Supplementing traditional resumes with a video version is still a relatively new idea but, when it’s done correctly, a video resume can help set you apart from the crowd. A lot depends on the execution so, if you think it might work for your field, first make sure the company’s resume submission policy allows for video resumes—and then let your inner Steven Spielberg run free!
Here are tips for making a polished and effective video resume:
Plan ahead. Just turning on the camera and winging it never works. Think about what you want to say about yourself and your experience, about what makes you the best candidate for the job, and how you can be an asset to the company. How do you want the employer to feel after watching your video resume? Tailor your presentation to achieve the desired effect.
Short and snappy. Video resumes should never be longer than three minutes (many experts say two minutes is plenty). The goal is giving out just enough information about yourself to encourage recruiters to contact you for a full-fledged interview. This isn’t the time to ramble on about your hobbies or pets.
Write it down. A well-done video resume requires a script. Write down what you’d like to say in a conversational tone and practice several times until you’re comfortable looking into the camera and saying your piece. Replace any words or phrases that you consistently trip over or that don’t sound right coming out of your mouth.
Dress appropriately. This part is no different from showing up for a job interview in person. What you wear counts.
Have fun! While no one’s talking about doing stand-up or performing magic tricks, it is important to let your personality shine through. Remember to smile and deliver your message with confidence. (Just imagine sitting across from the interviewer and doing your best to make a good impression.) Other little things to remember: Maintain eye contact. Keep your arms and hands by your sides, unless you need to gesture to make a point. Don’t fidget.
Focus-group your video. Just as Hollywood studio movies are screened by focus groups before their general release, you should show your video resume to friends and family members. Invite their criticisms and suggestions. Chances are, they’ll have enough good suggestions for you to shoot another version.
When you’re happy with the final product, check out career networking sites such as CareerBuilder or Jobster, where you can post the video as part of your profile. Or, upload it to your personal website and link to it from there. Don’t forget to include a link to your video on your paper or electronic resume and send the link to everyone in your network.
Learn more about how to stand out as a job candidate at High Profile’s “Tips for Success”.