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.