BlogResume Writing9 Essential Acting Skills & How to Add Them to Your Resume

9 Essential Acting Skills & How to Add Them to Your Resume

acting resume

The world of acting is one big, bright spotlight, and the competition to get under it is fierce. Whether you’re trying to break into the industry and land your first role or looking to elevate your career to new heights, you need to have strong acting skills and be able to demonstrate them on your resume.

In this article, we’ll explore what the essential acting skills are and which ones are typically the most sought-after by casting directors and agencies. You’ll find out what makes these skills so valuable and learn how to showcase them on your resume. Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Acting skills are fundamental to actors and actresses and allow them to perform on TV, in film, in theater, etc.

  • When creating a skills section in your acting resume, you want to add only those skills that are relevant to the role that you’re after.

  • You should prove your key skills by mentioning them throughout the resume (e.g., your resume summary and work history sections), linked to notable accomplishments.

  • Some of the most important acting skills include communication, public speaking, memorization, teamwork, voice control, dancing, script analysis, taking direction, and on-camera proficiency.

  • You should always work on improving your acting skills through classes, performance analysis, experimentation with different roles, and improv.

What Are Acting Skills?

model resume

Acting skills represent a mixture of talents and competencies that allow professionals to convincingly perform on television, film, in theater, and more. These abilities encompass everything from soft skills like communication and teamwork to specialized hard skills like voice control, singing, and dancing.

Individuals adept at acting can bring fictional characters, scripts, and scenarios to life. That allows them to create compelling narratives that engage with others, elicit emotion, and give them authentic experiences.

Acting skills represent the foundation of any actor’s career, and they are used in everything from casting calls and auditions to rehearsals, live performances, and filming. They are a must-have if your career is in the performing arts, but their use extends beyond that.

Many acting skills are universal and can be used in different circumstances or even careers. Public speaking is great for giving presentations; communication is a vital skill that facilitates interaction in the workplace, and teamwork is crucial in reaching common goals with coworkers.

How to Present Acting Skills on Your Resume

There are two ways to present acting skills when making your resume, and using both will maximize your chances with recruiters.

The first method is straightforward, and it involves creating a list of acting skills and techniques before adding it to a dedicated skills section. However, you shouldn’t include any ability that comes to mind. Instead, you want to look into the role that you’re after and figure out what skills are needed for it.

That will allow you to create a tailored list of abilities that you know casting directors are looking for. On top of that, you want to have hard skills and soft skills separated. While they are both needed for the job, they are different in nature and need to be set apart.

The second method involves validating your acting skills by connecting them to relevant accomplishments throughout your resume. The best parts for that are your resume summary and work experience sections. When mentioning an achievement, include a relevant skill next to it. For more impact, quantify the achievement with a number.

Here’s a good example:

Good Example

Successfully played 3 different dancing roles in a musical for kids, resulting in a 21% increase in ticket sales.

Compare that with a bad example that lacks any specifics, making it poor at proving the candidate’s skills:

Bad Example

Danced in a musical for kids.

9 Acting Skills to Include in Your Resume

Let’s explore some of the most prominent acting skills for your resume, along with examples of how you can demonstrate them.

#1. Communication

Communication is one of the most important soft skills and one of the core acting skills in drama. It represents the actor’s ability to convey their thoughts and emotions in a clear and compelling way.

While communication is particularly important in speaking roles, it encompasses an array of different abilities that make it necessary in every actor's role. This includes skills like body language, active listening, nonverbal communication, and more.

Here’s how you can demonstrate your communication skills on your acting resume:

Communication Example

Praised by 3 theater directors and numerous coworkers for exceptional communication skills both during rehearsals and in the middle of performances.

#2. Public Speaking

Public speaking is a subskill in the communication skills group that enables individuals to engage with large audiences. It involves the ability to confidently speak and clearly articulate your thoughts and ideas.

This skill is particularly important to theater actors and actresses. As a matter of fact, many prominent public speakers in other fields and careers have done some theater work in the past. Regardless, this is one of the best acting skills to learn, whether you’re performing in a crowded theater or in front of a film camera.

Let’s see how you can highlight public speaking on your resume:

Public Speaking Example

Recognized for exceptional public speaking ability and selected to perform the role of a lead speaker for performance Q&A sessions for 12 months.

#3. Memorization

Memorization is a fundamental skill for actors that involves learning scripts, movements, positioning, blocking, and other instructions. It’s vital for theater plays and on-camera performances to ensure smooth operations and fluid acting.

Actors and actresses with strong memorization skills don’t have trouble staying in character, which allows them to focus on nuances and more important aspects of acting. By learning all the necessary information by heart, they can then behave more naturally and spontaneously, creating lifelike performances that allow for immersive experiences.

Let’s see an example of memorization skills demonstrated on a resume:

Memorization Example

Fully memorized a complex lead role with more than 120 pages in under two weeks and performed to achieve a 5-star audience rating.

#4. Teamwork

Teamwork is an essential acting skill in a field where you’re constantly surrounded by cast, directors, assistants, and various other crew members. It’s a core ability in a collaborative environment that allows multiple different professionals to work toward a common goal harmoniously.

Actors with strong teamwork skills are in high demand as they contribute to cohesion in the workplace. This impacts every aspect of the production, from rehearsals to performances.

On the one hand, it makes team practices much easier and more fluid. On the other hand, it positively influences the final result, as actors with strong interpersonal relationships can bring stories to life in a dynamic and lively manner.

