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Costume Designer

Costume designers design and create outfits for theatrical productions, movies, TV shows, ad films and commercials. Basic understanding of clothes, trends, textiles and material is a must, as well as fundamental knowledge of tailoring, design and design software.

These tips and resume examples will help you create your own impressive resume for a costume designer position.

Top 4 Characteristics of a Best in Class Costume Designer Resume

  1. Summary In a few short, to-the-point sentences, present your top skills and work experiences. Make sure that you address the position you are applying to. For example, when applying to a traditional theater costume design position, include phrases such as “familiar with period drama costume styles.” This section should provide a snapshot of who you are as a designer. For example: “Versatile costume designer with 6 years of experience in creating period dresses and contemporary costumes.”
  2. Skills Emphasize your adaptability by listing technical specialties such as “alterations,” “pattern-making,” “tailoring and accessorizing,” “proficiency in Adobe Illustrator” and “expert embroidery” along with intangible skills such as “ability to collaborate with various teams,” “attention to detail” and “flexibility”.
  3. Work experience Mention all relevant roles you’ve had, such as assistant costume designer, seamstress or wardrobe attendant. Give employers a better understanding of your abilities by quantifying your achievements. For example: “Designed and created costumes for 20+ drama productions, completing work 15% under budget.”
  4. Education List your highest education qualifications (e.g., a bachelor or graduate degree), as well as any training or certifications you have that relate to costume design, such as certification as a Wardrobe Technician and Costume Design Specialist.

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Find the Right Template for Your Resume

Choosing a resume layout is like designing a costume — only the best fit will do. Use these free, professionally-designed templates for your resume.

Cool

This template features a dual-column design, presenting skills and work history in clutter-free style. The header uses bold colors to contrast with the rest of the resume’s minimalist look.

Standout

This chiseled design features section headers that pop, thanks to a “connect the dots” scheme and subtle use of color.

Bold

This layout has a strong yet straightforward presentation, featuring a sleek two-column design with clearly defined section headings.

Do’s and Don’ts for Creating Your Resume

  • DO proofread the resume before submission Just as you will be expected to be meticulous in your costume designs, be meticulous in presenting an error-free resume. Give your document a thorough read-through before sending it in, and be on the lookout for grammar or spelling errors. Proofing your resume also gives you a chance to see if you have missed any important information or key skills. Having someone else read and proof your resume is important to gain a second opinion.
  • DO quantify your achievements and experience Use numbers and figures when describing your work experience and accomplishment to add more value. You can quantify your experience, the impact of your work in an organization or achievements. For example: “designed 5 outfits that were featured in Lifestyle Weekly” or “created costumes for theatre show with cast of 40, earning positive mentions in local newspaper theatre reviews.”
  • DO use action verbs Instead of using passive verbs to describe your work achievements, energize your resume with action verbs, which paint you as a take-charge, proactive worker. Incorporate verbs like leading, organizing, collaborating, designing, developing and researching with your achievements. For example: “Dedicated and driven costume designer with an experience of 7 years in designing period costumes.”
  • DON’T pack your resume with unnecessary info The majority of resumes are only one page long for a reason — on average, recruiters will usually only spend a few seconds scanning them. Make the most of those seconds by including only the important details about your skills and achievements, making sure that all the info you include addresses the job’s requirements. Limit your work history to the past 10 years at most, unless you’ve gained a major achievement or recognition for previous work beyond that timespan.
  • DON’T forget soft skills Although technical skills like fitting, tailoring, and costume construction are essential for a costume designer, be sure to also mention soft skills that give employers an understanding of how effective you will be at work, such as adaptability, versatility, planning and management capabilities, creativity, communication skills, flexibility, multitasking and teamwork.
  • DON’T use the same resume for every job application Costume designers on a movie set will have different responsibilities compared to designers in the theater. Go through the job description of every job posting to note which skills and training are required, and adapt your resume to address these needs. For example, a costume designer for a fashion shoot should emphasize knowledge of current trends or celebrity styling.

Costume Designer Resume FAQs

1. What skills should you emphasize for the position of a costume designer?

Consider including some of the following skills:

Technical skills:Non-technical skills:
Knowledge of current fashion trendsCreative and artistic
Creating dresses from different erasCan take initiative
Thorough knowledge of textiles and fabricsDecision-making
Proficient with Adobe IllustratorProblem-solving
Fitting and alterationsCommunication skills
Flexibility
Multitasking
Time management
Efficiency
Teamwork
Ability to work long hours
Technical skills:
Knowledge of current fashion trends
Creating dresses from different eras
Thorough knowledge of textiles and fabrics
Proficient with Adobe Illustrator
Expert seamstress
Fitting and alterations
Non-technical skills:
Creative and artistic
Can take initiative
Decision-making
Problem-solving
Communication skills
Flexibility
Multitasking
Time management
Efficiency
Teamwork
Ability to work long hours

2. How should you format your resume?

Look to use a combination format for your resume — this allows you to present your top skills up top, while also leaving room for you to detail your hands-on costume design work experiences. If you’re new on the scene or lack extensive experience, go with a functional format, which focuses mainly on the skills you’ve already learned, as well as any training or internships you’ve had in the field.

3. What are some examples of training and certifications that fit a costume designer’s resume?

Apart from getting a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or related major, look to feature coursework such as the following examples:

  • Certificate course in fashion design
  • Advanced diploma in fashion designing
  • Coursework in sewing essentials
  • Training in fashion drawing
  • Course in Costume Design and Construction

4. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?

To move up the ladder in the entertainment industry, build your resume around the following:

  • Proficiency in stitching, fitting, alterations and embroidery, following an artistic vision.
  • Complete advanced training in fashion design, fabric, textile or wardrobe handling.
  • Gain more on-set experience in successful projects where costuming and fitting plays a key role.
  • Productions that gained Emphasize the role you played in managing the costume backstage of a play.

5. How do you incorporate keywords in your resume?

Read through the job description of the position you’re applying for and identify important phrases that spell out job requirements, such as “creating period dresses.” Include these key phrases in your resume as skills, or present experiences that show you’re capable of fulfilling these requirements (e.g., “Created period dresses for theater production of “Out Town” that ran for 200+ performances”). Including these relevant keywords not only tells employers that you understand what the job requires, but will also help your resume pass scans by applicants tracking systems (ATS) that employers often use to filter out resumes based on keywords.

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