Anyone who knows me and reads my blog, is familiar with the lengths I would go to not to view a video CV. The words pins and eyes have been used. Once called a “visumé” the ones I have viewed have been so toe-curlingly embarrassing, that I cringe at the mere memory of them. The thought of having to plough through dozens of similar quality efforts a day, filled me with total horror.
However, I am pleased to announce that I have had a complete change of heart.
I was persuaded out of my negative frame of mind by Amélie Alleman, Founder of BeTuned a Brussels based start-up specialising in the creation of the video CV. With 12 years in recruitment and a 1000 completed assignments under her belt, she wanted to tap into tech to benefit both candidates and employers. I attended her workshop in Brussels at the ElleActive Forum last week and in my favour I did go with an open mind. I know from my general involvement with HR and tech that things change quickly and I need to adapt. And I was right.
Change for the better
Things have indeed changed and for the better. What has changed for the video CV is this:
- the technology – now smart phones are so sophisticated that a video CV can be easily created on one. They don’t require super advanced tech skills to produce a reasonable result. You only need a good smart phone, a quiet and well-lit room and you are good to go. A stand for making videos on a smart phone is helpful. I found one on Amazon for about €20
- the length – now the recommended length for a video CV is 50-60 seconds maximum and even naysayers like myself can be persuaded to watch for that long.
- Supplement not a substitute – the CV video is not a replacement for a CV but designed to complement it. That is a huge bonus for any recruiter especially me.
Advantages and disadvantages of a video CV
For many the idea of making a video CV can be a bit daunting. There are some factors to consider:
- Stand out from the crowd – video CVs are more common but they are still not the norm by any means. It could help you stand out from the crowd.
- Showcase your personality – if you have a relaxed confident and engaging personality this is a good way to demonstrate it.
- Highlight your creativity – a physical visual can convey the extent of your creative and other soft skills.
- Focus on specific skills – for roles that require communication skills or digital smarts this is an ideal medium.
- You stand out but not in a good way – If you feel uncomfortable in front of a camera or don’t have or don’t acquire the necessary skills, it can become a career mistake not a triumph.
- Give the wrong impression – you may give the wrong, incomplete or misleading information about yourself.
- You read your script – if your eyes are darting off camera to check your script, you could come over as looking shifty and untrustworthy or simply that you don’t know yourself that well.
- Distract and detract from your regular CV – if it’s not produced to the right standard, this may lead to the reject pile.
For recruiters and hiring managers
Like any candidate meeting whether online or in person, recruiters and hiring managers need to be very aware of their own unconscious biases and have systems in place for managing them. Video CVs tap into all biases related to how we view age, body size, accent and ethnicity which are usually immediately identifiable. They also favour extroverts and confident performers and encourage us to lean towards candidates who are like ourselves (confirmation bias) This is why face to face interviews are not a good indication of future potential in a role and nudges and interrupters are used to check for bias.
Tips to create strong video CV
1. Research the market
When deciding whether to use a video CV take factor in the role you’re applying for and the company you hope to join. Research the culture of the organisation to help you decide how your efforts may be received. Once a video CV would have been popular mainly in the creative sectors. Today even more conservative organisations are open to receiving them especially if it is a supplement to a traditional CV and not a replacement for it.
2. Compelling, succinct message
With such a short time to convince your audience, the pressure to create a brief and compelling narrative is even greater than it ever was. Your UVP (Unique Value Proposition) has to be in your DNA so you can deliver it comfortably and convincingly to camera. It’s important not to read your message. Write and learn a script that is authentically you and reflects your personality.
3. Target the content
Your video CV has to be adapted for the job you are targeting. Make sure you address the main requirements of the job advert. If you are creating a general video to upload on your LinkedIn profile for example under the media section, you can keep it general and in line with your overall career goals.
4. Structure the content
The rule of three works well in this context. Structure the video into identifiable sections. A beginning middle and end always works well.
- an intro with your UVP
- why me? Three good, brief reasons to hire you
- a call to action with your contact details.
Amélie Allerman strongly advises creating a caption with your mobile number, email and maybe your LinkedIn profile url. No one, she says, will ever write the details down from verbal delivery. She is right.
5. Look the part
Generally as for any interview to camera you should be well-groomed and dressed appropriately for the organisation you are hoping to impress. If it’s a generic video CV, select something from your wardrobe that will bridge the gap between formal and informal.
6. Select a good location
Choose a location of your video to ensure that you have a quiet, well-lit space to film in, free from clutter and any other background distractions. I’ve seen them with dogs mating in the background – not a pretty sight. Make sure that the audio reproduction is good. If it’s muffled or inconsistent you will be sure to lose people like me.
7. Master the tech
8. Upload on-line
Once your masterpiece is complete you can upload to You Tube or Vimeo or LinkedIn and send the links to potential contacts or simply diffuse via social media.
So now it’s only a question of practise! Are you ready?
Looking for career coaching – get in touch!