Resumes & Cover Letters
How to make a video job application
With digital technologies being used more in the hiring and selection of new employees, it’s becoming more common for recruiters and employers to request that candidates submit a video as part of their job application.
A video job applications is a way for employers to get an idea of your personality and whether you’ll be a good cultural fit in the organisation, and is often used when managers are located in another city or are on the road to help streamline the process.
For you, it’s an opportunity to sell yourself and demonstrate your communication skills and creative flair in a way that’s not necessarily available through a traditional resume. The video application should be used to compliment your regular resume however, not replace it.
The thought of creating a video job application can be daunting – not only what you’ll say, but also how you’ll present on camera and all the technical aspects to think about.
However, with some planning, you can create a professional-looking video resume that leaves a lasting impression for all the right reasons.
Step one: Decide the format
Before you start filming, consider what’s being asked of you and how you can best present your case through video. Just as you would tailor a resume to suit a job listing, you should also make sure your video is suited to the job you’re applying for.
It’s all about creating something that fits the job description and company. For most industries, a simple video presented to camera, filmed at home on a phone or computer will fit the bill. For others, a more visually creative video where you don’t feature at all, but let your talents speak for themselves would impress:
Nathaly Junnit’s video creatively showcases her personality, skills and experience in a simple and visually appealing way which is great for creative industries.
Step two: Write your script
A potential employer may not have time to watch each video application from start to finish, so it’s important to make an impression as quickly as possible. Start by introducing yourself and sum up in a sentence or two why you’re the best person for the job.
You should also aim to keep the entire length of your video less than a minute – in which time you can go into further detail about your relevant experience and accomplishments.
What you include will be dependent on the job and your industry, but generally should include the following:
- A short and persuasive opening statement – your elevator pitch
- Your quantifiable achievements
- Your skills and experience, tailored for the role you’re applying for
- A little bit of personality and tactful humour, if appropriate
Emily Doty’s professional video resume has a strong opening statement and sums up her achievements in just 45 seconds.
Step three: Rehearse
While it’s important to know what you’re going to say in your video, it shouldn’t seem as though you’re reading directly from a script, so rehearse beforehand until you’re completely comfortable. You may want to enlist the help of a friend or family member. Make sure to speak clearly and slowly, smile, and let your personality shine through.
Be aware of your body language. Avoid crossing your arms or shifting on the spot, as you want to present yourself as confident and open. Address the camera so that you’re maintaining eye contact, like you would in an in-person interview.
The way you dress should also reflect the role you’re applying for, so choose an outfit that you would wear to a face-to-face interview.
Aleksandra Szejnoga’s video job application showcases her personality and uses humour to make her stand out from the crowd.
Step four: Shoot your video
You don’t need to buy or hire expensive equipment to create a video job application. It’s possible to film a great video CV using only the camera on your smartphone (although you will need a tripod) or computer.
Set aside a few hours so there’s no time pressure – you’ll want to do as many takes as necessary to get it right.
You should always film in a well-lit, indoor location with as little background noise as possible. Don’t film against a window; rather use it as natural side lighting. Do some test runs first to make sure the lighting is bright enough and the audio is clear on speakers and headphones – it can also be invaluable to have a friend record with you to get an alternative perspective.
Make sure you focus the camera on your face; usually it’s as simple as tapping on your face on the screen.
If you want an even more professional video, it may be worth investing in a videographer, who will have the proper film, lighting and audio equipment. They will also be able to edit your video for you, which can be a hidden time cost.
Sajita Nair’s video application communicates her unique value proposition and uses simple editing to create interest and tell her story.
Step five: Edit your video
Many computers come with pre-installed video editing software, such as iMovie, so you shouldn’t have to purchase expensive or professional-grade software if you’re doing your own editing. However, bear in mind that for a beginner it can be a time-consuming task.
If you’re not a confident editor, avoid using too many graphics or animations – although a title with your name and contact details is a good idea. The aim should be to create a coherent video without detracting from your message. Remember, you’re being judged on your skills, personality and presentation, not your video editing skills.
Finally, seek out honest feedback from a trusted friend or mentor.
Step six: Submit your video application
Once you’ve saved your video in a common format such as MOV, MP4 or AVI, uploading to YouTube or Vimeo will likely be the most convenient way to share with a potential employer.
You can choose to keep your video private (so that only people with the link can see it) or you can make it public. If you want your video to be seen publicly, be sure to use appropriate general tags such as “video CV”, “video job application”, as well as tags to suit your role – “marketing manager resume”, for example.