Video CVs are becoming increasing popular in today’s job market as they provide the opportunity to showcase your personality and creativity This forms part of the pre-selection process when shortlisting for first stage interviews. Creating a video CV requires time and effort and isn’t as quick as pressing ‘send’ to submit a CV. However, there may be fewer applications per vacancy, increasing your chances of securing an interview.
Not all employees will expect a video CV from you as they won’t be suitable for every job application. However, for areas of work where being personable, innovative and imaginative is important here are some considerations of how you can create a strong video CV.
When do you need a video CV?
Firstly you will be informed by the recruiters or employer if they require a video CV as part of their application process. This will either be stated in the job advert or when you discuss the vacancy with the recruiter. Video CVs are more commonly requested for Sales, Marketing and Public Relations roles or within a creative industry.
The main benefit of using a video CV is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your personality and strong communication skills. If the role you are applying for requires extensive experience of presenting to stakeholders the video CV will give the interviewers a glimpse of how you can respond to a brief and deliver effectively. In theory; you could write on your CV that you have extensive experience of presenting to stakeholders, however, the video CV will allow you to showcase this ability.
Considerations of a video CV
The average length of a traditional CV is 2-3 pages long and the recruiter or employer may spend less than 20 seconds glancing through it before reading the finer detail. With this in mind, before creating a video CV, think about what you want it to include and have a structure in place. The length of the video should be no more than 3 minutes long; any longer and the viewer may not have time to watch it in full. The first 30 seconds are the most important; if you fail to gain attention immediately the viewer will lose interest.
First impressions count
How are you going to record yourself: on a laptop, smart phone, video camera? There is plenty of free software available from Microsoft Movie Maker on Windows, to Apple iMovie on Macs. You may want to try various ones first and compare quality and sound. Before you record your video CV, plan what you are going to wear. Looking smart and professional demonstrates you are focussed and taking this process seriously. Dress smartly as if you were in front of the employer at an interview.
Think about your background – ideally you want to create your video in a well-lit room, with little distractions in the background and no interruptions. Therefore, if you share a flat or live in a noisy location think about other locations that you could record in.
Focus on something behind the camera, it could be a prompt on the wall or an object. This will ensure you are looking ahead and give you a focal point so your eyes aren’t wandering. Smile you are on camera! Smile and sound enthusiastic – this will instil confidence in the recruiter or employer of your ability to do the job.
Develop your video CV like a story with a structured beginning, middle and end. Whilst you don’t want it to appear scripted, having a format in place will keep it clear and concise.
Contact information – introduce yourself in the opening of the video; your contact details are a take away point so reference those at the end with any other social media platforms you want to promote.
- Beginning – like with a job application you want to ensure your video is tailored for the role you are applying. Think carefully about the role and identify what you believe they are specifically looking for. As part of your introduction include 3 of your USP’s that are in line with the role. For example; if they are looking for someone who is solutions focussed, reference this when introducing yourself and describe types of problems you have resolved and the impact this has had. Treat this introduction like the profile on your CV. You may want to have some prompts or cue cards, but do try and memorise these so you are maintaining eye contact with the web cam/camera at all times and ensure they don’t cause a distraction. You don’t want to appear like you’re reading from a book, so if you need prompts – bullet point them.
- Middle – Your experience will form the main part of your video. Like a written CV, think about what work or professional experience you have that you could highlight that is relevant for the role. Rather than just reeling off examples of responsibilities held, what has set you apart from your colleagues, what achievements do you have, What career highlights really demonstrate where you have significantly added value? If you are a recent graduate think about projects you have been involved in or assignments you have worked on. If appropriate you may want to share your work portfolio through a slideshow, clips or a screenshot of your website.
- Ending – summarise what you have told the interviewer and why you are the best person for the position. If there are additional areas you can include, think about your motivations about applying for the role, knowledge of the organisation and how your attributes match the company values. This will leave a positive lasting impression. Be sure to include your availability and contact details. Providing other media platforms will strengthen your application. It may take several attempts so don’t expect to have a finished video ready to send after your first take. Practice makes perfect so watch it back, and edit out anything that doesn’t put you across in the best possible way.
- Feedback – once you have created your video, watch it back! Ask a friend, former colleague or family member for constructive feedback. If you are creating multiple videos, label them or amend the file name accordingly, keeping a copy so you can refer to it ahead of your interview. You may want to also include a traditional CV as a reference point which needs to include contact information. Whether you are posting your video or emailing it, be sure to mark it for the attention of the person it’s intended for. If emailing it, consider the size of the file so it reaches its destination. Alternatively you may want to upload it to Youtube or Vimeo and use the link to share directly with the recruiter or employer.
Good luck with your Video CV!
Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you be pitch perfect please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org