If you're looking to land that big role, making sure your resume has what casting directors are looking for is key. This actor resume article will help your resume be ready alongside you for any audition.
Lights, camera, action! From the looks of it, you're ready to jump into the deep end of becoming an actor or actress, and luckily for you, the Occupational Outlook Handbook says there are 70,100 acting jobs out there. With the industry projected to grow by 3% each year, there are plenty of opportunities for you to catch your big break. Not to mention, the growth of the internet has helped the industry grow as well.
Whether you've already landed a spot in a movie or tv show, looking to land your first role, having a resume that speaks the industry language is crucial.
In this article, we will go over 7 steps that can help your resume go from a C-lister to an A-lister.
Here's an overview of what we'll go over:
Actor resumes are differently formatted than, let's say, an accountant resume. In order to impress casting directors, it is necessary for your resume to read like that of someone who is really interested in being an actor or actress and knows the industry language.
With that said, it's important for your resume to be formatted in a way that shows casting directors you're serious, even if you're auditioning for a comedic role.
Here are the three ways to format your actor resume:
As an actor or actress, it is not just important for casting directors to see what your acting credits are, but to know what your special skills are. You can sing or dance? You've starred in a hit tv show? Even if all you said were a few lines, these are things you want to highlight in your resume. Therefore, to truly impress casting directors, the best way to format your actor resume is with a hybrid that emphasizes your acting credits and shows off your skills.
Tip: Including headshots in your resume as an actor or actress are crucial! Select a format for your resume that allows you to show casting directors who you are.
Want to learn more about hybrid-formatted resumes? Check out our guide on how to format your resume.
Like shooting stars, the star-filled acting industry is always moving fast. On average, resumes are looked at for less than 6 seconds at a time. To make sure your resume stands out and is ready for the spotlight, it is important to have an award-winning resume summary.
A resume summary is a 1-2 sentence blurb you include at the top of your resume that summarizes your entire resume and lets casting directors know what projects you have worked on and what kinds of acting you have experience in.
Here are some elements to consider including in your resume summary:
If you're still not sure of what your resume summary should look like, here's an example:
Passionate actress with a BFA and 10+ years experience working in film and television acting with a focus in comedy and voice-overs and a reputation for
Tip: If you've starred in or won awards for big-name productions, feel free to include this in your resume summary, too! It could read something like this: Accustomed to demanding sets like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and have done award-winning performances in The Stand In and Parental Guidance.
Here's what your resume summary should not look like:
Talented actor with extensive experience on sets. Have starred in roles on broadway and tv.
Even if you're the humblest of actors, it's important to show casting directors what you've got, even if you may think it's braggy. Honor your achievements, A-lister!
Take a look at our guide for an in-depth look at resume summary examples.
Hollywood is bringing in the big bucks, but you don't need to necessarily start or end there to make your acting career or add credits to your actor resume. Starring in independent productions or smaller projects can help you get into the larger spotlights, too.
When it comes to work experience on an actor resume, the formatting and structure are very different from your typical resume. You're not describing what you did on the job. Instead, you're listing what productions you've worked in.
Here's an example of what the acting credits section of your resume can look like:
Acting Credits in Television
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX (Dir. Claire Scanlon)
Supporting • Episode 4 — Season 6 (2019)
Shrill, Hulu (Dir. Jesse Peretz)
Principal • (2019)
Your acting credits section of your resume should not look like this:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2019)
Played Trish in an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Worked with Andy Samberg
Assisted the cast with various activities
Tip: You don't need to list the name of the character you played with your acting credit.
When writing what role you played in your acting credits, it's important to know the lingo. This shows casting directors that you're familiar with the industry and the different ways of describing what an actor or actress specifically did on set and their role.
Here are some types of speaking roles that you can add to the acting credits section of your resume:
Tip: If you're been the voice in an animated tv series or film, you can state you are a voice-over actor for that production.
If your acting experience is more non-speaking roles, here are some examples you can include in your resume:
If you have no previous acting credits and don't know what work experience to put on your resume, don't sweat it.
Here are some things you can put under the acting credits section of your resume:
Even though you haven't caught your big break just yet, having at least attended workshops, been a Broadway production, or starred in a short film can help you to get noticed by a casting director looking to work with undiscovered talents.
You can also check out our guide on how to write a resume with no work experience for more information.
As an actor or actress, you know you only get one shot at first impressions. So, it's important to make it count.
Unless you're strictly working as a voice-over actor, your physical appearance does play a massive role in your ability to get casted. With that said, including a headshot in your resume is crucial because it shows casting directors what you look like and if you meet any physical requirements for the character you are auditioning for.
When formatting your resume, a template that allows you to include a headshot may be beneficial -- and of course, when submitting your resume, include some more photos to help casting directors see if your physical characteristics meet those of the character they are wanting to create or create.
Typically, the headshots you include with your resume are glossy 8x10 borderless close-ups, but nowadays, this can vary with the specific production market you are trying to work with.
Regardless of what kind of headshot the casting director is asking for, it's crucial for it to be of high quality. A low resolution photo will not help you get the part.
Tip: See our resume example at the top of this article to see how you can incorporate a headshot into your actual resume.
Oftentimes, an actor or actress does more than just act, and showcasing to casting directors your special skills on your resume can really help you catch your big break.
Unlike in other resumes, here, you're not listing your skills in Microsoft Office of Adobe Creative Suite. Instead, you're listing special skills like singing and dancing that can aid your acting career.
Here are some special skills you can include in your resume:
If a casting director is looking to cast an up-and-coming actor or actress in her musical, it's going to beneficial for the person casted to know how to sing and dance. Who knows? Maybe being cast as a dancer for a movie will put your acting career on the map.
Tip: Don't list your hobbies as your special skills. Just because you enjoy singing in the shower, unfortunately, does not always mean you can sing and stay on key.
When listing your special skills, try to list at least 5 of them. If you're comfortable doing so, include a skills progress bar to show casting directors just how skilled you are at the talents you are listing.
If you've received acting awards, including them on your resume may help to impress casting directors and secure the role.
Awards show casting directors that you have experience in the industry and have been recognized for your work and the roles you have played.
Here are some awards in the U.S. you can include in your resume if you've received them:
If you've received a regional acting award, be sure to include those in your resume, too.
Here are some regional awards that you may know of and be able to include:
Tip: Try not to include social media driven awards where may have won by asking friends and family to vote for them. It will not help to impress casting directors.
And if you haven't received any awards just yet, don't worry. With this resume you're creating, you'll sure land the role and then receive the recognition.
Some actors and actresses are child stars, took acting in high school or college or have just always dreamed about being a famous actor or actress without having worked for it. Regardless of your history, if you've received a college education, include it in your resume.
As an actor or actress, listing your education in your resume shows casting directors what you may have a background in. Especially if you received a BFA, or Bachelor of Fine Arts, for acting, this is something you want to highlight and for casting directors to notice.
When including your education, here are the basic components to list:
The space on your resume is very limited. You don't need to include what you did for those years you were in college.
Here's what the education section of your resume can look like:
California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA
2003 — 2007
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting
Here's what your education section should not look like:
California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA
2003 — 2007
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting
Received a degree in acting
Attended acting workshops
Starred in a college short film
Take a look at our guide on listing your education for more help.
We know we've covered a lot. We also know that with this guide, you're sure to wow casting directors with your impressive resume.
Here's a summary of everything we covered:
Now that you've seen the script, it's time for your resume to start acting! Go out there and break a leg!