One of my most in-demand TikTok videos has been how to land internships and entry level jobs in entertainment. Between my posts about open applications and my own journey, the one topic that I had to write about was crafting a Hollywood ready resume. From my first internship at a nonprofit to now at CBS News, my resume has evolved in tandem with my career. And I don’t mean that I simply update my resume when I get a new job.
As I influence more followers, I stress how a strong resume can be your golden ticket in the biz. To make it short and sweet, I believe a good resume should follow these 3 C’s I’ve created. My advice is that your professional documents be clear, concise, and complete. I developed these criteria for my resume through my own growth as a writer. Whether you don’t have a resume at all or an outdated one, this is your guide on how to write this essential document to break into the entertainment industry. Much of this advice is from my first resume post on this blog that you can find here.
Resume Writing Guide for Internships and Jobs in the Entertainment Industry
How To Design Your Resume – Softwares To Use
I believe that like your own identity, resumes and cover letters constantly evolve in appearance, tone, and interest. A good resume includes your education, experience, and expertise. A great resume is like a tailored suit – meant for the specific occasion and interview. Unlike a custom garment you don’t have to break the bank to craft an application worthy of a red carpet. I built my first resume on Google Docs. You have to work with what you had, and I used this free productivity software to keep a living record of my professional development.
When I was able to invest in myself, I built my master resume on Microsoft Word. And then when I had the time to learn how to use it, I turned to Canva to design something with a pop. Note that you always want to have a master resume. Whether 1 page or 10, keep a living record of any internship, job, activity you do that has helped you grow. You never know when a part-time job or online certification could be that X factor that helps you stand out. When it comes to creating on Canva, this is a perfect example of designing a resume that is a copy and paste from my master document.
Design Elements To Consider
As flashy as the entertainment industry is, a cover letter and resume for this biz needs to hold back on the decorum. If there’s one thing I cannot stand it’s a loud professional document. A surplus of color, graphics, and pictures doesn’t translate to artistic. Too many design elements and not enough attention on the writing itself is a major mistake for young professionals. I recommend that should you pick a color, make it a small piece of your documents.
As for fonts and sizing – make it uniform and sensible. I write in Garamond, and some people love Helvetica. Of course, pick a font that’s legible and conveys professionalism. Remember that your personality will shine through in your interviews, don’t be overbearing in this first impression.
How To Structure Your Resume and Write Bullet Points
The heart of your resume is how you write about your experience. Here is my first piece of advice for writing your resume, do not lead with your education. If you have enough experience to, feel free to move your education lower. While I was in college, I did keep this section before the section of my past jobs and internships. After school, I did restructure my resume to lead with my experience first. I shifted my resume to present me as a young professional instead of a recent grad. Of course write in chronological order (most recent to oldest). What I want to stress here is that the order of your resume needs purpose. If you want to impress a recruiter you want to write what you did, how you did it, and the impact of your action.
Throw away the general role descriptions. I want you to be as specific and clear about your impact. For example, this is a weak bullet point, “Managed calendars, travel expenses, and supported CEO.” What makes this description weak is that I don’t get an impression of your impact or frequency. The story of you as a working professional is the mark you made. A better description would be something like, “Daily support to CEO in administrative duties, resulting in 3-4 less weekly meetings and weekly independent projects.” (For a list of words that I recommend you plug into your resume click here."
Resume writing is an art that takes practice and discipline. I am by no means an expert, but it’s thanks to trial and error that I developed a criteria that got me my first entertainment internship at the Oscars. Take this advice as a suggestion and not as a set of rules.
Let me know what you think of this post and feel free to comment below any post suggestions! Keep up with me on Instagram @Willsshowem
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.