Acting Tip: Acting Resumes, Cover Letters, and Headshots, Oh My!

If you want to really stand out as an actor (and I think you do), you will have to make your resume stand out for you.

Your resume, cover letter, and headshot are really the first impressions you’ll ever make. They act as your agent–good ones get you auditions, bad ones don’t…

So, how does one go about standing out from the rest of the crowd? Well, first of all, you have to think like a marketer. What makes YOU interesting and unique as an actor? This is you USP (Unique Selling Point). Your resume and cover letter act as your USP…

In order to make your resume and cover letters really effective, you must follow a few simple guidelines:

For your resume, divide the page into two parts–one part for your actual resume, one part for testimonials (yes, testimonials!). Testimonials should be from former directors, playwrights, etc. and they shouldn’t be hard to get. Just ask! (but be sure to get their permission to use their testimonial on your resume) Include the name and position of the person underneath each testimonial quote.

If you are just starting out, include EVERYTHING acting-related on your resume–list every acting job you’ve ever had–no matter how small or big the part (yes, even the non-speaking parts!). Remember, you are trying to fill out your resume–list as much as you can. As time goes by, pick off the less glamorous acting parts and replace them with the true gems that highlight your best work.

Include a small thumbnail headshot of yourself on your resume. This will ensure that if your headshot and resume ever do get separated, your photo will be forever intact ON your resume.

Actors have little time to spend on marketing themselves–let alone anything else non-acting related. For this reason, you should have two form letters ready to go at all times–one for theater, one for film/television. Keep it short and sweet. Your letter should include a brief introduction, your purpose for writing in, your recent endeavors, and a friendly closing. For example, my cover letter states: I’m writing you today because I am very interested in auditioning for your play (or ‘film’ or ‘project’–depending on what you’re submitting for) . I know your time is valuable, so I’ll make this short: I would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to review my headshot and resume and let me know if you’d like to meet with me. Again, your letter should include your most recent or current work (try to include pictures within the body of the letter), what classes you’re taking, etc. Then wrap it up with something short and sweet like: Thank you for your time and consideration. I’d love to meet with you. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX. I hope to hear from you soon. And then, sign your name to it.

When sending a headshot and resume via email, use the same cover letter used in regular mailings–simply cut and paste it into the text portion of your email (remember, you’re trying to save time, so make it easy on yourself!). Don’t forget to attach your headshot–and make sure to size the headshot appropriately.

Headshots should look like how you look right now. If your headshot doesn’t look like how you look now, get a new one…

You don’t have to spend a big chunk of change on a reputable, big deal, bells-and-whistles photographer to get a nice headshot. Just look around and find someone who has a pretty good portfolio and low prices. I got my headshot done by a photographer who was just starting out. I got a great deal on my headshots and she used my images in her portfolio. A win-win situation!

Get an 8″ x 10″, black and white headshot (which is standard).

I recommend keeping it simple–your clothing, jewelry, etc. You want YOU (not your clothing and accouterments) to stand out.

That wraps up our section on resumes, cover letters, and headshots. I hope this section has inspired you to make your HS/resume kit brilliant!

175 Power Verbs and Phrases for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

While you’re revamping your resume or cover letter or constructing your proof-by-example stories for interviews, you’ll find you need to watch your word choice. Why? Communication is powerful if the words we use to communicate are powerful. That’s not all it takes, but the right words make for a good beginning.

So as you craft achievement statements or write paragraphs that sell your skills or draft interview responses to knock the employers’ socks off, consider these suggestions:

  • Use verbs in active tense, not passive tense.
  • Use verbs that convey power and action.
  • Use verbs that claim the highest level of skill or achievement you can legitimately claim.
  • Use verbs to accurately describe what you have done on the job.
  • Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly, but when you use them, use them well.
  • Use nouns that are as specific and as descriptive as possible.
  • Use numbers whenever possible.
  • Use the most impressive (and still honest) form of the number you use.
  • Never lie! It IS NOT worth it. It WILL catch up with you.
  • Proofread all your verbs and nouns for agreement, tense and appropriateness.

