You have first class experience in drama training, acting techniques, voice auditions, and everything you need to be successful in the acting world. But to get your next acting audition in your dream movie, drama, or TV show, you should write a professional resume.
Not only that! The resume you write should get the attention of the casting director or the recruitment manager.
Writing an acting resume that actually gets the work is quite a job itself. That is where we can help you.
In this guide, we will show you how to write that perfect acting resume step by step.
Your acting resume is important, but to get the acting job, you need to perform well in the audition. That is the real challenge. Spend your valuable time training and practicing for the audition. Create your acting resume fast by using one of our acting resume templates. Check out our resume templates here.
Additional Information About The Acting Resume
The average annual pay for an actor is $51,000 (Payscale.com)
However, the potential of getting into an acting career has tremendous potential to earn. For example, as an actor, if you perform well in your part even if it is a tiny part of the whole drama or the movie, you get popularity.
You can monetize that by creating a large following on social media and becoming an influential character, or by being part of commercials and promotions for corporations.
You just need one right acting role to hit the top and earn millions. That is the beauty of working as an actor and that is the exact reason why this industry has become super competitive.
For any given acting job, there will be thousands of interested candidates and only hundreds of them get to audition. To be in that set, a powerful resume would be the major push.
Actor Resume Example
Use our acting resume examples freely in your next resume. Take a look at this perfect acting resume sample:
How to make an Acting Resume
As an actor, you know how much pre-planning goes into a single take in a movie. Most casting directors spend days and weeks planning the shoot. That helps them to efficiently use the casting crew, the equipment, and other resources.
It is the same with writing acting resumes. First, you plan the resume. Then you write it. When you plan carefully, you don’t miss anything important and write only what needs to be written.
Your resume needs a solid template that gets the attention of recruiters. If you need to stand out from the boring resumes other actors made with Microsoft Word, check out our resume templates.
Planning your acting CV is not as difficult as planning a part in a movie. There are standard layouts and structures.
The layout of the Acting Resume
A layout defines what you are going to write on the resume. The following layout is well optimized for an acting resume.
- Header with your name and contact details
- Resume objective/ summary
- Work experience
- Acting credits
- Workshops and training
- Additional sections
One page resumes have many advantages.
Casting directors are super busy people. They do spend only around 5 seconds on most resumes before throwing them into the bin. If you want your resume to be read for more than 10 seconds and to remain on the table, you should write it to the point. One page is the ideal size.
The structure of the Actor Resume
The structure is how you write the resume. There are three main resume structures to follow:
- Functional structure
- Reverse chronological order
For an acting resume, we recommend using the reverse chronological order. In this, your most recent performances will be showcased first.
Casting directors spend only a limited amount of time reading resumes, so they want to see your most recent performances. Do not make them scan the whole resume to find them out.
In addition, consider these bullet points when composing your resume:
- Microsoft Word or PDF is the preferred format for sending your CV
- Choose a clear and readable font (eg: Times New Roman).
- The headline should be in larger font size. Also, bold the text for more visibility
- Use consistent margins
Attention to these details shows casting directors that you are serious about the role and you are a well organized actor. They love to work with professional actors.
Formatting your resume in a pleasing way to the reader is important to make them read it till the end. If you hate to start with a blank MS Word file and do all the formatting yourself, check out our resume templates. They are super creative and you just have to fill in the blanks.
Start with the Header of the Acting Resume
This section is simply about presenting your name and contact information. Though this sounds simple, there are a few important things to consider when writing the header section of an acting resume.
Example of a header / Example of a bad header for Actor
While writing this section, take into account the following:
- Start: The header should start with your name and not with your title
- Email: For an entry level acting resume, it is okay to put a personal email address. However, the best way is to create a professional email address after your name
- Residential Address: Do not include your address unless it is absolutely necessary. You will anyway have to be in close distance to the filming locations if you get acting jobs
- Website: If you have a professional website, list it at the bottom of the header. The casting directors should be able to see more of your photographs in the web gallery
- Physical specifications: Every casting director has a picture in their mind of the perfect actor for a role. That even includes physical description such as height, hair color, eye color, etc. Stating the relevant specifications about you is really important and that would save time for both parties.
Is a photo required in the Actor Resume?
Yes of course!
The actor’s headshot is where the casting director spends their first couple of seconds. If they do not like you, they will not even flip the side to read your resume.
A clear headshot should be attached. This is not like in typical resumes with a photograph.
Read the job description properly and see whether they have mentioned any specifications about the photograph like the size and background.
Do not take chances. Hire a professional photographer with experience working with actors in the industry. If you’re unsure, do not hesitate to ask an industry expert. Most professional photographers in the industry know the correct format and poses for an actor’s resume.
It is very important to follow the standard guidelines. Otherwise, your resume will capture the casting director’s attention, but in a negative way.
Attach your resume and the headshot for your acting gig. One way to do this is by printing your resume straight on the back of your printed photo. Another way is to use staples. Make sure they do not separate.
