Although How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson does land Robin a great job by dressing her in a karate suit, this is probably not the best approach for people who don’t exist on television. However, Barney is right about one thing: showmanship counts. Consider your video resume to be a chance for you to put on an outstanding (and well-practiced) performance for your future employer. Here are some tips for creating an encore-worthy video resume.
Get the Right Equipment
Nothing says “out of touch” like a low quality image, a wobbly picture or audio that makes you sound like you’re whispering. All of these things are easy to avoid with the right equipment. Many video resume platforms— like Spark Hire — will allow you to create a resume using a webcam and microphone on your home computer or laptop. This is great, but make sure that both are of good quality. Perhaps borrow your tech-savvy friend’s new laptop if you lack faith in your own equipment.
Set the Stage
Choose a neutral background free from clutter to record your resume. If you have a distinguished looking library complete with leather chair and smoking jacket handy, certainly use that (if you’re applying to be president of Harvard). For the rest of us, a neutral wall will do nicely. Feel free to get a little creative this way— if you’re an environmental engineering major, perhaps record yours with a quiet park background— but definitely err on the side of conservative. Also make sure you have good lighting, and no background noise.
Know Your Lines
The majority of your video resume should detail the same sort of things that are on your paper resume. Summarize your pertinent professional experience, education and skill set. Do NOT, however, read from a paper on your desk. Memorize your script, and deliver it in in a polite, conversational manner, and keep it brief. Consider that the average paper resume only gets 10 seconds of viewing so keep your video resume around a minute or so.
Play to Your Audience
Consider the potential employers who will be viewing your resume as you decide what to say, what to wear and how to act. Create different resumes for different types of jobs you might apply to, and be sure to dress and act the part. Wear what you would for an interview and adjust your formality for the job you want (i.e. a suit probably isn’t necessary for a career in childcare).
Most importantly, a video resume is a chance for you to show your personality. Think of a video resume as having some things in common with a cover letter. Be honest about your strengths, and feel free to present them in a way that a traditional resume wouldn’t allow. Instead of saying, “I’m detail oriented,” talk about the time when you noticed an error in your boss’s company email and now he has you proofread all of his work. You have an awesome personality— let it shine through!
Have you ever made a video resume? Tell us your tips in a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb