When I began working for JobVirtue, I was asked to write a short article on video resumes. I knew very little about them at the time, but a quick googling and youtubing brought me up to speed. I believe that video resumes are an under-used medium, but you can make the same argument against them as you would against adding your photo to a resume or business card; i.e., that introducing an image of yourself implies that you’re banking on your physical appearance to get you the job. While I don’t agree with the sentiment, I can certainly understand it. My business card does not have my face on it, and I have yet to apply for a job with a video resume. That said, I am not discounting the possibility that maybe, sometime in the foggy future, I will take the leap and put my best face forward–in a more literal sense. Until then, those of you intrigued by the idea of a video-based resume can read on for some tips on how it’s done.
Gaining an advantage with a video resume
A video resume is exactly what it sounds like–a method of showcasing your career aspirations via video. It is a short clip, between one and three minutes in length, featuring you as a prospective employee. It gives your application a competitive edge and a more human feel than a text-based resume. Use a video resume to complement your text resume, and to rehearse for upcoming interviews.
Before filming, prepare a short statement in the form of a script that presents you in the best light. Start with an introduction: write a short greeting, your full name, the city you reside in, and the position you’re applying for. Next, note the qualities that would make you suitable for the position you’re applying for, followed by relevant work and/or volunteer experience that you’ve gained over the years. Finish up by briefly listing the relevant skills and talents that you’ve developed through your life/work/volunteer experience. Use your text resume as a guideline, but do not recite from it. Select the most important and valuable parts of it, and use them in your presentation.
When it’s time to record your video resume, you have two options: you can either place the script above the camera and read line by line, or you can commit to memory the main points and forget about the script altogether, improvising the speech as you go along. The former method gives you a sense of security, while the latter will give your speech more personality. Consider trying both methods and comparing the videos that result.
Make sure that you are dressed appropriately to the position you’re applying for–dress as you would to an interview at that company. Look in the direction of the camera. Film and film again until you have achieved a video presentation that is free of hesitations, umm’s, uhh’s, and long pauses, and until your speech is fluid and clear. Remember to smile. A relaxed, natural smile will lift your mood and communicate to the prospective employer that you are a pleasant person to work with.
Video resumes are not meant to replace text-based resumes or in-person interviews; instead, they combine the best aspects of the two and repackage them in the form of a video, a medium that is highly accessible and which makes a lasting impression. Keeping it to less than three minutes in length means that the prospective employer has a quick, easy way to learn about you and make an informed decision about your suitability for the job position.
Take advantage of this new medium to increase your chances of being called in for an interview and hired.