Today’s job market is intensely competitive, and standing out from the other applicants is a must. A video resume is one way to do that, but only if it’s done well and if it’s appropriate for the position. A few jobs actually require applicants to submit a video resume. A few companies are conservative enough that a video resume would hurt your chances. In most cases, though, a video resume is optional, a way to draw extra notice to your application and show that you are ready to go the extra mile.
A video resume is a saved, on-demand video that accompanies the formal job application or written resume and presents your qualifications for the job in a more compelling format. It serves to introduce you to your prospective employer in a way that mere words on a page can’t. Let’s take a look at how to make a video resume that will serve all these purposes.
- Technical Requirements
Depending on how you submit your video resume, it may or may not require a video hosting platform and encoding software. You can submit a video resume in the form of a file attached to an email, and depending on the employer, that may actually be the preferred format.
You will certainly need a camera, good lighting, and software capable of converting the video feed from the camera into a format that can be viewed on a desktop or laptop computer. If you plan to publish the video and provide a link to the employer rather than the actual file, then you’ll also need a broadcasting platform such as YouTube, DaCast or Vimeo. If you do use a streaming platform, that makes your video somewhat easier to load for your prospective employer. An important question in that case is whether to use a public, free platform such as YouTube or a white label service such as DaCast or Wistia. The advantages and disadvantages come down to privacy. A video published on YouTube is open to anyone, while a white label gives you more control over who can see your video. Furthermore, content published on a free platform is subject to
As far as camera choice, for producing a video resume, a webcam is probably just fine. The video is likely to consist primarily (or entirely) of views of your face as you talk. If you want to get highly creative, of course, a more advanced camera may be called for. That may be appropriate when applying for a creative position involving video production; otherwise, it’s probably overkill. We’ve covered the basics of using webcams here, and provide an overview of cameras in this post.
The style of a video resume should be tailored to the employer and the specific job. In most cases, a conservative but lively and creative approach is called for. Wear attire appropriate for business, similar to what you would wear to a job interview. Face the camera as you speak, and practice your delivery so that it appears natural and is neither too fast to follow easily nor too slow. (Speaking too quickly is a common mistake of those who are new to video performance. We normally speak in a conversation more quickly than when delivering a speech.) Make a test video and check the lighting, the video quality, and your own appearance and delivery as your prospective employer will see it, and make any corrections needed.
You should have a script for the video and study it carefully. Follow the script (memorize your lines), but don’t read from it. Above all, you want to look professional, poised, and confident, just as you would in a job interview. Treat the video seriously when you’re producing it, and rehearse it just as you would your part in a play.
In some cases, a more creative and less conservative video style may be appropriate. It all depends on the company’s expected style of dress and its corporate culture. You should know this sort of thing before applying for the job, of course. Does this mean you should have more than one video resume, just as you should have more than one written resume, or a template that can be tailored to specific employers?
Of course it does.
What should be included in your video resume? In almost all cases, you’ll be submitting a written resume as well, and often a form application. Your video resume should not simply recap the same information that is included in the written resume.
Instead, cover other, not so dry parts of your qualifications. The video should convey a sense of who you are: your personality, what it’s like to interact with you, and how excited you are about the opportunity you’re applying for. It should be considered a complement to your written resume rather than a replacement for it. Emphasize experiences related to the job you’re applying for that have been personally meaningful for you. Don’t just recite a dry list of your previous positions; that’s what your written resume is for. Describe something you’ve done — perhaps on a former job, perhaps in something outside the work environment but relevant — that shaped you in ways that make you a good fit for the position.
Make sure the video is an appropriate length. In the context of a job application the prospective employer has limited amounts of time to spend. Keep your video short: no longer than three minutes.
In today’s competitive job market, anything that makes you stand out and brings you to the notice of a prospective employer is a plus. A video resume can do just that. It offers you a personal appeal that goes beyond the dry facts included on your written resume or job application.
Your video resume should be produced with an eye to professionalism, and tailored to the corporate culture and expectations of your prospective employer and the type of work you’re looking for. It should also capture your personality and what you’re like to work with. That’s just as important as your on-paper qualifications — in some cases it’s more important.
By Elise Lagarde.