How to build an attractive acting CV

First and foremost DON'T try to be to flashy! The font colour should be black, do not use fancy fonts (choose a nice clear, plain font), do not have graphics or silly pictures, keep it to white or just off-white coloured paper and definitely do not put stars and glitter all over it!

The best CV's are concise and simple. Make sure everything is nicely spaced out so it doesn't look to busy and jumbled. Keep it relevant and generally the shorter the better, quality over quantity. One to two pages is perfect, three pages is acceptable any more is just boring (more on this further).

Start with your name at the top and in the centre, in a large font and in bold. Below have your photo, this can be to the side with your basic details to the other side of it (contact details, Spotlight number, nationality, height, eye colour, hair colour, build, training) or you can have your photo in the centre with your details just below it. If you put your photo in the centre you could put two to three different photos to show different looks, good if you are sending your CV to an agent, but on the whole try and keep it to one photo. If you are applying for a particular role choose the photo that best suits that role, in your opinion it may not be your best photo but it is if it suits the role you are applying for.

Next you want to list your experience (credits). Separate your theatre, TV and film credits by listing them under different headings.

Do not list any extra work or supernumerary work, unless this is all the experience you have. You may think it looks good but employers don't.

If you don't have much experience put on as much as you can but still keep it relevant, don't list the stuff you did at primary or secondary school! If you have lots of experience I would recommend trimming it down to your best work. Remember you are trying to keep it to a maximum of two pages. This is where the quality over quantity really comes in. If you have good film experience there is no need to list student films that you have done. Likewise, if you have good theatre experience there is no need to list rehearsed readings or unpaid fringe work (unless it is relevant to the job you are applying for or was a great part). There is nothing worse than a CV that is four, five, six or even seven pages long listing everything the actor has done, from being an extra in a Bond film to tying their shoelace on a west end stage! Employers do not have time to wade through endless pages of one CV. In scanning through the endless list of credits they miss the relevant ones. They may not even look at it if it is too long. You may think it looks impressive that you have six pages of credits but the employer doesn't.

It is a good idea to have multiple CV's for the different types of work you are applying for. So have a CV that is more theatre orientated when applying for theatre work, a CV that is more film orientated for film work and, yes you've guessed it, a CV that is more TV orientated when applying for TV work. When writing to agents seeking representation you want to show a good chunk of each, if you have it.
When listing your credits it is best to do it in date order, with the most recent at the top and the least recent at the bottom. The further back in time you go the more picky you should be about which credits to list, third spearman on left in the RSC's production of Henry V twenty years ago is not worth listing, whereas, playing Hamlet in a fringe production twenty years ago is.

When listing your credits go left to right across the page under the headings 'Role', 'Production', 'Venue', 'Director' and 'Year'.

So:

ROLE PRODUCTION VENUE DIRECTOR YEAR
Hamlet Hamlet Lyceum Jim Smith 2015
Orlando As You Like It Union Bob Jones 2014
Boy Henry V Haymarket Jim Smith 2013

Once you have listed your credits you want to finish off by listing any additional skills you have. These may include things like stage combat, dance, singing, accents, licences you hold (driving etc), sports and anything else you can think of. Again don't go on and on about these skills, just list them to no more than a short paragraph. You can list the more relevant skills you have to the job at the top of your CV along with your contact details and training.

And it is as simple as that. Remember to keep it concise and simple and not to be too flashy. If you want to stand out a great headshot is the way to do with a short and easy to read CV. So don't scrimp on your headshot, it is the first thing employers and agents will see!

Written by: Gavin Kerr - Visit author's website

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