We take a look at the growth of interest in video CVs and offer advice on how to create your own.
Video CVs are greeted with equal amounts of enthusiasm and derision by both candidates and recruiters. Some believe video CV is the future and will be the way candidates differentiate themselves from the competition while others view them as gimmicky at best and at worst fear they may attract discrimination early in the recruitment process.
There are valid points to be made on both sides of the argument but there can be little doubt that in an increasingly fast-paced, multimedia world - and with a generation that has grown up posting and viewing video clips on YouTube - the use of video in the recruitment process will increase rather than decrease. After all, as a format the printed CV has stood still for many years and there are indications the public’s confidence in it is diminishing, as a survey carried out by recruitment video specialist MeetTheRealMe.co.uk indicated that 80 per cent of people believe employers simply do not take the time to read through every written CV they receive.
Why a video CV could be good – or bad - for you
The major advantage of using a video CV over a one-dimensional printed one is that it allows you to convey far more about your personality. Moreover, a number of recent surveys have shown that employers are looking for graduates with employability skills alongside technical ones and a good video CV will help to show off your ability to communicate and present yourself.
It can also provide employers with an insight into how enthusiastic or charismatic you are. The downside is that if you acquit yourself poorly in front of the camera, it may instantly dissuade an employer, no matter how good your technical ability.
What you say – planning the content
At its most basic, producing a video CV entails sitting in front of a webcam or video camera and recording yourself. The planning and preparation beforehand, however, is as important as what you do in front of the camera.
The CV needs to be carefully scripted and rehearsed. Start by taking a look at some video CVs to get a feel for what others are doing and what works and what doesn’t.
TotalJobs.com advises developing your video CV “like a story” with a structured beginning, middle and end and adds that it should be no more than two to three minutes long. Begin by saying who you are and follow this with a brief summary about yourself. The opening 30 second sell is vital in getting the employer’s attention.
Avoid just reading out skills and qualifications since, in most instances, the video CV will be a supplement to a printed one. Highlight your unique selling points and explain why you will make a good employee (include attributes as well as technical/professional qualifications). If there is a particular project that makes you perfect for a role, provide a snapshot of this. At the end include contact details and remember to thank the recruiter/employer for their time.
How you say it - presenting yourself
Speak slowly, keep sentences short and don’t ramble. Be yourself and allow something of your personality to come across. While it is important to look and sound confident, ensure you do not come across as arrogant or overbearing as it will be an instant turn-off.
Marc Fels, director at www.meettherealme.co.uk, says it’s understandable to be nervous so give yourself plenty of chance to practice and improve your technique.
“Don’t expect to get it right first time,” he says. “Take the time to watch and listen to yourself and find areas for improvement.”
Also remember that you should dress appropriately as you would in a face-to-face interview and be mindful of body language.
“Try to sit up straight and avoid fidgeting as this can come across as disinterested,” says Fels. “Eye contact shows an employer that you’re engaged, focused and confident. Avoid staring at the floor or ceiling as it shows a lack of assurance; try to look the camera in the eye and smile.”
While you don’t need to hire expensive video kit to produce the CV, then neither should you think a shaky mobile phone recording will be sufficient. A good quality PC, webcam, high-speed Internet connection and software such as Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple iMovie should suffice (a range of free and paid-for video capture/recording tools can also be easily downloaded).
As well as using decent equipment, also make sure that when you record there is no background noise or any potential distractions. Once you are happy that the video CV sells you well, play it to friends and colleagues for a second opinion. If you or they have any doubts about its ability to sell you, be prepared to go back to the drawing board.
Where to post it
Having created your video CV, there are a number of options open to you for posting it. You can send it to video sharing sites such as YouTube (and remember to include the link on your paper CV and other correspondence with prospective employers), job boards as well as specialist video CV posting sites.
It’s also worth knowing that while we’ve largely focused on the do-it-yourself approach to video CVs here, there is a growing number of companies that specialise in helping employers make better use of video in the recruitment process such as the aforementioned www.meettherealme.co.uk and www.adcaster.co.uk.
Many of these allow candidates to create a video CV on their site and provide help and advice to do so. In some cases, they will allow employers to pose specific questions to candidates. This moves the discussion into the territory of video interview rather than CV but provides further weight to the argument that, in future, candidates need to learn how to acquit themselves well on video if they want to mark themselves out from the competition.