Dance Resume. “Dancers don't have a career”, “dancing is not a real job”, “dance won’t get you anywhere” - these statements are obnoxious, demotivational, and mean. Is it what you hear every now and then?
It’s tough to stand against absurd prejudices. Hopefully, those are slowly becoming a “thing of the past”. Professional dancers can build great careers as theatre artists and choreographers, participate in TV productions and dance shows. Huge credit should also be given to social media as a start-out platform to show off people’s talents.
The only difference between social media and careers started in a “real-life” environment is the need for a decent resume. Not always a non-traditional approach to resumes for dancers will work in your favor. But there is something we can say for sure: a well-made dance resume is significant as much as your auditions are.
How to make a dance resume that works?
How to impress casting directors and choreographers in 15 seconds?
Will a beginner dance resume have chances against dance CVs with long-term experience?
I prepared a guideline that gives you practical answers to these and many more questions about professional dancer resumes.
A good resume meets the requirements of a particular company. Are you going to work as a performing artist at the theatre or as a teacher at the dance studio? The way you can tailor an application always depends on the employer.
It’s also important that you share the same “views” of that working environment. This means recruiters not only consider your professional sides but take into account your personality traits. The last one is important when applying for a position as a dance teacher. Job hunters want pedagogues to help students with reaching their highest results - they will not hire someone just because he/she is good at dancing.
Supposedly, you have no teaching experience or anything that shows your pedagogical expertise.
How would you get a job?
As long as you learn to customize a resume to each case, chances exist.
Try from far and use a cover letter to describe your views on teaching. Tell them how you would organize the teaching process and how it may lead your students to great goals. Stay clear and concise.
Regular updates make your resume more “sellable” and competitive in the job market. It’s not difficult to add new information about participation in a new dance show, or volunteering project each time the case is completed.
When writing something new in a resume, stay focused on results rather than duties. Do not list recitals - most dancers performed in recitals, but not everyone has won a dance scholarship! Figures are always better than words.
How many classes per week did you take as a volunteer in a dance camp?
How many shows did you make in the university dance show?
How many awards did you or your team win at the last championship?
It’s important to update your resume even if you already get the job. Why should you bother? Well, you never know when a cool but unexpected opportunity knocks on your door. Those times are always stressful, so the last thing you want to take care of is rewriting your resume and making upgrades.
A few years ago, someone came up with a rule that a resume should be one page long. God forbid, it ends up longer!
Truth is, the universal rule about the resume length does not exist. Recruiters and employers have different preferences.
To be more concrete, though, let me quote the experts. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, author of the book “Getting Back In the Game: How to Build Your Resume After Taking a Break”, states:
“ If you are a recent college graduate, a single-page resume should be enough to describe your educational and professional history. In contrast, if you have worked for more than 15 years, you will probably need a two-page document. My general rule is one page for every 10 years of work. "
Roy Cohen, career trainer and author of the Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide, explains:
“ Shorter is better when it comes to resume length, but not at the expense of losing important content. The amount of information you include depends on your level of experience, qualifications and the number of organizations you worked for. ”
He also agrees that recent college graduates and other beginners should adhere to a one-page document.
Apparently, recruiters view dozens of resumes every day. They will likely take a closer look at well-structured resumes and leave out applications that look like a mess.
It’s important to divide resumes into semantic parts, use bullet lists and concise sentence structures. A readable document is easier to perceive, and employers will likely keep it reading.
How to ensure a 100% readability for dance resumes?
First, select the proper dance resume format. A reverse chronological one seems the best choice. You will be able to place current performances and projects upfront.
Supposedly, you are a beginner with no sufficient experience. In this case, you can choose another resume type, either a functional (skills-based) or a combinational format (chrono-functional).
The difference is obviously their major focus. Choose according to your qualifications.
Second, select a resume template with the best formatting options. My personal recommendation would be purchasing a PSD template here. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see the selection of top 10 dancer resume templates with classy and easy-to-perceive design.
If you choose a ready-made template, the third step won’t be necessary to complete. Otherwise, you’ll have to set up a good resume font, proper margins, headings and align text on the page.
This formatting is NOT GOOD:
This formatting is GOOD:
Last but not least, which file is best for the resume?
People doubt between a PDF and DOCX (not DOC) being the best resume file format. I would recommend having a resume in both files but send it in PDF first. The exception is when the employer requires an MS Word format and states that in a job description.
Why PDF? It ensures your resume layout looks whole on all devices. Layouts in Word files risk being altered and deposed.
