Madeline Carpenter

Want to apply for a role, but don't have a CV? Here are a few tips...

Getting started
If you have a few acting credits to your name, it's not difficult to put a performance CV together. 
Your performance CV is a record of your performances, so is separate from any CV you might have for other employment. So if you have another job that's not relevant to your acting work, there's no need to include it on your performance CV. 

How long should it be?
As with any job application, you don't want your CV to be too long. It's a snapshot of your work as an actor. Its job is to give the reader some idea of what you're capable of in a short space of time. So, 1-2 pages is good. 

Your details
At the top of your CV you want your name and contact details clearly written. If you have an agent, you'd include their contact details in place of your own. 

Your photograph
You can include your actor's headshot on the top of your CV if you wish, but often you need to provide this separately - either when uploading an application to a website or sending it via email. So it's not 100% necessary. Plus, when you apply for a job, you want to send the headshot that looks similar to the role you're applying for, so if you have a range of photographs, choose carefully. A generic headshot on your CV is simply a way of identifying you. 

What should I include in the body of my CV?
Usually you list your most recent performances first, and your older ones last. You can certainly include your drama school performances as part of this, as those roles show what you are able to do, but as you add more items you may wish to drop them off the list. Ultimately, an agent or casting director is ONLY interested in seeing your professional performance credits, not ones you did at high school or when you were little. 

You can also list your performances under subheadings, e.g. "Theatre", "Film", "Television", "Webseries", "TV Commercials" etc. Include the role you played, the year you played it, the company it was for, and the director. 

What if I don't have many credits yet?
Well, this is a tough one! If you are just starting out, it's ok to have just one or two things. But whenever you do a new job, remember to add it to your CV - then it'll always be up-to-date. (It's easy to forget important details later.)

What else should I include?

  • Include any relevant education - where you studied drama, any workshops, any private coaching you've had. These give your CV credibility. You can name particular tutors here too.
  • If you have any related skills, like modelling, directing, writing, dance or music, you can add these in a separate section, called simply, "Related Skills" or "Additional Skills".
  • You may also like to include skills like Accents (list them) and you can put in brackets whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced, e.g. "Standard American (Advanced)"
  • Skills like swimming, horseriding, or owning a driver's licence can also be listed, particularly if they are relevant to the role you are applying for
  • If you have won any awards for acting, include them under 'Awards'.

Make sure your CV is nicely presented. This means:

  • Choosing a strong, simple font for your CV. It needs to be easy to read. 
  • Limit your fonts - perhaps have one for headings and one for the body text. Or, simply use bold for headings and regular for body text.  More than two fonts and your CV will lose its professional look.
  • Making sure your font size is easy to read - don't cram in too much information in one page or use a type that's too small for the average reader.
  • Correcting your formatting - if you have copied-and-pasted from somewhere else, make sure the type is the same size as what's already in your document. Fix up any line breaks, margins or columns so that your content is easy to follow.
  • Checking your spelling and punctuation. At the very least, run a spell check!
  • Capitalise titles of plays, films and TV shows. Use italics for titles if you wish. 
  • Double checking your contact details are correct.
  • Saving the final document as a PDF file, as this can be read by both Macs and PCs.

Need some more skills to add to your CV? 

Writing your CV, preparing your headshots, and auditioning are all covered in more detail in Perform Australia's Certificate IV in Acting . It's also a great course to get your acting skills in tip-top shape.

Find out more
Elizabeth Avery Scott

About the Author

Elizabeth Avery Scott is Perform Australia's CEO. She has reviewed hundreds of CVs as an employer and helped many actors get their performance CVs in order.