As a costume designer, you're an expert when it comes to transforming a modern-day actor into a medieval court jester or a settler on Mars in the year 2072 – but what if it's your resume that needs some dressing up?
That's where we've got you covered. With 300+ occupation-specific resume examples and writing guides, we provide expert resources to job seekers in all fields and at all levels of their careers. Here's what we'll cover in this costume designer resume example and guide:
- What does a costume designer do?
- How to write a costume designer resume (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a costume designer resume
- Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design hints.
What does a costume designer do?
Costume designers are design professionals who create the outfits worn in plays, movies, television shows, and other visual performances. They seek to provide an understanding of characters and stories via clothing and accessories. Costume designers read scripts to understand characters, settings, and story-lines prior to creating costumes. They typically must do research to understand the era and setting of stories. Costume designers also communicate and coordinate with the director and other creative professionals to ensure their costume plans execute a desired vision. They typically create hand sketches initially, followed by final designs prior to beginning costume creation. Costume designers use sewing, accessorizing, and pattern-making skills during their costume creations.
How to write a costume designer resume
A resume for a costume designer should contain many of the sections found on most CVs. Here are the essential components:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
A costume designer resume should focus heavily on your training and experience in the field of costume design. Your resume should highlight important skills like communication skills, attention to detail, knowledge of fabric and patterns, fashion sketching, sewing skills, and more. Your ability to effectively manage your time and accomplish tasks on schedule is essential. Be sure to highlight your research skills as well, as your ability to research an era, characters, or setting is crucial.Choosing the best resume format for costume designers
Choosing the best resume format for costume designers
As creative professionals, costume designers have a few options when it comes time to choose the best resume format. If you've had a variety of steady jobs over several years, then the standard reverse chronological resume should always be your first choice. This format centers on an employment history section where you can list your related roles and offer insights into your skills and achievements. This format is preferred by hiring managers and the Applicant Tracking Systems built into most online application portals.
However, if you've worked on a number of short-term projects, then you may choose to use an alternative resume format. You may decide to group your credits by the type of performance – such as theatre, film or television – or you may choose to create a hybrid resume that highlights your skills at the top and a few noteworthy roles further down. Whichever way you go, make sure the organization of your resume is easy to understand and draws a hiring manager's attention to your strengths.
When submitting your resume through an online portal, never underestimate the power of the ATS. These resume scanners search for keywords and rank you against the other applicants. Only the top-scoring are passed to the hiring manager for review. While there's no way to guarantee you won't get filtered out, here are a few tips to minimize the possibility:
- Read the job description closely and pick out "keywords" – skills and duties emphasized by the employer.
- Place the keywords on the appropriate sections of your resume using the exact language from the job description.
- Never deliberately overuse or misuse keywords – you might fool the ATS but the hiring manager will be left with a bad impression.
Resume summary example
As a costume designer, you bring your creative perspective, insights and personality to your work. The resume summary is the best place to highlight these traits. In these 3-5 sentences, bring the hiring manager's attention to your strongest skills, most formative experiences and proudest accomplishments. This section should serve as an influential summary conveying the value you bring as a costume designer. Be sure to include any information you do not want a potential employer to miss. Check out the summary from our adaptable resume sample below.
Passionate and experienced costume designer with a multifaceted background in costume design for stage productions and film. Adept in communicating with directors and other creative professionals to ensure their vision is fulfilled and enhanced through extraordinary costume design. Committed to creating powerful costumes that enhance productions, strengthen characters and entice viewers.
Employment history sample
The employment history section of your resume is the place to list all positions of importance and those that have transferable duties and/or required skills necessary for a costume designer position. Create subheadings with the job title, employer name, location and dates worked. Below, add 4-5 bullet points that use powerful action verbs to prove your talent for design. Give concrete examples of your success using numbers and data whenever possible. See our adaptable resume sample below.
- Carefully assessed stories and scripts to determine costume needs prior to planning construction.
- Worked with show directors and actors to create costumes with their visions in mind.
- Created neat and organized costume plots.
- Worked with the schedule and budget in mind at all times.
CV skills example
Your skills are at the heart of your work as a costume designer so make sure to highlight them in this CV section. Since the CV section is often condensed to a bullet point format, it's important to choose areas of expertise that can be described in a word or two. Make sure to offer a mix of hard skills (technical ones) and soft skills (personality traits) that make you both a skilled costume designer and a pleasure to work with. Check out the skills section from our resume example below.
- Wig Design
- Era Costumes
- Character Portrayal
- Set Design
- Effective Time Management Skills
- Multitasking Skills
Costume designer resume education example
Costume designers must learn their skills somewhere so make sure to list all degrees and certifications here. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. Even if you have not completed formal education, this is a great place to list apprenticeships or other educational experiences. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor's degree, you may leave off your high school. You can list certifications here, or create a separate section highlighting them. Here's the education section from our resume example.
- 2008-2010 NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Master of Costume Studies NY, NY
- 2003-2007 NYU, Bachelor of Acting NY, NY
Resume layout and design
As a costume designer, you understand better than anyone the importance of aesthetics when it comes to making a great first impression. Just like you can't convince an audience that the characters are living in ancient Rome if they're wearing t-shirts and jeans, you won't be able to convince the hiring manager that you're a professional and talented costume director if your resume lacks organization.
Nowhere is this more important than in the layout and design of your header. This is the place to make your name and contact information stand out and to add a touch of color or other design elements. Make sure your layout matches the look and feel of the opening – you may even want to use different resume templates for different job postings.
- Keep a balance of white space to text
- Stick with the same 1-2 font styles throughout your resume
- Adjust the margins to make your text fill the page
- Submit your resume without proofreading
Key takeaways for a costume designer resume
- A great costume designer resume is essential when it comes to highlighting your experience and conveying your skills.
- Make sure to add a touch of personal style to your summary as this is the one place you can speak to the employer directly.
- Quantify your employment history section to show results.
- Check out our adaptable costume designer resume sample for more ideas on creating a great layout.