Theatre Thursday: The Resume Recipe
Hello and happy Thursday!
I hope your week is off to an amazing start and you are ready to finish it just as strong! I'm currently sitting with my coffee after completing Day 1 of Yoga with Adrienne's 30 Day Challenge.
I know you all have been asking for a resume post and I am finally going to give it to you. Because
1. I told you I would.
2. I really need to update mine & maybe this will give me the kick in the butt I need to actually sit down and do it.
So here we go. One of the most highly requested and anticipated blog posts ever is finally being posted! Here's how to make the perfect resume that is guaranteed to book you the job.
THE RESUME RECIPE
I know what you're thinking right now.
"How does Chelsea have a "resume recipe" that is perfect and will be guaranteed to book me the job? And how did I get so lucky she is going to share it with me?"
Well I'm not.
It's not because I don't love you because I do. But it's because it simply does not exist. There is no "perfect" resume. There are good resumes and there are bad resumes, but every employer has their own preferences as to what they like to see arrive in their inbox.
"But how am I supposed to know what the employer likes to then put it on the resume I send to them?"
You aren't. But I promise I'm not going to leave you empty handed. I am here to give you some tips and tricks on how to get your resume looking clean and pristine so you are all ready for hiring season and SETC. What makes me qualified to do this? Well nothing officially. But my resume has been critiqued and picked apart by stage managers from Broadway, Cirque, and Disney (to name a few) and I have spent many hours rebuilding it to get it to a professional standard. So I promise you I'm not just spouting out nonsense here.
The Resume Basics
Name- So they know who you are.
Email- So they know how to contact you.
Phone Number- So they know how to contact you. But if you post your resume on your website (you should), I would recommend having a version of your resume without your phone number. This way you won't get random collect calls every day because trust me it happens.
Website- This is more important if you are a designer/less important as a stage manager. This allows employers to see a portfolio of your work if they aren't able to do an in person interview. I still have one as a stage manager (but alas it also is in the process of being updated).
What you do- When the resume goes to a production manager they need a clear indication of what you do to help organize all of the applications. The specific title may change based on the exact job you are applying for.
I have equity points so I list that I am an equity member candidate. I also use this blue line to add a pop of color to my resume. It matches my website color and business cards as well. If you do use color be sure to check that it still prints well in black and white. Often times when you send your resume in via email, they just print it in black and white and you want to cover all of your bases.
You then should list your resume credits. I have my resume broken up into four categories horizontally: Professional Stage Management, Educational Stage Management (select), Related Management Experience, and Other Experience.
*Please note I am still working on getting my resume the way I like it as I remove credits from the educational section and add credits to the professional section. I also am still playing around with exactly how to list seasonal credits such as Long Wharf and Sacramento Theatre Company. Suggestions and advice always welcome!*
Each of these categories is then broken down into four columns listing the show (with my position in parenthesis), the theatre, the date, and then whoever was my direct supervisor on the show. My professional credits tend to list primarily the PSM, but as I begin to work more closely with directors I may begin to list them.
Here I list the highlights of my educational stage management experience. I list the directors for these show because I was the stage manager and they are able to speak to my ability. I also list new works and any awards/nominations I received.
This is a unique category for me because I have worked many conferences, been a teaching assistant, and helped coordinate graduation. This highlights those experiences in a more organized way. Others tend to list this in a recognition and awards category.
These are the few credits I can't bear to take off my resume from college either based on the the connections it gives me or because it shows I'm a well rounded theatre human. It's small to keep my resume to a page length and is probably going to have to get cut sooner rather than later.
Related (i.e.Special ) Skills
Make these special. Everyone and their mom knows how to use Microsoft Office nowadays so it's almost expected you can do that. I still list because 🤷🏼♀️. If you have a driver's license or passport you should include those. You should always add a "fun" one -as long as you can do it- because that'll get them to ask questions about you or catch their attention.
For Education I just list my school and graduation year.
The golden rule of references is three references. You should have a variety of references that can speak to your skills and ability (and ideally say good things). The most important thing is to always ask your references before using them. You also might want to switch out your references based on the job you are applying for. You should also list their contact information, but I have edited it out of this blog post. Also I solely leave the email address of my references based on the request of one of my references and do that for all of them to keep it consistent. You can also list references available upon request.
Now for some final tips...
Keep it clean and pristine. My resume is created in Microsoft Word as opposed to Excel (I know I know. But I've tried to switch it over and it doesn't look the same). Make sure everything is aligned well. The best compliment I've received on my resume is that there's a lot of information, but it's extremely easy to read and follow.
Don't lie. Should be common sense, but employers will find out if you are lying. Like when they ask you to whistle in the interview and you can't whistle (not a true story).
To date or not to date. That is the question. The great date debate is one of the biggest resume stumpers. Some people love them and others hate them. Sometimes it can be beneficial to show employers how consistently you have been working or how much work you have had even though you are young. Others think it puts an age on you and can hurt you as they tend not to hire young stage managers/designers right out of college (i.e. you have to work your way up). If you date your resume you typically will organize it by date. If not, you have the opportunity to put the credits in whatever order you want.
Keep it one page. No employer wants to read a resume longer than a page (chances are they don't even want to read the one page). You should have a copy of your resume with literally everything you've ever done. But the one you send in should be one page.
Have different versions. When you apply different places, you should adjust your resume accordingly. I have a no date version of my resume to send to places when I know someone who worked at that theatre previously. For example, when I applied to Flat Rock I sent them my no date resume with Dogfight listed as the top credit (because my director had worked there).
Proofread. And proofread again. Because bad spelling and grammar tends to send you straight to the rejection pile.
Now that I spilled out all of that. Here's a complete look at my resume all together.
Got tips or advice? Hit me with them.
My best piece of advice would be to make your resume your own and give it the time it deserves. My resume didn't come together in one night and I promise you none of the good ones do. Don't stress about what the employer prefers to see because if you make it neat and easy to read they'll forget about their preferences. I'd also recommend getting as many set of eyes on your resume as possible. You can take or leave whatever advice you are given, but it's always helpful to have different perspectives.
And guess what? For the month of January I'm offering resume reviews! You can send me your resume and I'll review it and send you a notes sheet full of recommendations and advice. I will even sit down in a 15-20 minute Facetime or Skype session and review the notes with you personally!
The best part? I'm doing it for free! If you are interested send your resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll respond with a date of when I will have your notes back to you and we can schedule a time to chat!
So get your resume looking fresh & fly before hiring season officially gets underway!
Much love always,