Resumes for Actors

In the business world, hiring managers shouldn't be concerned with the appearance of the job applicant.  But a casting director needing to fill a role on stage, film, or television, may be looking for special physical characteristics in the actor.  This is just one of several attributes that make resumes for actors special.

In this article, we're going to provide some guidance on the topic of resumes for actors and actresses.  As part of that guidance, we're going to review the various styles of resumes, and determine which style is most appropriate for someone looking for an acting role.  Then we'll move on to some of the special considerations that need to be addressed on the resume.  Finally, we'll provide an example that can be downloaded for free.

Resume Styles for Actors

When choosing a resume format for an acting position, it's important to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each style.  While the example provided later on will be tailored to someone with more experience under their belt, the information below is valuable for those that are new to the profession too.

There are currently three resume styles in use today:

  • Chronological:  the most popular of all resume types.  Its focus is on where the individual has worked in the past, with secondary consideration for the knowledge and skills they've gained.
  • Functional:  by contrast, this style emphasizes training over past acting roles or assignments.
  • Combination:  this style provides the best of both worlds.  It gives the reader both vital information right up front, as well as a reverse chronological listing of work experience.  Unlike a more traditional business resume, past acting roles will be placed earlier in the document than formal education or specialized skills.

Since the combination resume is arguably the most complex resume format in use today, the example provided is going to be in that style.

Special Considerations

When preparing an actor's resume, there are going to be four modifications to the standard combination format.  These adjustments are necessary to reflect the unique nature of the acting profession, including:

  • Vital Statistics:  while most employers should not be interested in the appearance of their employees, it is important information for casting directors because the role might require an actor to possess certain physical attributes.
  • Photograph:  as explained above, physical characteristics are important when casting a role.  In the example provided later on, there is a placeholder for a photograph.
  • Specialties / Special Skills:  this is just a natural extension of the skills section of a resume.  The categories of skills will reflect the demands of certain character roles.  For example, playing a musical instrument, the ability to ride a horse, or perform certain stunts.
  • Past Employment / Experience:  the combination resume format contains a listing of past employment in reverse chronological order.  The employment listings often describe the position held as well as accomplishments.  In the example provided, this section has been reformatted to include the character played as well as the media venue.

Writing an Actor's Resume

While it's tempting for an actor to take a less-formal approach to preparing their resume, this is done at the risk of losing a role.  It is a mistake for rising stars to think it's a good idea to let their personality shine through on their resume.  Witty comments are best said at the appropriate time; don't let them be a show-stopper on a resume.

Sample Resume

As mentioned, a resume for an actor or actress is going to deviate a bit from the standard format.  The example is going to clearly illustrate those differences, with the ultimate objective of producing a document that will grab the attention of the casting director.  Performers looking for a downloadable example can find one here:  Actor or Actress Resume.


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