How to Write an Entertainment Industry Resume

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If your dream is to one day break into film or the music recording industry, it goes without saying that the competition is fierce. Unless you already have connections that can get you in the door or you have been plunged into the media spotlight by winning a major talent show, such as "American Idol," you'll likely have to follow the same path as job seekers in any other field and introduce yourself to prospective employers via a professional resume. Although this alone is no guarantee of an audition or interview, the time and focus that go into its preparation will increase your chances of notice.

Things You'll Need

  • Word processing software
  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Center your name in all caps at the top of the page. Beneath it, list your full contact information. If you have a professional website or online portfolio of video clips, music recordings, show reviews, still photographs or anything else that demonstrates your area of expertise in the field of entertainment, be sure to list it. If you're a screenwriter, your website might also include short excerpts from some of your scripts.

  • Provide a brief statement beneath the block of contact information that identifies the type of position you're seeking. This enables a prospective employer to see at a glance whether you're a performer, writer, choreographer, director, talent agent, set designer, makeup artist, cinematographer, lighting technician and so on.

  • Determine whether your background best fits the format of a functional resume or a traditional chronology. Functional resumes work well for performing artists because clustered categories, such as acting, singing and dancing, can focus on cumulative years of experience and--using bullet points--highlight notable productions. A chronological format is effective for applicants who have honed their skills in one particular area and either have worked for different employers or have progressed up the ladder at the same company.

  • Create a category for any special talents or training you have that directly relate to the entertainment industry job you're seeking. Examples of this include proficiency in foreign languages, licenses to operate motorized vehicles and technical equipment, first aid/CPR certifications, martial arts expertise, stunt work, celebrity impersonations and computer skills.

  • Identify your academic credentials as well as any workshops you have taken or are currently taking to hone your craft. If you're an actor, singer or dancer who has studied under someone prestigious, mention who it is. If you have received any awards or commendations for your work, don't be shy about listing these as well. This also applies to writers who have done well in competitions and had their work published or produced.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use good-quality paper, a clean 12-point font, such as Times New Roman or Courier, and black ink. Confine your content to one page and proofread your resume thoroughly before you start distributing it.
  • If personal appearance is relevant to the job, it's permissible to have a small picture of yourself in the upper-right corner of your resume. For auditions, however, the preferred approach is to affix your resume to the back of a professional 8x10 headshot.
  • Performing arts resumes always include a "physical attributes" section in which applicants make note of their age, height, weight, hair color and eye color. Singers are expected to categorize themselves by type (such as light opera or barbershop quartet) or vocal range (such as baritone). Dancers typically specify their training repertoire (for example, tap, ballet, jazz, folk dance). The attributes section is located between the applicant's contact information and the discussion of experience. For non-performer resumes, this information is omitted altogether.
  • Never exaggerate your talents or experience. The entertainment world is much smaller than you'd think when it comes to verifying credentials and connections.

References

  • "Hollywood Drive: What it Takes to Break in, Hang in and Make It in the Entertainment Industry"; Eve Light Honthaner; 2005
  • Making It in the Business: Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Your Goals in the Entertainment Industry"; Andrea Hill; 2001
  • "Actors' Resumes: The Definitive Guidebook"; Richard Devin; 2002
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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