If you are being asked to send as a PDF or an MS Word file, place your resume on the first page and your headshot on the second page, or vice versa.
Professional resume summary for an Actor
This is the first script your casting director reads about you. So make it count.
The professional summary is a couple of sentences that best describe your expertise, skills, and acting career. You may consider this your sales pitch.
If your casting director asks you to describe yourself in two lines, this will be it.
You can mention the previous characters you have done, your special skills, acting awards you have received, and any specialized training if you are applying as an experienced actor.
If this is your first time as an actor, consider writing an objective summary where you highlight your passion for acting, the acting classes you have taken, special skills you have, and why you will be a great hire for this role.
Do you see the difference between the CORRECT one and the INCORRECT one?
The CORRECT professional summary is not ambiguous. It has specific details with numbers wherever possible.
Writing the summary is a challenge for most actors as there is no standard way to do it. Some acting candidates spend hours biting the pen to come up with the perfect resume summary.
Use this format to write your next acting resume summary.
Sentence 01: Describe yourself with an adjective that showcases your energy and personality. Use the first sentence to present yourself, your experience, expertise, and special skills.
Sentence 02: Describe your best achievements as an actor. Use examples of work history, theatre company, production company, editorial team or directors you have worked with, awards you have received.
Work Experience in the Acting Resume
Your experience section is the most important part of your acting resume. Most casting directors start with this section just after checking your photographs.
Think from the casting director’s angle. If you are shortlisting 1,000 resumes for a movie character, which one do you start with?
It is probably the photograph of the actor as you have a picture of the actor you need to have for the role in your mind.
What this guy has previously done!
Which are the acting credits and theater credits. Your experience in other words.
However, if you do not have much experience as an actor to list in your resume, list your performances in the acting school or your training.
Describe your professional experiences on your Actor Resume
Use reverse chronological order to list down your acting history. This way, you write your latest performances first.
Writing your actor experience would be a little different than writing a resume for any other job.
Here are a few bullet points to consider:
- Read the role advertisement carefully to pick the keywords the casting director would be looking for
- Do not over explain your characters or the involvement in a particular acting gig
- The industry norm is to list the film title, the role played, the theater company, and the director. You can also use a format with columns to showcase the experience section
Examples of professional experiences for a Junior Actor
Examples of work experience for a Senior Actor
Education in the Acting Resume
Does your education matter as an actor?
Yes, it does. If you are well educated, casting directors may find it easier to work with you.
However, there are no particular education qualifications specifically mentioned in the job descriptions. That is the beauty of being an actor. You can be a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, or any professional in your acting gigs without having an education in those fields.
Your education section especially works for getting your next audition if you are applying with little or no acting credits.
If you have little or no formal training as an actor, still you can list down your education experience in any field on your actors’ resumes.
Should you start with education or work experience for an Acting Resume?
Your work experience or acting credits are the most important part of your acting resume. Even if you have the best education qualifications in the world to perform a particular role, the casting director would give priority to the candidate with acting credits.
Therefore, always give priority to acting experience.
How to properly list your education in an Acting Resume?
Use a clear format to list down your education. We recommend the following:
- Degree type and the major Eg: BA in film studies, Masters in filmmaking
- Mention the graduation and commencement years
- The university or institution and its location Eg: Columbia University, NY
- Achievements, honors, or awards
Best supporting actor, annual film festival 2014
Example of the education section of an Acting Resume
Skills to put on an Acting Resume
Casting directors hate to read a list of hobbies as your skills. You do not have to list down a ton of skills thinking you will get an audition based on that.
Only write what you possess and make sure you read the job description and understand the responsibilities that come with the particular acting work.
Your skills section is the one that has the most potential to skyrocket your career. Think about the actors and actresses you see every day on the big screen. They all have one thing in common. Which is that they all have at least one unique skill.
Some actors are really good dancers, some are fighters, some are good looking, fit or talk a couple of languages. When you understand your unique set of skills, you could look for opportunities that allow you to monetize them.
Do a self assessment of yourself to identify the potential skills that you have.
What are the main skills sought for in a Professional Actor Resume
There are mainly two types of skills sought for in an acting resume.
Soft Skills: These are generic skills that are difficult to measure. You can easily find the expected skills by reading the job description. They would mention the responsibilities that come with the particular acting role.
- Time Management
- Clear communication
Hard Skills: These are specific skills that are easily measurable. You acquire these skills mainly through training and following courses.
- Musical talents
- Combat training
- Martial arts
What skills for a Junior Actor?
Write a mix of soft and hard skills for a junior acting resume.
- Rapper with a strong voice
- Expert in martial arts
- Have a smile that makes people laugh
- Good team worker
- Listener and fast learner
What skills for a qualified Senior Actor?
Write a mix of soft and hard skills for a qualified senior actor. Prioritize your special skills.
