When it comes to job-hunting, video resumes are a tricky topic.
A great video resume can inject some personal flair into your job application, highlight important skills, and demand the hiring manager’s attention.
However, depending on the job you’re applying to, they can also be unorthodox or inappropriate. Not only that, but a poorly executed video resume can torpedo your chances of landing an interview faster than you can say “lights, camera, action.”
So when is the right time to use a video resume? And how do you make one that demonstrates the skills you’d normally put on a resume without coming across as tacky or unprofessional?
First, it’s important to ask yourself whether a video resume is the right choice for you.
Should You Use a Video Resume?
A video resume isn’t for everyone. For example, if you’re applying to jobs as a backend engineer or accountant, using a video resume probably isn’t a good idea.
That said, video resumes are highly effective at highlighting certain skills and strengths that standard written resumes can’t fully convey.
For instance, a video resume can be valuable if you’re applying to any job where the ability to perform is important — whether it be acting, giving presentations, or teaching. This especially applies to jobs in creative fields, as well as any position that requires you to leverage your interpersonal skills or speak publicly.
Another benefit of using a video resume is that it conveys your personality in a way that no written resume can. This gives you an advantage if you’re applying to jobs where excellent communication skills or adept interpersonal skills are necessary, such as in sales.
4 Tips for Making a Standout Video Resume
There are a few key ingredients that separate a great video resume from a mediocre (or worse, embarrassing) one. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your video resume stands out:
1. Tell a Story
The biggest mistake you can make with a video resume is to simply read out your qualifications. A video resume gives you the opportunity to contextualize your work experience so that it resonates and sticks with recruiters in a unique way.
So take advantage of this opportunity and use your video resume to tell a convincing narrative about yourself, rather than just recite your traditional resume.
Explain how the job you’re applying for fits into your career and ambitions, as well as why you’re excited about the opportunity. Your goal is to give the hiring manager a picture of who you are and why you, personally, would be perfect for the job.
2. Tailor it to the Employer
Not every company will have the same level of formality, work culture, and expectations. Likewise, not every position you apply to will have the same qualifications and required skills.
Your video resume should reflect these differences and address them specifically.
That’s why tailoring your resume to the company you want to work at is one of the most important steps to make sure your application stands out and resonates with the hiring manager.
To accomplish this, scan the job posting, and note any specific skills and qualities that are emphasized. Then, mention these skills in your video resume.
The result? Not only will your video resume be eye-catching, but it will also demonstrate to the hiring manager that you’re a perfect fit.
3. Be Brief
With so many resumes to review, hiring managers typically spend under a minute looking at each one — and your video resume is no exception.
Ultimately, that means your video resume should be immediately engaging and no longer than 90 seconds. Any longer and you risk testing the hiring manager’s patience.
This should give you enough time to touch on your most relevant qualifications, without wasting anyone’s time with fluff and unnecessary flourishes.
4. Make it Professional
While it might save you some money on production costs, a video of you talking to potential employers from the webcam in your bedroom won’t impress anybody.
It sounds obvious, but your video resume should appear professional. The hiring manager must be able to easily hear and see you, so that they ultimately come away with a positive impression.
That means making sure the background of the video is minimalist and clean looking, that there are no distracting noises muffling the audio, the video quality is decent, and that you’re at least wearing business casual attire.
Fortunately, these days plenty of phone cameras can record professional-quality videos on even the tightest budget. With some effort, a high-quality video resume is not only affordable but easy to make as well.
A well-produced video resume can be a great way to grab an employer’s attention and make a lasting impression. With these tried-and-true tips, you’ll be on your way to producing a video resume that helps you put your best foot forward, and stand out from the competition.
But a video resume can still be a difficult thing to get right. So after making yours, show it to your family, friends, and coworkers and ask for their feedback. Their suggestions could improve your final application, and help you avoid a potential misstep.
Conrad Benz is a Digital Media Specialist & Resume Expert at Resume Genius, where he helps countless job-seekers craft standout resumes and launch their careers.