Job Search Tip of the Week #26 (2017)


Do You Need a Video Résumé?

Video résumés are one of the newest trends in recruitment and hiring. They can be a useful career tool, but while a great video can help you stand out from other candidates, a poorly done one can effectively close the door on opportunities.

When to say “action”

A video résumé can convey important information to a potential employer. You can shine a spotlight on your qualifications, personality, and even cultural fit for the job. But career experts say that such videos are not a replacement for traditional résumés. Worse, when done wrong — and a quick Web search can reveal many such disasters — they can sabotage your job search.

So how do you know if a video is appropriate? Consider these ideal scenarios:

  • You want to show an employer that you have relevant experience, beyond what your standard résumé and cover letter can convey. For example, Tech Republic featured Australian software developer Nick Belling, who used a video to point out the multiple, varied software solutions he’s designed that hiring managers have previously overlooked due to his lack of “real world” industry experience.
  • You are applying for a role that requires a lot of face-to-face interaction with others. If your dream job is as a tech reporter, IT sales rep, client-facing web developer, or something similar, Forbes suggests that a video can show how well you present yourself and highlight your interpersonal communication skills.
  • You want to show off intangible qualities such as self-confidence or creativity. If you have a great idea for a creative video that will put you ahead of the pack — and the skills to artfully pull it off — it’s worth the effort. Just remember, a video should supplement, not replace, your regular résumé.
Making a production

If you’ve determined that a video résumé is appropriate, what should you do next? Many recruitment sites, such as Upwork and Video Recruit, allow users to post a video and provide step-by-step instructions for doing so. Still, you need to be aware of technological constraints, such as bandwidth and compatibility, which might trip up potential viewers. In addition, follow these guidelines to help make your video pitch perfect:

  • Keep it short. The video should be one to two minutes (three minutes at most). This is a teaser, not a documentary. Tech Republic suggests researching your audience; zero-in on what they want and provide just enough information to make them want to contact you.
  • Pay attention to details. Sound, lighting, setting, costumes — all the things that matter in any entertainment production matter here. Make sure the surrounding area is clean and uncluttered and that your attire is job appropriate. Consider your body language, and don’t skimp on the quality of videography and editing.
  • Write and rehearse. Your final product should be perfect, no exceptions. Snafus in a video can be more detrimental than a typo on a résumé. Tech Republic notes that when you put yourself out in a video, you’re being judged on potential cultural fit as well as experience and skill. So dress appropriately and practice enough to be comfortable on camera.
  • Show and tell. A great use of the video is to show an employer examples of your work: screenshots of an app or website you developed, bullet points, or other supporting information that summarizes your main accomplishments. And be sure to provide links to your online résumé and any other relevant information for the prospective employer.
  • Take a final look. Give the video at least one final look before you send it to an employer or upload it online. As Forbes points out, be sure to test the technology to ensure that the video will work easily for everyone, regardless of which platform they view it from.

Video can help you sell yourself to an employer, especially when you can’t meet in person. Just make sure that you use this medium with care.

Remember: A video can help persuade a potential employer that you’re the right person for the job — if it’s done right.

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