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The Video Resume Guide

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The Video Resume Guide

Creating a resume can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the job process. Not only do you need to compile all of the relevant information, skills, and experience into one document, but you have to find the perfect font, alignment, bullet points, and more just to ensure it shows you off to a potential employer in the right way.

One sure way to add personality to your resume and get on board with the latest trend in recruitment and employment is to create a video CV or video resume, allowing you to sum up your personality and experience in person and on camera.

The video resume is slowly becoming a popular choice for both recruiters and job seekers as it helps you to stand out from the pack and give a face to your name when you apply for that dream job.

Portrait of a young businessman.

But what is a video resume exactly and what should you cover in it to ensure it doesn’t cross the line from professional to amateur? Though these are definitely becoming the buzz in the recruitment world, they also require a lot of planning and detail to ensure you’re getting the right message across to your hopeful employer.

What Are Video Resumes?

The biggest misconception about what to say in a video resume is that it should completely replace the document resume.

However, a good video resume will simply act as a complement to it and allow you to show your demeanor and personality alongside a carefully presented written resume that has all of the relevant information about your skills and work experience.

Learning how to do a video resume is a fine art, and if it hasn’t been explicitly asked for in a job posting then you need to be careful about what you say and how you carry yourself. Unlike a traditional written resume, there’s no format to follow which is why some people find it difficult to hit the mark.

The key to making a good video resume is to use the limited time you have to sum up why you’re the best choice for the job and how you would fit into the organization. Finish up like you would a cover letter and thank them for your time, all the while paying careful attention to your personal presentation and body language.

One of the problems with video resumes is that candidates often make them too short or too long. Having one too long will lose the interest of the hiring manager and indicate that you don’t have a lot of self-awareness, but something too short will lack a purpose and make it appear that you’re unsure of yourself.

According to the experts, a good video resume will be between one to three minutes long, and only full of engaging and interesting information.

Why Are Video Resumes Great For Job Application?

There are quite a lot of differences between how we look on paper and how we present in person, and the video resume is an ideal way to give a more accurate representation of this.

Video resume on a tablet.

​​​​​Your written resume is the ideal place to show all of the data and facts about your employment history including specific roles you’ve had, the tasks you did, results from education, and what you’ve achieved over the years.

A video resume is a perfect way to complement that by showing that you’re professional and engaging, so long as you know how to do it right.

A study of employers and hiring managers conducted by Vault Inc. found that the biggest reason they would consider viewing a video resume was to get a clear picture of the applicant’s demeanor and presentation.

These things are of huge importance during a job interview but usually a stage where most candidates don’t get to, hence why the video resume could give you a helping hand if you were to present yourself the right way.

Although there are certainly plenty of benefits, you need to be very careful before sending a video resume to a potential employer.

If you read the signs wrong and send one where it’s not required or put the wrong content in your video, you’ll completely eliminate yourself from the candidate pool rather than making yourself stand out, which is the main purpose of these videos.

The Industries That Use Video Resumes

There are certainly some jobs that would be more suited to viewing video resumes than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re off-limits otherwise.

A recent study found that 89% of employers said they would view a video resume if it was sent to them, so they may be more popular than you think. Even though there seems to be a newfound acceptance of these modern forms of job applications, there are a few industries and positions where it might be beneficial.

  • Creative jobs like designers, artists, and photographers;
  • Acting or hosting roles that require you to be on camera;
  • Retail or hospitality jobs where presentation and personality is key;

If you’re unsure about how a company might feel receiving a video resume then it might be best not to create one, and this is especially true for more conservative roles or companies. However, if they’re looking for someone with personality or creativity than this can be the best way to show off the true you.

How To Make A Great Video Resume

As a relatively new way of applying for jobs, there’s no set structure for candidates to follow when making a video resume and so it remains relatively unknown how they should look. Here are a few things to consider when making your video CV and how you can keep it in line with what today’s hiring managers and recruiters are looking for.

Length

This is an area where most candidates fall short and make theirs either too long or too short. The best time to aim for in your video resume is between 60 seconds and three minutes, so try hard not to talk for too long.

