Building a Stand Out Resume: From Performing Arts to Customer Service

We don't envy hiring managers, tbh.

Most job applications are digital these days. Often, they're filtered through an algorithm designed to search for specific information, and only the resumes that pass the test are seen by human eyes. So how do you write a resume optimally designed to make it through the wringer, and still stand out on the other side in a pile of dozens of now identical resumes?

The answer to the first part of that question is simple: keywords. Many times, the keywords hiring managers are looking for are in the job listing, and you should incorporate preferred skills and important points from the job post into your resume. Hiring managers want to see that you've read the job posting and you understand the job you're applying for. Consider this the first skills test, and with some attention you can pass with flying colors.

The second part of the question has a few more parts to it...

Design is certainly a piece of the puzzle. For starters, you will need to be comfortable with the format of a Traditional resume. Unlike a performance resume which is typically a chronological listing of roles or companies you've worked with, a Traditional resume includes job summaries and skill highlights. LiveCareer has some great examples of Traditional resume formats, which you can check out here.

But what is arguably more important than design is the content and how you tell your story. When noting your performance experience, there are a couple different options. If you've frequently moved from job to job, "Self-Employed" or "Freelance Artist" may be the best title to sum things up (don't worry, you can expand in the job description!) If you worked with a troupe/tour, agency, or repertory company for any extended period of time, you can list them as an employer (and probably use them as a reference as well!)

Since titles aren’t always the best descriptor of what you do, a Traditional resume gives you the opportunity to talk through the work you’ve accomplished and skills you've gained. The good news is: Given your performing arts background, you already have a leg up here because you have a rare, interesting story to tell. Your training may be non-traditional, but it is also extremely valuable, so do not try to gloss over it because you think it's expected. You are a flamingo in a flock of pigeons - revel in it!

If you haven't already, check out our blog post and podcast about how to translate and build value in your performer skills and experience for a non-arts resume. Many of the skills and experiences we talk about lead right into Customer Service.

Customer Service is a wonderful job choice for many people because there is a huge hiring base (everyone needs customer service!), and there can be a lot of growth opportunity. Because it is very much a skills-and-experience-based profession, Customer Service is easily accessible and usually does not require specific degrees or certifications. Also, there is a wide variety of industries that need Customer Service, so you can likely find something to suit your interests and align with your values. The possibilities are endless, really.

Typically, Customer Service jobs look for communication skills, a "customer service mindset," and organizational/time management skills. These, among others, are keywords you may want to highlight.

Proven Oral & Written Communication Skills Whether it's in person, over the phone, or via social media/email/chat, both written and oral communication skills are a must. You have to be able to speak clearly, write without error, and sum up interactions concisely in reports or notes. As the face of the company, all communications have to be clear and intelligible. Whether by nature or practice, you are probably a good speaker, writer, and reader. Use this to your benefit.

Compassionate & Collaborative Mindset/Ability To Interact With Diverse Backgrounds

On the client side, Customer Service requires someone who can listen, relate, and jump into action to solve problems. On the business side, Customer Service needs someone who can work with a team to take direction and make improvements. Both sides demand an ability to interact with an extremely large and diverse group of people. This just sounds like a normal rehearsal, doesn't it? You've got this in the bag.

Organization, Time Management & Prioritization

Every single thing that gets tossed around in the Board Room eventually gets funneled down to the Customer Service Department at some point. You will have to field and record complaints, questions, misunderstandings, and more, while also working on a telemarketing campaign with a deadline. You have to make sure that newly implemented marketing language and policies are adhered to. And, to top it all off, the schedule may be irregular. But you, who is used to juggling 2 jobs, classes and rehearsals? You've got this handled.

Does this sound like you? Great, then get that resume written! If you run into a snag, or just want a set of eyes on your resume before you send it out, we will review your first resume for free and provide up to 3 enhancements. Just email with the following info:

  • Your name and a brief summary of your background

  • A copy of your resume, preferably in Google Doc, .doc/.docx, or .pages format

  • Links to job descriptions for a few jobs you plan to apply to

Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to with questions or suggestions, follow us on social media @outofthearts, and subscribe to our blog and podcast for more!