Putting Together a Résumé For a New Child Actor

Photo Source: Jordan Sondler

Q: My child is 7. Her only experience so far has been theater classes. We have been asked for her résumé, but she doesn’t have one. What should I include on her résumé? How should I present it? —@Ccpfinn, Backstage Community Forums

Great question! How you present a child’s résumé when they don’t have credits is an issue a lot of parents and children trying to break into the industry face. Since your child is so young, casting isn’t expecting a serious résumé, so you can relax about not having a lot of credits.

Let’s focus on what you can (and should) have on the résumé. Her name goes at the very top. If she’s in any of the unions, like SAG-AFTRA or Actors’ Equity, put that directly below her name. Next, list her age range. I’ve seen people use ridiculous age ranges like “8-16.” Someone who can look 8 cannot also look 16. Be realistic. A good rule of thumb is making her age range a year older and a year younger, so in her case it would be 6-8, unless she’s tiny—45 inches tall (the size of a 5-year-old)—in which case you can get away with 5-8.

List any classes or training that would be marketable in the industry. Acting, scene study, improv, singing, and dancing are all good ones. Think outside of the box as well. Has she taken martial arts? Swimming? Any instruments? List the class, school and/or teacher, and how long she’s been studying.

Then list skills. We like words like “excellent,” “proficient,” or “skilled” when describing those. Excellent swimmer, skilled basketball player, proficient tennis player. But use those terms only if it’s true. Otherwise, list them as “plays basketball,” and we’ll know their skill level is age-appropriate.

Another great heading for a child’s résumé is hobbies—something she likes to do that would never be listed as a skill or get them a job, like collecting Pokémon cards. This is a great way for a casting director or agent to see a hobby, start a conversation about it, and get a passionate answer to really see a child’s personality.

Continue to pursue all legitimate opportunities to work, whether it be through school plays, local theater, short films, or any TV or film roles you can find yourself through casting websites like Backstage.com. Best of luck and have fun with the process!

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Jackie Reid
Jackie Reid owns and operates L’il Angels Unlimited, a talent management company, which specializes in placing young actors in films, theater productions, commercials, print media, on television, and with voiceover work. Reid works extensively with agents in New York and L.A.