The only format to avoid for sure is JPG and PNG and those intended for graphic software (PSD, INDD, or AI).
Few more tips:
Believe it or not, at some point, you have an advantage over venerable coaches and dancers. The employer often prefers a younger person, albeit without experience, but with the right ambitions.
Focus on results and how much you enjoy doing what you do. Focus on your soft/hard skills and present accomplishments to demonstrate your ambitions.
Although if you overdo it, there is a risk a resume will look pompous. Or they would have much higher expectations about you after giving the job.
Conclusion: be honest, and understand your level.
Skills and ambitions are not the only things to give you more odds than to someone more experienced. It’s education and it matters a lot.
If you learned classical choreography at some dance studio or completed dancing training, it is a good advantage. Listing ALL the coursework throughout the past 5-10 years is unnecessary if you did a lot. Focus on the most impactful and valuable education - a degree in ballet or dance, or completing training in a world-known dance institution.
Now, let’s deep into the dancer resume sections.
Seems like we reached the most vital section of our future resume - the one with your job experience.
First things first: recall ALL your projects, recitals, and shows. But don’t rush to write them all in a resume: the list should be narrowed to jobs that can help you target the employer you are currently reaching.
Recent projects are the best choice, they will say a lot about your current shape, motivation, and interests.
Your skills will be estimated as strictly as your experience. It’s not a list of your interests and hobbies: knitting, horseback riding or even driving skills will seem irrelevant for a professional resume (it might not for a CV).
Generally, you divide soft and hard skills into 2 different columns.
Examples of soft skills:
Examples of hard skills:
Are you ambitious, responsible, and a punctual team player? Then you better not let your employer know about it. They dislike abstract and stereotyped cliches.
To be honest, you don’t need a separate section with your personality traits. Employers are hardly interested in you as a person; everything else about you can be described through the list of soft skills.
The biggest mistake candidates do in their resumes is focusing on duties and responsibilities. They waste their space not knowing that achievements are something that matters the most.
Also, there is a big difference in how effective you can describe those accomplishments.
Let’s compare a good and bad example of a resume summary:
Not that the second example is unacceptable, but the difference is clear. The second description is vague and has no concrete names, dates, and places.
What makes your achievements description better?
Try it! You will see that little experience may look more winning than a plain text of an experienced dancer.
Till now, you certainly wonder how professionally-made dance resumes look like. I provided 10 dance resume examples that work best for your specific niche. They are all sold on TemplateMonster - the marketplace with over 1k versatile resume templates.
Clearly, the following dance resume samples were built according to common resume writing rules. They are neat and yet unusual to make you stand out from dozens of same-looking documents.
What’s more, they are:
Good resume design is not a guarantee to get the job of your dreams. It’s about your current expertise, learned knowledge and maybe a little bit of luck.
A good resume is also about selling yourself to the employer. That’s where “package” matters especially.
Let’s recall on most significant points about professional dance resumes and how to make them more efficient:
We tend to overlap both terms, although some difference exists. A dance resume is a list of your relevant (or not so relevant) employment or education with all the details about each job and obtained skills. Depending on the main focus, you may choose different resume formats to display your experience. You can omit irrelevant experience and list down the most valuable points for the applying position.
A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a history of your professional or educational accomplishments in strict reverse-chronological order. Usually, CVs consist of 2 or more pages as they cover more information regarding the dancer’s accomplishments. It may also have a deeper focus on a person's artistic achievements. CVs are more suitable for educational purposes when applying for positions in non-profit organizations etc.
If you apply for a dance college, you better choose a CV format. You can use the tips described above but only use a reverse-chronological format. You should also add information about your attended high school with the list of art classes attended, awards and your GPA. Sometimes, it’s important for colleges to look at your overall school accomplishments (GPA included) to see how engaged and disciplined you were in doing schoolwork.
Both beginners and experienced dancers should go for the most traditional reverse-chronological resume format. The document must consist of at least 5 sections: contact information, summary, employment history, skills, and accomplishments. If your experience isn’t too broad, fit the entire information on a single page. Dancers with at least 5+ years of experience can extend their resumes to a second page.
A dance portfolio is an extended version of a resume or even a CV. It includes extended information about your past experience. It often contains a visual representation of your accomplishments - images, video resume, records of your performances, etc. Dance portfolios are a good way to showcase your dancing skills and experience in a quick, easy way.
Now it seems like someone’s on its way to new career opportunities.
Wish nothing but great luck!
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