When you're applying for any job, be it in business, or in acting, your resume is one thing that can make you stand out in the crowd. Most businesses are impressed by education and accomplishments they see on a resume and call you in for an interview based on those things. Your resume is a first impression and it's doing all the initial talking for you. Make it one they'll remember!
First things first, the headshot. A great headshot can be your first step towards an audition. If your headshot is old and outdated and doesn't resemble you you'll need to get a new one. Talk to your friends to get ideas of what photographer they use. Look at the photographers portfolio of shots. Spending lots of money doesn't necessarily mean you'll be happy with the resulting photos. You want to appear natural and relaxed, not too posed. Remember that it's about YOU. Keep your clothing, jewelry and hair style simple.
Once they've taken notice of you from your headshot, the casting people, producer and director will focus on your resume. If your resume is somewhat sparse make certain that you have listed every acting job you have had, even non speaking parts. As you grow into acting and start holding jobs you'll be able to forgo the smaller and less impressive acting parts and focus on the biggest and best ones.
Always have references listed on the resume. It's even best if you can have letters of reference attached to your resume. These references can really make an impact. If there is any doubt about which actor to choose for a particular part most producers and directors lean towards actors who have made good impressions on fellow producers and directors. After each acting job you have always ask for a reference.
Any time you send a resume out you must always include a cover letter with it. This is true in any business. Keep the cover letter simple and to the point. State your interest in auditioning for them and ask them to review your headshot and resume. Tell them why you think you might be good for this particular part. Mention any classes or current work that you're doing. Ask them if they'd like to meet with you, give them your contact information then thank them for their time.
Best of luck!
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