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9 Pre-Recording Video CV (VCV) Tips For An Epic Video Resume
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 27th October 2016


Video CV's can be mundane for employers. Not all are convinced of their usefulness and some are actually scared of them because of discrimination perceptions. Those who aren’t afraid of them, know what to look for and that’s likely something you’ve no clue about. For your CV to stand a chance among the many out there, and give potential employers the real scoop… the whole scoop, meaning they’ll watch right the way through your video CV, here’s our …

9 Tips for Recording an Epic CV that Gets Hiring Managers’ Attention!

1: Avoid the clichés

The people who will be watching your video are not likely to be senior managers. They will be recruiters working in HR for their employers. They’ve a job to do and that’s to scout for talent to bring into an organisation.

Those working in HR consistently sift through CVs. When they turn to video, it’s something different. It gives their eyes a welcome rest and they still get to sift through CVs, just in a different format.

Your job is to engage them and you will not do that by opening with a cliché that they’ve read a thousand times.

“I’m punctual, reliable, trustworthy” is what will be heard and the stop button will be pressed.

2: Don’t be too serious

You’ll have heard the advice of staying professional before when you’re recording your video CV. That’s all well and good, but don’t confuse professional with serious. Being serious is associated with business but it’s also associated with being horrifying. Like when you speak to someone for the first time, you wouldn’t crack a sarcastic joke with a straight face. Well, depending on your personality anyway but typically, it’s not expected.

Sarcasm aside, when you turn your recording device onto record, panic sets in. All of a sudden you become a presenter, talking with a serious face and speaking with a reporting tone.

You aren’t presenting your career highlights as a news report. You’re having a conversation with someone who has the power to invite you for an interview.

Have a conversation with that person.

Use different pitches to your voice and don’t speak in monotone. Most certainly, don’t make it obvious you’re reading from a script, and in fact, don’t do that anyway because multi-tasking will make your voice seem a bit on the antsy-pantsy side and you’ll struggle to engage with your audience.

3: Work with real life examples

If you haven’t read our advice on scripting with a narrative, read our post on “How to Be Passionate”, because you really need a narrative to create engagement. It’s easier to deliver a passionate presentation when you speak with a passion that nobody can emulate because it’s sincere to you, and that’s what will get you noticed.

Talk about your talents, your experiences, the story of how you discovered your unique talents, the ambitions you have for your future and what you can bring to a company while striving to meet your own personal career ambitions.

Let your viewers discover what you’re about. What drives you and why.

4: Be the conversationalist

All too often people will make a script and stick to it like glue. The problem that creates is that you wind up coming across all serious.

All work and no fun.

No fun will be a turn away for most, so to create that likeability factor, you want the person watching your video to imagine sitting down with you for that face-to-face at the interview.

Do what you need to for relaxation before you record. Take a bath, get your makeup on, do your hair, have a cup of strong coffee and take in the soothing scent of the aroma if that’s something that relaxes you.

You don’t want to be recording when you’re really anxious because you’ll struggle to control the pace you speak at. Relax, and imagine you’re having a mute interview on Skype or Facetime. Converse with an imaginary interviewer and explain your storyline to them in a conversation, rather than reading it to them. 

5: Trim the fat with a guideline on timelines

This is about the time you take of the person watching. No longer than three minutes are the general rule of thumb for video CVs, but as a guideline, stick to one-minute slide transitions. Don’t try to cram too many points into a minute of speaking.

In one minute, you shouldn’t be making more than two points. Any more than two main points in one minute, you’ll need to speak fast to cram your presentation into a three-minute time slot so it doesn’t go too long.

Do write a script, but revise it for precision so that only what you need to be saying is recorded and avoid too much irrelevant information.

The more key points you have the better, however, chances are good that once you’ve prepared your script, you’ll be able to take a couple or even a few things out that aren’t key to your presentation. Or at least, they’ll be able to be said in fewer words.

6: Ensure your sound is audible

When you’re recording, have your microphone turned up to the max so that it’s clearly audible and there isn’t any static noise. Nothing like a kettle boiling in the background, or a bath running that can be heard clearly. The only thing that should be heard is your voice.