Here, then, are 175 powerful verbs and phrases to make use of in resumes, cover letters and interviews:

  • abated
  • abolished
  • accelerated
  • accomplished
  • achieved
  • actively participated
  • administered
  • advanced
  • advised
  • aggressively analyzed
  • applied
  • assumed a key role
  • authored
  • automated
  • built
  • hired
  • closed
  • coached
  • co-developed
  • codirected
  • co-founded
  • cold called
  • collected
  • co-managed
  • communicated
  • completed
  • computerized
  • conceptualized
  • conducted
  • consolidated
  • contained
  • contracted
  • contributed
  • controlled
  • convinced
  • coordinated
  • cost effectively created
  • critiqued
  • cut
  • dealt effectively
  • decreased
  • defined
  • delivered
  • designed
  • developed
  • developed and applied
  • directed
  • doubled
  • earned
  • eliminated
  • emphasized
  • enforced
  • established
  • evaluated
  • exceeded
  • executed
  • exercised
  • expanded
  • expedited
  • facilitated
  • filled
  • focused
  • formulated
  • fostered
  • founded
  • gained
  • generated
  • ground-breaking
  • headed up
  • helped
  • identified
  • implemented
  • improved
  • increased
  • initiated
  • innovated
  • instituted
  • instructed
  • integrated
  • interviewed
  • introduced
  • investigated
  • lectured
  • led
  • leveraged
  • maintained
  • managed
  • marketed
  • motivated
  • negotiated
  • orchestrated
  • organized
  • outmaneuvered
  • overcame
  • oversaw
  • penetrated
  • performed
  • permitted
  • persuaded
  • planned
  • played a key role
  • positioned
  • prepared
  • presented
  • prevented
  • produced
  • profitably
  • project managed
  • promoted
  • proposed
  • prospected
  • protected
  • provided
  • published
  • quadrupled
  • ranked
  • received
  • recommended
  • recruited
  • reduced
  • removed
  • renegotiated
  • replaced
  • researched
  • resolved
  • restored
  • restructured
  • reversed
  • satisfied
  • saved
  • scheduled
  • scoped out
  • selected
  • self-financed
  • set up
  • sold
  • solved
  • staffed
  • started
  • stopped
  • streamlined
  • substituted
  • supervised
  • taught
  • tightened
  • took the lead in
  • trained
  • trimmed
  • tripled
  • troubleshooted
  • turned around
  • upgraded
  • yielded

While you certainly can use the list anytime you’re looking to say something in a more powerful way, you can also use it to help jog your memory about accomplishments on present and past jobs that you might otherwise overlook. Also, consider using the list to help you refine your resumes and cover letters to be more powerful in their presentation and communication.

3 Advanced Cover Letter Strategies For Offshore Drilling Employment

When looking for offshore drilling employment, and in fact any job that requires a written application, the cover letter is arguably the most important element. It is what gets your resume read… or not. If you flub it, you can kiss your chance of an interview goodbye. Before looking at the three advanced strategies, let’s look at three important basic principles of writing this document.

Basic Principles

The first of these basic principles is to send more job applications out. It is common to send 5 job applications and get no response. But send out 100 competently written cover letters/resume and you should start to see some decent results. Prosecuting a successful job hunt is much the same as prosecuting a successful war. You need both quantity and quality.

The second basic principle is to make sure your letter looks neat and professional. Yes, this is important even for a job that requires physical labor like an offshore roustabout or roughneck. Besides looking neat, the spelling and grammar needs to be correct. However, you do not need to pay a professional writer to write your cover letter. Just run it through the spelling and grammar checker in MS-Word. You can also do the same thing using OpenOffice (a free clone of MS-Word).

The third basic principle is to make sure you include the job title in the subject heading of your letter. Use the same job title that is in the advertisement. Include any codes that are in the advertisement. This is important. If you do not tell the oil company why you are sending them your cover letter, they will trash it without reading it.

The three basic principles above seem laughably obvious. But too many job seekers are too rushed, or are too lazy or simply too careless to do things right. They basically shoot themselves in the foot. Now, let’s move on to the three advanced principles. Although the following strategies do not guarantee you an interview, they will definitely get you a foot up in the game.

