Finding Work as a Professional Actor

It is not surprise to anyone we here at Copts-Arrival have a passion for drama. Whether it is voice drama, live theater, commercial or Hollywood, if there is acting in some way involved we get excited.

Outside of the blockbusters and new releases however, the mundane aspects of being a professional or semi-professional actor are rarely talked about. From training and show prep, to even the more “boring” aspect of landing new jobs and applying for work that isn’t directly acting related.

In a perfect world we would all be leading ladies and gentlemen, and eventually, one day, that will most certainly happen for some of us. For the rest of us though, becoming an actor or actress is a long and arduous pursuit. In the meantime we have bills to pay and need to find work to pay those bills. But how does an actor get a regular job? You can’t just submit your photo collection or demo tape to a regular company. Instead you will need a resume, a written document showing your work history that other employers can review to determine if you are a good fit for their company. A resume is a physical “audition” for more boring and less expressive industries.

Here are the top 3 tips for translating a career as an actor or other type of artist into a more “standardized” resume format so that you may apply and land jobs to help you in achieving your professional artistic goals.

  1. Be Business, Not Creative

The business world is very different to the world of an artist. Creative expression is not nearly as valued as it is in terms of creating theater or art. How do you make yourself relevant then in this type of world? Simple. Translate your creative skills into terminology that human resources professionals will love. For example things like “creative problem solving” and “critical thinking” are both “creative” skills that most artists have in spades that is also valued in the office type work environment.

One great resource that makes writing a resume from scratch is the website where they provide all types of resume writing guides and samples, even some specifically written for artistic types.

  1. Keep Things Updated

Nothing makes writing a resume harder than trying to call what you did five or six years ago. Keeping a resume updated, as in taking it out at least once a year to update it with your most recent work, makes applying for a new job a breeze as you have a document that should be 90% ready to go and only need some fine tuning before it is sent off.

Even if you are taking a break from a desk job and working on an artistic project, make sure it include that so that you do not have any big “employment history gaps” on your resume. Bit by bit, update by update, you will build up an impressive resume overtime that will outperform most resumes that were crafted from scratch the day the applicant wanted/needed the job.

  1. Double Check Everything

Where the artistic world embraces a bit of improvisation for the creative flair it brings to a production, the “business world” is not quite as receptive of this type of “go with the flow” ethic. This means if you got a date incorrect, misspelled something, or messed up a grammar point, the boss reading your resume will not find any creativity or charm in it and probably bin your CV. Make sure your resume is flawless by sending it to a few of your best friends before sending it off to make sure everything is perfect.

Ultimately there is nothing stopping creatives from finding high paying work in the business world, whether they are looking for something to fit in between productions or because they want a career transition, it simply comes down to crossing your “t”s and dotting your “i”s.