Top 9 Transferable Performer Skills

The hardest part about creating a resume for a new industry is using terminology that the hiring managers in that industry will understand. Just think about how much translation is needed for someone who is not familiar with the language of the theater...

Raise your hand if you've had some version of this conversation before.

So, you can imagine that jumping into a new industry means there will be a bit of a learning curve as far as the jargon is concerned. You may think you're not qualified for a job based on the listed qualifications because you have a hard time seeing how your skills translate. Or maybe you're discouraged because you know you're suited for a job but are having trouble communicating that in your application materials. Don't worry, we've got you.

Performers are some of the most capable chameleons out there, with skills, knowledge and drive far beyond what people see on stage. Whether you are a natural improviser or someone who needs to memorize the script before stepping on stage, there is something on this list is for you.

Fast Learner

Chances are that as a performer you can take direction in rehearsal and put it into practice on the spot. Maybe you can pick up a dance combo or a line of music after only one example. You can probably memorize at the speed of light. This type of lightning quick learning is a major asset, and can easily be applied to any job or aspect of life. Need to teach a software that you don’t know yet? Play around and learn it. Need to market a tool that you haven’t seen? Ask a few questions to figure it out.

Need some resume examples?

  • Was involved in an event where I designed, taught, rehearsed and presented a dance routine all within two days

  • Experienced in taking feedback and applying and building upon it on the spot


Half the fun of live theater is the danger that anything can change at any moment. Have you ever been in a situation where the blocking was changed last minute, or a costume ripped right before you stepped onstage? You probably have a story about covering for someone because they forgot their lines or an important prop in front of an audience. If you can think on your feet make sure you highlight it, because that flexibility is lacking in many work environments.

Need some resume examples?

  • Was able to save a live performance by improvising when a set piece did not function properly

  • Was cast as a Swing/Understudy and was often asked to go on for different roles with short notice

Creative Problem Solver

If you can think critically, you're not afraid to get under the skin and dig into the difficult things, and you are good at seeing from multiple perspectives, then you are a creative problem solver. The perk in this language is the “creative” part - use your artistic background and wide knowledge base to your benefit!

Need some resume examples?

  • In difficulty relating to a character, I employed several acting techniques together in order to portray it with success

  • Helped develop a modernized adaptation of a classic play in order to appeal to contemporary audiences

Strong Time Management

Ever work an opening shift, run to an audition, then make it to your next job just in time? Or maybe you work a full time day job, but are able to schedule auditions and rehearsals like a pro so you never miss work or return late from your lunch break. Time management skills are no joke, and very important to impress upon a potential employer.

Need some resume examples?

  • As a working performer, I maintain my personal schedule which includes one full time position, one part time position, 12 hours of rehearsal, and various other auditions and classes

  • I carefully schedule independent time outside of traditional work hours to dedicate to preparing for roles and auditions

Able to Work Well Independently

You have a system, don't you? You always sit in the same place, wear the same hoodie, or listen to the same music to get yourself in gear for scene study or character development. You pour a cup of coffee, pop in your ear buds, and settle in front of the mirror to memorize lines and blocking. Either way, you are focused, disciplined, and know how to get things done with very little guidance.

Need some resume examples?

  • Developed a routine for script study, frequently resulting in being the first cast member to have lines memorized

  • Despite lacking a background in dance, I use a combination of notes and videos to practice choreography on my own time in order to be up to par at rehearsals

Great Collaborator

While you may be good at working independently, NO performer works alone to create an engaging performance. Collaboration and community building are typically a big part of why we love being involved in performing arts, and these skills are deeply ingrained in the nature of the profession. By the same token, collaboration is another skill that is lacking in most other work environments, and is not developed or practiced as consistently as performing artists do. (As arts professionals working in the non-arts world, we really wish more people had been through theater or music training!)

Need some resume examples?

  • Worked with a team of 15 other actors and 13 staff to produce [SHOW].

  • Traveled with a troupe of 14 to present [SHOW] in [X amount of] theaters (or [X amount of] times)

Presentation/Oral Communication Skills

As a performer, you know how to comport yourself and how to make yourself heard. Body language, gesture, tone of voice, reading a room - you're an expert. There is so much potential here because these skills, especially when highly developed, are often sought out by hiring managers and recruiters for jobs in sales, client relations, marketing, public relations, training, and so much more.

Need some resume examples?

  • Skilled at preparing for and playing various characters in multiple styles, settings and venues

  • Used my performance background to act as MC/spokesperson for local charity gala

Organizational Skills

You are scheduling your time between jobs, interviews, auditions, and maybe school. Or are you preparing for several auditions, all with different requirements? You might be working several jobs that require you to have different uniforms and materials, or simply juggling several artistic projects. If you've been successful in any of this, your organizational skills are STRONG.

Need some resume examples?

  • Supported team by organizing and tracking 100 items (props) when producing [SHOW]

  • As an ensemble member, I managed 7 costume and character changes during each performance for 30+ performances

Promotional Marketing Experience

But honestly, what would it take for you to do this?

Whatever idea you may have in your head, promotional marketing does not typically mean dressing up as a giant hot dog -- sorry, wiener. What it does mean is you are accustomed to answering questions like: What is my strongest skill as a performer? What makes me stand out among other performers? What should I say to draw someone into the audience? You know how to hone in on what makes someone or something stand out in the crowd, and how to advocate for it.

Need some resume examples?

  • Using improvisational training, I am able to successfully direct conversation

  • I helped sell 25% of tickets for a one night only performance by consistently promoting the show on social media and in daily conversation

These skills, in addition to the countless others you doubtless possess, are going to be your bread and butter as you develop your resume to apply for non-arts jobs. Whatever you do, don't hide that you have a non-traditional background. Instead, show the world that your performance career is an asset that has allowed you to develop unique, important skills which make you an invaluable employee.

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