Advanced Strategies

The first advanced strategy is to tell the oil drilling company why they should hire you. The simplest way to do this is to copy each point of the job advertisement’s scope and responsibilities list, and then write down your prior experiences that demonstrate that skill or ability.

The second advanced strategy is to show the human resource staffer what makes you more special than your rivals. Again, here is a simple way to do this: just note down additional skills that are relevant to an offshore drilling job but not included in the advertisement. For example, related (or at least useful additional) skills for a roustabout job would include painting, scaffolding, crane operations, welding, firefighting (as a real fireman, not learned in a course), etc.

The third advanced strategy is to make an irresistible offer. This comes in two parts. The first is to show that you can start work immediately. This means you should not be working now or serving out your notice. It means you should also have all the relevant medical certifications, skills certifications (e.g. HUET for work on board an offshore oil rig), union memberships and licensing. Part two is to end your cover letter by asking them to call you for an interview. Successful salesmen know this last strategy very well (both parts of it). It is what makes them successful – daring to make an irresistible offer and daring to close the deal.

When you are looking for an offshore oil drilling job, your cover letter will make or break your job hunt. Violate the three basic principles above and you may as well just stick to flipping burgers for McDonalds. But the three advanced strategies are what will give you a leg up on 90% of your rivals.

Cover Letters – Purpose and Structure

Cover letters are not so much a part of your “Job Seeker’s Tool Kit” as they are part of the implementation of your overall “self marketing” strategy. That’s right – a cover letter is a sales presentation in disguise!

With cover letters, you’re reaching out for a very tangible goal – a job interview. Cover letters are the most commonly used method to introduce your credentials to an employer. And they can serve as one of your strongest selling tools!

Avoid the “standard, boring” types of cover letters that employers receive every day. “I’m very interested in a position with Motley Corporation as a programming analyst. Enclosed please find my resume… ” A letter like this basically says, “Hey, I need a job and here’s my resume!” Not a very impressive sales presentation, is it? More importantly, it does nothing to distinguish you from the crowd of other applicants sending the very same kind of drab, standard letters with their drab, standard resumes.

In a professional-level search, there are different letters for different purposes!

There are many times during the implementation of your full search campaign when you will rely on a written letter to speak for you. The way you present yourself on paper can make or break your success during any phase of the process.

Just think about all the different situations in which letters might be useful in opening doors, making a strong first impression, and in keeping your candidacy on the “front burner” in the eyes of key decision-makers. These include:

* Letter responding to an advertised opening

* Letter following-up on a personal or professional referral (this one is my favorite)

* Letter introducing yourself to a decision-maker (called the “cold approach letter” – my least favorite type of cover letter)

* Thank you letter (after first meeting)

* Follow-up letter (after multiple meetings/interviews)

* Response to a job offer letter

* And others…

In general, there are three parts of a cover letter – and the middle part is a kind of sales presentation. Here is the outline:

Part 1: Introduction – Explain why you’re writing to the employer. Did you see a job posting; were you referred by a friend or colleague; did you see one of their executives present at a conference or meeting; did you read something in the business press about the company? Be specific and use your research. Give the recipient of your correspondence a sense of your knowledge by referring to industry trends, specific events, or media coverage. This is the best way to demonstrate your interest in the organization.

Part 2: The Sales Presentation – To sell yourself effectively, tell the employer your qualifications and give examples of your relevant experience. The same elements that make your resume effective work in your cover letter: use action words; be brief; be specific. Write about particular accomplishments and use facts and numbers to back them up.

Part 3: Wrap-up and Close – Be sure to restate in one sentence what you can do for the organization. Wrap-up your cover letter as strongly as you opened it. Restate your interest in working with the company, and why. It’s difficult for an employer to resist genuine interest and enthusiasm, combined with your knowledge of the company! Close the letter by directly requesting an interview. Take charge of the process by stating a timeframe in which you will call. Then follow-up precisely as promised, to demonstrate how responsible and professional you are!

As you can now see, cover letters can serve many purposes – the most important of which is to “sell you” when you aren’t personally in front of the hiring manager. When your cover letters are written correctly, they should create a great deal of leverage in your job search. This, in turn, will lead to more interviews and ultimately more job offers!

