I do print work as a model and acting as an actor. Should I have separate resumes for each or can I keep it all together in one resume?

Definitely have separate resumes. This is not just for actors who model, but also for actors who work as members of the crew, actors who teach, actors who write, etc. You should have one resume for each type of job you’ll pursue.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t choose to mention that you have these other skills and experiences in your resume somewhere. It just means that you shouldn’t draw focus away from that one thing you’re trying to sell with the one resume in front of a particular person at a certain time.

This is one of the reasons you are generally advised to not list commercials on your theatrical resume. You will be presenting yourself to different people for different projects and the focus on a theatrical resume should be your theatrical experience and training.

Put yourself in the shoes of a director. He looks at a resume with acting and directing credits on it and wonders if that means he’ll have competition from you on the set. Are you going to take over and micromanage the set? Not worth the risk. He’ll move on to the next resume.

In your situation, you could mention in your Special Skills section that you work as a print or runway model and there may be items in your Training section that support that claim, but that should be it, as far as your theatrical resume goes. And, with regard to your modeling resume, you certainly can list your acting classes in your Training section and note that you work as an actor as well. In fact, there is a little more latitude to mention your work as an actor in your modeling resume, since — for the most part — your photos will be doing most of the work toward getting you modeling jobs. Your resume might not even be requested in some modeling situations.

Whenever I see resumes with “split focus” (especially when I see actors’ resumes cluttered with writing, producing, and directing credits), I figure I’m looking at people who haven’t quite figured out how they want to get “in” just yet. They simply know they want in. Somehow.

Of course, I say that and realize that my resume has both casting and writing work on it (among about ten other items that would qualify my resume as “split focus,” if you didn’t know me). That said, even when my “real life” resume had all of the shades of me on its pages, I never had an acting resume that did more than sell me as an actor. I would note my “secret writing career” in my Special Skills section, back when I had an acting resume, but I otherwise kept the focus squarely on what it was I intended to achieve with that particular resume (the one attached to a headshot): acting work.

Hope this helps! Keep sending in great questions. I have a healthy list of wonderful questions that have come in since The Actors Voice was born and I really appreciate all the amazing feedback. Thank you for your patience as I get to each of your questions. Meanwhile, please check the archives in case I’ve already written about a situation similar to the one you’ve shared in your email.

As always, I hope you do good work and keep sharing your toys! Like… do you use separate resumes? Do tell! Comments are open below.

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000051.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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  1. april February 17, 2014 at 10:06 am

    very informative, bonnie. it made me rethink my own unique career segments (outside the acting industry) – what fits together and complements each other, and what should be “sold” separately. thank you!

  2. Denise Marie Filmore February 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    This is valuable information for any type of career one seeks out. We are all gifted with many talents and skills, but they do not all have to be listed on a resume. One size does not fit all.

    Thanks for the post Bonnie!

  3. Deb February 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Yes, niching and intention is what it is all about, many of us have such varied ecperience . So when going for one thing – go for it!

    This can be applied to many areas of life and business. The more specific you are the mote of an expert in that field,

  4. Elizabeth MacLeod February 18, 2014 at 1:47 am

    Great advise. Spot on! And cool to read about how to target yourself. This applies to any business really… and I sure wish you were around in my younger days when I was modelling and getting into the acting world. You are such a valuable gift. I am passing you along 😉

  5. Susie Mordoh February 18, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Thank you Bonnie! Putting yourself in the shoes of the person who is hiring really helps to think about what they are looking for, great advice!

  6. Cinthia February 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    This article reminds me of a metaphor you gave at a talk at UCI last summer, drive in one lane at a time. That really landed with me and has helped me a lot in these beginning stages of my career. Sometimes companies will ask for my CV, in which case, my eclecticism has been very appreciated so far, but otherwise (especially for auditions) I definitely tailor resumes per gig, not just for what it is but who they are, specifically, too.

    Thank you Bonnie!

  7. Michelle February 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Sage advice, Bonnie. I promise to do good work and share my toys this week! 🙂

  8. Bonnie Gillespie February 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    April — Thank you! It never means we have to hide something or not celebrate it… but maybe it lives on a different document to be most powerful.

    Denise — Right ON! No one puts Baby in a corner! 😉 Thank YOU for stopping by!

    Deb — I celebrate specificity. It’s so valuable to helping us get to the buyers (whatever industry) faster. Exactly!

    Elizabeth — Aw, thank you for passing along my work to those up-and-coming creatives in your world. I think ALL businesses are at an advantage these days because of how much information is available free, online, to help us make stronger choices rather than feeling like we’re floundering.

    Susie — Thank you for stopping by! Yes, I always say, “Think like a producer” (if you’re an actor). Being in the mind of the buyer does nothing but help clarify the message and the marketing materials we all use.

    Cinthia — Oh, how awesome, Cinthia! I loved our time together at UC Irvine and I hope you’re rockin’ as always! 😀 Driving in one lane at a time is all we CAN do, right? So might as well get down with that. Woo!

    Michelle — I love it. That’s a great pledge. How’d you do? Were your toys well shared and are you feeling inspired for the week ahead?


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