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Acting Resume

How to Make an Acting Resume

How To Make An Acting Resume

An actor’s resume, along with an actor’s headshot, is your calling card. It’s there to not only inform casting directors or agents your credits but also your education, acting classes you’ve taken, physical stats and any special skills you might have.

Every resume has four sections: Personal and General Information, Credits, Training and Education and Special Skills. Below, you’ll see examples of what kind of information is needed in each section and the proper way to format it.

And before we start, you might be thinking, “Can I make an acting resume with no experience?” Absolutely! We all started somewhere, right? This acting resume is for actors, both professional and just starting out.

But first….

how to make an acting resume for college

  • Make it look clean with a lot of white space. It must be easy to read.
  • Don’t try to cram every single role you’ve played since Elementary School on your resume. Did you do a production of The Wizard of Oz in High School and you’re now in your 30’s? Don’t add that.
  • Try not to use any crazy fonts! Stick with Times New Roman or Arial.
  • You can make the section headings on your resume (Name, TV/Film/Theater section, Special Skills section) a different color than black but I wouldn’t choose more than one color.
  • Never lie on your resume! Seriously, never ever lie because at some point you’re going to be caught. Whether you’re in Los Angeles, New York or Topeka, this is a small community and someone will find out. You don’t want to damage your reputation, especially if you are just starting out.
  • Do not put extra work on your resume.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

how to make an acting resume for college

Here, you’re going to include basic information and yourself, like your name and contact info.

  • Contact Information , including your name, phone number are a must. Some people also like to have their email address and website or Actors Access link listed too.
  • If you have an agent or manager, list it here as well. You can also put their logo on the left side and put the phone number under the logo.
  • Whatever you do, don’t add your home address.
  • Union affiliations. SAG-AFTRA or Equity/AEA. If you’re not a member of either, just keep that part blank. Some people put SAG-AFTRA Eligible if they are able to join the union.
  • Stats. Your height, weight, hair and eye color. Never put your age on your resume unless you’re under 18.
  • If sing or do musical theater , you should also list your vocal type here. Example, Voice: Tenor

ACTING CREDITS

how to make an acting resume for college

In this section, you’ll list all of the acting roles and acting experience you’ve had, grouping them by Theater, Film, TV, web series and student films.

I have different resumes depending on what I’m auditioning for. If I’m auditioning for a role in a play or musical,  I’ll bring my Theater Resume, which has my theater credits at the top. If I’m audition for a TV show or film, those are at the top.

  • List your most recent job first. Some list in order of their biggest role they’ve had and go from there. I prefer it chronologically. Either way, don’t add the dates you worked on those roles.
  • If you’ve done a lot of work, don’t list everything you’ve ever been in. For example, if you’re in your 30’s don’t put the plays in High School you performed in.
  • Don’t put extra work on your resume. Never ever, ever.
  • List the Name of the Show , followed by your Character Name , Theatre Company and Location.
  • You don’t have to add the director of the production. But, if they’re well known, I suggest you add it. If I did a show that Susan Stroman directed, you can bet I’d have that on my resume in big, bold letters.

TELEVISION:

  • List the Name of the Show or Film, followed by the Type of Role (Co-Star or Guest Star), Network or Production Company and Director .
  • List the Name of the Show or Film, followed by the Type of Role (Supporting or Lead) and Director .

TRAINING and EDUCATION

how to make an acting resume for college

Here, you’ll want to list any type of school, colleges classes you’ve taken. Maybe you got an award for a short film or play you were in, add that here. Basically, anything that would have helped in your acting career, let it in this section.

SPECIAL SKILLS

how to make an acting resume for college

Special skills, actual skills and specialized training, are things that you can do at a moments notice. For instance, anyone can jump rope, but can you do the double-dutch competition style jump rope? That’s a skill!

One of my very first auditions, I was lucky enough to book a part because of one of my special skills. I had already auditioned and as I was leaving, they noticed that ‘driving a fork lift’ was listed. They stopped me right as I was about to leave, had me read again and I booked the role. And that role was what got me my SAG card.

Here’s another example: When I was finishing up my final audition for the film, Gods and Generals, Casting Director Joy Todd and director Ron Maxwell were looking at my resume. They didn’t think I was right for the role I had come in for but they saw that I did an Irish accent and asked if I could read a few lines. I did and got the part.

Can you do an accent or speak another language? Play an instrument or excel in a particular sport like fencing? Add those to your special skills!

Download an Acting Resume Template Here

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how to make an acting resume for college

Actor Resume Example for 2024 [W/ Detailed Guide & Free Templates]

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Whether it’s on the stage or in front of the camera, you feel great in the spotlight.

You’re an actor looking for your next starring role, and you know you’ve got what it takes.

There are just a few lines you can’t seem to nail.

Try as you might, your resume just doesn’t convey your talent and devotion to the craft. You spend hours pacing and wondering if you’ll ever get past it.

But there’s no need to get dramatic just yet.

This article is here to teach you how to transform your actor resume into a role-winning calling card.

We’re going to cover:

  • What a Blockbuster Actor Resume Example Looks Like
  • 11 Steps to Writing a Flawless Actor Resume
  • What Your Actor Resume Should Include

…and so much more!

And enter, stage right.

Actor Resume Example

Actor Resume Example

This is a shining example of an actor resume.

So let’s look at what it does right:

  • Fits on one page. This actor resume uses every bit of space available to fit all the sections into one page.
  • Uses the reverse-chronological resume format. The candidate uses the resume format that shows their most recent roles first, so the casting directors have a clear view of their career progression.
  • Includes all the necessary contact details. The contact information here includes the candidate’s full name, phone number, email address, and a link to their Instagram.
  • Features an eye-catching resume summary. This great resume summary captures the hiring manager’s attention by mentioning the candidate’s years of experience, top achievements, and notable skills.
  • Quantifies achievements. Highlighting measurable successes like boosted ticket sales or nominations shows the true impact of this actor's previous performances.
  • Keeps the education section brief. A short education section makes sure that the candidate's roles and achievements are center stage, which is exactly what casting directors are interested in.
  • Adds other sections. This actor resume uses acting workshops, awards, and hobbies to give depth to their application.

11 Steps for a Stellar Actor Resume

You’ve seen what an actor’s resume is supposed to look like, so now it’s your turn to play the part.

Here’s how to fill in every section of your actor resume:

#1. Decide on the Format (and Layout)

Scene lighting directs the audience's attention to what matters most.

The format you choose for your actor resume plays the same role.

There are three primary resume formats you can pick from:

  • Reverse-chronological (also called chronological)
  • Functional (also known as the skill-based format)
  • Combination (which merges elements of both)

For 99% of cases, the reverse-chronological format is your best choice.

This resume format puts the spotlight on your latest roles and achievements, which is what casting directors want to see first.

Plus, it's the go-to format for hiring managers worldwide.

Here’s how it looks:

actor reverse-chronological resume format

Now that the lights are on, it’s time to set the stage. Enter, the resume layout .

Looks matter, and before a hiring manager reads your resume, they’re going to look at it.

