While a lot of things about job hunting have changed in the 21st century, it can be surprising how much has remained the same. One of those things that have been a tradition for decade after decade is the professional resume.
There are the chronological work history, the skills format and sections where you emphasize experience or education over a strict recounting of every detail. While these standardized forms work well for the staff in a human resources department, it can be frustrating for job applicants to separate themselves from the pack.
Are video resumes a good idea?
Some job search websites and career portals provide the ability to upload a video resume. Should you make a video resume to set yourself apart from the crowd?
There are genuine advantages and disadvantages to submitting a video resume.
Pros of a video resume
- The real you: You can let your personality shine and let your prospective employer check your appearance.
- Communication: The video format allows you to demonstrate your ability to communicate well and show the ability to articulate ideas.
- Personality: If you’re trying to land a stage job, work as an interviewer, in sales, or public relations, a video can act as a free sample of you being personable.
Cons of a video resume
- Time-consuming: Professional managers who do a lot of hiring have refined resume scanning to high art. With most resumes, they can either discard one or set it aside for later after just a few seconds of scanning. Watching a video that is a couple of minutes long might be too much time for them to bother with.
- Communication: Speech and presentation can be a double-edged sword. A personal interview lets you feel out the interviewer and tailor your answers and demeanour to appeal to that particular individual.
A video is only able to present a single view of you, a moment in time. You may not get a chance to prove you can adapt because of a wasted first impression.
Tips to create a high-quality video resume
Before you start recording and sending out your video resumes, here are a few tips to leave the perfect impression on recruiters:
#1 Prepare your studio
The place where you film your video resume needs to be neutral coloured, without a lot of clutter. It needs to be quiet and well-lit. You need to make sure there are no distractions or outside noises so that you can concentrate on what you’re trying to say.
You should sit just as you would during an interview and think of the video as depicting you in front of the interviewer answering questions.
#2 Look professional
It’s important to dress appropriately and groom yourself well. You need to take the same care for your appearance as you would if you were going to a job interview in person.
Wear clothing that fits the job you’re applying for so the job recruiter can visualize you at work in the position. You need to dress in a businesslike manner for any office, business, or customer relations job.
#3 Be quick
The people who conduct job searches are hard-pressed for time. They spend a lot of time looking through resumes and interviewing people. If they’re going to take the time to look at your video, make sure they’re not wasting their time. Keep it short and to the point.
Open with a pleasant greeting, state your name and the position. There’s a concept in business called the elevator pitch. It means you need to make your basic proposition in the time it takes to ride an elevator with the person you’re trying to convince.
You need to state your case in about a minute or less, without rushing. If your video is longer than three minutes, the recruiter will likely never see the end of it.
#4 Customize the video
As with a text resume, it’s crucial that you demonstrate a knowledge of the company and its needs. This means you can’t just shoot one video and hand it around to different companies.
Each application needs to have its own video that includes the company name and the advantages you bring to fix that company’s particular problem.
You’re seeking to illustrate an employee that looks great, communicates well, and radiates competence without wasting time. Demonstrate that you know the company, the industry, and what needs you can address.
#5 Rehearse your lines
You need to write out a script that brings together the points here. Don’t just read your paper resume. That defeats the purpose of the video resume, which needs to reflect your personality and present your competence.
Confidence is perceived as competence. Write your script and practice your lines. You’ll gain confidence because you know what you’re going to say. Practice in front of a mirror, then a friend.
Relax and give yourself permission to make mistakes. Practice and make mistakes, then reshoot the video a few times until you have it the way you want it.
The final result should demonstrate confidence in your abilities, a desire to be helpful, and an atmosphere of dependability and professionalism. Rehearsing scripted lines may seem artificial, but this is the only way to make sure you present yourself precisely the way you want to be seen.
Just as with a traditional resume, it takes hard work to do it well and get noticed as a cut above the rest.
Remember, a video resume isn’t a replacement for a text resume; it’s a supplement to a document that already proves your qualifications. Most recruiters that view them use them as a way to filter out applicants whose resumes they want to review. It should always be considered in that context.
With the right attitude, some care in your appearance, an eye towards efficiency, care in the location of your video shoot, and careful writing with rehearsal, you can make a real winner of a video resume.
About the author: Heather Redding
Heather is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.