You may be tempted to add a backing soundtrack and if that’s the case, don’t. In businesses, music cannot be played in the background without a PRS licence. It’s not a concern for business owners as they’ll be licensed for playing audio in public, if they need to be, but to play it safe, don’t include a backing soundtrack. Just have your voice on the recording. If nothing else, they won’t think “oh no, will they play music when they answer the telephone?”

7: Clarity in your picture quality

This part may take you a few takes depending on the quality of your webcam or smart phone. Ideally, try to avoid the phone camera unless you have a stand to place it on. The issue you have with phone cameras are that they tend to capture you up close. Too close for a video CV. Asides from that, it can make your video wobbly.

Other areas of your picture quality to check for clarity are that the picture isn’t grainy, and that it’s not over-exposed or under-exposed to light. Good lighting is critical to have to ensure you get a watchable video recording. Some webcams won’t even work if there isn’t sufficient light.

8: Know where your camera’s pointed

The camera should be shooting your face straight on. If it’s pointing up to your face, you’ll be speaking down to whoever watches it. That can make you come across as rather arrogant. The other thing to pay attention to is what’s behind you.

You most certainly don’t want to have your little brother behind you pulling the V’s or anything that’ll ruin your video. Your background should be plain, perhaps a solid wall, or even closed blinds to make your backing distraction-free.

9: The dress code for a Video CV!

This is where there’s a good little surprise for you. Know the way when you dress for an interview, you worry about being overdressed or too casual?

There’s no such thing for the dress code on a VCV. You wear what you would for an interview on the top half, and below the waist, it doesn’t matter because you’re recording a head shot of yourself and not a full figure shot.

That means you can wear your most comfy clothes below the waist to help you relax for your video recording. Wear jogging pants, your yoga leggings, a onesie half on and tied around your waist, or your PJ bottoms. Nobody’s going to see it so relax, dress yourself in interview clothes above the waist, do your hair, make up (if you use it), and guys, shave!

Your video CV is an introduction to people in HR who can invite you in for interview. Give them a glimpse of what the interview will be like by dressing appropriately, planning according and delivering a presentation of who you really are.



Interview Prep: How To Be Confident in 2-Minutes Flat!
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 19th October 2016


Got low self-esteem? Does the idea of putting yourself on camera get your heart pounding with fear? Would you like to turn that fear into excitement?

That’s what confidence does. Problem is (was until now) finding that confidence, because if you did, the instant you got into a stressful situation – it disappeared and left you in a real sticky situation.

One of the newer steps in applying for a competitive job role is the video CV because that’s the part that can help you stand out and reach the interview stage or even just get a day pass into the assessment day.

How you’re perceived on video will determine if you make it to the interview stage. The aim of your video resume is to get you through the door to the interview.

To get you to that stage, there’s some career critical information you need to know about so you can exaggerate confidence in a believable way and influence the perception of recruiters.

This is a proven method that was discussed by social psychologist, Amy Cuddy on a Ted Talk show.

The idea is so simple and requires just a couple of minutes before you put yourself into any stressful situation.

It requires you to do one thing and one thing only...

Power Pose!

That’s it. But what’s a power pose?

A power pose is when you open yourself up. It’s a display of dominance; being in control and exerting power over anyone.

That may come across as being arrogant, which it is if you do it in an interview, but not if you do it alone. It’s kind of like mantras in that respect. You can say mantras repeatedly and possibly even hack your mind to believing in something, but power poses… Amy has proven they work because they do two things incredibly well.

  1. They increase testosterone levels
  2. They decrease cortisol levels

 

If you’ve got twenty-minutes, check out her Ted Talk to get the full scoop on how this method was tested. It is impressive! Here’s the link.

Increasing testosterone may not seem much on the surface of things, but when you add in the fact that higher levels of testosterone are associated with people exerting high levels of confidence, it makes sense that this is the hormone you want to influence before you put yourself in any stressful situation like recording your video CV or attending that interview that’s crushing your confidence levels. For that reason, it’s likely to have a profound impact if you do this each morning when you wake up to help shape your confidence levels every day. Something you likely do anyway.

