Let me start this off by saying that these are my thoughts and observations.  I welcome anyone else chiming in.

So let’s look at fictional actor, Chris Fettle.  Chris is just starting out in his career, so it’s no surprise that there’s not much on his resume just yet.

Chris Fettle Resume 1

Nothing much wrong here, but there could be improvement.  I don’t care that he doesn’t have much on his resume, he’s young, but I do care that he’s not put down his directors.  And get rid of Actor.  We’ll just assume that.  We’ll see how Chris advances.

Here he is several years later and he has done a nice job in that I’ve got his name and he’s laid his theatre experience out cleanly.  I don’t think it’s a terribly good idea to put your address on there.  Once these resumes leave your hand you don’t know what’s going to become of them.  The most unscrupulous type of auditors (and I’ve never known this to be the case in Milwaukee) sell your information.  Don’t give them the ability to do so.  We’ve got the vitals, which is good, but it could be done in a more appealing manner.  

On to the shows themselves.  Nice mix of shows.  There are a few classical plays on there and a couple of musicals.  He’s also worked at most of these places more than once which presupposes that they liked him enough to hire him back.  He’s got his college credits on there, which is just fine.  Assuming he advances his way in the field, he’ll eventually start working those out of the rotation. 

The big thing I’m missing here are the Directors.  Who directed these shows?  That’s important information and must be included on the resume. 

Chris Fettle 2

So let’s clean up Chris’ resume.

Chris Fettle 3

We’ve got rid of the address, the resume’s a little cleaner, and I’ve got the information I need.  Assuming I’m interested and I know a few of these people he’s worked with, I’m going to start making some calls.  So make sure you’ve actually worked at the theatres on your resume and make sure you’ve actually played the parts as opposed to simply understudying them.  If you lie on your resume and are found out, the word will spread rapidly and your career will become a tougher one.  Just don’t do it. 

This wass Chris early in his professional career.  Let’s examine the possibility of where Chris might end up a few years from now.

Chris Fettle 4

Ack!  These are the resumes that absolutely drive me nutty.  What’s happened to our little hero?  Methinks things haven’t turned out so well.  In an effort to make himself seem really successful he’s bound and determined to fill every inch of space on his resume.  To do so, he’s decreased the size of his font making it even less likely I’ll be able to find the info I’m seeking.  He’s also left me no room to take notes.  What I can tell is that he’s only working at theatres and with directors once.  This leads me to believe that while he may be a good or voracious auditioner, things don’t work out so well in the actual productions. 

Actor?  Really?  Again?  He cleaned this up for a bit, but now he’s back.  Let’s just assume I know you’re an actor.  Why else would you be here?

It may be helpful to others, but I’m only looking at you for theatre experience, I don’t care about your film credits especially if I’ve never heard of them and you’re playing extras.  That doesn’t tell me a thing.

Don’t tell me your age range.  Why would you do such a thing?  Let me decide what age range you can play.  All you’ve done is limited yourself and made the inference that I’m too stupid to figure it out for myself.

This is just me, but I don’t care if you’ve won an award.  What good does that do me?  It’s unlikely that I’ve seen the show in question and putting it on your resume smacks of…something. 

So to sum up, I’m looking for clean, clear resumes; ones in which I can find the information I need quickly.  Is this the only format that works?  Of course not, but ninety percent of the resumes I receive are formatted this way, so altering that makes it more likely that I won’t be able to find the info I want in the limited amount of time I get to spend with you. 

I want your name, contact info and vitals on the top of the resume.  Beneath that I want your theatrical experience.  That experience should contain four pieces of information: the name of the play, the part you played, the director and the name of the producing theatre.  A fair number of people will switch the theatre and the director putting the director in the last column.  Doesn’t matter much. 

Film credits and commercial work?  I don’t care.  In this day and age you should have a different resume for every situation.  Going on a commercial audition?  Use the resume which features that work on top.  Have an agent?  That’s great, but I want your contact information, not your agent’s.  Again, save that for the commercial auditions. 

Beneath that comes special skills and education, but I’ll get to that in the next posting.