How to Write a Good Cover Letter – Where to Start

In today’s world with the struggling economy we have enough to worry about, writing a good cover letter shouldn’t be another worry of ours. For most, writing a good cover letter wasn’t something that we were taught in college or even high school for that matter. Which is quite sad to think about it, we spent all that time in school preparing for life, but we were never showed one of the most important aspects of job hunting and how to write a good cover letter.

When starting out, you need a good cover letter to be attached along with your resume. A cover letter is an introduction to you, prior to a prospective employer reading your resume. This is your first impression so to speak. You want to grab their attention and keep their focus and make them want to learn more about you. Doing this will make the job hunting process a little less frustrating for you.

Tip 1.

Upon the mastering the basics required for writing good cover letters, it shouldn’t take too long to whip one up pretty quickly. The first rule is simply, that your main agenda in writing a good cover letter is to get the employer to give you an interview. You should do what you can to grab their attention and keep it.

Try to imagine yourself as if you are an item for sale, and you are trying to self yourself to the employer. You need some attention grabbing headlines. Seize your opportunity of landing a second interview. The cover letter is, for all intensive purposes is your first interview. This is the reason why learning how to write a good cover letter is vital when job hunting.

Tip 2.

You need to come out swinging and keep going. You opening to your cover letter must captivate your reader. By keeping this energy going, your reader will continue reading.

Your next paragraph must explain why you are perfect for the job. Relate your skills and experience to the position your applying for. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to throw in some information about the company your applying with as well, it’ll give your reader the impression that you have thoroughly done your homework and are truly interested in working with them.

A further selling point for yourself, would be to include a few lines about something you love to do and the passion and dedication you would be able to provide to your potential employer.

Your final paragraph is the contact section. Provide your email address or phone number. Don’t make it difficult for the reader to get in contact with you. These are the essential pieces of a great cover letter, now we are going to close it out with a bang.

Tip 3.

You can close out your cover letter with a PS or post-script. This is the final step of the crucial part in job hiring. Here you summarize your letter. Here is where you include the position that your applying for.

This is how you close your cover letter in the most effective way. Once you nail down these basics and start applying them, you should expect your phone to be ringing off the hook from potential employers wanting to hire you.

An Inclusive Guide to Write Human Resource Cover Letters

Writing an impressive and well integrated human resource cover letter needs in depth analysis of all the relevant requirements of the position and a strong decisive mind to fulfill those duties. It needs a highly dynamic and extrovert personality who will actively look into the different matters and work towards the accomplishment of the given objectives effectively.

Thus, while writing human resource cover letters you need to take into consideration various key requirements of the offer so that you can focus on the relevant skills and professional experience in dealing with such issues. Here are some of the guidelines which can help you to improve quality of your cover letter. You can go through them to get an exact idea about what your letter should contain and how to project your profile in a better way.

  • Carry out research of the given position to know more about the duties associated with it. Such a careful analysis helps us in identifying the key result areas of human resource position. List the skills and qualifications which would help you in giving the best result oriented performance. Link your profile with the employer’s expectation by establishing a close connection in between and marketing your personnel management skills and practice.
  • Project your sound decision making abilities and excellence at carrying out recruitment and selection functions. It helps to put forth your abilities to judge properly and thereby, selecting the best candidates according to the organizational requirement. Highlight your prior experience in dealing with human resource functions and good administration skills.
  • Rationalize your interest in the given offer and capabilities to handle the given set of responsibilities. Your letter should follow a proper well integrated format and should give information about the source of the opening and reference if any. It helps the recruiter to correlate your profile with the specific offer.
  • Deal adequately with your management and decision making skills. Professional experience section should state your past performance in relation to handling organizational work force and development functions.
  • Highlight your training and performance evaluation skills required for appraisal system. It should put forth your abilities to judge and provide efficient recruitment, selection, and compensation management functions.
  • Listing such proficient operations should lead towards convincing the employer about your capabilities, sincere efforts and practices. It would certainly help to improve your job prospects consequently.

Thus, human resource cover letter should project your excellence at organizational and administration functions needed to implement organizational policies effectively. Hence, you can utilize your sound knowledge of human resource processes and expertise in dealing with key human resources issues. Thus, the ultimate aim of such letter is to strengthen your profile by offering adequate details which would serve as a basis to the recruiter and help him to rationally judge your suitability for the position.

