The job market today is so competitive that job seekers want to utilize every method and tool available to them to be noticed. Some applicants resort to getting creative with their resume formatting or use other ways of standing out from the competition.
A growing trend in the job-seeking industry is a video resume, but there are some things you should know before deciding whether it’s a good choice for your situation.
It’s worth noting that while the video resume trend has been gaining traction in the past few years, it’s by no means a brand new invention. Video resumes have been around since at least 2006 when a hopeful applicant uploaded a YouTube video with his version of a video resume.
However, at that time his efforts didn’t bring the desired results – all it did was to serve as an example of how not to create a video resume. A lot of time has passed since then, and the attitude towards video resumes in the professional world has shifted as well.
Earlier this year the career publisher Vault Inc. unveiled their annual employer survey, which revealed the changing attitude towards video resumes.
Even though only 17% of employers have received and reviewed a video resume, 89% of the respondents said they were open to being sent a video resume. Employers view a video resume as a way to quickly assess the applicant’s demeanor and the way they present themselves as a professional.
While not all employers and HR managers are on board with the growing video resume trend, one thing is clear: this trend is here to stay, and you might as well use it to your advantage.
Should You Send a Video Resume?
Attaching a link to a video resume to your job application has at least one major advantage and one equally major downside.
The most significant advantage of creating and sending out a video resume is that it’s the easiest way to get the employer to see and evaluate your personality. If you’re applying for a job that has a lot to do with the way you present yourself, a brief video resume may be the most efficient way to get your message across even before you can be physically present at a job interview.
On the other hand, video resumes have one big downside: they require the employer to spend several minutes on reviewing a single candidate.
At the time when each resume is scanned in just a couple of seconds, suggesting the HR manager dedicate 20 times more time to viewing a video resume may seem presumptuous. Plus, many employers, particularly in the US, are wary of video resume for the same reason they are wary of asking the applicants to include photos in their resume – out of the fear of breaking anti-discrimination laws.
However, if you’re entirely sure your chances of getting hired will significantly benefit from sending a video resume, you should do it – and here is how to do it the right way.
How to Create a Winning Video Resume
Making a video resume that will improve your prospects of landing a job isn’t something you can do on a whim – it takes a lot of planning to create a positive presentation of you as a candidate in a video format. Here are some tips on making a successful video resume.
1. Keep It Brief
The purpose of a video resume is to do something a regular resume cannot – showcase your professional demeanour and presentation skills. However, it doesn’t need to be too long to make the right impression on the HR manager.
You may be tempted to record a 5-minute video listing your skills, work experience, and qualifications, but if you put yourself in the position of the employer, you will realize that even if they are incredibly interested in what you have to say, they just don’t have the time to watch your creation in full.
According to the experiences of HR managers, the longest acceptable resume should be shorter than 90 seconds. 60 seconds is the ideal length for a video resume: it will allow you to say everything you want to say without forcing the employer to turn your video off halfway through because they can’t afford to spend several minutes watching it.
2. Prepare a Script
There are very few people who can deliver a convincing 90-second presentation about any topic with no preparation at all, let alone the most important question – why they are the best candidate for the job.
Preparing a script before recording the video will not only give you a better idea of what to talk about, but it will also increase your confidence: most of us perform significantly better when we know everything is going according to the script.
Unless you are applying for a particular position or your job is linked to entertainment, the content of your video resume shouldn’t be too different from the content of your regular resume.
The role of the video resume is to highlight your best qualities as an employee, which you have enumerated in the resume, instead of introducing your personality from a whole other perspective.
When you have prepared a script for your video resume, the best next thing to do is to ask someone to review it. The person reviewing your script should not only look for possible grammar and language mistakes, but also assess it from a professional point of view. Then do your check of the script, preferably a day after you’ve finished working on the text.
The biggest question you need to answer is this: “Will this video resume increase my chances of getting hired, or is it going to turn out to be the thing that stands between me and my dream job?”.
If the script is not good enough, work on until you think it’s flawless or until you decide that you don’t need a video resume after all.
3. Invest in the Production
There is nothing more hurtful for the success of your video resume endeavor than an excellent script mixed with awful production quality. It’s 2018, and people expect to see high-quality video content all the time. Opening a link to a video resume only to see a poorly-lit scene with barely intelligible sound will negatively contribute to the fulfillment of your employment goals.
The good news is that you don’t need a professional camera to record an adequate video. The key here is to ensure that the lighting situation looks good on the camera. When there is enough light in the shot, even an iPhone camera will do the trick of recording a nice-looking video. That is why you need to make sure there is plenty of natural or artificial light in the room where you’re recording your resume.
Another thing that can make or break your whole video resume recording experience is the sound. This is where even the most advanced smartphone camera won’t help – without a microphone the sound in your video won’t give off a professional vibe. You don’t need an expensive microphone to record decent audio for your video resume – thanks to the growing industry of video bloggers, there is plenty of affordable sound equipment to choose from.
In case you decide to take an even more professional approach to create your video resume by shooting several takes, you’ll also need to do an adequate editing job. This will likely require learning to work on some advanced video editing software, which is another skill you can add to your resume once you are done and as long as it’s relevant to your career aspirations.
What to Avoid in Your Video Resume
There is no universal recipe for success when it comes to creating and sending out a resume, but there are some things you can try and avoid if you want to maximize your chances of landing that position:
- Odd body language, which includes body movements and lack of eye contact with the camera. If you can’t control your behavior when you’re the only one in the room, it sends a bad signal to the employer regarding a potential job interview.
- With only 60 to 90 seconds to impress the viewer, it’s important not to let anything pull the focus from you as a candidate. When you’re recording the video resume, make sure there are no family members, children, or pets in the background.
- The wrong background can be a significant The background of your video resume has more significance than you could imagine: it’s best to shoot the video against a blank, neutrally-colored wall or in a location that resembles a workplace.
- The location for your video resume must be neat. Remove any items that do not contribute to the purpose of your video, as well as anything that may be considered garbage.
- A shaky image can undermine all your efforts – don’t count on your hands being able to hold the camera for 90 seconds straight without the slightest movement. Invest in a camera tripod or other accessory for steady video shooting.
While the heyday of sending out video resumes, maybe a couple of years off from now, it’s already clear that a resume is something you should at least try. Right now it’s your chance to stand out from the crowd, and with stiff competition in the job market, we’re witnessing today, it’s a chance worth taking.