Getting work in a competitive industry anytime can be difficult and stressful. During a pandemic however, it can seem like an unsurmountable obstacle. While there are no guarantees, with some preparation, effort, and flexibility on your part you can diminish the barriers faced.
Do research on the employers in your area but have a willingness to move. Employers near you may not offer the best wages or benefits. Also keep in mind that your first job probably won’t last forever. Consider taking a job that you move temporarily for. The importance of an employer on your resume rather than just school experience can’t be understated. I’ve always said, your first job gets you in the door, your second job gets you paid.
The importance of a solid computer setup is invaluable, especially in the current work from home situation that a lot of industries have adopted. Buy an industry standard PC and two monitors. While AMD makes great products with excellent prices, I have run into many situations where there are incompatibilities. I have always had consistent luck with Intel and Nvidia. Pay attention to the specs as well, have knowledge of what components are in your system.
Don’t just know how to make great art on your machine but know your machine as well. With work from home, you are your first line of IT support. If you don’t understand how to install basic software or use collaboration tools, the employer may look elsewhere. You want to know enough that you only reach out to IT support in times of true need. Even then, “they will fix your computer and then they’re going to make fun of you.”
Keep at it. Stay positive and treat your job search as a job. Search job forums, indeed.com, talk to classmates, work with the placement coordinator at your school, research where companies want application materials sent to (check company contact pages). Keep a record of where you apply and any responses received. Tuesday-Thursday, apply to at least three places a day. Substitute these as needed but I strive for; one job posting, one through a connection, and one cold (they may have a position coming up or a posting you missed). Why Tuesday-Thursday? Well unless I’m applying to a posting that just went up on Monday or Friday, I try to not email on those two days. I’ve always had the best response success in the middle of the week. If you email on a Friday, they are wrapping up their work week, want to head home and your email may get buried under whatever fills their inbox over the weekend. On Monday their inbox may be full of the weekend emails and yours gets missed in the deluge.
Use Friday-Monday to continue honing your skillsets and craft. Keep making work and as my first block instructor Tom Henry said, “save often”. Apply any feedback received. Feature your best work first. Make sure your name is in the filename of your resume and portfolio. Can your work and reel be easily found on YouTube, Vimeo and Artstation? Is your contact info easily accessible? Is your resume easy to download, read, and distribute? Don’t use images in your resume for your name, software used or keywords, automated resume readers can’t search them, and they get sorted out. Build your online presence and portfolio, enter contests to keep your skills fresh. Make targeted reels and resumes to target specific jobs. Be open to related industries. You don’t have to keep that job forever, but it’ll look better on your resume than champion puppy juggler.
With all of this said the best piece of advice I’ve ever received was, “No one knows anything.” So don’t assume you won’t get that job, or the description doesn’t describe you. Keep being you, keep trying and keep making great artwork. Make your mark.
Visual Effects Production Diploma Program
The Visual Effects Production diploma program
gives students a broad range of skills which allows them to pursue jobs in the computer graphics industry, including feature film and television effects, game art, print advertising, architectural visualization and military simulation.
Visual Effects Production Degree Program
The Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Effects Production
gives students a broad range of skills. The Visual Effects Bachelor’s Degree program consists of an additional 18 months post diploma and an additional 60 credits.