In the entertainment industry, résumés are written differently for actors than for business professionals even though they have the same purpose – getting a job. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd and land the job you want, there are 9 elements to consider.
- Structure: With a revised study extending the time recruiters/hiring managers look at your résumé from 6 seconds to 7.4 seconds, you still need to make every second count. A résumé should be easy to scan. Bold headings show how relevant you are and how your experience fits the employer’s requirements. Summary (briefly highlights who you are, and what you’ve done), Core Skills (technical, hard and transferable skills highlighted), Experience (titles, names of employers, dates, and achievements), Education (if you’re a new graduate, it should be below your summary) Awards/Affiliations, Publications/Patents, Volunteer Work.
- Contact information: Have an email with your name instead of hungover666, which doesn’t quite scream professional, and questions your credibility. The email should be easy to remember and type. Make sure your phone greeting is professional too. Prospective employers might not hear your voice through the dogs barking in the background.
- Tailor your résumé: Tailor your résumé to the job and target position. It should reflect skills the employer is looking for and how well you can deliver them. Recruiters/hiring managers have put in their parameters for a job and allow the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to weed out others who don’t fit their criteria. Stuffing the résumé with all the keywords from the posting can give you an edge, but you should find the right balance between experience and requirements.
- Use action verbs and metrics: When describing your achievements in bullet point form, lead with action verbs to demonstrate how you delivered your successes with quantifiable results. These statistics grab the recruiters’/hiring managers’ attention because it supports your claims, which you might have to cover during your first interview.
- Page Length: Probably the most asked question. A one-page résumé might fit a new grad with little experience or someone with less than five years of experience, but a two-page résumé is much more common now and preferred. The additional page allows you to describe more accomplishments in detail, keeping in mind not to go more than ten to fifteen years of experience.
- Proofread: Spell check goes without saying. Read it, print it, and reread it aloud. Have someone else read it. Doing a résumé yourself can be a daunting task; you might glaze over small typos or grammatical mistakes.
- Fonts: Trying to read your résumé will put you in the ‘no pile.’ Keep the font size at 11 or 12, but no smaller than 10 with a sans serif font, such as Calibri or Arial. Times New Roman will look like you just stepped out of the early ’90s. Same for too many bright colors, which distracts the reader from reading the content. Colors should complement the target industry.
- White space: If there’s little white space around the page, it might look too busy. If there’s too much white space such as leaving a half-page empty, the reader might think you don’t have much to say or offer. Margins should be 1 inch, but you can adjust as long as there’s enough white space to make it easy on the eye when recruiters/hiring managers concentrate on your achievements.
- References Available upon Request: It’s dated and unnecessary. Future employers will ask for references when a candidate is a finalist for a potential position.
Your résumé is the marketing tool that gets you on the ‘yes’ pile. It tells the story of who you are, gives a synopsis of your experience and skills, and demonstrates how much value you bring to a future employer. Incorporating this guideline will elevate your chances to your first call.
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