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Do's and Don'ts of Making a Video Resume

Aug 6, 2007 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Video resumes are an excellent way to get companies to sit up and take notice—if you do it right.  They give employers a more personal view of you than they’d get with a paper resume.  They allow employers to see what you look like, how you present yourself, and whether you’d fit into the company culture.  If you make the right impression, your video resume can bring you great success.

The problem with video resumes is that you often get conflicting advice: “show your personality” and “don’t get too crazy.” But the line between the two is different for everybody.  Naturally, you don’t want to bore your viewers or sound just like everyone else.  But your idea of adding a little personality to your video could strike your audience as hilarious—in the wrong way.  You want them eager to meet you, not posting your video on YouTube.

If you want to make your online video stand out in a good way—and not end up as an unintentional viral joke—here are some do’s and don’ts.

Do Dress Professionally

It’s generally best to wear a suit, even if you’re applying for a job in a relatively casual field.  You’ll make a better impression if you’re overdressed than if you’re underdressed.  Both men and women should look neat and well-groomed. Avoid flashy jewelry and too much makeup.

See Also: Online Job Skills Courses


A video resume can help you stand out in a crowded field. But if you’re not careful, it can send the wrong message.


Don’t Go On Too Long

Most successful video resumes run one to three minutes long. It might not sound like a lot of time, but to a recruiter who’s seen a hundred of these today, it will feel like plenty.  Remember, less is more.  Give enough information to spark an interest, but not enough to put your audience to sleep.

Do Choose Your “set” Carefully

You want all eyes to be on you—not on that KISS poster behind you on the living room wall.  Your surroundings will make as much of an impression as your clothes and manner.  Choose an area without distracting visuals.  You don’t necessarily have to film in an office, but you do need to choose a location that won’t take away from your presentation or send the wrong message.

Don’t Go Unprepared

Before you go in front of the camera, you should know exactly what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.  You’re not just reading your resume aloud on camera; you’re giving a sales pitch.  So think like a salesman.

Think about what makes you stand out from all the other applicants your audience will see today—your “unique selling proposition.”  What are the qualities that make you so successful at your work?  Write a concise message, and practice it in front of the mirror until you know it by heart and can deliver it in a relaxed manner.

Do Highlight Relevant Skills

Some of the most infamous video resume failures involve applicants who feature skills that have nothing to do with the jobs they’re applying for.  Leave out the footage of yourself lifting weights, ballroom dancing, and breaking boards with your fists—unless you’re applying for a job as an action star.  Show employers what they want to see: your job-related skills.

Don’t Lose Your Personality

There’s a fine line between showing too much and too little.  Leave out personal details, but don’t be afraid to let your personality come through.  Be relaxed, avoid big gestures or nervous tics, smile, and act confident.  “Professional” doesn’t have to mean “serious.”

Do Match Your Video To Your Industry

If you’re applying for a position in a formal, traditional company or industry—such as investment banking—your video resume is not the place to showcase your passion for rumba or break the ice with a little ventriloquism.   If you’re looking for a job in a more creative field, however, you may be able to get away with a little more.  Know your industry, and present yourself in a way that will show employers you’ll fit in.

Don’t Get Rid Of Your Paper Resum

A video resume is a great tool to get your foot in the door.  But it shouldn’t be the only one in your toolbox.  While a video resume should be a teaser that gets recruiters excited about you, your resume is the place for details about your job experience.  Many successful applicants send both paper and video resumes so employers can get the complete picture. 

See Also: Professional Development Online Courses

Do Show Your Resume To Others For Feedback

A video resume can help you stand out in a crowded field.  But if you’re not careful, it can send the wrong message.  It might be short, but it’s important—so spend plenty of time planning, and show your video to friends, family, and trusted colleagues before sending it out.  Take your time and gather honest feedback, and you should be able to make the right impression.

How to Make a Video Resume: How to Use a Video Resume to Get a Job -




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