Looking for a Creative Job? Throw Away the Resume

October 30, 2008 - By 


Some Digital Kitchen buddies and I had a presentation of our workflow at the Art Institute Artimation Festival. I was stunned at how out of date their portfolio class was. Apparently the entire “portfolio” class was structured to help students made a DVD reel and a resume. The students and teachers were asking questions like “What do you look for on a resume?” Are you kidding me?

Here is a note to all the creatives out there looking for a job… We don’t look at your resume! Do not write it and do not worry about it. We only look at your work. If your work isn’t up to our standards, it doesn’t matter how many internships you had or that you were head of the “Poster Screen Printing Club.” And as for making DVD reels, sorry to say we rarely look at those either.

Here is a whole class dedicated to helping get these students a job in the creative field, and they’re filling out resumes? That class should be for getting your work online. It is so much easier for both of us if you can send a link through an email or iChat that leads us to your work rather than physically mail us a DVD and a resume. Your best bet for getting a job? Make it easy for us to see your great work.

Posted In:  Ideas
  • I tried to tell them the same thing when I was in portfolio and they didn’t like my suggestion.

  • Agreed. At this point it almost seems desperate if you have a DVD. I mean to say, I’ve only hired people based on their websites and the DVD’s that are mailed to me are usually awful. If you want to take initiative, think twice about spending the time to author a DVD and consider marketing yourself online through forums, social networking or good old fashioned email. Or better yet, spend more time working on your craft and people might just find you.

  • Fyi crd xoxoxo

  • hahah

    I gonna hire this girl

  • They want us to author a DVD, but most of us didn’t take the DVD authoring class. They want us to have 2 (TWO!) resumes, a “design” resume (whatever that is) and a FAXABLE resume. FAXABLE. Really? The last time I saw a fax machine, it was being used to prop open a door. If you want to work for a bunch of douches, make all that shit because they’ll want to see it… because they’re douches. If you want to work for cool people that really dig your work… your website and business card are all you need.

  • Yeah, in the creative field a resume alone will not get you hired… but putting one together in addition to a badass reel won’t hurt your chances.

    As a print designer, I have a lot of work that legally can’t be shared on a personal website… In my case, the resume / reputation is all I’ve got until the work can be shown face to face.

  • That’s strange… our portfolio classes are dedicated to tweaking our work and putting it online. making blogs, and making sure we’re employable and networking properly. If you’re going for a print job, making sure you’ve got bombass paper, etc. etc.

  • I applied for a job at a few firms in LA and they asked for a resume…especially places that are big companies and need designers but are not digital kitchens per-se…but yeah it’s not as important because “if your work sucks you suck” (not my words, some advice given to me by a guy who does phenomenal work…hard advice but true)…

  • Barone had a good point. If you are presenting your resume to a potential client or employer, chances are it will be that kind of “job”… Say you get an employer that darts straight to your portfolio then contacts you. I’d say that’s more the route people should be going.

    Where’s the class that goes like this: “Preparing my work for art directors 101”

    Class 2: “Accepting and Learning from Rejection”

  • this is by far the worst advice i have ever heard. the purpose of creating a resume is an example of an exercise in design, and also give people bullet points on what you have done in the past. not everyone’s reel reflects what they have in fact done on a project, so they in fact could be misrepresenting themselves

  • Delete your reels, I heard the best way to get a job is to just make a video of yourself talking about work.

  • Mike Erla's Dads Dad April 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    maybe we should all just make blogs

  • Wow… So many people including myself need to hear this! I think as a creative I’ve forgotten what it means to “show” my work especially at my website. I guess that’s why I am getting back to what matters most, showing my work. Thanks so much for this.

  • everyone’s got a blog, everyone’s got an opinion. i’ve had millions of views across many flash cartoons, and still have a crap job. it’s not your work, it’s if you can sell it, and not just to an employer, but a client. more sales classes in college. great work doesn’t mean great job, gotta be part salesman.

  • Roger Margido Proeis June 16, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Agree that the work is of course essential, but would think it is valuable information for an agency to know who you’ve been working for, your exact role, where in the world. Many reels contains work that you’ve been a part of but you haven’t created it all yourself, so the reel may give a false impression of you.

    But of course, all that information can come through a chat once you’ve impressed with your online reel.

  • I totally agree with this.
    Post your work online, make it count, spread the word/Url.

