Q: My only real acting experience is from high school and college, but I know I want to be an actor. How do I put together a résumé that won’t get me laughed at? —@ChrisK
This is a fantastic question, particularly because it’s one I had myself about a dozen years ago (except that unlike you, I had absolutely no prior acting experience). Yet, without an impressive résumé, I was still able to break into the professional acting ranks due to persistence and focus on the most productive activities. The good news? I found out that one’s résumé—like any perceived handicap—will only affect you as much as you allow it.
You must focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. If you really believe you have something to offer the world of professional acting, it’s up to you to let that world know. There is never-ending demand for new and talented actors, so it’s just a question of making sure the right people become aware of you.
If your résumé doesn’t make it clear that you have talent, you need to show or tell them in another way. The only limit is your own creativity. If you show as much creativity in how you help the industry find you as you do in your acting, your résumé will become an “in spite of” instead of a “because of.”
The key to overcoming weakness is showing strength. A résumé is neither a strength nor a weakness—it just is. It says what you have done, not what you can do. What you can do requires describing and demonstrating. So it’s important to learn how to describe who you are and what you can do to the people who can put your skills to use.
Start thinking about how you can meet decision-makers or those who work with them. Whether it’s at a party, temping in their offices, or somewhere else, connect with the people you can benefit from the most and it won’t be long before that résumé goes from tabula rasa to cornucopia.
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