As we move into a social and virtual 2014, it may be time for you to embrace or at least be open to the subject of a video resume as a means of enhancing your job application, and setting yourself apart from the competition.
Of course, video resumes do not come without risks; that is, it could mean that you open yourself up to discrimination earlier in the hiring process, or you may simply make a bad video that shows you in a poor light, and this is likely as studies show that video interviews dampen a person’s personality. Also, some employers may simply not see a video resume as relevant to the application, which means it may ultimately not be well received.
So, video resumes should come with some of kind health warning, and I’d suggest that they only be produced if asked for. If not asked for, just use them in industries that may be more receptive such as PR, Marketing and Sales or anywhere where personal presentation, public speaking, credibility, and persuasiveness are crucial parts of the job. You might even want to check as some employers may not be willing to accept them due to issues around discrimination.
But, if you are going to create a video resume, then make it as powerful and convincing a message as possible, and here are several tips to help you do that:
1. Make sure it’s value adding and relevant
A video resume should ideally add more than what can be provided through a paper resume and it should be relevant to the role you’re applying for. If presentation and pitching skills are required, why not demonstrate your skills by doing a short pitch of one of their products. If customer service skills are required you might show some scenes of you interviewing members of the public. You need to do more than simply read out your resume, as a computer can do that and it’s not value adding.
2. Know your audience and target a named individual
It’s important to try and target your video to suit your audience. Look at the brand and culture of the prospective employer, along with their own videos, and match the tone and style. For example, if you are targeting a PR role in financial services you might need to adopt a more reserved approach, background setting and wardrobe than say in media.
Also, if your video is unsolicited, it could easily be overlooked in a crowded hiring process; so, I’d strongly recommend that an unsolicited resume is sent directly to a named decision maker/hiring manager whose personality you’re familiar with. You can then tailor the video message to push their particular buttons.
3. Hire in a director
I am not talking Steven Spielberg here; the director can be you, but ideally try and work with a friend with some skill in the area who can help you develop a good script, appropriate wardrobe and grooming, good lighting, correct setting and excellent delivery. Do, several takes until you get the right feel between being natural and staged. Add some creative spark, innovation and humor to help create positive emotions in your viewer as studies show this will make your video more persuasive.
Above all else, whatever you do, be confident in your video and accentuate your personality; if you appear to believe in yourself, others will be more inclined to believe in you too.