Follow these tips to make sure your actor resume leaves a good first impression:

  • Set the font size. Your resume’s font determines its readability. Stick to 10-12 pt for the body of your text and use 14-16 pt for headings, so the hiring manager doesn’t have to squint.
  • Use bullet points. Avoid long paragraphs and organize the information on your resume into bullet points. It will make your resume more visually appealing and reader-friendly.
  • Adjust the line spacing. The line spacing on your actor resume should be set to 1.0 between text and 1.15 after subheadings and section titles. Anything outside these limits can make your resume look too cluttered or too empty.
  • Stick to one page. The best length for your actor resume is one page unless you have decades of relevant experience to list.
  • Save it as a PDF. The best format for your actor resume is always PDF, since it stays the same across any device or OS a hiring manager might use to open it. Only use a different format, such as a Word resume , if the job ad specifically requests it.

Or Use a Resume Template

Creating the perfect actor resume from scratch takes away valuable time that you could be using to learn your next lines.

You have to set the margins, fix the line spacing, try different font styles and sizes to see what works best, and keep everything from spilling over to a second page.

What if you could skip all of that?

Give any of our free, tried-and-tested resume templates a shot and save valuable time.

Our templates are designed in close collaboration with leading HR professionals from around the world to guarantee that your resume blends professionalism with style.

Take a look at how our resume templates compare to a standard text editor resume template:

novoresume versus normal resume

#2. Provide the Right Contact Information

The contact information is probably the easiest section to fill out on your actor resume.

All this section needs is to be factual - no matter how talented you are, you’re not getting an audition if your phone number has a typo in it.

Here’s what you need to include in this section:

  • Full Name. ( E.g. Constantine Dancy )
  • Title. ( E.g. Actor )
  • Phone Number. If you’re applying for a role abroad, be sure to include your country’s dial code in front of your phone number.
  • Email Address. Keep your email address professional and preferably related to your name. ( E.g. [email protected] , not [email protected] )
  • Location. Your city and state/country are usually enough, but if you’re looking to relocate for a role, be sure to specify that somewhere in your resume.
  • Social media (optional). You could include a link to a relevant social media profile, such as a dedicated Instagram or Facebook page.

When To Include Your Agent’s Contact Information

If you’re represented by an agent, that’s who casting directors should be talking to first.

Your agent is the first point of contact for anyone interested in you, so your contact information should reflect this.

Instead of adding your own phone number and email address, list your agent’s.

Here’s how this can look on your actor resume:

Contact information

Constantine Dancy

Represented by Todd Hughes

+44 7700 900907

[email protected]

Should You Include A Picture?

As a general rule, yes , your actor resume should include a clear picture of you.

You might choose to add a small headshot at the top of your resume, next to your contact information. This gives any casting director an immediate idea of what you look like, but you’ll likely be asked to submit a larger photo as an attachment.

Talent agencies advise that you attach a separate, high-quality headshot along with your resume. Contact a professional photographer and get a few great pictures you can choose from before sending in your application.

If you have to leave your application in person, make sure the photo is attached firmly to your resume so it doesn’t get lost.

#3. Write a Convincing Resume Summary (or Objective)

Stepping onto the stage, every actor dreams of captivating the audience from the start as they get lost in the character's world.

And you want your resume to invoke that “wow” factor from the start, too. This is why you should add a small paragraph at the top of your actor resume to grab casting directors’ attention from the get-go.

Think of this brief 3-4 sentence segment as a trailer for the rest of your resume. It should offer a sneak peek that makes the hiring manager want to explore the entire story of your professional journey.

You have two options to choose from:

  • Resume summary. If you’re an actor who already has some significant roles to their name, the resume summary is the perfect tool to highlight your years of experience, previous roles, and any significant achievements.
  • Resume objective. If you’re new to life on the set, like a recent drama school graduate, or are switching from a different field, go for a resume objective instead. It shines a light on your passion, professional aspirations, and qualifications, rather than acting credits.

Let’s look at some practical examples.

First, an experienced actor's resume summary:

Versatile stage actor with 4+ years of experience, eager to bring depth and nuance to roles at Shakespeare Theater Company. Notable performances in "Hamlet" and "Othello," receiving acclaim for embodying complex characters. Collaborative and dedicated, with a talent for both drama and comedy. Trained in Stanislavski and Meisner techniques.

Any casting director would think this resume is worth reading from the get-go. 

But even a student with no experience can make an impression. So, let’s see a less experienced actor’s resume objective:

Drama school graduate, passionate about joining the ensemble at Broadway Beginnings. Keen to bring fresh perspectives to classical roles and collaborate on innovative productions. Trained in physical theater, voice modulation, and improvisation. Grounded in theatrical history and performance theory.

#4. Describe Your Work Experience

The work experience section is the heart of an actor's resume.

It’s the section every casting director is going to read first, so you should be very careful when writing it.

Here's how to format the work experience section the right way:

  • Organize it in reverse chronological order. Always begin with your most recent roles and then move back to earlier ones. Skip anything that’s too dated or irrelevant - your summer gig in a community play when you were 12 won’t hold much weight.
  • State your exact role. Whether you played the lead, a supporting role, or even a background character, state it clearly. Avoid jazzing it up or downplaying it (e.g. "Lead Role" is straightforward and professional, while "Star of the Show" might come off as exaggerated and arrogant).
  • Give the production details. Say what the title of the production and its location are. If the show or movie isn’t well-known, you can give a brief description for context.
  • Note the performance period. Using the mm/yyyy format keeps things clean and consistent throughout your resume.
  • Detail your role and accomplishments. This is where you should dive into the essence of your character, the acting methods you used, and your role in the production’s success. Use bullet points to outline significant scenes, skills you portrayed, or achievements you contributed to.

Actors’ work experience is usually called “Acting Credits” and focuses on the roles they’ve held. If your acting experience includes coaching and other production work beyond acting, then writing “work experience” is more appropriate.

That’s all there is to formatting your actor resume’s work experience.

But if you want this section to shine, you have to push beyond the basics.

Follow these tips to rise above all other actors auditioning for the same role:

  • Tailor your work experience to the casting call. Carefully read the casting brief and find out exactly what they’re looking for. If the role needs a Shakespearean-trained actor with experience in improv comedy, your actor resume should center on your performances and training that highlight those skills the most.
  • Focus on achievements over small-time gigs. The casting director knows the standard responsibilities of a background actor or theater performer, and they won’t be impressed by them. So instead, highlight all roles or projects where you brought something unique to the table and the support your performance received.
  • Quantify your achievements. Be as specific as possible whenever you can. Mention the size of the audience, the run of the show, or the percentage of ticket sales. This provides a clear picture of the scale and impact your work has.
  • Use powerful verbs. Drop the boring “participated in” or “performed in" and choose more dynamic action words. For example, 'Led a cast of 20+ in a critically acclaimed rendition of “Hamlet”' packs a bigger punch than 'Acted in “Hamlet”'.

Let’s look at an example of an actor’s work experience section:

Supporting Actor

Flux Theater Troupe

Summerville, CT

03/2022 - Present

  • Played a pivotal role in 3 major theater productions, receiving praise for versatility and character depth.
  • Collaborated closely with directors and fellow actors, improving scene dynamics and overall flow.
  • Attended 10+ workshops for skill enhancement, focusing on method acting and improvisation techniques.
  • Took on the challenge of portraying a complex character in a modern adaptation of a classic play, leading to sold-out shows for two weeks straight.

What if I don’t have work experience?

