Headshot and Resumé Tips

Outside of your audition material, the headshot and resume duo are the most important things to prepare for any audition. You plan ahead for a trip by booking your ticket, ensuring your passport is up-to-date, and finally packing your bags; the same goes for an audition! Whether it’s for a show or a higher education program, your headshot and resume are your ticket and passport to the next big adventure. We at Theater.Academy want to make sure you’re well-equipped for this journey!


The headshot is your ticket into any audition room. It is often the first look an audition panel gets at you. Usually an 8 inch by 10 inch photograph from the shoulders up, the headshot is more than just a way for them to see what you look like. The headshot, used mindfully, will communicate your essence as an artist. You’ll want to make sure it shows a quality you share onstage. For instance, if you would describe your essence as grounded and down-to-earth, consider wearing earth tones and displaying a soft smile. If you tend to play bubbly and outgoing, bright colors and a brilliant smile may be more appropriate. All in all, make sure you get a picture or two or four that capture your range.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you are able to grow facial hair, consider going to the shoot with that facial hair and shaving between shots. This will allow you to have shots both with and without on-hand! Sometimes, if you can show the panel visually what you look like in different scenarios, it can help them envision you in the world of the show!
  • For physical/printed headshots, put your name at the bottom of the photo! This helps them remember you and make sure your name doesn’t get lost from your likeness. For virtual submissions, no need to put your name on the photo; instead, just ensure your name is in the file name.
  • Stay away from logos and busy patterns in your clothing for headshots. The focus of the shot should be you, not what you’re wearing.
  • Be true to yourself in these shots. There’s no right way to pose, dress, or look. Choose one that shows your face truthfully but also resonates with your personhood and artistry. Whether you’re contemplative, bubbly, brooding, or goofy, make sure you have a look that hints at you and your range.


The resume is like the actor’s passport because it shows just how you got to where you are and lists your lived experience up until that audition’s moment. Typically, just a single page spread, the acting resume is supposed to display your acting skillset and history. While there is much debate about just what to include and how to organize it, the most important thing in a resume is that it is truthful and seeks to show your artistry more fully. Common sections in the resume include a header with personal information, performance credits, education and training, and special skills.


The first line on your resume should be your name, listed visibly and largely at the very top of your resume. This helps auditors address you and identify your resume correctly to your person. Below the name should be your contact information. This includes a phone number, email, and website where they can contact you and find more information. If you have an agent, that information would also go in this upper portion. After your name and contact information, here are some items you may wish to include: physical traits like height, hair color, and eye color, your vocal range and type, union status, local markets, and/or vaccination status. All of this is meant to offer the quick facts before diving deeper into your credits and training.


This is often the biggest section in a theatrical resume, but it is important to still be intentional about what to include. The purpose of the credits section is to show what work you’ve been involved with in the past, the style or type of work you tend to contribute best to, and demonstrate the caliber of work you’re capable of. Possible sub-headers in this section may be Theatre, Film, Television, or Commercial/Industrial. For our purposes, we’re going to focus solely on the theatrical subsection. While there is debate about how best to organize, this section is meant to show a glimpse at the types of shows and parts you’re right for. You have agency over what to include in this section. Often organized in tables and columns, you should consider including the production title, your role (and any additional creative positions such as fight captain, dance captain, swing, or understudy), and the theater company or creative team involved. A standard suggestion is to list the show in the leftmost column, your role in the second column, and the theatre and director together in the third column. The purpose of the theatre or creative team listing is twofold; it can show the level of professionalism you’re capable of or offer a connection point between you and the audition panel if they know the people you’ve worked with before. Again, you don’t need to include every production you’ve ever been in; select a few roles that are representative of a range of your work. The further you progress as a professional, the more selective you should be about these credits. By the time you exit undergraduate, you should leave off any amateur high school credits unless they communicate something important about your essence. The more professional credits you build, the more you can tailor which to include in order to most effectively communicate who you are and what you are capable of.


This is where you list your education, and any classes or extensive training opportunities you have completed will reside. This shows not only what you are committed to learn but what you continue to pursue! Any higher education degree should be listed at the top of this section, followed by any applicable courses, workshops, seminars, or extended training opportunities in acting, singing, dancing, movement, or voice. You may also consider listing professors or instructors, as the connective web of theater often shares colleagues; this is a great conversation point and can often show the caliber of learning you have. As you progress in this field, you should summarize your training more succinctly. Levels of expertise in skills such as beginner, intermediate, and expert/professional, as well as years studied, are important indicators of your capability and should be included.

Special Skills

While this section has been known to be long lists or contains silly traits, the special skills section exists to show what makes you in particular unique. If you have a creative slant, such as movement, impressions, or creative coverage skills, this is the section to highlight them. Some ideas to include in the special skills section include: any swing, understudy, or alternate/cover experience, creative leadership capabilities such as dance captain, fight captain, music captain, or creative team positions, music ability such as sight-reading or instruments, movement tricks such as splits, tumbling, or stage combat certifications, and voice abilities such as whistling, impressions, vocal type, or accents. Be sure to only include skills you can perform at that current moment. If you had your splits three years ago but can’t do them on that day, you may consider taking that skill off. They should be skills you are especially proficient at; the rule of thumb is that you are at intermediate to advanced in all of these, especially regarding instruments.

A few tips for the resume:

  • You don’t have to include every single credit or training on your resume. Prioritize the opportunities and skills that are more encompassing of who you are and what you offer.
  • You can personalize your resume for each audition! Your resume for a musical may contain more of your singing credits and a play more of your straight-acting credits. If it’s a Shakespeare production, you may choose to list your text-based acting credits closer to the top, or you may wish to show a full range from Mr. Wormwood to Barnaby Tucker for a wider-scope season audition. Either way, feel free to change things up once in a while.
  • When choosing what credits to include on your resume, be selective about what represents you best, not just your “biggest” credits. If you have been in a creative leadership position within a cast, such as a dance captain, before, that credit says a lot about your sensibilities and is especially worth including.

    Overall, the headshot and resume combination is meant to supplement your audition materials to offer a more whole view of your personhood, artistry, and capability. Our roster of coaches at Theater.Academy can offer external feedback on your audition materials as well as these crucial elements; consider booking an Application Kickstart or free consultation today!

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