How to Write a Background Actor Resume (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 7, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Whether you're just starting your acting career or an experienced actor, the hiring manager may request a professional resume when applying for a role. Your resume helps you highlight your qualifications and differentiates you from other candidates. Understanding how to write an impressive resume can help show the casting directors that you're the best fit for the role. In this article, we discuss a background actor resume, outline how to write one, provide a template, and show an example to guide you.

What is a background actor resume?

A background actor resume is a professional document used by actors when seeking acting roles in theatre, TV, film, or other acting media. These documents detail the actor's previous experiences, roles, training, certifications, and skills. Some candidates may also include their agent or representative's contact details. Generally, a resume helps emphasize an actor's special traits, awards, and skills that testify to the actor's abilities and talent. Some actors may also include a professional headshot in their resumes.

Background actors appear as extras in television commercials, movies, and TV shows. In most cases, they're non-speaking characters or characters with one-liners. These professionals fill a scene and make it more realistic to the audience. Examples of background actor roles include passersby in a park or guests in a restaurant. In addition, some of these actors may have featured roles which afford them more airtime than other background actors.

Related: How Much Do Background Actors Get Paid? (With Skills)

How to write a background actor resume

Follow these steps to guide you when writing your resume for a background actor role:

1. Review the job listing

Ensure you review the job listing before writing your resume. Reviewing the job description helps you learn more about the available role. It may also contain keywords, formatting cues, and instructions about the application process. You can identify keywords by considering words and phrases that appear multiple times in the job description.

In addition, the job description may contain information about the necessary skills and qualifications the employer wants in a candidate. You may also review the company's website and social media profiles to learn about its vision, goals, and missions. This helps you learn how these goals align with your career objectives.

2. Format your resume

It's essential to format your resume to ensure you submit an attractive resume that appeals to the hiring manager. Consider structuring your resume to highlight your abilities and qualities. Remember that hiring managers typically review resumes quickly and go through multiple applications during the hiring process. Here are some formatting tips to consider when writing your resume:

  • Bolden texts when necessary and use bullet points for easy navigation.

  • Consider using resume making application to refine the document.

  • Keep the margins on all sides up to a maximum of 1.5 inches.

  • Use professional and recommended fonts, such as Arial and Times New Roman, and keep the font size between 10 to 12 points.

3. Write a header

Write a prominent header at the top of your resume. Write your full name, phone number, e-mail address, city, and province or territory in this section. You may also include a link to your professional portfolio, website, or professional social media profile that provides additional information about your application. This section is necessary because it helps the hiring manager to identify your application and contact you to schedule an interview.

Related: How to Include and Format Contact Information on a Resume

4. Write a professional summary

The professional summary is the section at the beginning of your resume that provides an overview of your skills, qualifications, accomplishments, and expertise. This section serves as an elevator pitch and summaries your professional career in two to three sentences. Ensure you write the section in active voice and use compelling verbs to hold the reader's attention. In addition, you can personalize this section by including the specific role you want to occupy and the employer's name. You can also include your years of experience, expectations from the role, and career objectives.

Related: How to Write a Resume “About Me” Section (With Examples)

5. Describe your professional experience

The professional experience section helps you describe your professional experience and shows the potential employer how you can perform in the current role. Consider formatting the section in reverse chronological order when listing your previous roles, starting with the most recent or current role. Then include the position, employer's name, duration of employment, and the company's location. Finally, consider using bullet points to explain the responsibilities and accomplishments in each role. It's good practice to use more bullet points in your current or most recent role than in previous positions.

Related: How to Find Movie Extra Jobs (With Tips and Steps)

6. Outline your skills

Create a section highlighting the unique skill set that distinguishes you from other candidates. You can format this section by listing your technical skills before outlining your soft skills. You may also provide one-line descriptions of the skills in this section. Focus on mentioning unique competencies rather than generic skills. For example, if you have experience choreographing routines and performing stunts, you can prioritize these skills because they make you a unique candidate.

7. Mention your educational background

Most professions require candidates to meet a minimum educational requirement. Although background actors don't have a minimum educational requirement, earning a degree in acting or any related field can improve your chances of getting the role. It also qualifies you for bigger roles and increases your earning potential.

Earning a degree also shows the casting director that you understand the technical aspect of the job and have the necessary knowledge to execute your responsibilities. When writing your educational qualifications section, consider formatting it in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent or relevant degree. You may also include the degree type and the name and location of the institution.

Related: How to Write Effective Resume Sections (With Samples)

8. Include additional information

You may create an additional section to explain other qualifications that can help your application. For example, you may include awards, accolades, training, or certifications you have earned in your career. When writing about certifications and awards, ensure you write the name of the issuing body and the date you received the award.

9. Proofread and edit your resume

After writing your resume, ensure you proofread it to ensure it's free from grammatical or typographical errors. Editing your resume also helps you ensure that you include all important information and maintained consistent formatting throughout the document. You may also share the document with colleagues and friends to help you review it and offer their opinions.

Related: Resume Resources for Writing an Effective Job Application

Resume template for a background actor role

Here's a template you can use to write an impressive resume for a background actor role:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]

[Phone number] | [E-mail address] | [City], [Province or territory]

Professional Summary

[Two to three sentences that highlight years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications, and achievements as a professional.]

Experience

(For the most recent role, list five experience items. For previous roles, list three.)

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City], [Province or territory]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome, or quantified results

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City], [Province or territory]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome, or quantified results

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

Skills

[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

Education

[Degree and major] | [Name of school or university]

[City], [Province or territory]

Optional

[Certification name], [Host organization] - [Year completed or expiration date]

Related: Resume Template FAQs and Their Answers (With 6 Tips)

Resume example for a background actor role

Here's an example to guide you when writing your resume for a background actor role:

Jane Walker

313-781-0592 | jane.walker@e-mail.ca | Calgary, Alberta | www.janewalker.com

Professional Summary

An inspired actor with tested experience working in different TV shows, movies, and commercials with a remarkable understanding of character portrayal activities and human emotions. Ability to interact professionally with cast and crew members and in-depth knowledge of memorization techniques and customer service practices.

Professional Experience

Background actor | June 2020–Current
Creative Studios | Calgary, Alberta

  • follow acting-related directions from directors and producers

  • receive, study, and memorize scripts

  • liaise and work with the make-up crew and assist them when necessary

  • handle and complete multiple acting assignments within stipulated deadlines

  • depict characters on-screen using appearances, voices, and gestures

Background actor | July 2018–June 2020

Talent Academy | Calgary, Alberta

  • performed as a model in various fashion shows and posed for photographers and artists

  • built and maintained positive relationships with the production crew and co-actors

  • appeared in fashion commercials and advertised various clothing designs

Skills

Ballet choreography | Stunt coordination | Fluent in English, French, and Italian | Communication | Interpersonal | Memorization

Education

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Jullie Ann School for Performing Arts

Calgary, Alberta

Certification

Thespian advanced training, Actors Guild, 2020

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