If you're stepping onto the stage or set for the first time, not having a lengthy acting resume can seem daunting.

But your actor resume can still show your acting abilities and devotion to the craft!

All you have to do is list acting credits that aren’t contracted, such as school plays or club productions.

Here are some examples you can consider:

  • Drama school or acting classes
  • School or college theater roles
  • Volunteering for community theater
  • Personal or independent film projects
  • Relevant workshops and seminars

For example, if you volunteered for a role in your local community theater's production, that’s a valuable experience that can boost your actor resume.

Here’s how that might look in practice:

Lead Actor & Assistant Director

Mapleton Community Theater

03/2021 - 10/2021

  • Volunteered as the lead for a community production, receiving commendations for powerful performances.
  • Assisted the director in scene setups and scheduling, ensuring smooth rehearsal sessions.
  • Took charge of organizing a workshop for the cast, honing everyone's skills in voice modulation and body language.
  • Interacted with the audience post-shows to gather feedback, leading to better performances and tighter scenes.
  • Collaborated with local schools to host theater days, exposing students to the magic of stage acting.

#5. Mention Your Education

Actors do need formal training or workshops to refine their craft.

But if you've already landed significant roles, you don’t need to put too much emphasis on your education section .

Casting directors are more interested in your acting credits and specific skills. So, keep your education section brief and start with your most recent degree or course.

Here’s what you need to add:

  • Degree Name. E.g., Bachelor in Dramatic Arts, Workshop in Method Acting
  • Institution Name. E.g., The New York Acting Studio
  • Location (optional). E.g., New York, NY
  • Dates Attended. Stick to the mm/yyyy format for consistency (e.g. 08/2019 - 05/2022)

If you’re fresh out of acting school, you might want to delve deeper into your training. Describe specific courses or a standout performance to show off your acting prowess.

Here’s how this section would look on an actor’s resume:

Bachelor in Dramatic Arts, Specialization in Classical Theatre

The London Drama Academy

09/2019 - 07/2023

Courses: Shakespearean Performances, Voice and Movement Techniques, Improvisational Theatre, Character Development, Modern Drama Interpretation

#6. Mention Acting Workshops and Training Camps

In the acting world, honing your craft is the key to success. This is where acting workshops and training camps come in. 

These acting classes are usually taught by big names in the industry, so you get to learn from the best of the best and show it off on your actor resume.

Casting directors will be interested in seeing your skills, experience, and who you’ve learned from. Acting workshops and training camps show you’re always looking to improve.

Plus, you never know when a workshop you attended might catch a casting director’s eye or match a role they’re looking to fill.

Let’s take a look at an example of acting workshops on a resume:

Workshops & Training Camps

  • Shakespearean Acting Intensive - June 2023 London Theatre Workshop, London, UK Instructor: Dame Judith Harrow
  • Scene Study & Character Development - February 2023 New York Acting Studio, New York, NY Instructor: Michael Lorne

#7. List Your Relevant Skills

Another important section of your actor resume is dedicated to your skills.

Your talent and acting skills are your ticket to impressing directors and casting agents. Your skills as an actor can range from your ability to emote on cue to your knack for accents and dialects.

So, it's essential to highlight the right acting skills on your resume. You don’t need to jot down every single skill you have—just focus on the ones required by the role you’re after.

For example, if you're after a role in a historical drama, your singing skills might not be as crucial as your understanding of the era's language and mannerisms.

Here are some tips to create a standout skills section for your actor resume:

  • Cater to the role. Read the casting call or role description carefully. If it mentions any specific skills, add the ones you have to your actor resume.
  • Research the right skills and practice them. The world of acting is ever-evolving and diverse, and you never know what skills you’ll need for a role. Attend regular acting workshops to keep your acting skills sharp and stay updated on developments in the exact field you’re interested in. (E.g., if you’re looking to get into musical theater, practice your singing and dancing skills more than sword-fighting.)
  • Separate your hard skills from your soft skills. Organize your soft skills (like communication) separately from your hard skills (like dancing or martial arts). This way, it's easier for casting directors to find exactly what they're looking for on your actor resume.

So you know how to list your acting skills.

Now here’s a list of the 65 most in-demand skills for actors to help inspire you!

65 Most In-Demand Acting Skills

17 acting soft skills.

  • Active listening
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Observational skills
  • Self-discipline
  • Time management
  • Reliability
  • Problem-solving
  • Cultural awareness
  • Memory retention
  • Public speaking
  • Feedback receptivity

48 Acting Hard Skills

  • Stanislavski Method
  • Meisner Technique
  • Lee Strasberg's Method
  • Michael Chekhov Technique
  • Uta Hagen's Technique
  • Diction and pronunciation
  • Voice modulation
  • Breath control
  • Script analysis
  • Sight reading
  • Cold reading
  • Improvisation
  • Physical characterization
  • Vocal projection
  • Accent acquisition
  • Movement techniques
  • Stage fighting
  • Film acting techniques
  • TV acting techniques
  • Theatrical stage presence
  • Singing and vocal training
  • Comedic timing
  • Dramatic interpretation
  • Character development
  • Audition techniques
  • Monologue mastery
  • Classical training
  • Alexander Technique
  • Camera awareness
  • Voice-over technique
  • Motion capture technique
  • Dialect coaching
  • Period-specific training (e.g., Renaissance, Victorian, etc.)
  • Stage makeup application
  • Casting Networks
  • Commercial acting techniques
  • Scene study
  • Vocal warm-up routines
  • Memorization techniques
  • Self-taping and recording
  • Use of props and set elements
  • Ensemble work

You don’t need to be an Oscar enthusiast to know that awards make a difference.

As an actor, your awards show casting directors how endorsed your talents are and what you can bring to the table—applause, recognition, and sales. 

Just to give you an idea, casting directors and audiences alike want some of the most nominated actors .

Whether it’s a prestigious international honor or a local theater award, dedicating a section to these accomplishments in your actor resume helps set you apart from other candidates for the same role.

Here’s what your awards can look like on your resume:

Awards & Honors

  • Best Supporting Actor - 2023 International Film Festival for "Whispers in the Wind"
  • Outstanding Theater Performance - 2021 National Theater Awards for "Midnight's Lullaby"
  • Emerging Talent of the Year - 2019 Global Acting Guild Awards

#9. References

Unlike many fields, where references on your resume are optional and rarely checked, the acting world thrives on trust and reputation.

A director or casting agent might recognize a reference’s name, such as an actor who mentored you or a reviewer who’s written about you.

References on your actor resume don’t have to be limited to the names and contact details of someone you know. You can include links to your past work, testimonials, reviews, and more.

Casting directors or agents will likely recognize the name of your reference or the publication you’re mentioned in, and that can give you instant credibility. 

References from respected industry professionals can also back up your work ethic and reliability, which means no one will have to worry about you being unreliable.

Here’s an example of what references can look like on your actor resume:

  • James Langley Family friend and retired Broadway actor [email protected] (555) 123-4567
  • Theater Performance Review Stellar Performance in 'Moonlit Dreams' by Candice Terry Link: www.theatertimes.com/moonlitdreams-review

#10. Consider Adding Optional Sections

If you have any room left on your actor resume, you can fill it up using optional sections.

These sections are like powdering your nose one last time before jumping onto the stage - they aren’t essential, but they can be a nice touch that helps your resume stand out.

