A video resume can be a useful addition to your traditional resume and cover letter, since it allows you to showcase your personality, creativity, and skills. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate whether a video resume makes sense for the position that you are applying for, and if so, to produce a professional, high-quality video.
This article will cover what a video resume is, when to consider using one, and how to make an effective video.
What Is A Video Resume?
A video resume is a short video that you submit to supplement your other job application materials (such as your written resume and cover letter).
Your video resume can serve to demonstrate your skills and qualifications in action, or you might use it to describe an experience that is difficult to explain fully in writing.
It can also be useful if you are applying to a visual or performance-based role, where you will be acting on-stage, teaching live classes, presenting to audiences, and so forth.
Most successful video resumes are between 30 seconds and two minutes long – employers likely won’t sit through a video that’s any longer.
When To Use a Video Resume
There are few situations where you may wish to use a video resume:
- If the employer asks for one. Some employers may want to hear and see your elevator pitch for why you are a good fit for the job. Especially if you are applying to a client-facing job or performance-based role, your presence and charisma are important job skills.
- To make your application stand out. It can be helpful to include a video resume to help your application stick in a potential employer’s mind. Seeing your face and hearing your voice can help the employer to remember you specifically out of a sea of applicants.
- If you are applying to a job that requires you to film or edit videos, present information, or perform. Video resumes lend themselves to certain industries, such as media, fashion, marketing, design, and tech.
Reasons to Not Use a Video Resume
However, there are also some valid reasons behind not using a video resume:
- Discrimination concerns. A video resume will almost certainly reveal personal details such as your age, probable nationality, gender, height/weight and other appearance details, and so forth. Some employers might automatically reject your application to avoid potential discrimination issues. However, in some industries and in some countries around the world, it is acceptable and even encouraged to share these details.
- Potential for miscalculation. Some employers might react negatively to the inclusion of a video resume, or they might dislike your filming style, the content of your video, a joke that you make, or any other element of your video resume.
- It’s not always necessary or helpful. For some industries, it just doesn’t make sense to include a video resume. For example, a freelance accountant would have essentially no reason to submit a video resume as there is little to be gained from doing so.
How To Make a Video Resume
However, if you decide that including a video resume with your written resume and cover letter makes sense in your situation and will definitely strengthen your application, here are the basic steps involved in the process:
Plan Out The Video
First, plan out your video. This shouldn’t be something that’s filmed on the fly – while you do want to appear natural and authentic, you don’t want to ramble for two minutes with no plan of what you’re going to say.
You may wish to write out a complete script or just make bullet points of your main talking points or action words. Additionally, plan out any existing film clips or photos that you want to include in your video resume so you can be sure the timing works smoothly.
When planning what you will say in your video resume, be sure to incorporate quantified accomplishments and action words rather than passive language.
Decide whether you will be sitting in front of the camera and talking, actively demonstrating a skill, or a combination of both.
Prepare Your Filming Area
Next, find and prepare the area where you will be filming. If you’ll be sitting and talking to the camera, find a neutral background and set up extra lights if necessary to illuminate your face attractively. Avoid harsh lights, deep shadows, and colorful and/or moving lights that could be distracting from your message.
You may wish to remove everything from the background of the shot or keep some props there if they are natural to the setting and aren’t distracting.
If you’ll be demonstrating a skill, you may need to film in a public place or set up a larger scale ‘studio’ space to film your video resume.
Set Up Your Recording Device
Use a recording device that will capture high-quality footage and audio. Many DSLR cameras and even cell phone cameras are up to this task. Avoid using a webcam or other low-res camera that might make your footage look grainy or unprofessional.
Ensure that the camera is placed at a flattering angle – at or slightly above eye-level is often the most attractive angle if you are sitting or standing and talking to the camera. If you’ll be demonstrating a skill, make sure that the framing includes the entire scene.
If you really want to be professional, you might want to use a lavalier microphone or other higher-end equipment. However, you can certainly produce a polished video resume with just a smartphone.
Dress professionally to record your video, as if you were going to an in-person interview. Alternatively, you might dress for your profession – for example, you could wear a chef’s coat if you’ll be doing a cooking demonstration in your video.
Record A Few Takes
It’s always a good idea to record a few takes of your video to ensure that you look and sound relaxed, professional, and confident. If you make a mistake while filming, you can always just pause and then start over without stopping and restarting the video, and then edit out the mistake later. Getting up to start and stop the camera multiple times can be distracting and cause you to look flustered on-screen.
Collect Other Visual Elements
If you’ll be including existing video clips or photos, gather all of your elements and review them for quality and appropriateness. Ensure, for example, that there aren’t any people in the background doing weird or distracting things.
Edit Your Video
Finally, edit your video together. Use the best takes of each portion and add in your extra visuals if necessary. You may wish to use the audio of you talking throughout the video, but cut away from your face to show photos or other clips occasionally. You can use a free video editing program, but be sure that it doesn’t leave a watermark anywhere on your video.
If shooting and editing video isn’t your strong suit, you can always hire a professional to film and/or edit your video for you. This ensures that it comes off as professional and compelling.
Video Resume Creation Tips
Finally, here are a few tips for creating a successful video resume:
Keep It Short
Remember, your video resume should be between 30 seconds and two minutes long. Employers are not going to watch a feature-film-length video resume, so keep it short and to the point. Additionally, the longer the video is, the larger the file will be and the more difficult it will be to send it to an employer.
A video resume is a chance to show off your creative side, so avoid simply reiterating information that is presented in your written resume. You may wish to expand on something that you mentioned in the written portion of your application or discuss something that you didn’t include elsewhere.
Stick to the Employer’s Guidelines
If the employer has asked specifically for a video resume, be sure to follow any guidelines that they’ve laid out in the job description regarding the length, content, and submission process. If they give you a prompt, be sure that you answer the question or stick to the topic in your video.
Ask For Feedback
Once you’ve gotten your video edited into a rough draft, it can be helpful to ask friends and family members for feedback to help ensure that you come off as professional and authentic in your video. Unless you are very comfortable being filmed and talking to a camera, it can be strange to see and hear yourself on screen, and therefore difficult to determine if you look and sound natural. Your reviewers can also comment on whether your video’s content is clear and will strengthen your chances of scoring an interview.
In some instances and for certain industries, it can be beneficial to submit a video resume along with your written resume and cover letter. You can use your video resume to show off your personality, demonstrate your skills, or provide additional details that aren’t included in your written application materials. However, be aware of potential discrimination concerns and consider whether a video resume is warranted and appropriate for the company and position that you are applying for.
Not sure where to start on your video resume? Create a winning written resume first with Jobseeker’s professional resume creation tool. Simply enter your information, select a template, layout, and style that you like, and download your resume instantly. Then determine which elements of your resume warrant a supplemental video and get started planning and filming!