Do you stretch when you wake up?

That’s a power pose because you’re opening up. You’re stretching your arms out wide and over your head. Think of an Olympic runner… the first to cross the finish line throws his/her hands up in the air in a display of sheer victory. They’ve beaten the competition and came out on top. That’s the power display.

The opposite is the closed position when you bring your arms and legs into yourself, perhaps having your elbows at your side and raising your arm to neck level and touching your neck. That’s a display of anxiety and one to avoid at an interview, or even when you’re recording a video presentation to apply for a job.

The open body postures are those of the Superman or Wonderwoman pose, which you’ll likely know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4ACeoqEjeA ß Amy Cuddy describes it in 30 seconds in that video. However, there are plenty more power poses you can do.

Do you remember being told off by your teacher in class?

What was the body position? Hunched over a desk, hands on the hips with the back straight, facial muscles tensed, direct eye contact and/or leaning inward toward you.

Those are examples of power poses.

Anytime someone has showed they have more authority than you - or even power over you - is a power pose. It lowers your self-esteem and causes you to go into yourself. Sometimes it can be threatening, intimidating and even arrogant. However, if you take some alone time to do these power poses (in private), you can influence how confident you feel.

Give it a try, record or re-record yourself after power posing for a couple of minutes and then watch the video back to see the difference it makes. You’ll be surprised.

You really can hack your mind by using the power of non-verbal communication. Just be sure to communicate with yourself in this way and don’t overdo it by using it in the presence of others. When you’re in other people’s company, it’ll help you to be more aware of your body posture not so you can exert power over others, but to ensure that your body language is one that shows you’re confident in their presence and not intimidated by them.

That can have a profound impact on your employability because recruiters are looking for participants in the work place, who will add to the social culture and encourage participation from others. Team work in other words and those who lead teams well, are the confident ones. Be more confident than the other candidates and not even a lack of experience will hinder your chances.

Confidence is a skill and can be learned.



3 Obscure Ways To Find Job Openings Before They’re Advertised
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 19th October 2016


When a job is openly advertised, it’s safe to assume the company hasn’t an alternative because advertising costs a lot of money. For that reason, employers tend to sift through online databases and go through their contact list before they take the advertising approach because it’s a way to save on overheads.

For that reason, you want to be able to get yourself out of obscurity and into the minds of those who can put into paid employment, before they know they need you.

3 Smarter Ways to Approach Job Hunting

1: Make yourself known to decision makers (bypass HR departments)

Find out the names of the heads of departments you want to apply to. Not the HR dept. Organisations assigns budgets to departments across the company, so the person with the hiring budget is not the HR department.

It’s usually the department with a job opening who will make the decision to hire, and advertise that vacancy if they need to, that’s only when they’ve no possible candidates in sight. They’ll pass the job specifications of the person they need to HR to begin advertising the role. It’s estimated that 40% of those job openings never reach the advertising stage.

The reason this happens is that the heads of departments keep a shortlist of candidates, or they know someone looking for work because they’ve been actively networking.

Keep in touch with your contacts by being active in industry forums, groups either locally or on social media, and pay particular attention to LinkedIn where the heads of departments congregate.

Get known by organisations and you can shortlist your way into the running for a job before HR departments need to blow any manager’s budget on an advertising campaign.

It’s much more cost effective to hire someone without advertising. For that reason, when an open vacancy is advertised, those interviewed and not successful will still have the details held on file for any future vacancies, therefore no interview is ever really blown when you don’t get the job offer, unless of course – your interview goes terribly wrong.

If you have the skills and are suited to the position, or the HR team feel you’ve the skills, expertise and experience for another position, you’ll be offered it before the positon reaches an advertising stage.

That’s why every interview you ever attend, you should always prepare in advance so you’re the best version of yourself when you the meet with a key decision maker for the very first time.

On that same note of first impressions, that’s what your Video CVs do too. The employers watching these are looking to fill a position before they need to spend on advertising. That’s one way you can get yourself ahead.

Influence the heads of departments, then it’s just a case of impressing HR teams during the interview stage as the decision may have already been made to hire you with the interview just a formality.