Here are some optional sections you can include:

  • Memberships. Being a member of an acting guild or other organization can show dedication to your field, which might sway a hiring manager.
  • Certifications. Any certifications that might be useful for the job are a great addition, such as teaching qualifications if you want to be an acting coach.
  • Languages. Knowing a foreign language can help you land international roles.
  • Hobbies and interests. How you spend your free time can show casting directors that you’re perfect for a certain role. For example, if you play the guitar and you’re auditioning for the role of a rock star, that puts you ahead of actors who can’t.

#11. Create a Matching Cover Letter

When you’re auditioning for a job as an actor, you might wonder— do I even need a cover letter ?

In short, yes. Yes, you do.

Hiring managers don’t just like cover letters; they expect them. So skipping this final step could have consequences.

Writing a cover letter shows that you’re a dedicated candidate and that you truly want this specific role in this specific production.

Here’s an example of a great cover letter for an actor:

cover letter for an actor

Now that you know what a perfect cover letter looks like, it’s time to write your own!

Just follow these cover letter tips , and you’re sure to impress the director:

  • Match your contact information. Your cover letter should have a header with the same contact information as your resume. Add the contact information of the hiring manager or place you’re applying to, and keep an eye out for any typos .
  • Greet the hiring manager. If you can, find out who’s casting and address them by name. Personalizing your application gives a good impression.
  • Open with the highlights. You should always start with a paragraph to pique the hiring manager’s interest. Mention what role you’re writing for and an achievement or qualification that makes you perfect for the role
  • Get into the details. The main part of your cover letter should get into the nitty-gritty details of your career so far and elaborate on anything you think your actor resume didn’t give you enough space for. This is the place where your way with words should convince the hiring manager that you’re perfect for the role.
  • Wrap it up professionally. Always finish your cover letter with a call to action that invites the hiring manager to do something, like arrange an audition or contact you. And don’t forget to use an appropriate closing line before signing off with your name.

cover letter structure

Key Takeaways

And, scene!

That’s everything there is to know about writing your actor resume. Hopefully, now you feel confident about your upcoming audition!

But before you go get that applause, let’s recap what we talked about so far:

  • The reverse-chronological resume format is usually the best choice for any actor's resume since it’s a favorite across industries.
  • Your resume should include an interesting resume summary that can impress any casting director or hiring manager for the job you have your sights set on.
  • Keep your education section brief since your work experience and other achievements carry a lot more weight.
  • Tailor your acting skills according to the role you’re auditioning for. The more relevant your skills and experience are, the better.
  • Some sections that are usually optional, like workshops, awards, and references, carry a lot of weight to an actor’s resume, so always add them if possible.
  • Don’t forget to pair your actor resume with a matching cover letter and increase your odds of impressing the hiring manager.

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How to Create Your Acting Resume

Last Updated: October 8, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Patricia Chukerman and by wikiHow staff writer, Dan Hickey . Patricia Chukerman is an Image Consultant & Marketing Specialist and the Owner of Paperworks Image Consulting and Stoned on Rocks. With more than 36 years of experience, she specializes in helping companies decide how to market themselves. In addition to her work with businesses, she also has more than four years of acting experience and more than five years of crafting experience. Patricia earned her BA from The University of Illinois Chicago. Patricia is also the President of the Dania Beach Chamber of Commerce and the President of the Hollywood Florida Scholarship Foundation. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 16 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 428,992 times.

An acting resume is a snapshot of who you are and the acting experience you have—but what should you include, especially if you’re just starting out? Whether you’re a beginner actor with no experience or a seasoned thespian, a professional-looking resume that showcases your skills and talents can help you land your dream role. We’ve put together a guide with all the information you need to include and how to format it for success. If you’re ready to go out there and break a leg, read on!

What to Include on Your Acting Resume

Step 1 Include your name and contact information at the top of your resume.

  • Unions you might list include SAG-AFTRA or Equity/AEA.
  • List your union after your name ( John Smith, SAG-AFTRA) or on a separate line ( Union: SAG-AFTRA).

Step 3 Describe your basic physical attributes.

  • If you’re auditioning for a singing role, include your voice type (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, or bass) and your vocal range if you know your lowest and highest notes (for example, C3–A4).
  • Do not list your age or date of birth unless you’re under 18 years old. Keeping your age vague increases the number of roles you could be a good fit for.
  • List your traits with the attribute bolded ( Height: 5’11” Voice Type: Tenor) in one line beneath your contact information.

Step 4 Include the most notable roles you’ve played.

  • Leave out the dates of your roles to avoid exposing your age.
  • Don’t include modeling or extra work—stick with relevant acting experience.

Step 5 List your role experience in a 3-column layout.

  • Only list the director if they’re very well-known (you can put their name alongside the company’s name or in place of the location if you’re short on space).
  • Types of roles in TV credits are series regular, recurring, guest star, or co-star.
  • Types of roles in film credits are lead, supporting, principal, or featured.

Step 6 Mention your acting education and training.

  • For example: “BFA, Acting — New York University — New York City, NY”
  • Mention any specialized training or certifications related to acting, like stunt coordination or choreography, and any well-known teachers or coaches you’ve studied with.
  • Your graduation dates are optional. To keep your age vague, leave them out.
  • List any training in acting-related fields like music (especially singing), dance, improv, or stunts.

Step 7 Highlight special skills that make you stand out from other applicants.

  • For example: “ Special Skills: aerial acrobatics, singing (classical and pop), dance (tap and contemporary), guitar, piano, French accent, German accent, juggling.”
  • Some more special skills casting agents might look for are crying on cue, voiceover acting, improvisation, stage combat or weapons handling experience, clowning, or miming.
  • The more unique or specialized your skill sets are, the more you’ll stand out. For example, instead of “dance,” you could put “ballet and samba.”

Step 8 Add any awards or accolades you’ve received for your acting.

  • Save your resume in an easy-to-access location on your computer for fast editing and updating. If you’re submitting electronically, save it as a PDF file so it’s readable on any device.

Acting Resume Format and Presentation

Step 1 Arrange your resume so it fits on one 8x10 inch (20x25 cm) page.

  • Stick with a clean, professional font like Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Stick with one font color (black).
  • Make your resume stand out by keeping it super clean and readable. Bold your headers and leave plenty of white space on the page so it’s easy to skim quickly.

Step 2 Include a good headshot with your resume.

  • Wear a simple, solid-colored shirt. Dark colors photograph better than light colors, and white should be avoided.
  • Wear your hair in a simple, everyday style and keep your makeup to a minimum (the photographer can make touch ups during editing if necessary).
  • Pose in a natural position. Your shot shouldn’t include your hands or any props.
  • Remember, casting agents want to see the natural you. Wild clothing, makeup, hair, or poses will distract them (and hurt your chances of getting the role).

Step 3 Staple your resume to the back of your headshot.

  • Stapling ensures your resume and headshot don’t get separated. Avoid using paper clips or tape.
  • Don’t print your resume on the back of your headshot. It’s costly and inconvenient to print large photos every time you update your resume.

