Just before I start animating I decided to look at some showreels from professionals working in the industry and student that have had the opportunity to intern at Pixar, Disney, Blue Sky etc. The animation that I found was of a really high standard but it gave me hope and motivation because I feel that if I work hard that I can get to that level. I also looked at an article that goes into how to create an effective demo reel with tons of tips and a Sony Animation video series that also contains tips and interviews.
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/create-great-animation-show-reel/ - Twelve rules for a successful demo reel.
http://www.cgmeetup.net/home/animation-reel-demo-reel-tips/ - Three short videos on animation, lighting and visual development tips.