Five tips to help you create a video resume that will get you the job

Want or need to create a video resume but don’t know where to start? Here are five tips to help you create a video resume that will get you the job.

If you’ve decided a video resume is the way to go or you’ve been asked by a prospective employer to provide one, or a China recruitment agency, make sure you have your ducks in a row. That is, you don’t want to kill your prospects for getting hired by submitting a low-quality video.

An out-of-focus image, poor sound quality, a disheveled appearance, or a sketchy-looking background could doom your chances of getting the job.

What NOT to do when creating a video resume

The right resume can make or break your chances of landing an interview for your dream job. Here are a few things to avoid when creating a video resume:

  • Off-topic subjects or other verbal content that doesn’t focus on the job or your qualifications
  • Poor production, including bad lighting and shaky camera work
  • Little or no eye contact or engagement with the camera
  • Excessive hand or body movement
  • Clothes or random or distracting items strewn across the background
  • Children, other family members, or pets wandering in and out of the room
  • Distracting noises in the background (or at least those within your control)

Five tips to help you create a video resume that will get you the job

But beyond making sure you look good on camera, what else should you think about before creating your video resume? Here are five tips that will help you create a video resume that will get you the job.

1) Be professional

Just as you would in person, you still need to be professional when appearing before the camera. So, be sure to look, dress, and, most importantly, act the part. It’s a good idea to be dressed in a suit or other professional outfit and be well-groomed, just as if you were sitting across from a prospective boss.

2) Be informative

While you might be tempted to simply read off what you’ve already written on your resume, viewers of your video are going to want something more. Let’s say that your area of expertise is in marketing. Do some research before you record your video to uncover some new information that fellow industry professionals—and hiring managers alike—will find interesting. By offering extra content, you’re putting yourself ahead of the competition.

3) Be appealing (but don’t overdo it)

Filming a video resume means that you get to further expand upon all of your previous accomplishments and accolades. It does not mean, though, that you have just been awarded the Best Actor in a Motion Picture and are about to go on stage and deliver your acceptance speech. While it’s a good idea to be conversational in a video, be mindful of bragging. List your accomplishments humbly—and let them speak for themselves.

4) Be practical

Uploading a large file (or even attempting to email it to a potential boss) will create all sorts of problems. If possible, use an HD camera or a smartphone for good quality video results and keep your video to under one minute. That way, the file size won’t be too large in case you need to email it with other job applications.

5) Be cool

Staying professional in your video doesn’t mean you can’t add a little style. Though not always necessary, you can use basic video editing programs to trim some parts of the video and also add special effects like fade-outs, transitions, and title cards.

When to skip video resumes

As excited as you might be by the prospect of recording your video resume, there are some times when it’s just not appropriate.

If you’re not qualified for the job, no amount of fade-ins, stirring music, or special effects will change that. Being slightly under-qualified is one thing, but lacking even the basics of the job description is another.

And if the video resume won’t add to your application, it’s probably better to skip it. Spending a lot of time on anything that won’t help you get the job is a waste of time. You’re better off targeting your job search and customizing your application.

Why some employers like video resumes

From the employer’s view, a video resume may offer job candidates great latitude to present themselves in their best light, just as a traditional print or online resume does.

And in an increasingly visual age, employers may view video resumes as an easy way to skim through applicants. Hiring managers can watch, listen, learn, and make decisions based on what’s presented on a visual platform.

The pros and cons of video resumes

That said, a video resume may not be the right choice for everyone in every situation. So, what are the pros and cons of video resumes?

Video resume pros

Let’s start with the pros.

First, a video resume lets you retain control of the narrative. For example, if you have an employment gap in your resume, it’s hard to explain that on a one- to two-page resume. However, in a video resume, you have more space to explain said employment gap, making it easier to give it context and meaning.

Second, you can embed the video resume on your personal website or LinkedIn profile. This gives prospective employers a chance to get to know a different side of you before an interview.

Lastly, most applicants don’t use them. Using a video resume is an opportunity to demonstrate that you’re on top of technology and fully plugged into the latest ways to apply for a job.

Video resume cons

But before you invest in a ring light and tripod, know that video resumes have some cons, too.

For starters, you should consider possible questions and concerns video resumes could raise about hiring rules set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Among the potential concerns is whether a candidate who commits their image to a video resume could raise bias issues if they’re rejected for a candidate of a different gender, race, or physical ability.

Also, video resumes are often subject to the same level of scrutiny as their print or digital counterparts. Just because you’re on video, do not over-embellish career highlights.

Lights, camera, resume!

Creating a video resume is a cutting-edge way to find a job. It shows that you’re a forward thinker who gets technology and is up to date (or even ahead of) trends. A video resume may not be for everyone, or even right in every instance, but a video resume – in some situations – can help a hiring manager remember you and why you’re the best person for the job.