Expert Q&A

Patricia Chukerman

  • Always be honest on your resume. Lies or fabrications will come out when you’re asked to demonstrate a special skill or if a hiring agent tries to speak with a director you listed but haven’t actually worked with. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Only list directors, teachers, or co-stars you’ve worked with if they’re very well-known or relevant to the role you want. Saving space is important, and too many names can make your resume look crowded and hard to skim. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Update your resume as you gain experience. When you’re first starting out, it might only contain college or community theater roles. As you grow into a professional, replace amateur productions with more high-profile or reputable ones. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to make an acting resume for college

You Might Also Like

Be an Actress

  • ↑ https://careerservices.pace.edu//sites/default/files/files/pdf/theatre-resume-guidebook.pdf
  • ↑ Patricia Chukerman. Image Consultant & Marketing Specialist. Expert Interview. 8 February 2022.
  • ↑ http://tedb.byu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ActorResume.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/dont-dread-it-write-it-a-guide-to-acting-resumes/
  • ↑ https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/how-to-ace-your-headshot-session/

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Is Career Training in Film Right for You?

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Acting Resume – Everything You Need To Know

An acting resume, often known as an actor’s resume, is a document that describes your physical appearance and highlights your acting experience (TV, film, or theater). It should also include your headshot and the contact information for your agency.

how to make an acting resume for college

Image Source: Template Lab

What is an Acting Resume?

A resume for actors seeking work in television, cinema, theater, or other acting media is called an acting resume. An acting résumé should be a single sheet of paper and usually comprises the actor’s headshot.

A lousy acting résumé is like a monotonous soap opera that never makes it to the second season.

Strive to be the best at the résumé game. By making use of a standardized resume structure, such as the reverse-chronological format, you will be able to show your previous achievements in the best possible light. In addition, make sure your resume typefaces are clean and legible and that your content is not jammed: no one wants to go through a script that confuses their eyes. Finally, save it as a PDF file to be compatible with all devices.

How to Make an Acting Resume?

Contents in an Acting Resume

Your CV is just as important as your appearance and abilities. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned actor, there are some principles to follow to create the most outstanding acting resume possible.

Your acting resume can include the following sections:

  • Contact Information
  • Contact Information for Your Agent
  • What Is Your Objective? 
  • Acting Credits
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Workshops and Training 
  • Awards and Citations
  • Supplementary References (links of past work, testimonials, reviews, etc.)
  • Your Headshot Photograph

Your resume should be eight inches by ten inches to achieve the ideal acting resume layout. Although it is attached to the back, it is the same as your headshot. Start removing the amateur credits as you get more experience. Professional credentials come first, followed by educational credits and community theater credits.

How to Make an Acting Resume Without Any Experience

Structure of an Acting Resume

We will go over everything you will need for each component of your professional acting resume in this section, starting at the top and working our way down to the bottom.

1. Personal Information

This is where you will provide the essentials, such as your contact information and biographical details. Use the checklist below to make a list of everything you can.

  • Phone number
  • Email address (but not your home address)
  • Agent’s contact information
  • Vocal range, etc.

how to make an acting resume for college

Image Source: Templatelab

So, how do you mention performing roles on a resume? Unless you are just starting, the Credits section will include most of your resume information.

how to make an acting resume for college

To make your resume look professional, follow the steps below:

What to Include?

If you are above 25, do not include credits from productions you worked on when you were under the age of 18. If you are under the age of 25, you can list roles you have played in the last 5-10 years, but not beyond that. It is perfectly acceptable to use characters from classes and workshops.

In the left column, write the production’s title, the title of your role in the middle, and the name of the director or theater group (whichever is more well-known) in the right column.

Typically, credits are divided into film/TV and theater. It is okay if you only have credits from one of these, such as theater, while you are first starting. Just make sure the categories are appropriately divided and that you do not include a type if you do not have any credits for it. ​

Miscellaneous Work

Including extra (background actor) work on your resume is not a wise idea. The more extra work you incorporate, the more likely a casting director will believe you specialize in something rather than speaking parts!

Include character names in the theater section, followed by “cast,” “ensemble,” and so on in parenthesis. When writing for film or television, it is better to avoid using character names entirely and instead relies on role descriptions.

how to make an acting resume for college

Image Source: Tempelatelab

Notable Celebrities

If you worked on a scene with a well-known actor, put their name in parenthesis next to the part. For example: (With Tom Cruise).

Voiceover Credits

If you do voiceover work, add a new section to your resume. You will list voiceover credits in the same three-column format as film and television credits.

how to make an acting resume for college

Advertising Credits

Commercials should not be listed on your principal résumé. Please make a separate résumé for advertisements and send it to individuals only when they ask for it. This is the case because of potential conflicts of interest (for example, if you were the lead in a Coca-Cola commercial, PepsiCo would NOT want you to be in their commercial because people might think of Coca-Cola when they see you instead).

how to make an acting resume for college

Start with Your Best Work

Put your most essential credits first and not production dates on your resume.

3. Education and Training

Formal acting training (if applicable), acting workshops, seminars, studio classes, master classes, or private coaching will all be listed in this area. In addition, special training which is not directly connected to acting, such as singing or stunt work, is also included:

  • Recognizable Names of Programme Directors, Teachers, and Educators.
  • Recognizable Names of Schools and Workshops.
  • Duration of Study.
  • Kind of Training.

There is no right or wrong way to mention your training, but make it as simple as possible for a casting director to see what you have done – especially if you do not have many credits.

how to make an acting resume for college

4. Special Skills

Special abilities not only help you secure more gigs because they are distinctive and rare, but they also take up some of that dreadful white space on your CV.

Examples of Special Skills:

Special Talent

  • Dancing Talent 
  • Combat Skills
  • Accents and Dialects
  • Fitness and Health
  • Known Languages 
  • Musical Instruments 
  • Driver’s License 
  • Acrobatic Talent
  • Sports/Games Skills

how to make an acting resume for college

Guidelines for Your Acting Resume

It is required that you save your resume in pdf format.

Do not send Microsoft Word formats because different machines have different sizes and styles. What would be one page with perfect alignment on your computer will suddenly seem all jumbled (and occasionally even two pages) on someone else’s. The alignment will always be precise in PDF format, no matter where you email your resume.

Easy to Read

Use professional fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, Garamond, and Arial.

Headings Should Hold Some Weight

The individual sections of your resume, such as TV/Film, Theater, Training & Education, and so on, should be more significant and styled differently than the rest of the resume to make them stand out.

Use Black and White

As some casting directors utilize black-and-white printers, your section heads will not stand out if you use different colors. If you use colored typefaces on your CV, they will presume you are inexperienced and new.

Follow the Reverse-Chronological Format

Casting directors are used to seeing the reverse-chronological structure because it correctly places your most current school and job credits before your older experiences.

So, put your most recent acting credentials first in your acting resume, so casting directors may readily follow your experience.

It Must Be One Page in Length and Clipped to Suit the Back of Your 8” X 10” Headshot

You will center your résumé on the back of your headshot and staple it at all four corners. The excess paper can then be trimmed away using scissors. However, as your CV will change every time you book a new role, do not print it immediately on the back of your headshots. To understand how to connect your headshot to your CV, watch the video below:

How to Staple Your Headshot and Resume

Putting together an acting resume is a significant task, but it does not have to be complicated. Go through each part until you have a whole page of material that will assist you in landing your future job. Whether you are just starting out or well into your acting career, make sure your acting resume accurately reflects everything about you–experience, education, and skills–that could make you the ideal candidate for that next big job.

