If your five-year plan includes becoming a professional dancer, then you are probably psyching yourself up for auditions and networking. These are important, but an important part of putting yourself into the industry as a professional is something you probably haven’t talked about – creating a resume.
A resume presents who you are and what you can do on a single piece of paper, often before the person viewing it ever meets you in person. It’s a very important indirect first impression. Because of this, creating a grabbing, effective, and professional resume is key to making you stand out. Let’s talk about what you should include in your dance resume and how to make it striking without looking tacky.
Call Me Maybe?
The first thing to put on your dance resume is your contact information. If a casting director likes you for a role, they aren’t going to want to hunt for your contact information. Put your full name, address, phone number, and email at the top of your resume. (Now is the time to create a professional email if you haven’t already. email@example.com isn’t going to look too impressive on a resume.) Make sure to keep this contact information updated and check that it is correct before every audition. You don’t want to get a callback only to have the directors call your old phone number.
Made to Measure
When a casting call or audition notice is posted, the casting directors often have an idea of what they are looking for before they ever meet you or any other dancers. This imaginary dancer’s traits include the height and look they want for a role. Because of this, including your measurements on your resume is important. Include a section with your height and age. Most directors are not worried about weight, but including it or not is up to you.
Chalk it Up to Experience
Like any job, directors want to know what you have done before. Create a section on your resume that outlines your experience performing in previous productions including plays, musicals, commercials, etc. The simplest way to do this is to include your most recent and impressive jobs in a brief (one short sentence per item) bulleted list.
This section can also be split in two to include any notable training or education you have received. For instance, if you have studied under a renowned choreographer or attended one of the world’s top ballet academies, put it down. This shows that your knowledge of dance and your technique have been carefully and expertly crafted.
If you are more dedicated to keeping your resume updated and you have a long list of previous work experience, you can also tailor your resume to the production you are auditioning for. To do this, you would focus on including relevant recent experience related to the role you are auditioning for. For instance, if you are auditioning for a musical theater role, you could focus on including things that demonstrate your strength and experience in musical theater as opposed to including roles that show your ability to work on commercials or film sets.
Put a Face to the Name
Most casting calls will require that you bring a headshot with your resume, so it’s a good idea to have one paired with your resume already. If possible, for a dance resume, it can even be better to have two photos – one headshot and one full-body shot of a dance pose to show your form. Of course, keeping these photos updated and high quality is a must.
Notice Your Notoriety
The last thing to consider adding to your resume are any awards you have won. If you are at the beginning of your professional career, then you might not need this section at all, but if you feel you have some notable achievements that show casting directors that you would be a talented member of any production or project they cast you in, make sure to include them.
Creating a resume is all about creating a concise but detailed image of yourself that will make casting directors either look forward to meeting you or otherwise remember you after your audition. When you create your resume, make sure you don’t get bogged down in the details. Resumes that are messy, unclear, disorganized, and long are the resumes that get put in the rejection pile no matter how talented you are. When they have hundreds of resumes to go over, casting directors don’t have time to sift through essays.