Did you know that almost 93 per cent of all human communication is visual? According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, just a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, which means that as far as making a strong impression goes, really good visuals can beat a piece of text any time of the day. The same applies to CVs. In fact, a video CV can be more engaging and eye-catching to employers.
Besides, is there a more creative way to land a job? All the evidence points to one conclusion: video content is king.
Why do you need a video CV?
Video CVs might come in handy in the nearer future. While they haven’t replaced the traditional types of CV, and probably never will, they offer an alternative way to get the employer’s attention. Also, they offer you the opportunity to stand out from the competition. In some cases, a video CV is helpful when you are applying for a job abroad. This provides a middle ground for you and employers in case you aren’t available to physically attend a job interview.
What are the advantages of a video CV?
A video CV can show your personality and other intangible skills which may be difficult to identify from a traditional CV. Apart from that, it adds creativity, making it more interactive and so much more:
- It helps you make a strong impression and stay memorable
- It gives employers an idea of how effectively you can sell a product
- It shows employers that you are not intimidated by social media and the online world, which means you can use technology effectively
- It offers you the chance to verbally demonstrate your skills (public speaking, communication, etc)
- It offers an alternative and more entertaining solution to employers when reviewing CVs
- It allows you to talk about achievements and show what you can offer to a company
Meanwhile, employers are more likely to spend up to 30 seconds watching a video, compared to the reported 6 seconds of reviewing a printed CV.
What are the disadvantages of a video CV?
If it doesn’t look professional, it can do more harm than good, as you’ll likely be viewed as sloppy and unprepared. Moreover, if you are not comfortable appearing in front of a camera, you risk blowing your chances as your discomfort will be painfully obvious.
You might also want to give up on the idea of using a video CV for the following reasons:
- It invites the issue of discrimination – some employers may want to avoid using video CVs because they can be accused of visual discrimination based on the person they see in front of them
- It allows only certain personality types to shine on video – let’s face it, not everyone was born to become a popular YouTube star
- Some employers may dislike video CVs because they take up too much computer space and, therefore, prefer to stick to paper-based ones
- It can’t replace a one-to-one interview entirely; employers prefer to see how you react to unpredicted questions
Simply put, it sometimes may not even be appropriate to use a video CV. While this is more easily accepted in the creative industries, you never know what each employer wants to see. It may be suitable for a job in marketing, social media, design and the arts but that doesn’t mean it will work as effectively when applying for a position in an accounting or legal firm. This is one of the reasons why it’s safer to create a chronological CV, which is more commonly used in every field.
When should you use a video CV?
Industries for which it is appropriate to use a video CV include:
- Sales/Customer Service
- Marketing/Public Relations
Industries for which it’s not appropriate to use a video CV include:
While a video CV is often considered to be appropriate for creative roles (and not so much for corporate and conservative positions, or those that require a high degree of formality), it largely depends on the employer. As such, it’s always a good idea to think about company culture to figure out what you think it’s suitable. For example, are you applying for a tech-savvy startup or an old-school legal firm? Researching an employer can help you figure out what’s appropriate.
How to make a video CV
Unlike a written CV, a video CV allows you to show who you are in a more entertaining and engaging way. This gives you the opportunity to create something on your own – the way only you know how. Essentially, you can do whatever you want with it, as long as it follows a few basic rules.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your own video CV.
1. Find the right equipment
You will need a computer, internet access and a camera. There is also the option of using a smartphone but if you want it to look professional, it’s best to use editing software such as Microsoft Movie Maker on Windows or Apple iMovie for Macs. Lightworks is another good choice, though it’s not for beginners.
Since most people use YouTube, you can create an account on the platform and upload your video there. However, you will need to make sure the video is in one of the following formats:
- AVI (Audio Video Interleaved)
- 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project)
- MOV (QuickTime Movie)
- MP4 (Motion Picture Experts Group Part 14)
- MPEG or .MPG (Motion Picture Experts Group)
- FLV (Adobe Flash)
- M4V (h.264)
- WMV (Windows Media Video)
- WEBM (HTML5)
2. Choose the perfect spot
Apart from choosing software, you will also need to think about other practicalities such as finding a clean set or background. Just like you would do for a Skype interview, make sure that you choose a spot that is clutter-free and that isn’t messy or distractive in any way. Think about where is the most suitable place for you to film. Is it your room, your school or the great outdoors (eg: the park)? Take your time to make a wise choice.
