A video CV is a short visual recording used by a candidate to apply for a job. Instead of replacing traditional CVs, a video CV is used to supplement a written application. They can either be uploaded to a video hosting site on the internet or sent as a video file directly to employers via email. The purpose of a CV in this format is to highlight a candidate’s skills and experience while giving employers an insight into their personality. Video CVs are usually between one and three minutes long. It is important to grab a recruiter’s attention while keeping the running time of the video to a minimum.
The idea of getting in front of a camera and putting yourself in the public domain can be scary, but in some industries, a video CV can really set you apart.
Video CVs are most used to apply for creative and customer-facing roles in sectors such as advertising, creative arts, marketing, media, PR, and sales. This being said, recorded CVs don’t have to be restricted to particular jobs or industries. They can also be particularly useful when applying for digital, journalism, fashion, or IT-related roles. However, with more traditional jobs, such as those in law, accounting, medicine, construction, etc., a video CV may not always be appropriate. When deciding whether to use a video CV take into consideration the job you’re applying for and the company you hope to join.
To begin with, write down what you would like to say. Do not attempt to film the video without a script -this can lead to you forgetting important points or waffling to fill the time. It is fine to ad lib a little but try not to lose track of what you want to say. Learning your script beforehand also prevents you from having to read from an autocue or notes.
Plan the location of your video to ensure that you have a quiet, well-lit space to film in. You will also need to consider the backdrop of your recording. It should be clear and free from clutter.
Appearance also matters. Plan your outfit in advance, making sure to dress as you would for an interview. This could mean a suit and tie or business casual – take your cue from the type of organisation that you are applying to.
Have fun with your video CV and enjoy making it. Think about what you want to say beforehand and have an idea of what you want the video to look like. Don’t hesitate to start recording, you’ll only get better with practice.
What to include
Structure the video so that it has a beginning, middle, and end. Start by introducing yourself, explaining why you have created the video and why you are the right person for the job. Talk about your unique selling points and any relevant skills and experience, showing examples of your work and demonstrating your skills using slideshows, clips, or on-screen graphics.
At the end of your video summarise what you have told the employer and reiterate why you are right for the role. Thank them for watching the video and include your contact details. Link to online platforms that could strengthen your application, such as a website or social media account. The most important thing to demonstrate in a video CV is your passion and capability.
The format of the video could be a project showcase, mock interview (where you answer relevant questions to the camera), or a narrated timeline of your experience and achievements. The choice is yours. Let your personality shine, and where appropriate be funny. Funny is shareable.
What will you need – Technical aspects
As well as practical considerations such as location and script, you’ll also need to consider technical aspects such as filming equipment, the editing process, and how you’ll make the video accessible to recruiters. You will need a computer, internet access, and a camera as a minimum. You may also need a tripod, lighting, and editing software such as Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple iMovie.
If you have a smartphone with a high-quality camera you could use this, but if you want it to look professional it is best to use a good DSLR camera. Using a low-quality camera is the equivalent of handing in your CV scribbled onto a napkin. Make sure the audio quality is good. You could probably get away with a slightly less high-quality video, but the audio must be perfect. Employers will switch off if they cannot hear what you are saying.
When filming, make the video dynamic by using different shots and camera angles. Do as many takes as possible to give you something to work with during the editing process, arguably one of the most important steps to creating a great video CV. It is at this stage that you can tighten up your video, reordering and tweaking shots, cutting bits that did not work, and adding visual effects (such as pointing to text as it appears on screen). The scenes that make the final cut should be those that portray you in the best possible light. Be prepared to spend a lot of time refining your recording. If editing isn’t a skill you possess you can always ask a friend or put the word out online for someone who might be able to help.