Even if you’re not getting paid for the role, auditions are job interviews. Directors, like hiring managers or HR professionals, assess your skills and experience, then determine if you’re a good fit for an open role in their organization.

As in job interviews, resumes are key documents that help you communicate your qualifications. Usually printed out and formatted as a single page, resumes summarize your previous jobs and list the responsibilities and skills you developed through them and your education.

You don’t have much time in auditions. At best, you’ll have a monologue or sample song, a table-read, a chemistry check with other actors, or some acting exercises. The audition only represents a small part of what you can do. Your acting resume fills in the rest: an organized account of who you are and what you’ve done in the past.

Here are the details that you should include in an acting resume.

Acting Resume Must-Haves

Name and contact information
No surprises here, but make sure the director knows how to contact you with any questions—or with a cast list!

If you don’t have one already, this is a good time to set up a professional-sounding email address. [email protected] is specific to you and perfectly appropriate for a work environment; [email protected] is not.

Age and grade level
Like it or not, age is often a factor in casting. Your director may or may not already know you so having your school year listed will be helpful to them. Also add the name of your school if you’re auditioning for a community theater or a professional company.

Fun Home production

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Vocal Part and Range
If you’re auditioning for a musical, you’ll presumably be singing as part of your audition. This quick reference gives the director a rough approximation of how high and low you can comfortably sing. Note what part you sing (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass). If you have the time (and you or a friend play piano), you can even determine your voice range in terms of notes (e.g., G3–E5). This is critical, since voice range is an important criterion for casting.

Acting Credits
This is the meat and potatoes of your resume. What you do and don’t include here will depend on the role and company you’re auditioning for. But in general, your credits should include either the character name or type of role (lead, supporting, ensemble), the name of the show, the company or theater, and the year. You might sort your credits in reverse chronological order (i.e., your most recent roles first) or by prominence in the show (i.e., lead roles first).

You can organize this as a chart (with roles as rows and different fields as columns), or a list formatted like this one:

Previous Roles

Marian Paroo, The Music Man, Winter Garden Theatre (Broadway), 2021
Dir. Jerry Zaks

Baker’s Wife, Into the Woods, Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles), 2019
Dir. Robert Longbottom

If you’ve been in so many shows that a full listing wouldn’t fit on a single page with the rest of your resume, focus only on those most relevant to what you’re auditioning for.

Stand Out in a Subtle Way
Note that I’ve included the names of each director in the examples above. This will show you’re familiar with other acting styles and can work with different kinds of people. Your previous director might also essentially be a reference for you, if the two directors happen to know each other.

Be sure to list any behind-the-scenes work that you’ve done, perhaps in a separate section called “Technical Experience.” You want your director to know you’re a team player. Showing a broad base of knowledge and experience makes you a valuable asset.

List any extracurricular specialty training you’ve completed like voice lessons or dance classes. Include names of the programs and teachers, as well as how long you worked with them.

Special skills
Add any of your other talents when appropriate. If you’re auditioning for Pippin, for example, an ability to juggle or a history in gymnastics might give you an edge.

Link to Your Online Portfolio
As Mark Famiglietti discusses in his article “Brand You,” your resume can expand into a website that includes all the above, plus any video samples of your acting, dancing, or singing.

Clear, Clean Formatting
Keep your resume easy to read and to understand. Use black ink on white paper and standard fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. Place your name, age, voice part (if necessary), and contact information at the top, then create bolded headings for acting credits, training, and special skills. Also follow any specific instructions given to you by the director.

You could be just one of dozens of actors who are auditioning on the same day. A clear, professional-looking headshot will help the director remember who you are.

You don’t necessarily need to hire a photographer, but you should make sure your photo:

  • Is well-lit
  • Shows your whole face
  • Is printed on glossy paper
  • Has a nice resolution on 8×10 paper

Wear neutral makeup and clothing. Avoid taking a selfie or using a picture in which you’ve cropped out others.

What Not to Include on Your Acting Résumé
Only include a skill if it’s relevant and you’re actually able to do it. It won’t be hard for the director to ask you to show your stuff during the audition. Remember the obvious truth: lying on your resume will get you nowhere.

Only list accents you’ve used in a show before, or if you’ve received formal training. Leave any celebrity impressions off the list, too. (If the director wants to see your best Elvis during an All Shook Up audition, she’ll ask.)

Congratulations! You’ve just built a cast-worthy acting resume. Print it out, then staple to the back of your 8×10 headshot. Run off a few copies just in case, and you’re all set.

If you’d like more help crafting a resume (either for an audition or for an offstage job), check out the Educational Theatre Association’s resources for resume-writing and LinkedIn development♦  

Andrew Koch is a writer and editor from Cincinnati. His acting resume lists juggling and the fact that he plays a few musical instruments.

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