3. Prepare a script
A script can help you introduce yourself and give you some sort of structure with a beginning, middle and end to what you are saying. This should tell employers what you do and describe the type of position you are seeking. Here’s what you can do:
- Start with your name; say where you come from and where you have studied.
- Talk about your biggest achievements and skills, and provide examples. Make sure these are relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Tell them what you are currently doing. This could be something like: ‘I am looking for a job at a company where I can develop my talents and offer my expertise’ or ‘I am currently interning with a company in marketing and seeking a full-time position’.
4. Go for it
This is going to be the most time-consuming part of the process. Don’t forget to talk about your educational background and work experience, possibly mentioning previous job titles and companies you worked for. Refer to your biggest accomplishments and what you have learnt while there.
You can do this in many ways. Some prefer to do it through narration (a timeline of what they have done), a mock interview (answering relevant questions), a project showcase, a reel or a mixture of these. The way you present information can help you make it more interesting while you talk about your accomplishments. Adding clickables and embedding links to your video, as well as music and informational graphics, can be incredibly effective.
There should be an emphasis on the conclusion because it needs to be short and sweet. Here you need to quickly summarise what you have said using focused and direct language. Remind employers that they can download a paper-version of your CV, thank them for taking the time to watch the video and include your contact details to let them know how you can be reached.
5. Upload your video
Once you are happy with your result, you can upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. If you are using YouTube, this is how you can go about doing it:
- Log in to your YouTube account and click on the upload button in the top right corner.
- Select the video file from the dialog box that appears that you want to upload from your computer. Click ‘Open’ and it should start uploading.
- You will then be asked to enter details such as a video description. This will give you a chance to enter details about yourself and your social media accounts to help you with your job search.
- When choosing your privacy settings, it is important to choose public so that any prospective employer can view your video CV.
After this, you can use the link to include on your social media profiles and online portfolio, and share it directly with potential employers.
Video CV examples
When you are out for the job hunt, it’s always useful to take a look at other CVs. Whether you are browsing for templates on the internet or discussing about the content with your friends, this should help you experiment with different ideas. Meanwhile, we’ve put together a few video CV examples for you to check out for inspiration.
Tips for success
Just because you’re using a video CV doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to be overly casual. In fact, if you want to show employers you have what it takes, you need to dress for the role and smile for the camera. You also need to stay positive and friendly throughout the whole session. Don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time. Try as many retakes as you need to make it perfect!
A video CV is essentially a combination of a CV and a job interview. This gives you the opportunity to present the ‘real’ you, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. To do that, you need to be confident in what you’re saying. This should get the attention of recruiters and help to build a sense of trust. You also need to be able to articulate effectively and be convincing.
Remember that your video CV shouldn’t be long. In fact, it’s best to keep it under a minute. If it gets more than a minute long, it might become boring to viewers, and your goal is to make employers want to see more – not less – of you. The video should be a mini advertisement of you, and the last thing you want to do is to present yourself like just another candidate.
Figure out what you want to talk about and build around that by providing examples that are relevant to the role you are applying for. Get to know your audience, find out what they are looking for and start talking about your skills, experience and the years you have been working in the field. Identify what makes you a strong candidate by focusing on your key strengths and show how you meet the job criteria.
Share with family and friends
It’s important to get feedback from people you trust. Ask your friends, family or a careers advisor to tell you what they think about it, and make the appropriate edits and changes.
Include answers to common questions
This saves employers’ time for inviting you in a job interview.
Speak slowly and clearly
Give yourself some time to say what you need to say and use silence effectively.
Don’t simply read your CV to the camera
Be inventive, come up with a good story and an effective sales pitch, and use your surroundings and software tools to help you make your video a short movie explaining why you should be hired.
Show off your personality
The idea of creating a video is to show your personality. If you don’t intend on doing so, there is no point putting a video CV together. Remember, employers want to get a better sense of who you are, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Take more than one shot
It’s impossible to get it right the first time, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little until you get the result you need.
If you are currently looking for a job, ask yourself if it’s appropriate to use a video CV for your chosen field. Obviously, it isn’t for everyone nor is it intended to be used for every profession and industry.
Keeping a paper copy for employers who prefer the traditional CV is essential for success. Also, getting to know what you are after in a job, what you want to show employers and how to promote yourself effectively can help you come up with a CV that highlights your key strengths and talents.
Have you ever used a video CV? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below.
This article was originally published in March 2014.