Video Resumes

Video Resume

It should come as no surprise that in a time when the very landscape of how we work day-to-day has altered by mandatory quarantines and social distancing- the way in which we go about distinguishing ourselves to get hired has changed along with it.  While a well-crafted paper resume remains the standard application for employment even now, job seekers are ever aware that something more needs to be done to distinguish themselves if a prospective employer is going to consider them when in person interviews remain difficult.  A video resume is now becoming more prevalent for applicants that want to showcase aspects that might otherwise be demonstrated during an in-person interview.  More importantly, many employers across multiple fields are asking for that video resume up front. 


Introduce the real you


Have you ever gotten off the phone with an HR rep or headhunter feeling like if you could just meet a live person from the company they represent, you could show how RIGHT you are for a job?  Traditional resumes, no matter how well written, can only give the bullet points of a person’s professional career, while a video done well can show a person’s personality.  Allowing prospective bosses to have a chance to effectively meet a new hire without having to interact BEFORE the interview process will set you apart than those who haven’t provided the option of a video resume.  Done right, this is your chance to show that you are a smart, fun professional with good values who is easy to get along with.  As many of today’s hiring managers are aware, it is important to make sure that every new hire fit in with the existing “culture” of a company, to ensure productivity doesn’t falter.


Offer a taste of your skills


Many professions require an aptitude in communication and presentation skills.  A video of you utilizing these skills would certainly highlight to employees why they should consider you before other candidates.  In the creative fields, including a selection of previous projects in your video resume is a great way to feature you best accomplishments before you even speak to anyone.  Campaign ads, copy you’ve written or edited, drawings or plans you have orchestrated—all can be shown to their best possible effect so that bosses will know what you are capable of when they hire you.


You control the narrative


Go on any job prep website, and you will find a list of questions that are most likely to be asked during an interview.  Thoughtfully answering those questions during your video is a great way to make sure you get both the tone and the substance of each response correct.  You have any opportunity to reshoot anything that seems awkward or artificial over and over until you get it right.  If you can avoid the pitfalls of seeming over-rehearsed, this bit of control may save you the agony of having to repeat that Q&A during the interview.  If not, you will at least have a script to go by.


If you are considering creating a video resume, remember to follow some simple guidelines so that your efforts aren’t wasted. 

Keep it professional.  This should go without saying, but this is the first impression prospective bosses will have of you.  According to the culture of each industry, that includes a dress code.  Know what that dress code is, whether it’s a suit or board shorts and a t-shirt, and dress to impress.  Remember, you want this video to present to hiring personnel you that will be coming to work every day.  Avoid slang, cursing, or jokes that might seem offensive to anyone.


Quality is Key.  Consider having someone with experience help you.  Its easy enough to create videos that we send to family and friends using our phones or webcams, but for something like this, quality counts.  Even if you don’t have the time or money to hire a professional videographer, having a second party take the video and run shots with you will certainly allow you to create a better product.  You want to ensure good lighting, without distracting shadows hindering your presentation and no background noises.  Utilize this person and your friends and family to be your test audience and accept criticism to make your video better.


Prepare a script and keep to it.  Knowing your audience and background will allow you to modify your script accordingly.  A person applying for a job in marketing is not likely to need a script designed to get one hired as a lawyer.  Try to fold those typical interview questions naturally into the dialogue, but also keep the focus on you-what you bring to the table as a person and as an employer.  Include examples of your work that you are proud of-whether by using footage of past presentations or creating a new PowerPoint presentation of past projects.

Keep it brief.  Typically, these videos should last no more than 90 seconds.  While that doesn’t seem like a lot of time, you are submitting this video resume to accompany your traditional resume to stand out.  Its an introduction, and any more than those 90 seconds may cause those hiring to tune out, which is the last thing you want.