  • For the most part I agree… But, large companies like Sony Pictures get hundreds if not thousands of submissions all the time. They accept “faxable” resumes through online submission (and even fax I think). A computer looks for keywords in the resume that correspond with the requirements of the job posting. The more key words that correspond the higher you get booted up on the list of potential interviewees. So that’s the purpose of a faxible resume. A “design” resume may get kicked out because the text recognition software doesn’t recognize your fancy shmansy designed text. As for DVD reels they do watch them. I know. I was there.

  • My Work From Colombia 😀

    Evans Daza/Creative Dir/RWM

  • I do not know of ONE serious company that will not ask for a resume. This article is trying to be more “creative” than informative.

    Yes….resumes alone are not going to get you a job but you better have one and it better make sense. Unless you want to work for a company that uses Adobe Premier for their main editing work…than send stuff without resumes.

  • I got a great idea, why not do all of the above. Send a resume, business card, link to site and demo reel that way everyone is happy!

  • MAN! I have been screaming this for wayyy tooo long! glad someone with much more of a voice then me currently is speaking up. Great work.

  • I think resume’s are good for the fact that it shows history. Anywhere you’re employed, you will have to know how to work well with others. If an employer can see that you already have experience working with people, then maybe that could be part of the deciding factor.

    I’m not saying that this isn’t better than making a connection with a certain employer, but I don’t think resumes should be thrown out altogether.

  • Hey Nick.
    It sound’s good. But there are a lot of situation.
    For example, here in Italy: If you don’t send a regular european CV and a resume with a DVD, nobody will call you for a job. If I send my reel like a link to an agency, they will never answer me. In other countries it’s different, like as you told. For this, and for other big reasons, I want to leave Italy…

  • I believe that a Resume is good for showing reputation, and I do believe it’s necessary to have one along with you internet presence.

    As Nick has said before though, most jobs you will get that stress a Resume are going to be “competency” jobs. Not “make awesome shit” jobs.

    I’m at N.O.A.A. doing motion graphics and its ok for now. But it’s most definitely a competency Job. And now my focus has turned to starting my own creative business.

    as for DVD reels… never.

  • Sorry Nick, but I totally disagree. It’s true that a resume by itself won’t give you a job, but it’s essential for every job application. I’ve worked at about 5 companies so far and each one of them asked me for a showreel PLUS a resume (and sometimes even a cover letter).

    It’s your description as a human being. There’s more in a job role than just sexy reel, and that may include ability to meet tight deadlines, work under pressure, experience to solve everyday problems, knowledge of broadcast requirements, management capabilities, background experience that prove your people skills, etc etc etc…

    So, don’t be so extreme, both things are helpful when applying for a job.


  • It’s not often I can say this but I completely disagree with you Nick. Everyone needs a resume, because everyone else is not Nick Campbell. What has worked for you is unique to your circumstances. It does not mean it is the norm. Every job or freelance contract I’ve ever applied for or taken began with a resume. For sure its easier to use an online reel, and chat via AIM or whatever, but these are far from the norm and most firms will not take your stance. To suggest everyone should and could have the same success using your techniques assumes every individual out here is or should be a Nick Campbell and does and should have a Greyscale Gorilla. If that were the case you would be entirely un-unique, which is ironic as I’m guessing this is what has lead to your success.

  • I think this is some pretty good advice. I usually include my resume as a pdf attachment so if they want to check it out, they can – but my demo reel is in bold for people to click on.

    Also, ive been trying out a new method, where i write a brief paragraph (kinda a quasi cover-letter) in the emails i send to potential employers. The first sentence is…”Hello, my name is Aaron Kulik, and I am from the future” then i just give some brief info about myself and end with “Thank you for your consideration. Now, if you’ll excuse me, i must report back to the mother-ship.”

    Not sure if its too silly/unprofessional to do this, but my thinking is that it might incline the reader to actually watch my reel since its different than the usual info paragraph.


    • I think it’s cool. I’ve been trying to come up with a witty tag line myself.

      As you’ve stated, you have to stand out. The standard, “I look forward to hearing from you” jargon is so dry and standard.

    • sorry mate, but if I recevied a job application like this I’d think “what a kid” and probably wouldn’t hire you. a work environment is not your school, and work colleagues are not your friends (they could become one day, but untill then threat them professionally and you’ll be increasing your chances of success). just my two cents. good luck!

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