26 March 2021

How to prepare a video resume to catapult you in front of the competition

There is no question about it: video is king when it comes to capturing and retaining people's attention online. And these days, knowing how to prepare a killer video resume can be your best job-seeking tool, too! Remember Barney Stinson's video resume? A CV by video raises eyebrows, makes your future employer smile, and gives them a glimpse not just into your background and education, but into your personality.

As the job market has evolved radically and we're increasingly faced with communicating at a distance, your dream job might ask you to create a video resume or you may consider putting one together to stand out from the competition. So, here's how to make a creative video resume that lands you the best role.

What goes in a video resume?

To make a successful video resume, you need to start with the traditional paper version and ensure you include the basics:

  • Education
  • Professional experience
  • Interests and extracurricular achievements

The difference is that, in a video resume, you'll make this information come to life through storytelling and conveying your personality.

Extra tip: You don't actually have to be on camera! If you're uncomfortable filming yourself, why not try an animated resume that shows off your design skills? A whiteboard video or a story with a voiceover also work well, depending on the type of job you're applying for.

What are the benefits of a resume video?

In a world where the average attention span is only 8.5 seconds and remote hiring employers are sifting through thousands of written resumes, a video will grab their attention from the start and - if done correctly - will also keep it for the short duration.

Additionally, studies have found that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, so your message will come across immediately and will jump out at a recruiter.

Finally, video resumes make you easy to remember. How many times do you find yourself referring to an interesting or funny video you've seen to your friends, compared to bringing up a written piece of information? Video stays with people and makes you memorable.

How to prepare a video resume that stands out

The simple fact of entering a video resume in the mix makes you stand out if the place you're applying to hasn't specifically asked for one. But, what if the video resume was a prerequisite? Or, what if your delivery falls flat or there is great video competition?

You'll need to know how to do a video resume that is indeed unique and effective. Here's how.

  1. Have a script

No matter how spontaneous you are in real life, you need to ensure that your resume ticks all the boxes required to get that job. The best way to ensure you stay on track is by writing a simple script before you film.

Make sure this isn't just your paper resume with you reciting it, though! Turn it into a story to keep it interesting.

  1. Keep it brief

Just like great social media video content, a video resume needs to be brief and to the point in order to leave a good impression. This study suggests that the ideal video length for engaging your viewers is 1-2 minutes, so make sure you edit your video resume to around 90 seconds and stick to the best bits only.

  1. Make it relevant

Remember how paper resumes are meant to be tailored for the job, adding in the most relevant experience and highlighting achievements that will be required in the job you're applying to?

It's the same with video resumes: make sure you're talking about - or acting - the topics that the recruiters want to know about you. Read the job description and aim your video at those key requirements.

  1. Be professional

This doesn't mean act stiff or boring - it's about the quality of your video. Nowadays, you can shoot great-quality videos on your smartphone, but be aware of the lighting and your surroundings when you film. The other secret is to edit your video resume after you've shot it, to remove any parts that don't look great.

  1. Add creative flair

Check out examples of great video resumes on YouTube to get those creative juices flowing. Just making a video isn't enough to be unique: make sure your personality comes across and that you're offering something different.

How to edit a video resume to land the job

In order to have your video look professional, it's important to know how to edit a video resume to impress your recruiters.

  • Use a video editing app on your phone or a video editing software on your computer to select the best shots and put them together in a logical way
  • Add useful headings or written information where needed
  • Don't go overboard with special effects or filters or you risk not looking very professional
  • Check the audio by playing back your video and adjusting volumes as needed
  • Insert a title slide and a final slide with your contact information
  • Consider including some background music if you're using animation or footage other than of yourself speaking

A few tips on how to end a video resume

To get an interview, you need your video resume to finish strong. In a marketing setting, you'd always include a call to action at the end of your video, so think of this as a similar situation. You want your recruiter to call you, so make it easy to plant that seed in their mind by simply saying it at the end of your resume.

To make your call to action stronger, include a reason for them to contact you. For example, say something along the lines of "If you're looking for someone who... [insert job requirement], give me a call at..."

Another great ending is a question. This plays on human curiosity - your recruiter will be interested in following up with you. Suggest that they call you to find out more about the question you just asked and drop your contact information in a final slide.

Tip: If you are providing an email address, make sure it's a professional one!

More great video resume inspiration

We know Barney Stinson is a great role model, but if you're looking for some real-world video resume inspiration, you may want to go a bit more low-key. Here are some examples of video resumes tailored to different recruitment scenarios to draw inspiration from.

Finally, if you want to learn from the best video resumes in a particular industry, search for examples on YouTube and see what works for your style.

To make a great first impression to recruiters in the age of social media and Zoom conferences, knowing how to prepare a video resume that stands out will put you a few steps ahead of the competition from the start. Have fun, improvise and edit your videos until you land on the best version, then watch those interview invites coming in!

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