Simple Cover Letter Tip – "Gratitude" Magic

Spring is in the air and the songbirds are on the way back to there seasonal homes. A new season awaits you. Time to make plans for your new career and get after your to-do list. It is also time to say thank you to everyone who you have spent the winter and holiday season with and do not forget the Hiring manager at the company you want to start your new career at.

This is a great time to share your appreciation to all of your business acquaintances and contacts. When ever you write a cover letter to any prospective employers, it is very smart to include a few words of gratitude for the chance to introduce yourself and your skills. Do not forget to ask for that interview for the job you want to land.

Always keep one thing in mind though, the hiring manager has no obligation to respond to your cover letter. But if you sprinkle your cover letter with some gratitude he or she will not be able to resist contacting you.


Because you will be one of the very few that show you are more concerned with gratitude than greed. By showing a little gratitude, you display your good heart and your interest in others, not just yourself. This very small addition to your cover letter will put you in a class by yourself. It will be a sure sign that you are someone who would be a welcome addition to any company and its staff.

Simple Ways to Say ‘Thanks’ in Your Cover Letter:

Make sure that you use clear and simple language in your cover to convey your gratitude but also at the same time shows your talents and skills for the job you are applying for.

1. “Thank you for taking a minute to consider my cover letter and resume for your open position, I really appreciate how busy you are.

2. I am grateful for the time you give to your prospective employees such as me. I never take this for granted.

3. I welcome the chance to speak to you about my skills and your expectations. Thank you for this chance to hear about your company and to share how I might be a great fit into your future plans.

4. I really appreciate the job description that you provided online. I would like very much to have the opportunity to show my gratitude in person for letting me introduce myself and my background and to find out how I can contribute to your company.

Never be too gushing or sentimental, it may come off as insincere, instead, focus on clarity and sincerity. You know that you have what it takes to land that job you want, just make some small gratitude a high priority and you will succeed.

A Great Cover Letter Is Your Escort to More Job Interviews

Creating a compelling cover letter is a vital step in the job application process. Your letter should have a professional, yet naturally flowing conversational tone. Never underestimate the power of a cover letter to make or break your submission to a particular company, which is assessing your fitness as a candidate. Call it a resume cover letter; it’s nearly as important as the resume itself. The cover letter can create either a favorable or sloppy first impression-it’s up to you. Crisp, compelling and persuasive prose can make an enormous difference. Do you know what a cover letter looks like? If you can’t do it right, then you should consider hiring a professional resume writer and professional cover letter writer to do it for you.

The functions of a cover letter are as follows:

• To not only introduce yourself to a potential employer, and reveal appealing aspects of your personality, but to sell yourself, just as if you were a product: You, Inc.

• Set you apart from other applying for this job. If your letter is impressive enough, it may be placed in the “to call first” pile.

• Demonstrate your effectiveness as a corporate communicator, which is an important skill to employers

• Explain why you are interested in a particular job.

• Complement your resume by intriguing the reader sufficiently to continue the process by perusing your resume.

• Display your intellectual prowess

• Demonstrate your knowledge of the company

While time consuming, it is also absolutely necessary to write a unique cover letter to each company. You should learn enough about the product or service, internal challenges, values and goals to be able to tailor each letter accordingly.

Here are some methods that wise job applicants use to turbo charge their cover letters:

• Make the appearance of your letter clean and simple. Do not right justify margins or make the letter look mass produced.

• Keep it to one page.

• Address your letter to a specific person, either the person mentioned in an ad, or the person that your research has demonstrated might make the hiring decision.

• Always write an employer-centric letter, concentrating on how you can meet a need, solve a problem and/or explain why you are the best candidate to join the corporate team. In other words, how can you be of service to them?

• Use your first paragraph to state the job that you are seeking, and how you found out about it. If someone within the company referred you, this is the place to give their name.

• Express an interest in the company’s product, service and/or a specific project currently in the works.

• Consciously match your job experience, positive personality facets and transferable skills with those that the company is seeking. This step may require information that was not in the job announcement or want ad.

