Secrets to a stellar video CV

by Eugene Lim on August 22, 2012

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In today’s cluttered and competitive job market, job seekers may have a hard time differentiating themselves in what seems to be a sea of paper CVs. Video CVs could just give that extra advantage that sets candidates apart because they offer a unique look at the candidate’s personality and personal brand.

In my first year of college, I made my own video CV. I thought I was being creative at the time, but in hindsight, it was a disaster (I was wearing pigtails)! With the advice of some seasoned professionals and from my own experience, here are a few tips on how to craft a stellar video CV.

1. Match it to the employer

Your video CV should be tailored to fit the specific job and the company culture as well. If the employer has a recruiting video, try to match the tone they set. Josh Tolan, CEO of Sparkhire, encourages candidates to “approach a video CV just like you would an in-person meeting. Keep it polished, poised and professional. Dress professionally and speak with confidence.” Be clever and creative, but make sure the tone and humour can translate into the workplace.

2. Give them just a taste

Your video CV is meant to move you further along in the hiring process, so think of it as a sales pitch. You don’t have to tell them everything about yourself, just enough. Focus on a few strong takeaways for the hiring manager that illustrate why you are perfect for this job. Be sure to have a strong closing statement that summarises your key points and makes a compelling argument for why the employer should pursue you further.

3. Show your style

A video CV is not a replacement of your paper CV or a dramatic reading of it, so don’t duplicate the things the recruiter already knows about you. Your video CV should show employers a side of you that can’t be captured in writing – your personality, your essence, your style. Show yourself in action, perhaps working on your latest achievement or walking them through a past project with some visuals, or link your video to platforms like Twitter or your online portfolio to communicate a fuller picture of who you are.

Here’s a great example:

http://vimeo.com/6470807

4. Know the limits

Honestly, video CVs aren’t for everyone. This might not be the best path for you if you are uncomfortable in front of the camera or if you are applying for a technical position where your skill set already qualifies you. In that case, a ten-second scan of your paper CV might be all a recruiter needs, so be sure that you are making the best use of the their time and your own.

The goal of a video CV is to communicate who you are and why you’re the best candidate for the job. Though it might not be a guaranteed ticket in, it shows that you are willing to go a step further than most candidates. So grab your camera, get creative and go get that job.

Good luck!

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