If good looks alone were enough to catapult a randomly discovered fresh face to supermodel stardom, then why did the likes of Cindy Crawford, Gisele Bündchen and Gigi Hadid face rejection multiple times before their careers took off? Even a killer portfolio might not get your foot in the door of a modeling agency, where your story may need telling as well as showing. Enter the modeling resume — putting vitally important details into words that pictures can’t convey.
Resume.io has advice for aiming the stage footlights on your most flattering features. Our globally-respected resources include more than 300 occupation-specific writing guides and free resume examples.
We’re here to walk you step-by-step through the process of putting together a runway-worthy resume. This is what we’ll cover in this resume writing guide, backed by a modeling resume example:
- What models do and the job market outlook
- The best format for structuring your resume
- Advice on each section of your resume: header, summary, work history, education and skills
- Model resume layout and design hints.
What does a model do?
Let’s not allow magazine cover girls and catwalk strutters to steal all the limelight away from the many other types of models who may be seeking writing tips in this resume writing guide.
A Skylar Modeling School blog breaks the industry into 13 categories, spanning virtually cradle-to-grave job opportunities:
- Editorial (high fashion): the big-name magazine leagues of tall, slender models with unique facial features
- Runway: defined the same way as editorial
- Commercial: typically “girl/boy next door” looks
- Plus size: defined by size rather than measurements
- Petite: shorter than 5' 7" tall with pretty features
- Child: up to 12 years
- Underwear: females are curvier than editorial or runway models
- Glamour: poses are more glamorous or sexually alluring than is typical for fashion models
- Fitness: commercial subcategory for athletic, fit and toned body type
- Fitting: work with fashion designers and garment manufacturers to ensure correct sizing and fit are maintained
- Parts: showcase specific items of apparel or accessories by focusing on hands, feet, legs or eyes
- Promotional: pitches products or services at trade shows, conventions, and live events.
- Mature: commercial subcategory for models 30 years and older
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of models is projected to grow by 11% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. Most of the job market demand is to replace models leaving this occupation or the labor force altogether.
The demand for models to appear in digital ads supporting the uptrend in online retail sales is a key factor. But this is tempered by less expensive digital and social media options that enable retailers to promote their products and brands directly to consumers.
How to write a modeling resume
What your modeling resume should have in common with all other resumes is this basic structure of CV components:
- Summary (sometimes called profile or personal statement)
- Employment history
A modeling resume has some unique characteristics that also find it sharing common ground with various occupations that defy categorization. For possible inspiration and ideas, check out Resume.io’s growing collection of other resume samples, including our actor resume example, musician resume sample, photographer resume sample, visual artist resume example and fashion designer resume sample.
The biggest difference between a modeling resume and those prepared by job candidates in most other fields is the recipient. Resumes typically are geared to recruiters or hiring managers responsible for filling employee positions.
In your case, the likely recipient is a modeling agency you hope will represent and promote your services to clients in return for a percentage of earnings. Or, if you are a freelance model not signed with an agency, your resume would go to potential clients whenever you apply for modeling gigs directly. In either instance, a modeling resume is meant to be submitted alongside a portfolio and possibly composite cards.
Choosing the best resume format for a model
The best format for structuring your modeling resume depends on how much experience you have and whether it’s been acquired mostly through a modeling agency or freelance work.
The most commonly used chronological resume format works well for models who have been represented and promoted by agencies. In the same way that job seekers in other fields would list their current and previous employers in reverse chronological order, your work history would be outlined in bullet points below the name of each modeling agency and corresponding dates.
A functional resume format focuses on transferable skills and strengths, or possibly projects and assignments, rather than employers. It might suit relatively inexperienced models or those with an extensive freelance background.
Hybrid (combination) resumes have both chronological and functional elements
Specific types of commercial modeling experience and abilities could be formatted as follows:
|Media||Type of shoot||Type of photography|
|Surfing Life||Swimsuit||Wave photography|
|National Jeweler||Rings, bracelets||Hands|
Resume header: Best face forward
Being noticed in a crowd of strangers by a vigilant talent scout has been the classic start to countless supermodel success stories. And that’s almost the whole point of an eye-catching header that draws attention to your modeling resume in a sea of others. It creates a distinctively different kind of first impression that you want to sustain in the eyes of modeling clients or agencies.
But never underestimate the header’s importance for more than appearance’s sake. It not only identifies who your resume belongs to and how you can be reached, but is the ideal place for links to your modeling portfolio and relevant social media. Typically a photo is incorporated with a modeling resume header, and sometimes a description of physical features.
Resume summary example: Look at you!
