Ah yes, the glitz and glamour of being a cosplay guest- sounds great right? It certainly can be, but there is a lot of work to do in order to land such a coveted spot! As the number of opportunities to be a cosplay guest at conventions rises, so does the competition from fellow cosplayers! Having talked to several cosplay guests and guesting coordinators, I've compiled a list of qualities they feel make a cosplayer really stand out in a resume or media kit.
If you've already read my blog on Applying to be a Guest, then you may be wondering what these so-called cosplay resumes and media kits are. Even it you are not asked for one by a convention, they can be a pivotal part of your pitch! Cons are not the only places that cosplay resumes and media kits are useful, but this article will be focused on tailoring them to convention guesting. If you don't already have guesting experience under your belt, worry not- there's plenty of other ways to beef up that resume, so let's get down to business!
*Insert Mulan show tune here*
1 - Make it Relevant!
List your con/cosplay experiences, or transferable experiences. If you've judged in a contest, helped run panels, volunteered on staff, worked press at an event, that's all great convention experience! If you don’t have anything like that, relevant experience like working at a fabric store, customer service at Disney, etc. can help fill in the resume where it may be lacking.
2 - This Is Different Than the Typical Resume
The cosplay/con resume will look WILDLY different than a business resume. Cons don’t need to know you have an agricultural economics degree, but if you happen to have relevant education, (like an apparel design, theater, or costuming degree) you may want to list it. But GPA, graduation year, or whatever else are not needed. In fact, you may want to look into making an entertainment resume instead of a professional resume, if that suits your brand better!
3 - Media Kits vs. Resumes
Media Kits differ a bit from the resumes in that the media kit will focus on that- media like social media, press, appearances, etc., while the resume will be a summary of your professional experiences. There may be some crossover between the two, but they will ultimately be different. Most cosplayers use a media kit more often than resumes. Some cosplayers even cite foregoing resumes entirely, but it is helpful to have both. Never know when you might need it! ;3
4 - Let Your Resume and Media Kit Represent You
Make them both stand out! Let them represent your brand! Unless your brand colors are literally black and white, throw some color in it! It’ll make you stand out and make you memorable. My resume actually matches my business cards, which match my website that my media kit is on. Make it all look like one pretty package that people can’t wait to open.
You’re allowed to infuse some personality into this- remember, you’re not applying to work at Kaiba Corp, you have freedom to be creative and playful here. Be it through fun colors, a unique design, use of your logo or headshots in the header, or even just writing in a cheerful tone, show them who YOU are. You can be professional while also being true to your personality!
5 - Flex Your Accomplishments
Numbers and name drops- use 'em. Have a high following on social media? List it. Have a big number of craftsmanship awards? Share it. Worked with a major name? Flaunt it!! You should never puff yourself up to be more than you are, but also… be proud of things that truly are big achievements. You don’t have to be modest if they’re things you’ve actually accomplished, so flex on it!
6 - Strength in Numbers
Numbers are a great way to quantify your achievements. “I’ve won a number of awards” doesn’t sound as strong as “I’ve placed in over 30 of the 40+ contests I have entered.” Also, write numbers as numerical characters instead of letters. So write 35,000, don’t write thirty-five-thousand. The eyes will be more drawn to those numerical digits, especially where zeroes are involved. So another tip would be to write 7,400+ followers, instead of 7,431. It looks cleaner, is more impactful/memorable, and the plus sign literally indicates a positive connotation. Besides, it's likely your numbers will fluctuate at least a little bit by the time they look at it.
7 - What You Did vs. What You Can Do
In addition to listing your accomplishments, don’t forget to list your services. Things you’ve done in the past aren’t necessarily things you do now, so be sure to let cons know what it is you can offer to them in your resume/media kit. Simple bullet points are fine for this.
8 - Have Some Background on You
A little bio on you helps. This could be as short as 3-5 sentences. All of the other resume highlights are great, but hearing there’s a real person behind them makes you all the more likable! It could be something as simple as who you are, why you do what you do, and what your goals are or brand is all about. Numbers ultimately mean nothing if you can’t connect with them as an interesting person.
9 - Use an Accessible Digital Format
Most of cosplay media kits and resumes being passed around are actually digital! So no worries if you don't own a printer and nice paper. Sharing the file as a PDF or even JPEG is fairly common, although you can also build them into a website with its own link. For instance, mine can be viewed at www.momokurumi.com/mediakit
No matter what your format is, be sure to test that the formatting works on multiple devices and computers! JPEGs can suffer from compression, .doc or similar office files don't work the same on all computers, and websites may have issues when displayed on different browsers or devices. PDFs usually are the safest and most consistent in assured quality, but can occasionally export or transfer with some errors, so be aware!
10 - Simple and Clean
But Like Utada Hikaru, and keep it Simple and Clean. Confirm that the flow of the document makes sense, and you aren't cluttering it with unnecessary graphics, too much text or images, or a complex layout. Highlight the most important information by keeping it at the top, and use bullet points instead of full sentences. Studies show mostly only the top half of resumes even get read or looked at, so put the least important information at the bottom.
Get feedback on your resume and media kits. Especially from other cosplayers, or people that work with conventions. Be wary of going to career centers for feedback on these sorts of resumes. Although they have plenty of useful information, they have a tendency to water down personalities in resumes when it comes to their style of professionalism. So take their advice to heart in someways, but don't let them dim your style either!
In order to prove your value to an event, you have to hone in on what it is that makes you unique, and really sell it! Define what it is you do, outline past experiences, and offer up what it is you can or want to do. It’s not just about what you get out being a guest, events have to put on a good show for attendees, and you are wanting to be a part of that. Having an on-hand resume or media kit are ideal ways to summarize why you would be a good fit as a cosplay guest.
Before I close out this post, I want to emphasize that a cosplayer can offer plenty of value regardless of their social media numbers. If your numbers aren’t the strongest, advertise your other strengths. Whatever your achievements are, be sure to shine a light on them. And remember, resumes aren’t made overnight, they’re made over years- we all started from nothing at one point. So start building up your experience in any small way you can, and your resume will get more impressive with each opportunity!
Much like a picture, a resume can paint a portrait of you! Don't let it be a stick figure. ;P
Photo by Scot Souvannasane
My Cosplay Convos: Guesting Tips series will be a 10 part series released over the next few weeks! This is the second part in this series.
Guesting Tips 1 - Applying to be a Guest
Guesting Tips 3 - Valuing Your Services
Guesting Tips 4 - Negotiations
Guesting Tips 5 - Social Media and Promotion
Guesting Tips 6 - Choosing a Cosplay Lineup
Guesting Tips 7 - Panels and Events
Guesting Tips 8 - Tables and Booths
Guesting Tips 9 - Prints and Merchandise
Guesting Tips 10 - Banners and Promotional Materials