A video CV is not as uncommon as it used to be a decade ago. In the near future, video CVs are likely to become one of the most important employment tools for job seekers and employers. It makes hiring so much easier if employers can see a video profile first. Through video CVs employers can easily determine if you fit in with the culture of their company, before they study the qualifications on your resume in more detail. But, more importantly, a video CV can be used by an interviewee to wow that potential employer right from the start, provided that your video CV is truly captivating.
A Guide to Creating a Captivating Video CV
There are a few fundamental basics that must not be overlooked if you want to stand out from the crowd of candidates.
A captivating video CV needs to be short. Make it approximately one minute long. If you really have a lot to say in order to show how dynamic you are, make sure that your video CV is definitely no more than 2 minutes long. Remember, employers may need to sift through a substantial number of CVs. They, therefore, need to be impressed within the first 30 seconds of your video CV!
Simply recording your video CV on your phone may not be the best idea…it may be worth your while to invest in a camera that can produce something that looks professional. Or, if your webcam has good results, use that. Clarity & quality is key. The sound, in particular, is almost as important in the video itself. If you record using a little built-in microphone on your PC, it may pick up the echoes in the room. Invest in a small wireless clip-on microphone. It is easy to use and will take away a lot of the echo that may occur.
Lighting and Background
Find a neutral tidy place where nobody will disturb you while you are recording. Also make sure that the background is not so light that it is not helping the eye to choose what to focus on. Additionally, you also need to consider lighting. Whether natural or artificial, good lighting is imperative. If the lighting is too dark (or even too much) the footage will not be clear. So, make sure you’ve set it all up so that the background is appropriate and that the lighting is set correctly to aid clarity.
Do not forget to check the camera angle! It also needs to be right. For example, if you are using a webcam, do not have it angled up, as your audience may see more of the ceiling than of you! The camera should be on your level (so that you are at eye level with the camera, as if talking to a person). If you use a standard camera, place it on a tripod and also make sure the camera is at about eye level, but no lower than that. Provide for some room in the shot so that it’s not just showing your head on camera.
It is probably most appropriate to dress the same way you would if you were attending an interview in person. Think about what kind of outfits people wear within the company that you are targeting. Prospect employers want to see you and by dressing appropriately you can help them to visualize you within their workplace. (And again, remember that the background of your video CV also needs to be appropriate – you will not create much of an impression if you are wearing a business suit, with your kitchen sink as background.)
To make your video CV exciting and dynamic, find creative ways to communicate. Determine beforehand what you want to say and then rehearse it and record a few trial runs. Definitely do not just sit and read your CV to the camera! Even if you play captivating music, mere reading will still not make you stand out from the crowd! No, you need to look into the camera and deliver your message confidently. Also, do not fiddle with notes or shuffle papers around. (If you are reading some information, it still needs to appear that you are just talking – shuffling papers around will be a clear give-away that you are reading!)
It is always good that you feature and speak in your own video CV. This is to allow the company to build rapport with you. You want them to say “I want that person on my team” or at least to say “I want to meet that person”(then they may call you for an interview!)
However, if you are not good on camera there are other ways that you can create a really good video CV. A great way to do this is to use a video animation tool, like mysimpleshow. With mysimpleshow you can make the entire video CV as an animated version and you can even upload photos of yourself to also allow the potential employer to see you. The tool also allows you to record your own voice for the animation’s sound. Alternatively, to make the video CV even more dynamic and captivating, make part of it animated and part of it featuring yourself! For example, by using basic editing software, mysimpleshow clips can be used in conjunction with additional video footage of you speaking to the camera.
Now you know what to keep in mind when creating a captivating video CV. But it is not all about the camera, lighting and delivery. Whether you are making the video yourself, using an animation tool like mysimpleshow, or using a combination of the two, it is crucial to know what information to include in your video CV. Even though the video CV is about you, you cannot get too personal. Your specific aim is to get a potential employer interested in your skills and abilities. Watch this space, because next time we will discuss what information you need to include to make your video CV truly captivating!