Posted December 14, 2011 by

Expert Tips for Creating a Successful Video Resume

Video resumes are the newest tool for job seekers looking to put their best face forward — literally. Professionals can step out from behind bland paper resumes and speak directly to employers, highlighting their uniqueness and presenting themselves in the best light.

Best of all, unlike interviews where there’s no “delete” key, video resumes are made on the job seeker’s turf where they’re most relaxed, and on their terms so they can edit the package to their heart’s content. And with today’s technologies, there’s no fancy equipment or technical savvy required. But how do you produce a video resume that attracts attention, sells yourself effectively and appeals to what employers are looking for in today’s job market? Here are the experts’ guidelines:

1.       Short & Sweet- The most successful video resumes are engaging and concise, lasting from one to two minutes in length. Generally speaking, the shorter the better.

 2.       Content- The best piece of advice is to put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Consider what he or she is looking for, as well as what your profession or industry requires. Structure your speech around this, and integrate key industry buzzwords as appropriate (though beware of overkill!). You might want to begin with an immediate, unique “hook” that grabs the viewer’s attention. Then, highlight your best skills, qualities, credits and pertinent experience, leading with the most significant area. Also address what makes you better than the competition and what you can do for the employer. And remember to keep it strictly professional; no talking about your personal life.

 3.       Preparation- Iron out what you’re going to say in either bullet point form or written lines. Once this is done, rehearse your speech to the point you can speak extemporaneously, augmented with an occasional glance at notes or off-screen cue cards as needed. (Memorizing lines or reading them from off-screen cards is acceptable, but it usually comes off more dry and inauthentic.) You should also practice several taped trial runs. This will not only get you more comfortable with speaking on-camera but also identify your problem areas (see The 5 Most Frequent Offenders).

 4.       Clothing-Dress in business attire, just as you would for an in-person interview. The more dressed up, the more seriously you are likely to be taken. (Note: for some careers, this will vary or may not be applicable. For instance, a chef may better present him/herself in a chef’s hat and uniform, rather than a suit and tie.)

 5.       Background- Choose a plain background, ideally a wall that is blank or minimally decorated to avoid distracting from you. Or choose a professional setting that corresponds to your work, if appropriate.

 6.       Equipment- An actual video camera is preferable to a webcam or Smartphone camera. Put the camera on a tripod (or at least a flat surface) so the picture stays steady. To make the process easier, and if you want to employ special features (i.e. zooming, changing scenes), enlist a friend to man the camera. For optimal sound volume and to avoid echoing speech, use a remote microphone.

 7.       Noise & Light- Choose a quiet room where all ambient noise is minimized (even the hum of a distant refrigerator or noise outside a window can be picked up by sensitive equipment). Also, ensure that the area is well-lit, judging by how it looks through the camera. If lighting is less than ideal, find another location or try bringing in extra lighting.

 8.       The Right Shot- In setting up the camera, zoom out enough to view your entire face and half to one-quarter of your upper body. If you’re using any props (i.e. a stack of successfully won cases), have them ready at hand, and if changing scenes, edit out the in-between part.

 9.       Face Time- When filming, look directly into the camera. It may help to pretend you are speaking to an actual person (or recruit a friend to sit beside it). Sit or stand up straight, and remember to relax your face so you don’t appear too stiff. Ideally, you want to come off as friendly, confident and enthusiastic, but also be mindful of not getting too loose or over the top, either. Also, take into consideration your type of profession. A lawyer will want to affect a more serious countenance, while an entertainer will likely be more energetic and animated.

 10.   Communication- Speak in professional language, avoiding colloquial talk and slang. And if you have a habit of stringing words together, remember to slow it down and enunciate. The best speech in the world is useless if it’s not intelligible.

 11.   The Real Deal- Lastly, and this should go without saying, treat your video resume exactly as you would an in-person interview. That means taking it just as seriously and acting just as professionally as you would for the real thing. And don’t “put on a show” or pretend to be something you’re not (they’ll find out eventually!). Just be your authentic self, and let your best ‘you’ shine through.

Compiled by Connect a Job

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Posted in Advice for Candidates, Career Advice, Job Search, Resumes | Tagged Tagged ,