How to Write a Performance Resume
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In many entertainment fields, you must pique a director’s interest with an intriguing resume before you can land an audition. Productions often require singers, musicians, actors or other talent with specific skills or experience, such as fluency in a foreign language or the ability to dance the tango. Your resume should offer a concise snapshot of your skills as a performer and the unique persona you bring to the stage or screen.
Note your distinguishing characteristics at the top of your resume, so you make it clear where your strengths lie and the kind of role for which you’re qualified. Lead with your vital statistics, such as height, weight, and hair and eye color. Also note your agent’s name and contact information, in addition to membership in professional unions. If you’re a singer, include your vocal range, such as alto or soprano. Musicians should list the instruments they play, while dancers should note the styles of dance they specialize in, such as ballroom. Attach your resume to the back of the headshot and make both 8-by-10 so they fit together.
Directors sometimes care as much about your training as they do your talent and experience. In fact, a high-quality education can influence their perception of you and enhance your professional reputation in their eyes. Note the name of the degree or program, the name and location of the school and the date. Also point out if you’ve studied with esteemed teachers or coaches. Any training counts, whether you completed formal study that culminated in a degree or worked one-on-one with a coach.
Divide your performance experience into categories, listing your most relevant experience first. For example, if you’re auditioning for a film role, lead with your film experience and then note theater or television roles. Break up this section into three columns: production, role and location and director’s name. If you have a website or online reel where directors can view footage of your past performances, note that on your resume as well. When you have limited professional experience, include any roles in college or amateur productions. Directors know that new actors don’t have a long list of credits, so they won’t hold that against you when assessing your potential.
You never know when a seemingly unrelated talent such as horseback riding or knowledge of a foreign dialect might give you an edge over the competition. Add a special skills section where you can elaborate on other knowledge and training not directly related to your main performance specialty. If you’re an singer, point out that you can also dance or that you have extensive experience singing in another language. If you’re an actor, note that you're skilled in stage combat or that you also play a musical instrument.
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- Pace University: Entertainment Industry Resumes
- New England Conservatory: Tips for Writing Classical Vocal Performance Resumes
- Talent Pages: Acting Resume
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