No need to wonder if an agent looks closely at your resume. They do! Of course they do. Because beyond seeing you perform, agents rely on your resume to tell a story about your passions, experience, and professionalism – past and present.
To help actors learn more about resumes, we asked superagent Bernadette McBrinn of Avalon Artists Group to tell us what she takes note of.
As an agent, Bernadette has been working with Avalon Artists Group for 3 years and counting! Avalon is a full service bi-costal agency & Bernadette works on legit (film,TV and theater) for the New York office! Recent Avalon TV credits include: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, ALPHA HOUSE, MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW & THE FOLLOWING. Avalon also has many clients on the Broadway Stage in shows like MOTOWN, BOOK OF MORMON & BIG FISH, as well as many other performers across the country in National Tours and Regional Theater!
Here are 5 things that Bernadette McBrinn looks at on an actor’s resume:
1. The top line!
When handed a resume, Bernadette notices the top credit first.
It tells me this is the most recent thing they’ve done, Bernadette shares. And the type of role it was could give a good indication of the talent level.
So keep those resumes updated. You never know when taking a pass on updating your resume, could mean that an agent might take a pass on working with you.
2. The order of your resume.
Resumes tell a story. And, agents read your story from top to bottom – the same way they would scan a news article for the most pertinent details.
If Theater is first, Bernadette shares, it tells me that Theater is the actor’s main focus, or strongest area of performance. And the same goes for Film/TV, if it is first. Having all Theater experience and no Film just tells me either they are not interested in On Camera work, or just haven’t had the opportunity yet.
To make sure you build the right kind of buzz, organize your resume in a way that makes your true goals and skills stand out first.
3. The special skills section
An actor’s resume includes a special skills section for a reason, because it helps to share what is interesting about you. Beyond a list of credits, what makes you – special?
So, say something interesting! shares Bernadette. Being fluent in other languages is always a plus! Proficiency in instruments or dance. Being able to ride a bike is good to know, but everyone can do that (I hope!) but a unicycle? Or fire breathing? Now that is something interesting that would catch the eye!
Don’t have a true, special skill. Well, it’s nearly New Years. Make a resolution to start an exciting, new hobby.
Yes, your resume has to line up and be pleasing to the eye.
Something like not being spaced properly, or being in a bad format, or not cut to 8×10 – That drives me crazy! Bernadette shares. Cut your resumes to 8×10 actors!
Enlarged headshots or misaligned credits can make you look lazy or sloppy. Give agents a clear visual landscape so they can navigate your resume in the best light possible.
5. The professional quality of your headshot.
When just starting out, way too many actors rely on snapshots taken by their friends or family – instead of a professional headshot.
If the headshot is not professional, Bernadette will still turn the picture around and take a look at your resume. But if you don’t have professional headshots, it’s likely you don’t have professional experience, Bernadette shares. If you’re serious about being an actor, you should invest in professional material.
When you’re new, you have to begin somewhere. Agents will understand if you don’t have a long list of credits. Plus, if you’re talented, you’re talented, Bernadette shares. If she sees someone talented, training doesn’t matter.
But when it comes to the professional quality of headshots, It’s your first impression to everyone! Bernadette says. It’s important.
P.S. – Bernadette also shared these two key pieces of advice for actors…
Bernadette’s BONUS Advice #1: I believe even the most talented actors should always be training, there is always something new to learn & it’s great practice!
Bernadette’s BONUS Advice #2: I can’t even count how many phone calls I get a week saying Hi, I want to be an actor, how do I do that?’Don’t do that!If this is an industry you really want to be a part of you need to educate yourself. The internet is a beautiful thing, do research! Take classes, meet people & get as much experience as possible!