter: Portfolios | Karen J Lloyd's Storyboard Blog

  9. Maureen

    Thanks for creating this post! How I wish I read this before applying to various companies… Love the column approach for your resume, I should try revamping mine. =)

    Really enjoy this ‘Interview With A Recruiter’ series as I’m a job seeker myself and its useful and insightful for people like me. I’m looking forward to other posts in this series!

  10. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hi Maureen,

    Well, you can always tweak your resume for the next batch. I really like the two columns too. I can’t take credit…I saw it somewhere else. But it works great.

    One more post in this series early next week! Glad you’re enjoying them. πŸ™‚

  11. Pingback: Interview With A Recruiter: Applying to Studios | Karen J Lloyd's Storyboard Blog

  12. purab gaur

    hey the post is extremely nice.

    but need a little bit of extra help from you.
    your resume looks very nice. can you please mail me a cope of the same, or put a link somewhere, so that i can get a little bit of help through it.

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Ringjo

    hi Karen,

    I love reading your blog. It’s very educational. I just have a couple of questions. Is the Summary on the resume different than the cover letter that’s needed to be passed along with the resume? If it is, what’s the difference between them?

    Thanks. πŸ™‚

  14. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Sorry for the late reply Ringjo!

    I’m no expert on resumes and cover letters, but yes, there is a difference.

    I consider what you put on the resume summary as the “what” of who you are and what you do. Very facts based.

    Then I consider the cover letter the “who” of who you are and what you do. More personal and natural. What you can bring to the studio or company. Other tidbits about your work habits that you wouldn’t put on the resume. Why they should hire you. That sort of thing.

    At least that’s my take on it. Hope that helps. πŸ™‚


  15. Simon

    Hey nice CV

    Having a mind blank!

    How do you get the rounded grey background behind the headings on word?



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