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A career in comedy can be demanding and exhausting, but successful comedians gain a loyal following and can make an income that is no laughing matter. Your comedy resume may help you get your foot in the door at big clubs and shows. Unlike most resumes, though, the goal isn't to convince potential employers of your intellect or to display your previous work history. Instead, you must show that you have the ability to draw in a crowd. A comedian's resume is somewhat flexible, and you don't necessarily have to use a specific order; instead, list impressive, eye-catching information first.
Rather than a resume objective, a profile gives you space to highlight your career achievements and skills. Keep your profile to three or four sentences, talking about yourself in the third person. Itemize the types of comedy you do -- such as stand-up or improv -- as well as any particularly impressive career highlights, such as regularly selling out shows.
Awards and Education
In standard resumes, the education section comes first. Whether or not this is the right choice for you depends on what else is on your resume. If you have impressive educational credentials or a history of awards, consider listing this information first. If your experience is more impressive, that should go before your education and awards. If you've undergone comedic, stage or theater training, or apprenticed under a well-known comedian, list this experience in your education section. List any awards and honors you've achieved as a comedian. If your city voted you the best local comedian or you've reached the top of "The New York Times" bestseller list, list these achievements.
Your experience section should itemize your comedy career achievements, not a history of job duties. List any major venues that you've worked out of, as well as the crowd sizes with which you've previously worked. Your experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent work listed first. If you've worked alongside well-known comedians -- either as part of the act or as an opening act -- list this.
Media Appearances and Publications
If you've sold media such as DVDs of your performances or made television appearances or commercials, list this information on your resume. If this information is particularly impressive, you may want to put it first. Next, add your history of publications -- such as humorous articles or books. If you've written jokes for other comedians, list this in your publication section as well. With both sections, it's important to list the most impressive information first. An appearance in a hit comedy show, then, would go before an appearance on a commercial.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.