It will become second nature as you become more familiar with what to include in your acting resume and how to format it. Soon, it will be yet another tool that you can use as you excel in your acting career.

how to make an acting resume for college

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​ What is an Actor Resume?

​ what to put on a beginner's acting resume, how to structure your acting resume, ​ section 1: personal information.

beginner actor resume no experience

  • Your name, phone number, email address (don't include your home address), and website. ​ Note that having a website is not mandatory, especially if you're just starting out.
  • Related:  Managing Actors: A Behind the Scenes Look
  • Related: How to Find an Actor's Agent in Six Steps
  • Include your height, weight, hair and eye color.  If you're in the US, be sure to use inches and feet, and if you're outside the United States use the metric system. Do not include your age unless you are  under  18.
  • Include a headshot to fill up space.  Although it's true that you'll have your headshot stapled to the back of your resume, you can also include a different one printed on the front as a way to fill up some of the white space (especially if you don't have any credits yet).
  • Include vocal type or range if you sing.  An example would be  Tenor , or  Low E-Flat to High D .
  • Related:  How to Get a SAG Card

​ Section 2: Credits

acting resume for beginners

  • What to Add:  If you're  older  than 25, avoid including credits from productions you did when you were younger than 18. If you're  younger  than 25, you can add roles you've played within the past 5-10 years, but don't go further back than that. It's completely fine to include roles from classes and workshops.
  • Alignment:  Have the name of the production in the left-most column, the name of your role in the middle column, and the name of the director or theater company (whichever is more well-known) in the right column.
  • Categories:  ​Usually, you'll see credits listed under two categories:  Film/TV  and  Theater . When you're first starting out, it's OK if you only have credits from one of these, like  Theater . Just be sure you divide up the categories properly, and don't include a category if you have no credits for it.​

actor profile pdf

  • Extra Work:  "Should you put extra work on your acting resume?" No, it's not a good idea to include extra (background actor) work on your resume (unless you're only looking for background acting work ). Even if you're brand new, if you're trying to get speaking roles, do NOT include background work!
  • Character Names:  For  Theater , include character names and then in parentheses next to it, add "cast," "ensemble," etc. For Film/TV, it's best to avoid character names completely and just use the role descriptions ("lead," "supporting," etc.).
  • Famous People:  If you had the opportunity to work with a famous actor in a scene, add their name in parentheses next to the role. An example would be (w/ Lindsay Lohan).
  • Voiceover Credits:  "How do you list a voice over on a resume?" Add another section to your resume if you do voiceover work. For voiceover credits, you'll list them out exactly the same way as for Film/TV credits, with three columns.
  • Commercial Credits:  Do not list  commercials  on your primary resume. Create a separate resume for commercials and only email it to people when requested. This is because of possible conflicts of interest (for example, if you were the lead in a  Coca Cola  commercial,  PepsiCo  would NOT want you to be in their commercial because people might think of  Coca Cola  when they see you instead).
  • Related:  Types of Acting Roles (Lead, Recurring, etc.) – Learn What They Are and How to Get Them

​ Section 3: Training & Education

how to make an acting resume

  • Names of program directors, teachers, or educators they recognize  (try typing your instructors' names into  Google – if their name shows up in lots of articles, chances are casting directors will recognize them).
  • Names of schools or workshops they recognize  (you can use the same strategy as above to see how well-known the workshop/school is).
  • Length of time you studied  a particular skillset, and how recently you studied it.
  • Type of training  you've had (learn more about these in my guide:  Types of Acting Techniques: The Ultimate Guide ).

acting resume for teenager

  • Pursued my passion for acting and singing
  • Won “Best Actor" Award in USC's Student Film Festival
  • Starred as lead in three college theatre productions

​ Section 4: Special Skills

acting resume template 2021

  • Special Abilities (singing, cry on cue, etc.)
  • Dancing Ability (hip hop dance, ballet, etc.)
  • Combat Training (weapons handling, marital arts training, etc.)
  • Accents (Southern dialect, Irish accent, etc.)
  • Fitness Level (7% body fat, 6 pack abs, etc.)
  • Fluency in Other Languages (Spanish, Mandarin, etc.)
  • Musical Instruments (guitar, violin, piano, etc.)
  • Driver's License (yes, this can be listed since many people don't have one)
  • Acrobatic Abilities (flipping, juggling, etc.)
  • Sports/Games (skiing, fencing, golf, chess etc.)

Acting Resume for Beginners: Some Important Guidelines

  • Your resume MUST be saved as a PDF format.  Do not send  Microsoft Word  formats because the size and style changes on different computers, and what might have been one page with perfect alignment on your computer will suddenly look all messed up (and sometimes even two pages) on someone else's computer. PDF format always keeps the alignment perfect no matter where you send your resume. Note – your acting resume should NEVER be more than one page.
  • It must be easy to read.  Make sure to use professional fonts like  Times New Roman, Helvetica, Garamond,  or  Arial .
  • Each heading should stand out.  The different sections of your resume, such as TV/Film, Theater, Training & Education, etc., should be bigger and/or a different style than the rest so they stand out.
  • Only use black and white.  Avoid using different colors because some casting directors print resumes on black & white printers, and your section headings won't stand out. They also assume you're inexperienced and new if you use colored fonts on your resume.
  • When printed, it must ONLY be one page and cut to fit on the back of your 8" X 10" headshot.  You’ll align your resume so it fits perfectly on the back of your headshot, and then staple it at all four corners (don't use tape or paperclips). Then you can cut off the extra paper with scissors.  Don't print your resume directly on the back of your headshots  because it's going to change every time you book a new role. Watch the video below to learn how to attach your headshot to your resume:

​ ​Enjoyed this article? ​ Book more work by thinking "Outside the Industry."

  • How to network easily and authentically with casting directors  – even if you hate self-promotion.
  • How to find your  Type  and  Brand  in just 18 minutes  (it doesn't require awkwardly asking lots of random people for feedback)
  • How to find a hardworking and reliable agent  – even if you don't have a strong resume or reel
  • And much more...

Some Additional Q&A

​ can you audition for acting without experience.

  • Become friends with people in high places.  You can meet people by attending film festivals, playhouses, or other places where people in the industry might congregate (such as industry events like  Actor's Pro Expo ) . Then if you keep in touch with them, they might overlook the fact that you have no resume and let you audition for a role (if they like you).  My free  Actor's Toolkit  shows you how to become friends with almost anyone in the industry by sending them an email or social media message (even if you haven't met them in person).
  • Shoot a scene for your reel.  You can hire a reel production company like  Actor Screener Shoot  to shoot a scene for your reel, and if your acting is on point, casting directors will overlook the fact that you have no resume or credits and just call you in based on the clip you send them. In some cases, a single great clip alone is enough to get you in the door!
  • Create a resume without any credits.  If you have any training (even just high school or middle school theater programs), you can list it on your resume. Casting directors want to know about more than just your credits, such as your education, special skills, and even personal information like height and vocal range.
  • Become younger again.  Just kidding! But seriously, if you're a student and haven't graduated high school or college, casting directors are much more lenient and don't care if you have no credits on your resume. The more years past graduating you are, the harder it becomes to get in the room without a resume.

​ ​How Do You Build Up a Resume?

