How to Write an Actor's Resume

by David Collins

Resume in typewriter

Your resume speaks volumes about you as an individual and how much you can contribute as an actor.

There is no business like show business. Just like other professions, show biz has set ways of conducting business and doing things. Like other industries, in order to be hired and get jobs in the movie business, you will need to submit a resume. As an aspiring actor, you need to know how to create a properly formatted actors resume which may very well include nearly every acting role or experience that you have had. Your resume speaks volumes about you as an individual and how much experience and training you may have. It's important that you take the time to craft your resume because it will be your ticket to an audition and of course can lead to stardom.

If you are already in the business you may have seen actors resumes that are fancy and over-the-top. You may also have seen the most basic of actors resume. All you really need is for your resume to appear professional and informative - not too fussy and not too far away from the point you are trying to make, which is that you are worth casting!

There most certainly aren't 101 stead fast rules for creating an actor's resume. But there is an industry standard format which means by following just a couple of handy hints when building your resume, your resume could have your acting career sprinting off the starting line, rather than lagging behind it.

So, what should your resume look like? For starters, ensure that your resume has your contact details like name, phone number, and email at the top. All your union affiliations should be clearly visible at the top of your resume, too. This information has to be prominently featured. Try to make the information bold or increase the font size. Any potential employer will see this information and then contact you for a job or an audition. Until the time you are booked for an audition or hired for a job, you really do not need to provide more than your phone number and your email. Avoid giving your home address unless absolutely necessary or you are specifically asked for it. Another piece of information that you absolutely need to avoid giving out is your Social Security number. In these times of digital identity thefts, you will need to safeguard your interests first.

Moving on, list the roles you've performed, the name of the production, and director or production company according to production type. Place your credits into these main categories: film, television, theater, and commercials. Your resume should be able to provide the entire range of work done in a rather basic list. Specifically mention a director or producer's name if it has value attached to it because this will surely make a difference. Remember you may tailor your resume to cater to specific roles. For example, if you are applying for a role in a musical then you might want to put your musical theatre categoty at the top.

Within each main category, always list your most professional projects first. If you lack a bunch of professional credits, and you have acted in school dramas or theatre productions, then mentioning it on your resume is not only acceptable but will take you a step ahead.

Below your main list of credits, include your educational qualifications and whatever training you have have had. You can also include the experiences that have influenced you to most and why.

As a rule of thumb, use only standard white paper. Don't use color paper or anything with flamboyant designs. The only thing that casting director or talent agent is interested in is YOU.

Basic Resume Guidelines
  • Use 8 x 10 inch white paper to match the size of your headshot or photo.
  • Make the font small enough so you can fit everything on the resume, but not too small that it's hard to read.
  • Don't use fancy fonts, the simpler the better - Arial or Verdana are good and easy to read.
  • Put your name in bold as the main header and so that it's clearly visible.
  • Below your name put down whether you are a singer or dancer. Or do you sing, dance AND act?
  • Add your vocal range only if you are a singer (e.g. Alto, Tenor, Baritone, ect.) Omit if you cannot sing.
  • Add credits to each category of your resume. If you don't have many in one category, add more to another category. List the most important or impressive ones first.
  • List a director's name if you took part in a performance that was directed by a well-known director, the same goes for actors - only list names of those you starred with if they are well known.
  • Add the location in which you performed / filmed. For example: Appeared in scenes 1, 3 and 6 at the recording studio at Disney, for the Mary Poppins film.
  • Put your training last. Don't forget to mention the acting school you went to if applicable or singing lessons that you are currently taking.
Avoid making a mess of your resume. A simple row of credits is all you need. Tacky or unformatted resumes are a complete death message and must be avoided at all costs! Casting directors usually tend to notice if your resume looks sloppy. A clean and structured resume fetches more attention than a cluttered resume. Make sure that there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in your resume. As a movie actor you can be creative in how you display all the relevant information. But remember to have a semblance and specific presentation pattern. After all, your resume is your ticket to success in the world of Show Biz and you don't want to miss boarding the flight!
David Collins is a talent coordinator for a successful variety television show. His career in television spans over 15 years.
Copyright © David Collins. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin

Reader Comments

I'm frank adjei from Ghana and i am 20yrs i want to become a famous actor that any film industry would like sign me please me because that is my vision.

Posted by frank adjei (2011-06-14) 3372

Hi am from kenya and have been strugling to get on the acting scene without succes. Am grateful for your advice. I will try it and am sure it will work. You can also give me more advice or help at any time. Be blessed.

Posted by Nancy wangui (2011-02-19) 2887

Hi my name rebecca hernandez. Im 18 and i have a dream or being a actor. I see my family goin threw bad times my dads the only one that works. And we have 11 people in the house. so i wanted to know if you would help me out. I would thank u so much. I dont want 2 become a porn or anythang else. I just i my dream 2 come true so my family can be happy and dont have 2 worry about anythIng. I also would love 2 help the poor. I sing when im sad or when im haPpy. I can act real good if u can give me a change please. il pray everynite 4 ur cAll thank you and god bless you.

Posted by Rebecca (2010-07-19) 2642

oh my, this website helps!sooo much.THANK YOU!!!

Posted by amanda (2009-11-16) 2185

hello my name is sarah i want to be an actore and i need to write a paragraph so i can be chosen what exprince should i have i really want to be plzzzzzzzzz help

Posted by sarah (2009-07-21) 1802

Take acting lessons, private is best, from a person that really acted in a film, TV, or Commercial. Too many 'teachers' at colleges never did anything save stage work. Private is more $ but better training and connections to the industry.

Posted by Joe (2009-06-27) 1680

Hi my Name Is Nadia and i am 11 years old. i have an agent but i havent been going to there classes. I go to John Casablancas.

Posted by nadia (2009-05-10) 1439

Thanks alot for your nice advices and headings.I am posting my comment right from Kenya and am great to get such awonderful moment to share with you people.I can really make a resume but my experience upto now is very low due to problems am facing in my caarer.To start with is that we don't have trainig institution,some upcoming companies based their intake or employement to enthic groups.So in short you people with your willing heart if possiple get me astart and I will promise to deliver at any point. THANKS ALOT.

Posted by Duncan cheruiyot (2009-05-07) 1415

Hey Kristina, are you blind? Right above this is a link to "resume examples". If you would just take the time to actually view a few more pages of this site, you'd find all the answers you are seeking. I know I did.

Posted by Frank (2009-04-11) 1272

Can u please email me an example of a resume.?

i need to see what it says and how the categories are supposed to be.

i wuld greatly appreciate it if you culd send me this.

thank you.

Posted by Kristina (2009-04-10) 1271

I would love to be an actress of such high standards, but I need help to get me into the business...if you could give me some tips, that'd be awesome

Posted by bgirlfan (2008-11-19) 590

I need help writing my resume I never really had to write it so if u could show me what one looks like then I can take it from there

Posted by deshawn (2008-11-14) 564

hello sir i want to be an actor so you give me suggestion. how can i be an actor?

Posted by abhishek (2008-05-08) 85

I was born to become a film star and i am only a tool for people who are interested in me.

Posted by unknown (2008-03-29) 73

Post Your Comments

No HTML, links, emails, phone numbers, addresses, profanities, or all caps please. (Message Rules)