It feels like finding a job is harder than ever these days. But why?
Well for starters, we know that college degrees don’t mean as much as they used to anymore. An article on Forbes talks about the phenomenon of “degree inflation” and how “employers increasingly require college degrees from job applicants, even when applying for positions that did not previously require such credentials.”
There’s also this little thing called the Internet. Increasingly available Internet access is widening the supply and demand of jobs globally.
Companies can reach out to a bigger market of job seekers, making it more likely for them to find the person of best fit for them. At the same time, people have more opportunities to send their job applications out en masse, so companies are receiving and having to process more applications than before.
There’s also the issue of millennials being more likely to switch jobs more frequently compared to previous generations. Companies are adjusting to this by looking more closely at how committed applicants are to their company specifically.
So educational credentials aren’t turning as many heads, the number of job seekers to compete against is increasing, and companies are having trust issues on who to hire. This is where the video CV comes in.
A video CV is a short video created by employment candidates that allow them to supplement their written CV by talking more about their experience or their credentials. While Video CVs aren’t supposed to replace your submission for an actual, written CV it can help your chances of proceeding in the application process in several ways.
1) It Makes You More Memorable
Since video CVs are not very common, merely having one already makes your application stand out among the others. When employers scroll through hundreds of CV emails daily, finding an additional file or attachment breaks from the monotony and forces them to pay attention to the name that submitted it.
Having employers watch a video where you introduce yourself also helps in putting a face behind the credentials. The recall value of your name and who you are goes up because you are no longer just a list of job positions printed in black and white, but a person that introduced his or herself and shared stories about what he or she has done in the past few years. You’re more memorable because employers get to meet you even before you get to the interview.
2) It Lets You Demonstrate Relevant Skills
This is usually more relevant for jobs where soft skills are very important like teaching or sales, although more technical jobs like analysts and engineers benefit from this as well. A video CV lets you overcome the limitations of a written CV which is having to convey your competency by means of past job titles explained in just 1-2 concise sentences.
Even more technical jobs that revolve around engineering and numbers have a social aspect to them. Analysts come up with findings and recommendations which they’ll then need to present to management.
The same goes for engineers, accountants, and the like. Even for a job that doesn’t require any of those, companies would want to hire people that are pleasant to work with at the very least, which brings us to benefit number three:
3) It Helps Build Trust
With the aforementioned issue of employees leapfrogging from one company to another, it wouldn’t hurt to have companies build their trust in you from the get-go. After all, a CV is just a piece of paper you can submit to any company.
Even if you compose your CV for a specific company, type-written words will never be as warm and personal as you talking about why you would want to work for the company.
How to Make a Video CV
The making of a video CV can be divided into three stages: pre-production, production, and post-production.
The first thing you’ll want to do when coming up with the video CV is to establish the purpose of why you’re making the video. For example, if you were applying for a job in sales, your purpose would be to show how you entice people to an idea. If you’re applying to be a project manager, your purpose can be to talk about the story behind your project and how you influenced its success.
Keep the script short but sweet. Don’t expect the employer to go through a 15-minute video of you giving a monologue the way they would go through a 15-minute discussion in an interview. Highlight what the company needs to know and what you can show best through video.
It’s also key to do some research on the company you’re applying for to know how you’re going to craft the video. How casual or formal you’re going to be, the focus of what you’ll discuss in your script will be based off what you know about the company.
Modern smartphone cameras can be used as your recording device given that you’re not shooting it hand-held. Make sure the camera is stable, and that the framing and lighting are flattering on you as you want to leave the best impression possible.
Make sure the room you are recording in is quiet. If needed, you can have a secondary audio recording device on you to get better recording quality or you can record an audio dub to overlay onto the video. Do test shoots and listen back to see if the camera can pick up your voice clearly.
Most people feel awkward when speaking to a camera, and this is often reflected in the resulting video. It takes time to get used to this, so as much as possible keep practising the script and do multiple recordings until you have several “safe” choices to pick from. Like with anything else, confidence is built as you get familiar through practice runs.
On the topic of presentation, also make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the video. Put on your best button down or business attire and make sure it’s not creased or soiled. You may not necessarily need a tie, but when in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Minor editing like trimming out dead air goes a long way in making your video both concise and engaging. Sometimes it’s only in reviewing the footage during editing that you’ll realise what parts were unnecessary and what parts you could expound on more.
If you’re going to reshoot some parts and edit it into the video after, make sure you keep a sense of continuity so as not to distract the viewer. Wear the same clothes and shoot under the same conditions as much as possible. If this can’t be done, you’ll have to make the choice of doing a whole reshoot or leaving the part out.
When discussing things like graphs, products, or places editing can also be used to add visual aids that can help the viewer quickly grasp what you’re talking about. Note that visual aids should be used to supplement what you’re saying rather than distract people from it.
Throughout the post-production process, it’s best to consult with other people and see what they think can be improved on. It’s essential to get other people’s perspective because in being part of the production process for a video, it’s easy not to realise what parts were underexplained or didn’t have a logical flow.
When you’re happy with your video, it’s time to bring it to its target audience. It’s best to pair the video CV with wherever you’re submitting your written CV. If you’re submitting a physical copy, you would have to burn the video onto a disk, copy it onto a USB or leave a message with whoever’s receiving the CV on where they can watch your video.
The most accessible place to upload your video would be to YouTube as an unlisted video. This way the video will only be accessed by the people you give the link to. Uploading to your LinkedIn profile is also good if you have a video CV not specific to any company, since LinkedIn is a go-to place for employers to do background research on candidates.
As a final reminder, keep in mind that once you upload a video and share it to someone, what happens to it is no longer within your control. Make sure you keep things professional, with nothing that can come back to bite you.