As jobseekers explore new ways of standing out from the crowd, ‘Video CVs’ or presentations are becoming an increasingly popular and attractive supplement to the traditional written CV. A video CV can promote ‘strengths’ in areas that are difficult to communicate in a traditional CV such as verbal skills, personality and even charisma. The actual process of creating the video can also demonstrate competence in using technology, creativity and the willingness to make the effort to impress.
Employers are also keen to exploit the video option and many now require candidates to submit video-based content as part of a job application. This may be involve asking candidates to record their answers to four or five, time-limited interview questions, or respond to a creative brief such as, ‘produce a ninety-second video of you telling us why you want to selected by our company’.
So whether you are creating a video because you are inspired to, or to comply with an employer’s job application requirements, here are some tips.
- Keep your video short, between one and three minutes. Have a clear beginning with an introduction, a middle and a close.
- Be clear about your purpose. Is this a one-off for a particular employer or can it be made more general to appeal to a range of potential employer in your field?
- Script and practice what you’re going to say. If you need to refer to notes during the actual video, keep them very brief to avoid looking away from the camera.
- Think about your post production intentions in advance. Are you going to keep things simple or produce a video with a little more sophistication? Will you use any special visual effects? Will you add text? A title and captions can either reinforce or supplement what you say in the video. If you’re studying design or marketing, consider whether a more sophisticated video would be appropriate and achievable.
- Consider the use of props. One or two items carefully selected may help reinforce your brand or values.
- Become familiar with how you look and how an employer might judge you. Examine your facial features, particularly your mouth and eyes. Be aware of your body language on camera, head movements, mannerisms and posture. Practice your smile. Project energy and enthusiasm. Take control of your look and brand.
- Be aware of your voice and linguistic habits. Do you need to lower your voice or speak more slowly? Do you sound energetic and enthusiastic? Do you overuse phrases such as ‘you know’ and words such as ‘like’?
- Be aware of the possibility of employer discrimination. A video provides an employer with the opportunity to consciously or unconsciously discriminate against candidates based on how they speak – accent and vocabulary, and how they look – ethnicity, weight, and age.
- Be well groomed. Does your hair look professional? Unless it goes against your beliefs, a little make-up is a good idea but don’t overdo it.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera. It makes the video feel more personal. Try to look relaxed and to smile.
- Dress as for an interview. Business dress or smart casual depending on the sector you’re preparing for.
- Choose a nice ‘clean’ background with good lighting. Ideally a white, clutter free background or an interesting outside location with good light.
- Do a sound check. Is your voice clear? Are there problematic external noises? You may need to use a collar microphone or similar.
- Customize the video for the job. Talk about who you are, and the job or field to which you are applying, and your credentials. Emphasise what makes you stand out and what might distinguish you from other applicants.
- For further help with tip number 6 check out the following video clips. Good Luck.