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How To Format an Acting Resume

Your acting resume is like your business card. It serves to make a first impression, tells people the type of work you do and, most importantly, gives them the information needed to hire you to do that work!

Your acting resume should be a constant work in progress; something you update regularly throughout your career and training.

Here are some helpful guidelines and examples to help you format your acting resume. These are not hard and fast rules, but rather industry standards that will guarantee you present yourself in the most professional way possible.


THINGS TO REMEMBER: 

  1. YOUR RESUME MUST FIT ON ONE 8×10 PIECE OF PAPER.
  2. THERE CAN BE NO TYPOS ON YOUR RESUME.
  3. ALL NAMES MUST BE SPELLED CORRECTLY.
  4. WHEN ATTACHING RESUMES TO HEADSHOTS, STAPLE ALL 4 CORNERS WITH THE FLAT SIDE OF THE STAPLE ON THE HEADSHOT & PRONGS ON THE RESUME.
  5. WHEN EMAILING YOUR RESUME, ITS BEST TO SEND THE FILE AS A PDF.

THE TOP OF YOUR RESUME

  • Your professional name
  • A thumbnail headshot (can be the same headshot or a different look)
    • This is one more opportunity to put a face to your name.
    • Helpful in case your headshot and resume ever get separated. 
  • Contact information
    • Phone number
    • Email address
      • There is no need to include your address on your resume.
  • Stats
    • Height
    • Weight (Optional)
    • Pronouns (Optional, but highly encouraged)
    • NO NEED to put your hair color or eye color.
      •  If your headshot is attached and/or you have a thumbnail photo.
        • Hair and eye color on resumes goes back to the days of black and white headshots!
  • Union affiliation
    • If you have any union affiliation, including eligibility, be sure to include it towards the top.
  • Agent information
    • If you’re represented by an agent, you’ll most likely be required to add their logo and contact information to the top of your resume as well.

Listing Your Credits – General Information

  • Separate your credits by project type / medium.
  • Always lead with your most well known, recognizable, or “impressive” credits. 
    • There’s no need for credits to be listed in chronological order!
  • You can choose specifically what you want to share on your resume.
  • You can use either a 3 column layout or a 4 column layout to format your resume.
    • A 3 column layout combines the name of the theatre/production company and the director.
    • A 4 column layout separates the director’s name into its own column.
      • Make sure you’re consistent with whichever format you choose!

Theatre Credits

Theatre credits acting resume example

Symbols can also be used to denote new works, ensemble devised pieces, nominations, and awards.

3 Column Example:

Theatre resume example

4 Column Example:

Theatre resume example

Understudy Credits

When listing understudy credits, it’s important to note the role/rules you understudied, as well as whether you performed in the show or not.

  • To note that you were an understudy: write the abbreviation (u/s) next to the character name in the “role” column.
  • To note that you performed an understudy role: write “performed” or “perf.” next to the understudy abbreviation.
    • If you’re tight on space, you can also use a symbol and description to denote this information.
Understudy credit examples

Film Credits

  • Film credits should be listed by role type rather than by character name or description.
  • Include the production company and director as well.
    • When listing a student film on your resume, mention the college as the production company. 
Film credits acting resume example

Role Types – Film

  • Lead: The actor appears in most scenes. Their role is central to the story.
  • Supporting: The actor fills a principal role and appears in one or more scenes.  Although important to the storyline, the role is not a lead character.
  • Principal: In film, this term refers to a speaking role, without getting too specific about how central the actor’s character is to the story. It has also been used to denote non-contract players who have five or more lines.
  • Featured: The actor has one scene with one or more lines; not big enough to be a supporting role and easily cut from the final version of the film. If the role stays in, the actor’s name appears in the end credits.

TV Credits

  • TV credits should also be listed by role type rather than by character name.
  • Include the production company and director as well. 
Tv credits acting resume example

Role Types – TV

  • Series Regular: The actor is under exclusive contract with the show to appear (or be paid regardless of appearing) every week.
  • Recurring: The actor returns as the same character over multiple episodes.
  • Guest Star: The actor appears as a one-episode guest whose character’s storyline is central to that particular episode. 
  • Co-star: The actor appears as a one-episode guest whose character may or may not be central to that episode’s storyline. 

Commercial Credits

  • List your commercial credits as “List Upon Request”. 
    • This is appropriate even if you only have 1 commercial on your resume!
      • The reason for not listing commercials is to avoid listing or mentioning past projects you’ve done with products that may come into conflict with the product/company you’re auditioning for. 
  • If you’re starting out and need credits to fill space on your resume, you can list your commercials with the ad agency, role, and production company/director in order to avoid revealing the product
Commercial credit example

Education and Training

Education and training should take up no more than 1/3rd of your resume. 

  • If you find you have the space, it’s encouraged that you share some of the names of the instructors you’ve worked with.
    • Having respected and recognizable names on your resume improves your credibility. These people can also serve as potential references!
Training acting resume example

Remember: Don’t put any dates on your resume. You don’t want anything on your resume that reveals, hints at, or suggests your age!


Special Skills

Special Skills are things that you can do very well…. so well that someone would pay you to do them!

Special skills categories and how to list them:

  • Sports/Dance/Instruments
    • Include your experience level, or how many years you’ve been studying/practicing the skill.
  • Languages
    • Conversational or Fluent. 
  • Accents
    • Only list ones you can do well on command!
  • Conversation starter
    • While not a requirement, many actors choose to end their special skills list with something unique or humorous that could serve as a “getting to know you” or a “conversation starter”
Special skills acting resume example

Non-Acting /Industry Related Jobs

Jobs such as: Print work, extra work, directing, stage management, and other non-acting theatre jobs ultimately do not belong on your acting resume.

HOWEVER: if you don’t have much experience as an actor yet, it is ok to list these under “Related Experience


There’s no need to put a “references” section on your acting resume.


For even more helpful advice for actors, be sure to check out these awesome resources for information on acting and navigating “The Biz”.