6 Bullet Proof Tips for a Video CV

Posted by Ben Nicholas on 24 August 2015


Remember What You Are Applying For

When creating a video CV it’s important to make sure it’s relevant to the job you are applying for.

Many of the more creative sectors - such as marketing- are interested in video CVs as they give the candidate a chance to sell themselves. After all this is going to be a large part of their job.

Other sectors are a bit more hit and miss. By all means, if you want to make an impact with an employer - and have a relevant and creative idea- then use it. You will however, find more traditional companies prefer the tried and tested methods of a written document.

Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Reading Out Your CV

A video CV should be used as an opportunity showcase your creativity, so don’t spend time repeating information that should already be on your written CV.

Instead, state at the beginning of your video briefly why you would be the right person for the role, and then use the remaining time to showcase how your skills and experience can benefit the company in the future.

A video CV is a real chance to show you have researched and understood a company’s goals, and through this, you will show that you are passionate about the role.

Don’t be afraid to show off your personality. If you have any hobbies that are relevant to the role then show the employer you doing them. Seeing you doing a 180 on a skateboard is going to be much more interesting on video that it would be reading about it on a CV. Even a blooper that happened whilst filming should be considered as something to feature at the end of your video, as it shows off your sense of humour.

Don’t Drag On

In terms of time, video CVs should be looked upon similarly to traditional CV’s. Put yourself in the recruiters’ shoes. If you have 100 CVs to look through in a day, would you spend five minutes watching a video CV? The answer is unfortunately no.

Plan out a storyboard so that you have a general idea of how the clip will develop as well as what you will say. This is your version of a film trailer, an exciting tease that will make the recruiter wanting to meet you.

There is also a skill involved in being able to take information and condensing it into relevant details, and employers will be looking for that.  Remember that this is just the initial stage of your application, and that you will hopefully be given the chance to expand on things in greater detail at a job interview. Anywhere between one and two minutes will be fine, but just keep in the back of your mind that the shorter, the better.

This Is Your Chance to Be Creative

Video CV’s are still a relatively new format, and therefore no rules are set in stone.

Spend time coming up with the idea. If your idea is good enough, it will carry your message across, even if your editing or production skills aren’t the best.

One of the main pitfalls of video CV’s is the danger of highlighting yourself as immature. If you are using humour, make sure it’s appropriate to the brand you are applying for.

The same goes for clothing as well, and as a general guide, wear what you think you would be wearing if you were going to work with said company.

Common Mistakes

There are two main errors that crop up often in video CVs; sound and scripts.

You need to be aware that video cameras will pick up all sorts of sounds from whatever environment you’re in. A kitchen with a lot of echo can sound just as bad as a busy road side, so if you don’t have access to professional sound recording equipment, consider using a voice over instead.

Reading from a script will be obvious and strip your video of any personality. You’d be surprised how monotone your voice will come become and how easy it is to see your eyes flicking off camera.

Instead, have a rough idea of what you want to say for every scene, and then go for it. Recruiters are looking for personality, not a robot, and as long as you stick to the notion of not saying anything that you wouldn’t during an interview, then you’ll be fine.

Would You Be Happy With Your Video If It Went Viral?

This is the acid test for any video CV. If your video was suddenly to rival Gangnan Style on YouTube for views, would you feel proud or embarrassed? If it’s the latter, consider why, and then make any revisions to any parts of the video that you're not too confident about.

If you’ve got anymore do’s and don’ts for a video CV, let us know in the comments below!