Tips for Creating a Video Resume

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What is a video resume and how can it help your job search? A video resume is a short video created by a candidate for employment and uploaded to the Internet for prospective employers to review.

As with a print resume, it's possible for a video resume to be general, or targeted toward a particular position or company. The video resume describes the individual's skills and experience and is typically used to supplement a paper resume.

A video resume can be created by a professional for you or you can create your own. Some job search and networking sites provide a means for users to incorporate video resumes into their profiles.

Should You Create a Video Resume?

Creating a video resume is an optional task for job seekers. (Very rarely, companies will request a video resume from candidates.) For some job seekers, particularly ones in visual fields, a video resume can highlight skills.

For instance, any type of performance-based work, whether it involves acting on stage, teaching a class, or presenting quarterly numbers, benefits from being shown on video. As well, a video resume can be a good way to show off your personality; for people in client-facing jobs, whose work involves charming perspective buyers, a video resume may be beneficial.

However, it's easy to miscalculate in a video resume — there's a high risk of the script, filming style, or location being inappropriate.

Keep in mind that as with anything on the Internet, once your video file is out there, you cannot control how it's shared.

As well, some hiring managers will not view video resumes, since they fear claims of discrimination in the hiring process. While a video resume can be a great way to get noticed, consider carefully before creating one to make sure a video resume is the right fit for you, and a good use of your time.

Tips for Creating a Video Resume

It's important to keep in mind that a video resume isn't going to get you a job. However, if can assist you in marketing yourself to prospective employers - if it's done right. Done poorly, it can, at best, hinder your chances of getting an interview.

At worst, it can knock you out of contention and embarrass you. That's what happened to one student who sent a video showing himself lifting weights, serving tennis balls, and ballroom dancing. It made the rounds on the Internet and didn't impress, to say the least, any prospective employers.

What to Include in a Video Resume 

If you're considering creating a video resume as part of your job search, keep these tips in mind:

  • Be professional: Dress as you would for an interview, and maintain a professional demeanor. Avoid cursing and slang. Pay attention, too, to the background of shots, and make sure it looks tidy. 
  • Prepare a script: Don't ad lib your video completely. You want to seem natural and off-the-cuff, but should have a sense of what you want to say, and how you want to phrase it. Do not read directly from a script, or from your resume, since that leads to a dull video. The main points to express in the video are what you'll provide the company, and your major goals, skills, and accomplishments. Think of the video as being a pitch for why the company should hire you.
    • Know your audience: As you plan your script and filming location, consider who will watch the video, and calibrate accordingly. A video prepared for a position at a bank might differ from a video prepared for a start-up.
    • Show, don't tell: Use visuals to illustrate what you're saying in the video script and showcase your talents and skills. For instance, if you're applying for a job where presentations are a major part of the role, you can film yourself assembling a PowerPoint. Or, if any of your presentations were recorded, use that footage in your video resume.
    • Keep it brief: Videos should be between 30 to 90 seconds. Anything longer than that is unlikely to be watched.
    • Share with friends and family: Getting feedback from others is an important step. Ask a few people to watch your video, and make edits and changes based on their comments.

    Always keep in mind that once your video is on the Internet, you no longer have control over who sees it, or how it's shared. Take feedback from friends and family seriously — if they think it's a misfire, do not share the video.

    Video Resume Don'ts

    Don't mix your personal life with your professional one. If you have information on your MySpace or Facebook page that you'd prefer employers don't see, don't link your video resume.

    Don't expect your video resume to replace your traditional resume. Not all employers are interested and others are worried about discrimination issues i.e. hiring candidates because of how they look and sound rather than your qualifications. However, a well done video can bolster your candidacy for employment.

    Suggested Reading: Creative Resume Pros and Cons

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