Author Topic: Special Skills on a Resume  (Read 10747 times)

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jc1691

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Special Skills on a Resume
« on: Apr 12, 2012, 02:54 pm »
Hello, I'm a fairly new member and I searched for resume posts and I didn't see anything about my specific resume issue but if I'm wrong please forward me to the existing thread. Thanks!
So I'm a little under a year out of college and I have spent the last seven months as an apprentice for an Equity-SPT company but I'm getting ready to leave so I'm polishing up my resume. I like the format and I think it's very readable but I'm not sure about my additional/special skills section. I'm not sure if I'm listing too much or too little or if I'm not thinking of something I could add. I'm just concerned that maybe there's something that I don't realize is a special skill so I'm not listing it or maybe something I'm listing isn't a special skill at all and could be deleted so I could really use some opinions!

Light boards include: ETC Express, Impression, Expression and Ion
Basic Audacity sound editing software
Sennheiser and Shure wireless microphones
Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint
Basic carpentry
Basic sewing
Reading music
Piano
PA drivers license (Automatic)
Trained in acting, speech, and singing

I know some people don't list acting, speech, or singing but I was an actress for a while so I took classes and I was told that some people like that in stage managers so I listed it at the end.

What do you think? Am I missing something or do I have too much...?

dallas10086

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #1 on: Apr 12, 2012, 08:55 pm »
From personal preference I would strike Sennheiser, etc. What do you know about light boards? Programming, or just pushing GO? What level of experience do you say you have in Word/Excel? Basic, intermediate or advanced? There are tests online that will rate your knowledge if you're not sure.
It's excellent if you can read music, it's even better if you've called cues from a score, so if you've done so you should mention it. That tends to open you up to ballet, opera and orchestral.
I'm on the fence about your onstage training; when I see it on someone's resume, my mind automatically thinks 'you're doing stage management as a temporary placeholder until your acting career breaks', but I understand your reasoning behind it.
Other than these few things, I think your special skills section is fine. Anything that you think would be a benefit to a general stage management position is good to include, especially any musical or language skills.

SMrose

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #2 on: Apr 12, 2012, 09:02 pm »
I think that some of the skills you've listed are "necessary" skills of the SM.  A Stage Manager should have skills in microsoft word and  excell, basic carpentry, sewing and lighting. I do agree with dallas about any musical knowledge and being specific about it. Special skills should be just that: "Special".  What skill do you have that's out of the ordinary or unexpected in a stage manager?

shanakathleen

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #3 on: Apr 13, 2012, 12:06 am »
Some things that you also might think of including are if you're CPR/First Aid Certified, if you have experience working with children or animals, or if you speak any languages other than English.

I wouldn't make your special skills list too long, but as you're looking at specific job opportunities, you might find that you have skills that are an asset to that specific production. (For example, because of my other job, I am a certified archery instructor. I do not include this on my resume often, but if I know that a show features some archery weapons, you bet I put it on there.)
Shana Kathleen Ferguson
shanakferguson@gmail.com

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jc1691

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #4 on: Apr 13, 2012, 12:59 am »
What do you know about light boards? Programming, or just pushing GO? What level of experience do you say you have in Word/Excel? Basic, intermediate or advanced?

Well I'm actually pretty proficient on those boards. I gave up on acting YEARS ago and then I did electrician and sound engineer work as well as board op work for several years so I've programmed all of those boards and I'm pretty quick on them, as well as remote focusing units.
How should I remark on that? Should I say proficient at "X" board or maybe adept with "Y" board? Or were you just asking to see if I thought I knew it well enough to legitimately say I could work them? Because I feel confident including them.
As for Word and Excel I know Word very well. Excel is a bit trickier but I know the basic layouts to make any kind of chart. Do you think I should differentiate my level for each or just say "Basic" for all of them as a general blanket?

