Video resumes are a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition when looking for your next big break. They also give recruiters a sense of your personality, and whether you are likely to be a good fit in the organization’s culture. Given that recruiters surveyed by JobVite in 2016 “rated culture fit of high importance (60%) when making a hiring decision”, creating your own video resume does make a lot of sense.
But filming yourself speaking into a camera – let alone acting out a slick, attention-grabbing script can be a daunting task if you’ve always been a wallflower or introvert, or never taken up theatre and drama classes – like yours truly. The good news is you can still create a short, punchy, video curriculum vitae (CV) without any filming and unnecessary embarrassment. Here’s how:
If you’re not going to film yourself, you still need some form of visual presentation to introduce yourself. I’m assuming you want to keep things simple, and since PowerPoint is as simple as it gets, get cracking and open up a PPT. The problem with the use of PowerPoint for multimedia purposes is that PowerPoint tends eats up the computing power when it is loaded with multimedia files, so make sure you manage what you want to show efficiently.
Sell Your Soft Skills, Tell a Story
Now, start writing everything you ever wished to include in your CV but could not because it ‘didn’t feel right’ or you ran out of space. Sell your soft skills like “Go-getter” and “brainstormer” here because they tend to receive less attention when described in detail on a paper resume. Have an outgoing personality, high sense of accountability or interesting experiences? Now’s the time to tell your story – just make it brief and relevant to the job. Don’t forget to introduce your name, qualifications, and relevant work history in the first few slides!
DO NOT simply copy all your CV’s text into the PPT. Remember the whole point of a video resume is to distinguish yourself from the rest so that recruiters will be hooked enough to take a second look at your detailed resume. A good analogy would be to let your video be your advertisement, and the CV your product brochure.
Once you have all the skills, traits and experiences written down, it’s time to prioritize. Select the top three candidates you think your employer would be interested in. Reserve one slide for each. If you’re sharing a story, I recommend telling the story in 3-4 slides first, then highlight two skills you used or learned from this experience.
Any leftover skills – make sure they are absolutely relevant to the job – go into what I call a “One more thing” slide.
Don’t be afraid to use pictures to animate your slides -unless you want your video to look like the Star Wars roll up introduction. Just make sure they capture the gist of your skills and story – and are free from copyright issues. Wikimedia images should be safe for the most part, but if you want free images with more finesse, try these resources.
To make your video look less like a lecture and more like a video, you should add some motion to your text and pictures. You can use either GIFs or simply animate your pictures with Write-on Video’s fun motion stickers. Remember that your story should have emotional appeal, and what better way to injection emotions than with animated facial expressions, and speech bubbles?
Try to find pictures of yourself engaged in relevant activities like brainstorming, writing, drawing, or even learning. Then, inject some life into it with motion stickers.
Quick tip: If you have trouble describing qualities like “Continuous Learner” without sounding boring, it’s time to dramatize them with animation.
Use simple slide transition effects like “Wipe” to keep your story moving forward. Don’t overdo this though. Overly dramatic transitions like “Flashes” will distract your audience and using too many different transitions will make your video look inconsistent and confusing.
Conclude the video with a call to action slide – viewing your online resume and contacting you. You should insert hyperlinks to your LinkedIn profile, resume, and Email address here. If they look too long and unwieldy, use QR Codes like I did. Always imagine the user experience and design your content to preempt falloffs.
Now it’s time to breathe life and rhythm into your video with sound! This straightforward tutorial teaches how to write short video scripts, record voice-overs and insert them into a PowerPoint. If you’re not a fan of doing voice-overs because you are too shy or introverted you can substitute it with music like I did. Just make sure your slides have just enough text and images to make your meaning clear without overwhelming your audience. YouTube has a cornucopia of free upbeat soundtrack resources. Most can be used freely if you credit the artist in your video description on YouTube.
Pick up the Pace
I prefer faster paced, upbeat music to keep my audience wanting more. Stay away from relaxing, muzak-like tunes. The last thing you want is viewers moving on to other things of interest while listening to your background music – or worse, falling asleep. Insert the soundtrack by following the same tutorial above, and then start recording the presentation as the music plays. Advance the slides as you see fit, but as a rule of thumb, keep the video duration under two minutes.
Export and Share
Now that your presentation and sound are synced, it’s time to export it as a video file. Follow the tutorial’s instructions to save it as a high-definition video.
Make sure to click on Use Recorded Timings and Narrations!
To share your video resume, you’ll need to upload it to YouTube. Don’t worry about everyone being able to view it though – YouTube allows you to set the privacy so that only viewers with the URL link can see the video. This feature makes it easy for you to share the video resume with recruiters without overwhelming their inboxes with a huge video file.
Creating stunning CVs is always less easy with the format’s two-page restriction and the limitations of text-heavy content, but with a video resume you have more flexibility. Using the right mix of creativity, pacing, images, information and sound, your video will hold viewers’ interest right till the end and convince them to check out your resume or contact you. Happy job-hunting!