​ ​​further reading:.

  • Acting Resume Template Free
  • How to Make an Acting Resume
  • Special Skills for Acting Resume
  • How to Become an Actor: The Ultimate Guide
  • Commercial Headshot vs. Legit Headshot
  • Testimonials
  • The Process
  • ACTORS & MODELS (separate website)
  • HEADSHOTS & PORTRAITS
  • FAMILY PORTRAITS & WEDDINGS
  • ERAS Photos
  • Preparing for Your Shoot
  • What to Wear
  • Makeup Tips for Camera
  • Frequent Questions

how to make an acting resume for college

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Acting Resumes: How to Write a Resume for Acting

Actress writing her acting resume on a laptop

Author: Ari Eisner

Expert Sources: Wendy Braun

Last updated: Apr 27, 2023

Reads: 10,275

Ari Eisner is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and content creator, professionally active in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. He’s worked as a Writer, Director, Producer, Narrative Designer and Creative Director across a range of mediums. FULL BIO

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

Keep It Black and White

Use three columns, ensure there’s an ample amount of white space on the page, keep it to one page, include your personal information, list your relevant experience, build in your education and training, list your special skills, incorporate your awards and accolades, acting resume examples.

Actress sitting in chair with lights on set

Executive Producer (Film)

Male Cinematographer shooting on location

Cinematographer

Showrunner in meeting with his production team

Production Assistant

Choreographer teaching a dance in studio

Choreographer (Film)

Best Boy Grip adjusting lighting on set

Foley Artist

Black female Screenwriter writing at home

Screenwriter/TV Writer

Colorist showing her editing suite to a coworker

Associate Producer

Actors on set that showcases a 19th century production design

Production Designer

Line Producer running through the budget with an older film development executive

Line Producer

Producer talking on her phone in her office

Producer (Film)

Director of Photography looking at camera on set

Director of Photography

Female Entertainment Lawyer holding manila folder and walking outside

Entertainment Lawyer

People also ask

How do I write a resume for acting?

Do you need a resume for an acting audition?

How far back should an acting resume go?

Should you put background work on your resume?

How do you get acting credits?

What skills do you need for acting?

While acting can often seem like one of the more glamorous aspects of filmmaking, the truth is, it’s first and foremost a job.

All jobs require interview and vetting processes and a resume can play an instrumental part in introducing you to the right people and eventually landing some work.

Components of an Acting Resume

Like any standout CV, an acting resume should competently describe your acting experience and skill set (as it’s relevant to acting).

You only get one opportunity to make a first impression and a resume is your big shot at an introduction to a potential employer. Whether it’s an agent , casting director , studio executive , producer or director reading over your work and experience history, it’s important to make this one count.

So let’s break down the components of the CV to drill down on some of the basic ideas you’ll want to include in your acting resume…

What do you put on a beginner acting resume?

It may seem challenging to create an impressive resume when you’re just starting out in the industry, but it can be done. In lieu of prior acting experience, focus on your education and skills that are relevant to your acting work.

And if you have minor roles outside of background work, include it!

Choose A Template

Before you dive into your background and relevant experiences and skills, you’ll want to select an acting resume template (a number of which can be found here ). While there are several templates to choose from, what’s crucial here is ensuring that the information you want to convey comes across cleanly and clearly.

Resumes aren’t the time to be cute and clever. This is where you need to deliver your essential information as quickly and lucidly as possible to your reader. Don’t waste time on fancy wording or unnecessary descriptions. Like being on stage, you want to grab your audience’s attention as quickly as possible. So choose a format that suits you, but also be sure that all the information you’d like to express is lucid. professional, and clearly presented.

Always use basic fonts that are readable and clear. Even though there are so many varied fonts to choose from, this is a situation where simpler is always going to work out better. Keep your letters plain and readable. The last thing you want is someone squinting at your words, trying to decipher what they are.

We understand that color can be tempting and potentially eye-catching, but it also screams amateurishness. Professionalism is essential when it comes to building a resume, so avoid the temptation to be flamboyant and flashy on your resume. Black letters on a white background are the easiest to read and the fastest way to reach your reader.

This means using three columns to organize and display your information (this should be evidenced in several of the resume templates linked above). Typically these columns are divided into: (1) name of the production, (2) the role you played in the show, (3) where the work was showcased (whether that’s a film studio, TV network or streamer, or playhouse).

This one sounds a little strange. But it’s true. Ideally, you want your black on white words to pop off the page and catch your reader’s eye. The most effective way to do this is make sure the black letters have enough white space around them to really grab your reader.

This is another one that gives some people pause. But the truth is, agents, casting directors, executives, producers and directors don’t have the time to go through every resume with a fine tooth comb. Even if you have experience that brings you to two (or even three!) pages, be judicious and make sure your resume keeps your most impressive and note-worthy work and experiences all on a single page.

Your personal information includes your name, contact information (phone number and/or email address), and any union affiliations you may have (if you don’t have any union affiliations such as SAG or AFTRA, don’t worry about it; everyone started somewhere without any union memberships. You’ll get there.).

Personal information also includes your overall look and physical features. In this section, you’ll list your height, weight, eye color, hair color, body type and any other physical characteristic that may stand out and make you a unique candidate for roles.

Your agent and manager’s contact information (if you have them) should also be included in this section. Confer with your representatives to see if you should offer contacts for both yourself and them, as oftentimes agents and managers would prefer all potential work correspondence to always go through them before it reaches their clients (read: you).

This is the nuts and bolts of your resume. It’s where you list the work you’ve done and are given a chance to shine by not only displaying the production you performed in, but also potentially offering up a recognizable title. And speaking of recognizable titles, it’s best to put your most potentially known work at the top. Let the first thing the reader sees be something that grabs them immediately.

In this section, everything that you’ve done as far as training and educating yourself counts. Whether it’s a four-year college degree or a six-week workshop or a one-day seminar, include it all. You want to showcase the discipline and schooling you’ve worked through in order to better yourself as an actor . And as a side note, the more diverse the schooling and training, the better. A broader range an actor can perform in, the more you increase your chances of landing diverse work.

What makes an Actor successful depends on the person. Tom Cruise is a wildly different kind of Actor than Robert DeNiro, and both of them are vastly unlike Tom Hanks. Yet they all have enjoyed hugely successful acting careers.

But between them all, there is a desire to realize the character they are playing to the fullest degree. As they say, each Actor “commits” to the role. There must also be a vulnerability to show emotion or embody a character who may not be entirely likeable. Most of all, there must be a passion to be part of this industry that often entails far many more lows than highs.

Each Actor has their own strengths. Lean into what yours are to make your talent and proficiency distinct from others. Most of all, commit not only to each role you take on, but also to your career as a whole so that you can successfully navigate this sometimes enigmatic profession.

You know you’ve got them. Now you just need to share them with the world. Whatever unique skills or abilities you can showcase on your resume, this is the section to do so.

Do you speak multiple languages? Can you perform in different accents? Are you a dancer? An acrobat? An athlete (if so, tell us the specific sport)? A martial artist? Do you sing (if you do, indicate your range, e.g. High D or Tenor)?

Listing out the abilities, talents and experience that makes you unique, allows this portion of your resume to be the ideal place in helping you stand out in a crowd. And considering the high level of competition in the Industry (specifically acting), you’ll want to take every opportunity you can to showcase any of your noteworthy and special skills.