BeccaTheSM

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #5 on: Apr 13, 2012, 07:15 am »
When I was in school and creating my first resume to send out for internships and such (I was applying to various areas, not just stage management), my advisor told me to think of being in a theater at 10:00 at night, and someone runs onstage and says, "Quick, does anyone know how to _________?"

While this creates a RIDICULOUSLY long list (hopefully), and looked like I was trying to hard to fill the single page, it was at least a good jumping off point. Since then, I have 1. focused my career to stage management, so I don't need to necessarily specify my electrics experience, just that I have some, and 2. fine-tuned what I put on my resume.

I have a separate document on my computer called "Full Special Skills" where I do list out pretty much every theatrcial/management/office/musical/whatever skill I have. Then, every time I'm adjusting my resume for an application (which you should always do), I have a bank of skills that may be relevant to that position. I simply copy and paste them into the bottom of my resume and away I go.

Try the "Quick! Can you _____?" method. Think of it as a brainstorming activity before writing an essay. You won't use it all, but it's good to know it's there, just in case.
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos. - Stephen Sondheim

catalinacisne

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13, 2012, 09:48 am »
You can also group like skills together under the same bullet point, such as "basic carpentry, sewing, and stage craft" and "reading music, piano, can call from score" (if applicable). This allows you to include more information without lengthening the footprint of your special skills section.

I've always been taught that there should be one "conversation starter" special skill, that will set your resume apart from all the others AND work as a real-world example of your stellar SM abilities (because let's face it, every resume is going to say they know Word and Excel). Mine is "cosmetic typewriter restoration" - a weird skill that will warrant a double-take and most likely a question when they interview me. The story behind the skill illustrates my attention to detail, stick-to-it-iveness, ability and willingness to learn new skills, and satisfaction in doing my job well. Having a story to prove those attributes goes much farther than just saying I am all of the above.

missliz

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13, 2012, 03:07 pm »
Special skills, I think, are the "above and beyond" skills, or the things not every stage manager has experience with. For example, I have child and animal wrangling experience, plus extensive work with special-needs children and adults through managing a Special Olympics Team USA in Italy. I also have a lot of blood/SFX experience...useful for some shows AND a good conversation starter.

And "award-winning baker" because it's true, and people alllllways ask.  ;)
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

bemalk

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #8 on: Aug 19, 2012, 04:22 pm »
I completely agree about having a conversation starter skill.  I have "skilled at making shaving cream pies" as well as "proficient as decorating with spike tape"  on mine.  People always ask and it tends to lighten the mood during an interview.  The first resume I sent out with the shaving cream pies skill I got a call for an interview.  At the end of the interview the PM asked about it and then told me they actually had a show with shaving cream pies in it.  A few days later I was offered the job!

You never know what will do it in this business.
“Perhaps, therefore, ideal Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their crafts, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds.”

MatthewShiner

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #9 on: Aug 20, 2012, 09:18 am »
I think you need to find a balance between conversation starter and coming off looking silly.  And where you are aiming to work.  Does someone want to entrust a $1,000,000 high end regional theater show to someone who has a silly "other skills" on the resume?  How do you want to present yourself? 

And remember, you are cold sending a resume to someone who's sense of humor is unknown to you.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a very irreverent sense of humor, and I do touch upon my sense of humor in my cover letter - but not showing an example.


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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

jessica

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #10 on: Sep 23, 2012, 01:14 pm »

I have a separate document on my computer called "Full Special Skills" where I do list out pretty much every theatrcial/management/office/musical/whatever skill I have. Then, every time I'm adjusting my resume for an application (which you should always do), I have a bank of skills that may be relevant to that position. I simply copy and paste them into the bottom of my resume and away I go.


Wow! That is a really good idea and I never thought of that!

Cedes

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Re: Special Skills on a Resume
« Reply #11 on: Oct 04, 2012, 10:27 am »
For your onstage training, I'd list it in stage management jargon, aka, "dance and movement notation" Which says you have been involved with dance and/or movement before and understand how it works. Just saying you have the training makes it look like you aren't sure what you want to be.

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