Audition Song Selection, What to Expect, Tips, and More!
How To Write A Resume For Actors
Building and perfecting a resume can be a tedious, confusing task. It's full of random questions like "what credits should I list first?", "why will the spacing on this document not work the way I want it to?", and "what even IS a special skill?" If you ask three different people these questions, you may get three different answers. That's the thing about resumes - a lot depends on personal preference! In this article, though, I'll walk you through a few key do's and don't's that apply to all resumes, along with some areas where you can add a more personal touch.
Personal and Contact Information
At the top of your resume should be some relevant personal details that are helpful and hugely important to the people behind the table. First, of course, should be your name - at the top, and in the largest font. Then should come your contact information - phone number and email address is fine, no need to list your home address. You can then feel free to list your height, hair color, and eye color (NOT your weight), and your voice part/range if you're a singer. None of this is required, but definitely list it if anything is outside the ordinary (for example, if you're particularly short or tall). This is also a great place to list your website, if you have one.
List Your Performance Credits
The majority of the page should be taken up by your list of experience. This should be formatted in three columns - the first is the title of the show, the second is the role you played, and the third is the theatre company/director. Note that you do not have to list your credits in chronological order - the ones at the top will be the first a casting director sees, so make sure if you have a role you want to make known that you played or a director you want to make known that you've worked with, that those credits are towards the top of your resume.
If you have both professional and educational credits, you'll want to list those separately, with professional coming first. Remove your educational credits as soon as you have enough professional credits to fill the page. If you have film or television experience, you'll want to list that separately as well - either above or below your theatrical experience.
Additionally, if you were a dance captain or understudy, make sure to note that! Feel free to add a line in italics under a credit, or add an asterisk to the role to denote anything additional you want to say.
Relevant Education and Training
List your most recent education first. If you are a current student, indicate where you are attending and list your expected year of graduation. Beneath your school, you can indicate any programs/intensives you've taken part in, and any notable instructors you've had in acting, voice, or dance. If you have dance training, this is a good place to list the kinds of dance you have training in, and the amount of years you've been studying. Also feel free to list any master classes you've taken with notable industry professionals.
Putting Special Skills On A Resume
This is easily the section I get asked the most questions about. The best advice I can give is to keep it short, and stick to skills that are actively relevant to performing. Some example skills that come to mind as important to list are foreign languages, accent training, gymnastics/tumbling, and any musical instruments you play.
Do NOT feel obligated to put a quirky/funny special skill, it's not at all necessary. If you do list one, make sure you are prepared to perform it at any time on the spot - don't list a Shakira impression unless you actually have a great Shakira impression that you can do on command, it can easily backfire! That said, if you do have an amazing Shakira impression (or any other funny special skill), please list it on your resume! It can add a lot of personality to your audition.
Actor Resume Tips
-If you're completely starting from scratch and don't know where to start, don't be shy about asking an actor friend to take a look at their resume. There aren't really online templates for these kinds of resumes specifically, so getting some visual context can be helpful. If no one you know has one, a Google Image search is another great place to start!
-Do NOT go over one page for any reason, casting directors will stop reading. Cut what you have to/make the font size smaller/anything you have to do, but keep it to one page.
-On that note, try to keep it to as little text as possible. Casting Directors spend only a few seconds looking at your resume, and they want to know exactly where to look to find the specific information they need. No need to overcrowd it.
-Don't lie! This feels obvious, but it's worth saying - you will get asked about what's listed on your resume, and if you get caught in a lie it could spell bad news for your future with that casting director.
To put it simply, your resume is an extension of you - as a person, as a performer, and as a brand. As you finesse your document, keep in mind that it should feel authentic to you, your skills and talents, and what you bring into the room. If it feels personal to who you are, all while following the rules we talked about, then you'll be good to go.