- Singer with a deep voice
- Sing Operas
- Gymnastic player
- Stage fighter
- Clear communication
- Work on time
Additional Headings for your Acting Resume
Do you need additional headings in your acting resume?
Yes. Because what we discussed above is common in 95% of the resumes the casting director gets. If you really want this audition, you should write a resume that stands out. An easy way is to write an additional section that surprises your casting director and makes him offer you a chance.
Here are some of the additional headings you could add to your next actor’s resume:
- Skills certifications
Skills certifications on an Actor Resume
There are special skills certifications an actor can acquire that add tremendous value to their career. Some skills you get through extensive acting experience while others you can acquire through acting schools and training classes.
Depending on the role you apply for, and the career you expect as an actor, these skill requirements would change.
These are some of the valuable skills actors acquire:
- Fighting styles
- Fine arts and advanced movements
- Impromptu acting
- Sketch comedy
Acquiring a professional qualification from a recognized institution for some of these skills would put you on top of the line.
Say you are one of the casting directors looking for a supporting character who can dance and you find the resume of this new talent having an impressive western dancing certification from a recognized institution. Wouldn’t you dare to give them a chance?
If you are getting private coaching sessions from an industry expert coach on method acting, you could mention that here, but there is a risk if the director does not have a good relationship with the coach. Do this with some research only.
Interests in an Actor Resume
List your interests if they are relevant and if you have space on your resume. Remember, you need to limit your resume to a single page.
Many actors make the mistake of listing their general interests on their resume thinking that would represent their personality. So they list interests such as pet lover, listening to classical music, and collecting antiques.
These general interests have no value either for your resume or to the casting directors.
Instead, if you have interests that communicate your personality such as hiking, radio presenter, learning new languages, you may add them to the resume.
However, do not add more than three interests.
Languages in an Actor Resume
If you are fluent in a couple of languages, it is absolutely fine to state them. Especially if you have practiced an accent. Casting directors love actors who have different accents, whether trained or natural.
Those are little things that can take your resume from the boring pieces of paper that end up in the bin to the exciting professional actor resumes that casting directors are waiting to meet at an audition.
If you have received an award for your previous roles, that would put you in the front line. For beginner actors, list the awards and recognitions you received in your acting training school.
Summary: Key Points for Writing a Perfect Actor Resume
- Start with a clean header with your name and contact details and the physical specifications as relevant. State the contact details of your manager or the agent if any
- Write a professional summary or an objective summary showcasing your acting credits and special achievements
- Work with a professional photographer to get a headshot to attach with the resume
- Use the reverse chronological order to list your acting credits
- Write your education qualifications in a clear format
- Write a mix of soft skills and hard skills. Put more focus on your hard skills that are relevant to the role you apply for
- Make the casting directors notice your resume by providing a pleasant surprise. Use relevant additional sections such as skills certifications, interests, or languages.
Write a Cover Letter That Goes With Your Actor Resume
Make your resume stand out with a cover letter. Cover letters are your sales pitch to the potential director stating why you would be a good fit for the job.
In your cover letter, write concisely about why you are a great fit to perform this role, the similar challenges you have taken in the past and how you have successfully executed them, and how giving this opportunity to you would benefit the production and the casting director. You can mention your passion to work with the director and mention how much you enjoy the director’s previous work.
Keep the cover letter to half a page as the directors do not have time to go through a two page cover letter for a single applicant when they have thousands of resumes to shortlist.
However, check the job advertisement as they might mention the requirement of a cover letter. If they have not mentioned it, it is not mandatory.
Frequently Asked Questions for an Actor Resume
What is an actor’s resume called?
This is a common question that comes to many beginners entering into an acting career. An actor’s resume is the document that is created to send to a production or a casting director to secure a role in a movie, drama, or TV program. This is often called an acting resume, theater resume, actor CV, or actor curriculum vitae.
What skills should I put on my professional acting resume?
There are so many acting skills that are valuable to showcase on a resume. Here are some of them:
- Languages with fluency
- Dance, singing, and music
- Fighting and combat
- Athletic skills: surfing, gymnastics, martial arts
How do you make an acting resume for beginners?
When making an acting resume for a beginner, consider the following recommendations:
- Use a professional acting resume template
- Clearly state your contact information and your agent contact information if any
- Hire a professional photographer and get a headshot to attach
- Write an objective summary highlighting your passion and training to perform the role
- If you do not have acting credits to showcase in the experience section, write about your performances in training schools
- State your special skills in additional sections to grab the viewer’s attention
How do I make an actor’s CV?
Making an acting resume is a little different process than making a resume for any other position. Here are the steps:
- Select a standard template that matches the role and your personality
- Use a standard layout to present the following headings,
- Header with your name and contact details
- Professional/ Objective summary
- Work experience
- Acting credits
- Workshops and training
- Additional sections
- Keep your acting resume to one page
- Attach a professional looking color headshot