Here’s the space to toot your horn and talk about your acting-related accomplishments and victories. Mention the name of the competition, the year you participated, and your specific placement within it.

Resumes should always be kept on hand and up to date. By “on hand” we’re talking hard copies. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to pitch yourself to a potential employer. So keep copies around and easily accessible.

Because you’ll ideally be constantly updating your headshot, it’s a good idea to print your resume on a separate piece of paper (as opposed to printing it directly on the back of your headshot). This way, you can easily affix the updated version of your resume to your headshot. Otherwise, you’ll have to reprint everything with each new job you get! Don’t use glue or paperclips to attach your resume to your headshot; glue can get messy and paperclips tend to snag and catch on things they’re not supposed to.

What does a good acting resume look like?

A good acting resume is easy to read, and updated as often as you are working or training.

Credits should be listed by genre.  You’ll want to separate each genre: Television, Film, Theater, Education, Training. Special Skills, etc. If you’re just starting out, and don’t have any television or film credits yet, then adding any recent theater roles you played is a good place to start.

List experience with most recent credits at the top of each section.  Every time you get a new credit, add the name of the project, the type of role you played (For Theater – Lead or Supporting, For TV – Guest Star, Co-Star, etc), and the network/Director’s name (3 separate columns) to your resume.

For example: Grey’s Anatomy             Guest Star            ABC / Dir. Chandra Wilson

Include your education and training. . It doesn’t matter what age you are starting out as an Actor, training is essential and something to always highlight on your resume. List the name of any schools you’ve attended, what special acting classes you’ve taken (scene study, improv, etc), and if you did any specialized training (stage combat, etc).

Don’t forget your unique skills. After you list your education and training, highlight the unique skill sets that set you apart from other Actors. Make sure you can perform any of these skills at a pro-level, as you will be competing against other Actors in whatever special skills you mention here.

Highlight any awards or accolades.  If you did an independent film and won “Best Actress at Palm Spring International Film Festival,” put an asterisk “*” at the end of the credit, and denote the award at the bottom of the Film section.

Ask your reps for an example. If you already have representation, be sure to ask them for a sample of a great resume for you to model.

Prepare like a pro. If you don’t have representation, be sure to do your homework and research templates for layout and best formatting practices, before submitting to Agents or Managers.

Here’s an important one, but it’s something that should be included in this discussion and that’s to remember to always tell the truth on your resume (you’d be surprised how often this rule gets ignored).

Aside from the obvious issue of being immoral, getting caught in a lie on your resume (whether it be for a job you got, an award you won, or even an education you may have received) will more than likely destroy any shot you’d have at the gig, and further, could seriously affect your reputation.

Believe it or not, the fast answer here is no. You don’t necessarily need a resume for an acting audition because oftentimes your representatives will be speaking with casting directors to secure you auditions and work, but having a resume couldn’t hurt either.

It’s a great way to give someone looking to make a hire a quick snapshot into you and your work history and Industry experience.

Acting experience on a resume should date back a maximum of ten years. That includes work in theater, television and film. Any further than that, and things will start to feel dated.

A lot of people wonder if they should include their work as an extra on their acting resume. While extra work can give you some terrific stories to tell and put you in the same space as some renowned actors, directors and producers, it’s generally best to leave this off your resume. Extra work isn’t viewed the same way as a featured performance and listing it on your resume could potentially devalue the way you’re perceived.

Here are a couple of acting resumes we really like. Notice how they’re neatly organized, with separate sections for different types of credits, education, and special skills. You’ll also notice that these resumes include different info sections and have different formats. That’s great! You’re not a cookie-cutter Actor, and your resume shouldn’t be, either.

Sarah Halford's acting resume

Courtesy of Sarah Halford.

Matthew Gerrish's acting resume

Courtesy of Matthew Gerrish.

No, background work shouldn’t go on a professional acting resume.  It’s better to list great training and theater than a long list of Extra work. Doing background work can give a new Actor great behind-the-scenes experience on how things work on a set, so do it to gain a bit of knowledge, but not as a long-term game plan.

When I was first starting out, I made sure I was studying with great Acting Teachers, as well as taking improvisation classes and even stand-up comedy, too. Then I submitted myself for all kinds of work and started booking theatre, independent films, student films, and commercials.

Put in the work to train and know the craft.  Trying to get acting credits without first studying the craft is not going to fuel your career in the long run. To start auditioning, research the casting sites in your market that put out listings for independent films, student projects, commercials, theater, or whatever genre you want to work in.

Don’t get discouraged by rejection. You may have to send a lot of self-tapes before you get cast. Pursuing an acting career is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay at it, don’t let the setbacks derail you or defeat you, and be sure to learn from working pros who serve to empower you.

Want more insights from a working pro? Learn The 5 Secrets To Becoming A Successful Working Actor: Enjoy A Free Masterclass With Wendy Braun: ActorInspiration.com/secrets

What should be on an acting resume?

An acting resume should reflect your capabilities to someone before you walk in for an audition. It should include your educational background if relevant to your acting work, as well as the most substantial roles you have performed.

Basics, such as your height, weight, eye color, and hair color should also be included on an acting resume. Also add any skills such as knowing other languages or specific physical abilities like sword-fighting on an acting resume.

Acting resumes aren’t necessarily required to secure auditions and work, but they are invaluable in terms of providing potential employers with a quick summary of your look, your abilities, and your work. Before you have agent or manager representation, resumes are the best way to get your experience across to someone looking to cast a role.

Actor Wendy Braun

Wendy Braun

Accomplished Actress Wendy Braun is currently shooting her 4th season of Netflix’s Atypical . She’s also appeared recently on hit shows including Grey’s Anatomy, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Documentary Now, Liza On Demand , and Criminal Minds .

With over 80 TV + Film credits, over 100 commercials + thousands of voiceovers, Wendy has combined decades of invaluable on-set experience with her passion for empowering other creatives.

She’s the CEO + founder of ActorInspiration.com, where her transformational tools + powerful teachings have helped thousands of actors overcome obstacles + create breakthrough success. Download Wendy’s Free Self-Tape Success Checklist and be ready to go for your next audition: ActorInspiration.com/selftape

Enjoy this article? Connect with Wendy on Instagram at @actorinspirit

Photo credit: Jeff Nicholson

  • 1 Ates, Alex. "Everything You Need To Know About Actors’ Unions" . Backstage. published: 2 March 2020. retrieved on: 30 April 2021
  • 2 Anandan, Rajesh. "You’ve Only Got 6 Seconds to Pitch, Are You Ready?" . Medium. published: 8 January 2020. retrieved on: 30 April 2021
  • 3 Daily Actor. "How To Make An Acting Resume" . Daily Actor. published: 2021. retrieved on: 30 April 2021
  • 4 Philips, Carmichael. "Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé!" . Acting Magazine. published: 11 July 2019. retrieved on: 30 April 2021
  • 5 McQuerrey, Lisa. "How to Make an Acting Resume With No Experience" . Chron. published: 1 July 2018. retrieved on: 30 April 2021
  • 6 Indeed Editorial Team. "How to Make an Actor Resume (With Template and Example)" . Indeed Career Guide. published: 9 April 2021. retrieved on: 30 April 2021

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