• Sketch any information in intriguing outline form-you want to whet the recipient’s appetite to learn more by studying your resume.

• In the last paragraph of your perfect cover letter, directly ask for an interview to discuss the position further. Either include your contact information in the last paragraph, or in a block with your name and title. Thank the recipient for taking the time to consider your letter and resume.

How To Write A Cover Letter For A PQQ

Completing a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) in itself is a challenge. It involves days, if not weeks of difficult and time-consuming paper work. So, you are done with weeks of hard work on the PQQ, you have completed it, collected all the required legal policy documents and have signed all the relevant Appendices.

Now, the final task remaining is to write a cover letter before you send your documents to the company for review.

The PQQ letter matters a lot. For, it’s the first thing that is read in your proposal.

It needs to be impressive and should make your proposal stand out amongst the others. It should be written in such a way that the company should think, “I want to read more about this.” A PQQ covering letter needs to be professionally written and it should be very precise without getting into the unwanted details. In other words, it should have only what’s required and what works for you. It should portray a professional image of your hard work and your company.

There are a few things that need to be kept in mind whilst writing a cover letter. There are the things that are professionally required of your company to adhere to and it shows that you take your work seriously.

A cover letter should always be written on your company’s letter head. This gives it a professional look and helps in providing credibility to your proposal.

Use your company or organisation’s VAT registration number, if your company is VAT registered. The quality of paper used for this purpose should be very good and the print quality should be great too.

You sure don’t want to let your hard work on the PQQ down by the quality of paper or print used for your cover letter.

Write the contract reference and the title for your PQQ covering letter as a header in bold ad underlined. Always choose the title for your cover letter with utmost care.

You shouldn’t sound like a typical salesman. No-one likes the hard sell!

The letter should introduce your company in a precise and professional manner explaining how you are suitable for the tender convincingly.

The address of the procurement team needs to be written clearly as in the PQQ specification documents. Also, you should write your personal details such as phone number and email address which is helpful in case the procurement team requires contacting you. Also, write an index for the list of accompanying documents. Never forget to sign the letter.

Nuts and Bolts of Effective Cover Letters

As a job seeker, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a cover letter. When written strategically it increases your chances for consideration and provides an opportunity to highlight your individuality.

A cover letter is much more than stating, “I read the job announcement on ABC Job Board, please accept this letter as an application of interest”. It’s a statement that tells the reader what they can expect from you if hired while also providing reasons you are interested in working for their organization specifically.

The challenging part is determining what information to include. After all, all the juicy information is outlined on the resume. What could you possibly add to the cover letter that will add substance to your qualifications?

Keep in mind that the resume and the letter have different purposes. A resume demonstrates that you can do the job, it highlights your past accomplishments, while a cover letter points out the extent to which you match the job requirements for a specific a company and how you will fit in.

A well-written letter gives you an advantage over your competition because it provides another opportunity to showcase your experience and qualifications.

Cover letter basics can be mastered by following the pointers below.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

A cover letter is more than just a business letter; it is a sales letter. Begin with a strong introduction, layout the benefits you offer and establish credibility by showcasing your accomplishments.

Write as you speak.

Use a professional conversational tone, but sound as though a real person wrote it. Many people fall into the trap of using big words to communicate and the writing comes off as stilted. Instead, write in a straightforward manner that entices the reader to review the resume. The words you choose should demonstrate enthusiasm for the position, company, and industry.

Write from the reader’s perspective.

Action words should not be reserved for the resume. Begin as many sentences with a power word. Don’t use a passive voice. Since it’s a cover letter, it’ll be impossible avoid using “I” as a sentence starter once in a while, but be mindful of your usage and limit it to just a few. If you have four sentences in a row starting with the letter “I”, mix it.

Don’t rehash your resume.

Be creative when presenting your qualifications and accomplishments. You don’t want to bore the reader by simply repeating the information you included in your resume. Find different ways to communicate the same message. The best way to do this is by selecting three to five major selling points and highlighting them in the body of the cover letter. Doing so will entice the reader to do more than just glance at your resume.

You should use every tool at your disposal to secure an interview. Targeted cover letters add to your portfolio of qualifications and deserve as much consideration as a resume.

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