There’s a good chance the entire video won’t be watched if it goes over a few minutes long as hiring managers usually have a lot to do in their day and hundreds of applicants to consider.

However, one that’s too short will be considered pointless so try to make it right in the zone.

Camera settings.

Quality

There’s no need to give your video resume the production values of a Hollywood blockbuster, but neither should it be a backyard job.

You can record your video resume on a camcorder or if you have a better quality camera on your phone this is acceptable, but keep it professional. Use or hire a tripod to keep it still and refrain from any selfie style shooting techniques.

Content

The most important thing to plan in your video resume is the content, so you need to know the exact points you want to cover. It’s not necessary to have a script that you follow but rather make some points about why you’re right for the job, why you want to work for the company, and everything you can offer as an employer.

Sign off with a thank you and keep the content to the point while letting your personality in as well.

Presentation

Giving a potential employer a window into how you look means you need to be very careful with the presentation, not just of yourself but also your surroundings. Dress professionally as you would for a job interview, ensure your hair and makeup are perfect and speak with confidence.

Your body language will be a huge tell about how you carry yourself as a person, so have a few tries at making it work so you look approachable, friendly, but also professional.

Things To Be Aware Of When Submitting A Video Resume

There are some things to consider before sending off a video resume, particularly if you’re unsure whether or not they’re actually accepted by the company you’re applying to work for.

Man on a video.

If there’s been no specification in the job advertisement that they want a video resume, you should check with the hiring manager first to see if it would be acceptable, as some companies have policies against their use in the recruitment process.

The main purpose of sending off a video CV is to showcase your personality and demeanor to prove to the employer that you would make a great fit for their company.

The clothing you wear and your presentation should be that of a professional job interview, and just as you would conduct yourself in an interview you should speak confidently and concisely without sounding too rehearsed.

It’s best not to follow a script in your video resume as this can come across as forced, and the whole purpose of these videos is to allow your real personality to come through.

The environment you shoot your video it is also important, so do a test run with your camera to see what it might be picking up.

You don’t want any background noise or shuffling papers, and you especially don’t want it to appear that you’re filming while at work. It’s best to have someone look at the video before you submit it as they might be able to pick something up that you were not.

Potential Problems With Video Resumes

In addition to the problems that can go wrong filming a video resume, there are actually quite a few other areas that are still quite gray. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it’s against the law for an employer to request a picture of you when applying for a job.

The reason for this is that one can make many assumptions and misconceptions when looking at a photograph, and this can lead to discrimination during the recruitment process.

Following this thinking, sending a video resume can open you up to a world of discrimination that wouldn’t occur if you simply send a written resume.

Although you might not want to believe it, it’s possible for people to judge you within the first few seconds of a video so you need to be very certain that what you’re sending and the image you’re portraying won’t be opened up to discrimination.

For many employers, they simply don’t want to run the risk of being accused of discrimination and have strict policies in place about receiving video resumes.

Because the law permits an employer from discriminating against job applicants due to their gender, age or background, potential problems can arise when a video CV shows all of this information to an employer and can cause them to lean a particular way, even if it is subconsciously.

An Exciting Spin On Job Applications

Most employers could probably say that they have yet to receive a video resume, but the times are definitely changing for this format of job application. A video curriculum vitae is a great way to show off skills and personality than usually can’t translate into a word document, so they might be beneficial for certain types of jobs and industries.

Spend some time online and look through video resume examples before you begin planning your own so that you can be sure you have the right content and quality. Although they don’t need to be longer than a couple of minutes, what you say and how you say it will have a huge impact on your chances for the role.

Man on a laptop.

Because this is still a relatively new area and way to apply for jobs, it’s best to use your judgment when deciding what type of resume to submit.

You can usually get a good idea from the position description and job advertisement as to whether a video resume would work or if it would be best to stick with the traditional methods, and unfortunately going with the wrong choice could turn a potential employer away altogether.

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Matthew Gibbs

Matthew Gibbs

Matt is the Co-Founder of Recruiterly and a veteran recruitment professional. He has worked for, managed and owned recruitment agencies in the UK, Australia and Asia.

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