A Guide to Making Video Resumes

  • Your Digital Thumbprint

    These days recruiters and HR people are inundated with applications from perspective employees and as a result job seekers are doing everything within their power to stand out. This reality has in part fueled the growing popularity of video resumes. Job hunters often reason that they’ll definitely be able to leave an impression with an employer my making a little movie about themselves. And they are right. These little movies do leave an impression… sometimes good, and sometimes very, very bad. So it’s important that if you decide to take the video resume route, you know what you’re doing… or you hire someone who does. Photo Credit: Editor B
    D.I.Y. Isn’t Always the Right Option
  • D.I.Y. Isn’t Always the Right Option

    Most computers come with a microphone and a camera, and many job seekers think that’s all they need to create their video resumes. It’s a lot harder than they think, says Catharine Fennell, CEO Of videoBIO, a company that creates professional, web-hosted video biographies and promos for job seekers, entrepreneurs, and companies. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”says Fennell. Photo Credit: Visual.Dichotomy
    Different than a Paper Resume
  • Different than a Paper Resume

    A traditional resume has its purpose, but if an employer is evaluating a few dozen candidates, those lifeless pieces of paper can start to blend together. A video resume can help turn a candidate from inanimate words into an actual human being. So it’s important that the human being on the video is a person with whom the recruiter would actually like to spend some time. Recruiters will ask themselves: Do I get a good feeling about you? Are you authentic? How is your energy? Do I feel like you’re going to be a good fit in the culture? Photo Credit: BallGame 68
  • Connection

    A video resume is everything a paper resume is not.  It is the chance to establish credibility, trust, familiarity and grab a potential employer’s attention in the first ten seconds, says Fennell.   It is your personal promotional trailer.  What you do not want to do is re-state everything that is in your paper resume (hard skills and experience).  The intent is to make a connection and interest someone enough to invite you for an interview, says Fennell. Here are a few tips that will help you accomplish just that. Photo Credit: VideoBio.com
    Keep it professional
  • Keep it professional

    Remember you are showing this video resume to a potential employer. It’s not designed for a date, for your mother or your friend. Be Professional.  Here are a few examples of people who did NOT do this: In this video resume, the job applicant talks about how he got fired for tax evasion. He goes on to say that he “got laid,” a lot in college. Most potential employers will probably just eliminate him right away. In this video resume, the applicant is looking to get hired as a video game coder, but not once does he list any specific work experience. Playing music on a broomstick probably doesn’t qualify him for the position, either. Finally, this video resume is definitely tongue and cheek, but there are lessons to be learned here too. First and foremost, unless you’re applying for a job at the ballet, you probably shouldn’t be dancing in your video resume. Photo Credit: YouTube.com/perlanator
    Keep It Simple
  • Keep It Simple

    Your potential employer is interested in what you have to say, not in your video editing skills. Focus on the message.  In this video resume, Johnny Vargas does list what kind of job he is looking for but then he uses too many transition effects, which ultimately become distracting.  “All the gimmicky backgrounds distract the viewer from what he is saying,” says Fennell. In this video resume, the applicant gets lost in the music.  It’s much more important to focus on what you can offer your employer rather than trying to impress him with your music choice. In this video resume, David has so many different shots and so much background music, it is really hard to even pay attention to what he is saying. His words also run together quite a bit so he’s hard to understand. Photo Credit: YouTube.com/Johnny7Online
    Sound and Picture Matters
  • Sound and Picture Matters

    Yes, sound and lighting does matter. Think about it. Most people wouldn’t have a resume with typos and the margins off. It’s the same with a video resume. Ask yourself the following questions: Am I audible? Can they see me? Am I in focus? In this video resume, you immediately notice how out of focus this video is. Also the sound quality is extremely poor. “Leo takes up about 30% of the frame. The employer can’t see him clearly and the camera man is in the shot,” says Fennell. In this video, Robert uses San Francisco as a fake background which is very distracting to the viewer. The video would have been much more effective with a simple white background. Photo Credit: YouTube.com/lsamoiloff
    Do it Yourself Tips
  • Do it Yourself Tips

    If you can’t afford to get a professional shoot, here are some tips you can use that can make your video look much more professional. When you are staging the shot make sure you have a clean white background. Do not film in a room with carpets, chairs or other things that absorb sound. Do not select an environment with really high ceilings or tiled floors. Test the framing of the shot – make sure your eyeline is direct to camera and that you are not looking up or down (this also applies if you are using a webcam). Make sure the camera is in focus and the overall shot is well lit. Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks
    Know what you are going to say
  • Know what you are going to say

    Know what you are going to say before you start shooting. Scripting and rehearsing is crucial!  Remember a script should be designed to help you to prepare your key messages, but not something you will read on camera. Tell yourself when you are shooting that you are talking to a friend, it will relax you. Photo Credit: juliejordanscott
    Know Your Audience
  • Know Your Audience

    The type of job you are applying to does matter. If you are selling yourself as an entertainer you need differentiate yourself from other applicants. In this video, Anthony is singing and dancing, but that is ok because he is also selling himself as an entertainer, says Fennell. You want to use all the tools in the toolkit. For example, if you are a swimsuit model you are going to wear the sexiest revealing suit that will enhance all your attributes.  “That’s why you’re being hired, not for your personality, but for people who are looking for a job in business then it’s a totally different kind of delivery,” says Fennell. Photo Credit: Magazine Cafe
    Act Natural
  • Act Natural

    Don’t forget to smile and use warm and animated expressions, says Fennell. Animation in your facial expression will also lead to animation in your voice.   Try to remember this is the first time that someone is meeting you. Treat a video resume like you would if you were meeting a potential boss for the first time. People respond as much to your energy as they do to what you’re saying. If you come across with a negative attitude, then that is going to be felt on camera as well. When you watch David, you can see immediately that he speaks with confidence. It is especially important that he is energetic considering he is applying for a job in the entertainment field. Photo Credit: romainguy
    List Specific Examples
  • List Specific Examples

    List as many specific examples as possible. In this video, Bonnie tells the audience immediately what she does and then she shares what makes her good as an executive assistant listing specific examples. Photo Credit: VideoBio.com
    First Impressions Count
  • First Impressions Count

    You have ten seconds to grab the attention of your audience. You want to make an immediate connection with your words and delivery, not with gimmicks.  The emphasis should not be on restating what is in a resume but rather presenting you and telling the audience who you are, and why you are the best candidate for the job, says Fennell. Photo Credit: mind on fire
    Get Straight to the Point
  • Get Straight to the Point

    Get straight to the point. Don’t waste time. Most people shut off a video after thirty seconds.  List what kind of job you are seeking and why you are right for it. Right away Bryan lists what kind of role he is looking for and what he can bring to the table. After looking for more than a year year, Bryan landed a job as CEO within one month of sending out his video resume. Photo Credit: VideoBio.com
    Bring Your A Game 
  • Bring Your A Game 

    “You’ve only got one chance to make a great first impression. Think of it as your audition for the ‘business’- equivalent of American Idol (but without the props, music and instruments). It’s important that the judges like you and you know that they are evaluating you on more than just your business skills,” says Fennell. They want to get to know you and what you are bringing to the table for their company and whether you will fit into their culture. Photo Credit: Only Sequel
    Go Extreme
  • Go Extreme

    Want to hear some more crazy stories about pounding the pavement for a job? Here are 14 ridiculous tales of extreme job hunting. Photo Credit: Photomish Dan
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