A strong résumé is the key to opening doors in any industry. But what about for a child actor who doesn’t yet have a ton of “work” experience, and whose special skills and talents include jumping rope and playing the recorder? (Both fantastic skills, by the way!) Even a child actor who has been on a TV show or two may have trouble filling up an entire page with impressive information.
The good news is that the format of a standard child actor résumé allows for more freedom than that of the adult actor résumé. Please note that the information below is primarily geared toward child actors who are seeking representation by an agent or manager. Once signed, your child will be guided by their representative in terms of what to include on a résumé.
Here are five ways to develop a child actor résumé.
1. Expand the “Special Skills” section.
This is one of the primary ways child actor résumés differ from those of adults. You’ll want to expand your child’s “Special Skills” section by titling it “Special Skills and Hobbies.” For child actors who don’t have professional credits yet, casting directors and scouting talent agents pay special attention to this category as it gives them info on what the child’s personality is like and what talents they possess, so include a range of information that expresses the personality of your child.
Start with traditional performance skills like singing, dancing (specify styles), instruments, modeling, juggling, creating online content (a YouTube channel), etc. Then add any sports that your child plays, followed by non-sport physical activities such as hula hooping, jump rope, bicycling, etc. After this, list any hobbies, such as cooking, camping, being a fashionista, fishing, reading, and caring for animals (“good with animals” is always a plus on a child résumé!).
Next, include any service and charity-oriented activities that reveal strong character—Boy Scout or Girl Scout, feeding the homeless, mentoring first graders, Sunday school. Lastly, include personality traits and strengths, such as outgoing, team player, smart, takes direction well, fast memorizer, adventurous, good with children, etc.
2. Emphasize moral character through specific activities and traits.
The purpose of expanding the “Special Skills and Hobbies” section, per above, is to give the person reading your child’s résumé a sense that your child is well-rounded and of strong moral character (and will be delightful to work with!) This is why the “service activities” and “personality traits” sections of the résumé are both so important.
If an entertainment industry professional sees that your child is altruistic and cares about helping others, that person will want to work with your child. If your child is not participating in any service-oriented activities, now is a great time to start. Being an actor and artist is all about being of service to the world by telling important stories, so what better way to learn lessons about service than to engage in a charitable activity!
3. List awards and achievements under the “Education” section.
In addition to listing your child’s school(s), you will want to list any specific academic achievements, such as honor roll, perfect attendance, art awards, math awards, clubs, student government officer, etc. Again, the goal is to emphasize strong character and great work ethic. Good academic students are usually diligent and responsible actors, so be sure to share all of your child’s terrific school achievements!
4. Expand the theater section.
If your child is, say, 10 years old and just starting out, they may not have a ton of TV and film credits. So make sure to list every theater performance your child has ever done. (Basically any time they've been on a stage in front of people.) This includes school shows and plays, community plays, church plays, school presentations, dance concerts and recitals, singing performances, etc.
5. Describe training in more detail.
Another way to expand your child’s résumé is to describe performing arts training in more detail. You can list the specific types of classes your child has taken, as well as the elements of each course. For example, if your child has taken an on-camera acting class (if not, now is a great time!), you can describe specific elements of that course like audition prep, cold reading, improvisation, etc. Be sure to list singing lessons and dance lessons, detailing specific styles of dance.
The bottom line is that you have more freedom with a child’s résumé: There’s more room to expand upon training, skills, hobbies, achievements, and character traits. Use this as an opportunity to let your child’s personality shine! Make the process of building the résumé collaborative and fun. Listing all of the things your child is good at and enjoys should be a fun and engaging process for them.
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