Here’s a good example for your resume:

Teamwork Example

Won the “Best Ensemble Performance” group award for outstanding teamwork and exceptional chemistry for performing “Clybourne Park.”

#5. Voice Control

Voice control describes an actor’s ability to use their voice in different roles and situations effectively. It allows skilled professionals to adjust everything from their pitch and tone to volume and longevity.

For instance, actors in theater usually need to speak louder to accommodate a larger space compared to performances in smaller rooms or in front of cameras with specialized microphones.

This skill allows actors and actresses to take on many different roles (e.g., Nancy Cartwright is famous for giving voice to Bart on “The Simpsons” but also Chuckie Finster on “Rugrats”), enhance their performances, sing, and more.

Let’s see that in a resume example:

Voice Control Example

Utilized exceptional voice control and the ability to change an octave to play two different characters in one play successfully.

#6. Dancing

Dancing skills represent one’s ability to perform rhythmic movements, often in a choreographed manner. It’s a combination of mindfulness and memorization skills with the mind-body connection, stamina, physical agility, coordination, and more.

By successfully demonstrating dancing skills on your resume, you’ll be able to take on a wider range of roles in everything from theater to television. Ultimately, dancing is a form of nonverbal communication that actors and actresses use to connect with audiences and express messages in meaningful and enticing ways.

Here’s how you can emphasize your dancing skills on your resume:

Dancing Example

Played a featured dancer in 3 different award-winning musicals, receiving scores of over 90% from the critics.

#7. Script Analysis

The ability to analyze the script is essential for actors during all stages of the process. Script analysis helps professionals remain on target from the very first audition to the performance in front of the audience or on camera. Proficiency in this skill allows actors and actresses to gain as much information from reading the script as possible.

This goes beyond just understanding the main plot and their character; it includes the ability to understand the script from the audience’s perspective, to comprehend the language (slang and jargon), to understand the nuances and see the bigger picture, etc.

Let’s see a resume example:

Script Analysis Example

Led a 15-person workshop on script analysis techniques for cast members to improve positive feedback rates by the director by 25%.

#8. Taking Direction

Taking direction is a fundamental acting skill. It demonstrates an actor’s flexibility and ability to listen to feedback, interpret notes and suggestions from the director, and alter their performance in a timely manner based on newfound information and circumstances.

Actors who are good at taking directions have excellent listening skills and know how to take criticism and learn from it. They are adept professionals who know not to take things personally, which makes them easy to work with. All of that positively impacts the performance of the entire production by making it faster and more efficient.

Here’s how you can showcase this skill on your resume:

Taking Direction Example

Closely followed directorial feedback during the initial take to improve rehearsal times and speed up production by 19%.

#9. On-Camera Proficiency

On-camera proficiency is a must-have acting skill for beginners and veterans who work on film or television. It involves knowledge of how the camera works, what wide, medium, and close-up shots are, what framing is, and more.

Actors always need to be aware of their position and distance from the camera to know how to perform optimally. For instance, wider shots are often referred to as establishing shots, and they generally don’t get a lot of detail from the person’s face. On the other hand, close-up shots are all about the details and emotion.

Here’s how you can demonstrate on-camera proficiency on your resume:

On-Camera Proficiency Example

Trained 5 upcoming actors in on-camera proficiency with a focus on positioning to match the story’s continuity.

4 Best Strategies for Improving Your Acting Skills

teamwork skills

Improving acting skills is a continuous endeavor. Here are some tips that can help you start growing today:

Tips to Improve Your Acting Skills

  1. Take acting classes. Specialized acting classes and courses are some of the best ways to improve rapidly in particular areas. They allow actors and actresses to learn and practice under professional supervision, gaining immediate feedback and information that can help them develop faster.

  2. Analyze other performances. Study TV, theater, and film performances carefully and critically. That way, you’ll understand what performers did to create such captivating experiences. You’ll then be able to reverse-engineer those processes and apply the discovered techniques to your acting.

  3. Experiment with different roles. Push yourself outside your comfort zone and test your acting skills in roles you haven’t done previously. That will help you express yourself in different ways, see whether you have talent in other areas, and potentially unlock new aspects of your acting personality.

  4. Do improv exercises. Improv exercises can help you feel more natural on stage, which further improves your acting skills by allowing you to focus on more important things.

Closing Thoughts

A resume, just like acting, is about telling a story. This article focuses on one specific part of that story, and that is your professional competence. In addition to properly showcasing your work history, it’s vital to optimally demonstrate your acting skills to get ahead of the competition and land the role that you’re after.

Remember that adding acting skills to a CV, resume, or cover letter involves more than merely mentioning your abilities. You want to ensure that you’re giving relevant skills while proving them through concrete accomplishments.

Lastly, don’t forget that an actor’s professional journey never ends. Keep learning and improving, as that will vastly improve your employability and ensure long-term success.

Henry Garrison
Henry Garrison
Senior Content Writer
Henry Garrison is a senior content writer, but he is also a guitarist, a baseball fan, and a family man. He has years of experience in the industry, and he loves challenging himself and thinking outside the box. His passion is writing high-quality content that helps thousands of people land their dream job! He has had his fair share of editing content too, and loves to help out everyone in the team.

Create your resume once, use it everywhere

Our easy-to-use technology helps you create a standout resume quickly. Easily create a mobile-optimized resume website in just minutes or download and share it as a PDF.
Build my resume