2: Media Coverage (read between the lines)

The stiffest time for competition is when the vacancy is advertised. For that reason, that time’s best avoided for maximum success of your application. You get that chance by getting in the door early.

Specialist trade journals give you that opportunity. Some are free publications available online, others paid subscriptions. The purposes of these in terms of helping you seek employment opportunities out are to keep you up to date with your area of expertise even when you’re unemployed. It gives you a chance to keep your ear to the ground so that when you do return to work, you’re not totally starting from scratch.

If your industry doesn’t have any specialist publications, mainstream media is another way to keep in the know and get a head-start of upcoming positions.

What you want to be looking for are companies that are expanding. Even acquisitions and company mergers can create job openings - they aren’t always going to downsize. It depends on the restructuring strategy when a business goes under new management. You won’t know the strategy, but you will know to get your details in fast.

When you see an opportunity through a company expanding or if they’ve been awarded a major contract, be sure to include your knowledge of that on your cover letter. Word it in a way that leaves the reader in no doubt that you’re aware of the expansion and your application is there to offer your help should they need it.

3: Obey the rules of follow up

Online can be an obscure place, yet it’s the way hiring is done. It’s next to impossible to ignore the internet.

With that in mind, when you do submit an application online, always follow up. Do this for positions you apply for offline too and be politely persistent when you do.

When do you follow up?

Three days after your initial opening discussions, whether that’s an interview or an acknowledgement of your application being received. If you hear nothing back, follow up another three days later and then again a week after that. If you’ve done the three follow ups, the company has had ample opportunity and reminders that you’re interested in the position and know to update you. If you haven’t heard back after three follow ups, you can safely assume it’s time to move on and you aren’t getting the position.

In Conclusion

An active job hunt is never a case of getting up in the morning, attending appointments at the Job Centre Plus, sifting through classifieds, posting applications and calling it a day.

To be efficient in your job hunt, assume the role as a full-time job seeker as your current position. No long lies, no putting off today what can be done tomorrow and manage your time efficiently.

Get on the right networks, read blogs related to your industry, share your best finds on your social media pages, especially LinkedIn, and nurture the contacts you make.

Your profiles online should indicate that you’re unemployed and actively searching for work, or if you’re job hopping, explain your career ambitions so that those with the decision to hire you know if you’re a good fit for them and vice versa, them for you.

When you get smart with your job search, you’ll be able to spot multiple opportunities to get your details into firms that are likely to need you, rather than blanketing your CV’s to every company who don’t have the budget to hire you.

Target your applications to specific businesses you know will need your expertise. When you do that with timeliness in mind by keeping an ear to the ground on expanding companies and those who will be planning to grow their workforce, you’ll be able to get your details in early, in front of those with the ability to hire you.

In the process, you’ll avoid much of the competition for open vacancies, because you’ll be invited to interview for unadvertised positions. That’s the best time to be interviewed. When there’s not a high budget in play for the business to scout the right talent for their position.

Take an empathetic approach by putting yourself in the mind of an employer. How would you go about recruitment in the most cost efficient way? Whatever that is do what you can to get yourself known before a company has to advertise a position.

It will be tougher to land a job after a position has been advertised because the company will have more candidates to choose from. You want them to get to know you early, so they can make the easier decision to give you a trial, before they approach the recruitment sector with a vacancy.

 



How To Be Passionate: Delivering A Powerful Career Presentation
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 10th October 2016


At some point in your life, you’ll have heard someone speak about something that inspired you. It should really be teachers, but unfortunately, not many are gifted public speakers. If they all were, everyone would have a better education.

Powerful presentations get noticed. Unfortunately, it’s something you have to learn yourself. The best in public relations have done that, and that’s where to begin researching if you really want to be a keynote speaker. Study PR!

For your purposes though, you don’t need to get that serious. There’s some simple crafting you can apply to any speech you want to deliver, including what you need to be saying when you’re discussing your career on a video presentation.

Crafting a Story about Your Career

If you don’t know, stories are what sell. Video CVs sell yourself to hiring managers so this is something you need.

Watch TV during the ad breaks and you’ll struggle to see an advertisement that doesn’t have some brand story being told. They all have it and it can even be done subliminally.

