Rev Up Your Resumé

January 14, 2012

Your on-paper persona can be just as important as your dance skills. Here’s what you need to know about making your dance resumé audition-ready.

When you’re headed to an audition, you’ll need to have a few things on hand: your best moves, your favorite I’ve-got-all-the-confidence-in-the-world outfit, a professional headshot—and your dance resumé. That’s right: Resumés aren’t just for people working 9-to-5 office jobs. If you want to get hired, whether it’s for a studio teaching job or a commercial, you’ll need to hand over a rundown of your dance achievements.

Compiling a resumé is a daunting task—what should you include and what should you leave off? DS consulted Shayna Brouillard, a top dance agent with Clear Talent Group in L.A., to find out how you can build your best resumé. —Alison Feller

Don’t include an objective or qualifications.
Keep it simple. If you’re auditioning, you obviously want the job!

The format of your resumé should include headers, columns and sections. Don’t use paragraphs or bullet points.

Mention conventions you’ve attended and significant awards or recognition you’ve received
, but remove these once they’re outdated.

List your training by style and then list the people you have trained with. Include people who know you and your abilities, not people you’ve taken class with once or twice. If the hiring choreographer checks your references, it’ll be embarrassing if the choreographer you listed can’t remember who you are!

Only include your school or community performances as part of your stage credits when you’re building your resumé.
Once you start getting more professional jobs, you can leave the early ones off.

References are not necessary.
Choreographers just want to know who you’ve worked and trained with. You don’t need to provide their contact info.

Your contact information isn’t necessarily your personal e-mail address and phone number.
If you have an agent, include his or her information, not your own. If you don’t have an agent, that’s fine—just include the best ways to get in touch with you directly.

Include a “stats” section with your height, weight, hair color and eye color.
Don’t lie! If you say you’re 5 feet tall and you’re, well, not, it’s going to be obvious. This is also the section where you can include any union memberships you may have.

Each section should feature the name of the project you worked on, what your role was on that project and who hired you
(choreographer, director or company—whichever is most applicable).

Don’t include dates unless you’re specifying the year you won a particular award or if you’re mentioning a job that happens annually,

as The Academy Awards or the MTV Video Music Awards.

A “special skills” section will highlight any non–job-specific abilities that can give you an extra boost in the hiring process.
This includes workout skills (yoga, Pilates, etc.), sports you can play well, languages you speak, if you have a valid driver’s license, if you have a valid work permit (for dancers under 18), musical instruments you can play or gymnastics training.

Make sure your resumé is no longer than one page.
No one wants to flip to a second page. A clean way to present your resumé is with your headshot stapled to the back, facing out.