Your resume summary (also known as the profile or personal statement) lifts the curtain on your best angles from center stage. As a concise synopsis of your most relevant abilities and attributes, it expresses in words what a headshot cannot fully capture. Note: What makes a modeling resume unlike any other occupational version is the inclusion of height, weight and measurements in the summary section.
Let hints of your personality show through in the spotlight on who you are, what you’ve done and what equips you to do it well. Use clear, descriptive language, in a tone that’s energetic and self-assured. A successful modeling resume summary will grab the reader’s attention and focus on what makes you a lucky find.
If the playing field were even, an impressive modeling resume summary could help you stand out in the crowd of other career hopefuls. Featured in an Elle Australia overview of supermodels who have faced career rejection, Kendall Jenner laments the times when her merits as a model could not stand on their own, instead overshadowed by her family’s reality TV show fame.
Below is a modeling resume example summary you can customize for your own submission.
Passionate Fashion Model with experience in runway work and modeling for advertisements. 5'10", 120 lbs. Bringing forth professionalism and a hard work ethic.
Employment history sample: Show and tell
The employment history section of your modeling resume — you may prefer the alternate heading “Experience” — is where key questions about your background get answered. What kind of shoots have you prepped and posed for? How many fashion shows? Ad campaign brands and budgets?
Be as specific as possible, framing your modeling work highlights as accomplishments rather than generic job descriptions. Accessorize with facts and figures to convey the scope of your experience and qualifications. Mention outcomes, including recognition you’ve received — perhaps for reliability or punctuality for shoots or casting calls.
Below is a modeling employment history resume sample.
Model at Miami Talent, Miami
May 2018 - February 2020
- Cooperated with stylists and management to ensure shoots went smoothly.
- Walked with poise and conveyed specific emotions under the direction of the show designer.
- Held my position until the photographer captured the required images.
- Changed outfits quickly in between shots.
Runway Model at Bold Talent, Denver
March 2016 - March 2018
- Successfully showcased the designs and garments of the designers.
- Worked closely with photographers, fashion coordinators, directors, producers, stylists, make-up artists, and other models.
- Brought forth endurance and the ability to stand for extended periods.
Modeling resume education example: Learning curves
Even if modeling is a field that does not require a college degree or graduation from any formal program of study, your resume’s education section has valuable potential.
If you do have a degree or are currently working towards one, by all means mention it. Obviously, you should list any training you’ve received at a modeling school, including specific techniques learned, whether on a full-time basis or through workshops and continuing education courses.
Classes you’ve taken in other artistic fields also belong here, such as theater, dance or photography. Even relevant extracurricular activities in high school can be noted on a modeling resume, which would not normally be recommended for other job seekers. Mention scholarships or special achievements, internships and apprenticeships, along with memberships in groups such as ModelManagement.com or the U.K. Association of Model Agents.
Below is the education section from a modeling resume example.
High School Diploma, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, New York
September 2011 - May 2015
Courses Modeling Workshop, New York Fashion Institute
CV skills example: Your shiniest side
You are going to have way more skills than space allows for listing on your modeling CV. So choose carefully those that best match the needs and wants of the modeling client or agency.
Be sure to include a mix of hard skills and soft skills on your CV because both are vitally influential. The former are specific modeling abilities, perhaps relating to runway turns or photo poses, and other assets such as physical fitness — including stamina, coordination and flexibility — or modern dance training. Soft skills are personal attributes that make you a joy to work with — from friendliness and an easygoing manner to being a fast learner who listens and takes directions well.
Check out a modeling resume sample for the skills section below.
- Interpersonal Skills
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Theater Performance Skills
- Runway and Commercial Modeling
- Collaboration Skills
Resume layout and design: Picture perfect
A modeling resume that turns heads in your direction needs the right visual edge. Strike a balance between poise and pizzazz in your choices of fonts, text formatting, graphic elements or color splashes. Your goal is to attract attention without distracting the reader.
Nor can you risk detracting from the overall reader-friendliness of your resume with anything less than a well-put-together layout and design. Strive for a proportionally balanced “36-24-36” overall look, with each section flowing seamlessly into the next. That includes the black and white contrast between text-dense sections and the surrounding white spaces of margins and line separations.
As a model, you know just how much first impressions count. The header and page layout of your resume are no exception. If you want to ensure your format sends the right message, you may consider using a professional resume template with customizable optio
Key takeaways for a modeling resume
- Models seeking freelance work or agency representation need an impressive resume to complement their portfolio.
- Your choice of resume format depends on the extent and type of modeling experience you have.
- Ensure each section of your resume showcases your qualifications and attributes in the best possible light.
- A modeling resume must look the part of a stylish professional in a highly visual field, to a much greater extent than matters in other occupations.
- For more ideas on how to create a professional and functional header, check out our adaptable model resume sample.