For your story, you’re telling your brand. What’s your brand identity? To know that, you need to know yourself so it’s not as simple as throwing some words together and speaking into a camera. It’s more like a soul-searching exercise to find your purpose in life.

When you think about your career choice, as in the field you chose to study… Why did you go that route?

Did something happen that made you want to join the police force, only to find that you didn’t quite pass the fitness requirements so decided instead to go become a personal fitness instructor to get people into the shape they want or need to be?

That would be your narrative… It gives you a starting point to describe your journey. Not your industry – your journey! When you start to tell the story of your journey, those watching and listening to your narrative can and will start to visualise what you’ve done to get to where you are in your career. Even if you’re an undergraduate with no work-experience to speak of, you’ll have had challenges, overcame them and have a reason for wanting to do what you do.

To give another example of how a career story could be shaped, think about a charity fundraiser. Someone may have lost a loved one to a preventable illness and decided to switch careers to something they’re more passionate about, strongly believe in raising awareness and are now devoted to increasing their contribution to whatever field they choose to work in.

They have a reason and a drive. A thirst to put out more and it’s that thirst to contribute that will get you hired. The problem is getting people to take notice of what you have to contribute and why you’re determined to do it.

Determination is needed in today’s job market, which is why the career presentation makes it a powerful choice to have in your employability toolkit.

The more powerful your reason for pursuing your career path, the more powerful a presentation you will be able to give.

Why?

Because You Can’t Help but Speak with Excitement!

There’s nothing more moving than an inspiring presentation. Something that raises your spirits, and somehow makes you believe in anything that’s being presented. It becomes emotional and that’s when your audience become captivated by your words.

It works for any topic.

Are you interested in the oceans, the discoveries and everything under the sea?

Maybe you are, but you’re likely not passionate about it. If you think you are, take a look at this presentation by Ocean Explorer Robert Ballard and you’ll see a perfect example of passion in action (in the professional sense).

Powerful presentations engage your audience on an emotional level. The best way to engage someone on that level is to engage with your own emotions first. Talk about your career with passion, excitement, and devout interest.

5 Steps to Creating Your Career Presentation

1: Structure your story

The simplest way to get your story across is to first make a narrative by developing a script. Choose your words carefully. Don’t create a script to recite it. Create it to rehearse off of bullet points.

Give each of the key points that you want recruiters to know about you their own slide in a presentation using PowerPoint or any other software you choose to use. Each point should be self-explanatory to you so that you can then transition between slides, and make each point naturally.

Know what you want to say in advance, but relax before you speak. A powerful presentation will start off with a relaxed tone just to introduce yourself.

2: Introduce some challenges

Right after your introduction, get to your main point of why you chose to do what you do. Then bring some challenges you’ve faced into it.

The story becomes more powerful when there’s a problem needing a solution. That’s what will keep your audience hanging until your video is finished, provided you keep it short enough that they’re not hanging around to the point that it becomes annoying. Don’t natter on about nothing.

3: Keep purpose front of mind

Everything you say should be for a reason. Carefully crafted presentations don’t allow for irrelevant information. Perhaps the odd thought-through joke to engage more, but your career highlights should be memorable. You do that first by introducing your narrative to your audience. If you’re speaking about points that aren’t key to your presentation, you can speak a bit faster so that you can slow down at your key points to make them memorable.

4: Visualise it so you can become it

As you record yourself speaking, visualise yourself speaking to a hiring manager. Imagine you’ve been assigned the task of presenting your career in a 3-minute presentation. Then set about making it the most powerful presentation you’ll ever deliver.

5: Rehearse your delivery

Vary your voice, practice your presence such as your hand gestures and facials expressions, and speak slower at memorable points and faster at the not so important parts so that it’s noticeable when you do slow down.

In conclusion

  • Plan what you’re going to say
  • Tell it as a story about your career
  • Introduce some challenges
  • Talk about your solutions to those challenges
  • Close with your call to action which is to get recruiters to call on you to find out even more about your story and become the next part of it.

 

Be interesting, engaging, and most importantly – be yourself. Nobody else!